Pyunkang Yul is one of the most intriguing things to come across my radar recently. When one of my favorite Kbeauty online shops, Ohlolly Beauty, started carrying it, the beautiful cobalt blue bottles caught my eye immediately. Notice to brands — You can’t go wrong with apothecary style packaging in a gorgeous color!
My interest was piqued even further when I heard the ladies at Ohlolly talk about the brand at a blogger/KBeauty enthusiast gathering in LA. This line of skincare was developed by Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic in Korea, which specializes in hanbang, or traditional and herbal medicine. Their aim is to create products that contain no fillers — only the most gentle and safe ingredients for even the most sensitive skin, and aim to promote a healthy oil and moisture balance in the skin.
I purchased the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner and Moisture Serum (with a special discount from the meetup event) to try because I love the philosophy behind the brand. Eschewing gimmicky or trendy ingredients, Pyunkang Yul products aim to wholistically nourish and care for the skin.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner and Moisture Serum Review
First of all, you guys already know that I loved the packaging at first glance. The Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner may look like glass, but is actually a practical plastic bottle with a flip top and a reducer that dispenses the perfect amount of product. The Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum comes in a glass dropper bottle, and it’s HUGE, a full 100ml, which is enormous for a serum.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Arginine
That is one of the shortest ingredient lists I’ve seen anywhere! This toner contains 91.3% milk vecht root extract (or astragalus root), a plant used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine. Although there isn’t a lot of Western-based research on this root in terms of skincare, it has been used to treat the skin for hundreds of years, and is supposed to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Drinking a tea made from the roots is supposed to boost immune function and even help reduce allergic symptoms (I’m considering buying some to consume because my allergies have been overactive this spring!).
If you’re concerned by the presence of silicone in this toner, I understand. I’m not personally opposed to silicones, as they prevent water loss from the skin, and are well-tolerated by most skin types, thus they often find their way into formulations for sensitive skin. I do not find this toner to feel siliconey, and the proportion of silicone must be very small, but just a heads up for those of you wanting to avoid them.
The Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner has a really lovely consistency. It’s a thicker hydrating toner (about the same viscosity as the Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion, if you’ve tried it) that has a really nice slip. It’s unscented which is great for people with sensitivities. Although it feels very hydrating, it also feels incredibly light and gentle on the skin and doesn’t leave a thick or sticky film after it absorbs. This toner doesn’t contain alcohol or other penetration enhancers, so it does take a little while to absorb, so pat away!
This toner does not contain hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate, so it would be great for people with HA sensitivities. It may be very slightly less hydrating than toners that DO contain hyaluronic acid, but it’s incredible how deeply it hydrates without containing HA.
I especially love how this toner never irritates my skin no matter how dehydrated it is. It is definitely geared towards people with sensitive, dry skin.
Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum
The Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum is, unlike the Toner, meant for oily skin. Since my skin is combination, I thought I’d sample both sides of the spectrum =).
Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, 1,2-Hexanediol, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Arginine, Dimethicone
The Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum is meant to balance oil as well as calm and hydrate your skin. The first ingredient, Coptis Japonica Root Extract, has shown some promise in treating sagging and swelling skin. As a 30-something woman, I’m like, GET ON MY FACE.
The Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum is quite thick for a serum. It’s a white serum with a lotion consistency. As much as I love the dropper bottle aesthetically, I kind of wish this came with a pump because the serum is a bit thick to pick up effectively with the dropper.
Despite looking thick straight out of the bottle, it spreads out nice and thin and feels very refreshing going on. This serum contains olive oil as one of the moisturizing ingredients, but it doesn’t feel oily, and once it has absorbed, it leaves a smooth and light protective film over the skin. It’s not sticky at all and it doesn’t pill, and I really enjoy how refreshed and smooth my skin feels after I use it.
It’s not the most hydrating serum, but it is so pleasant to use and never irritates my skin. Because it forms a little bit of a protective film, it really works well over my thinner and more watery serums, and layers very well.
In the beauty world, it seems like everyone is after the latest trendy ingredients. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s refreshing to slow down and enjoy some skincare products that are simple, clean, safe, and based on calming ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years. The Pyunkang Yul products are perfect for forming a base routine, because they are so calming and hydrating, on which you can add some of the fancier, trendier products.
Note: There are small amounts of silicones in both of these products, as some of you have pointed out. These are not all-natural products. I believe that the formulators of this product chose to include silicones for their occlusive properties (preventing water loss through the skin), and because they tend to be well-tolerated by all skin types, including sensitive skin. However, if you’re opposed to any silicones at all in your skincare, you may want to think twice before purchasing these.
Buy It At
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner at Ohlolly Beauty for $19 for 200ml
Pyunkang Yul Moisture Serum at Ohlolly Beauty for $27 for 100ml
Get 10% off your first purchase with my referral link.
I think that these products are great value for the quality and the amount you get (the toner even made it onto my list of KBeauty Budget Best Buys!). I’d also highly recommend purchasing from Ohlolly Beauty. These ladies were the first to curate Pyunkang Yul products for the North American market and they put a lot of work into testing these products, translating the packaging when they only used to come in Korean, and working with the Korean brand to provide English labels. They are dedicated to educating and spreading the love of KBeauty, and aren’t just in this to make a quick buck. I have met them a couple times and they are genuinely lovely human beings (and they never asked me to say that).
I purchased these products myself, albeit with a discount provided by Ohlolly Beauty. I have no obligation to review these products. As always, this review offers my honest opinion.