Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner and Moisture Serum Review

pyunkang yul


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.

This post contains affiliate links — I’ll get a small commission if you purchase through my link, but you won’t pay a penny more.


pyunkang yul

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.


pyunkang yul

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.


pyunkang yul


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.


pyunkang yul

Bottom Line

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.

30 thoughts on “Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner and Moisture Serum Review”

  1. Yes to apothecary style bottles indeed! Both the toner and serum sound lovely, and I especially like that the serum targets oil skin, yet still includes hydrating ingredients. Thank you for the great review!

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  3. Very good intrigued about this brand as it looks aesthetically pleasing and sounds great. Though looking at some of there ingredients. Troubles me a bit. For example dimethicone. This ingredient is a chemical where some research has been connected with cancer.

    1. Dimethicone is one of the most commonly used ingredients in skincare products as it is a great occlusive. Research shows that the molecule is too large to penetrate the skin when used topically. The concerns are if it is injected, inhaled, or implanted. As long as you’re not doing those things, I wouldn’t worry. But to each their own.

      1. Camila, thanks for that. Yes, I agree. Though when you do a bit of research online. We see the precautions for this ingredient. It so says just because dimethicone is a great occlusive. That this impedes the skins natural process of cellular turn over and other natural skin healing cycles ones body does. Because it acts like a barrier to the skin itself.

  4. Thank you Camilla for the nice review. I have been wanting to get the toner for some time already, and after reading your review, I think I have made up my mind in getting it. Thank you again 🙂

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  7. I have combo skin that is sometimes dehydrated and I’m loving the essence toner! I think they should market it to everyone. I have the nutrition cream and I’ve sampled the oil. I want the whole line! Thanks for the great review

  8. The product ingredient lists are surely short but they both seem to contain silicone so I am not sure what you meant by “no fillers”. Some ingredients are also moderate irritants so they may be good products but your review seems to be biased or lack of research?

    1. I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m aware that there are silicones. I’m not against silicones if they are used properly, and I guess the term “fillers” can be subjective. Silicones can actually be excellent for occlusion and preventing water loss, which is why they have been used here (silicone sheeting is used medically to treat burn wounds and scarring because of this property). When I say no fillers, I mean that every ingredient is included for a reason, and I believe the silicones are included here to help prevent water loss through the skin. But to each their own.
      I don’t claim to be a medical expert — I just provide reviews based on my personal experience, and I have been very transparent on this post. I purchased these products with my own money, though I was given a discount and I support the people behind the company I purchased them from. If that’s not sufficient for you, please feel free to skip it.

  9. Hello. I just started reading your blog, and I like it! It’s been not too long that I also follow k beauty. I watch kdramas since 15 years ago and I date a Korean guy, never got too interest on taking care of my skin that good but now I’m almost hitting the 30s and got worried, lol. What a time wasted, suffering from brakeouts and shit, now I know why! Anyway… do you k ow a good hydrateting toner, with hyaluronic acid. I just got the pyungkan yul like a week ago and it is good but I don’t find it amazingly hydrateting, I want more. Please, recommend me one, not beauty water from son and park, that irritates my skin, I also have the aha and bha clarifying toner of cosrx and I love it, but not for its hydrateting properties. And very important too…affordable! Unless it is reaaaaaally good and special, I would by an expensive one. Thanks and keep working hard!

    1. Yup I love the PKY toner when my skin is sensitized, but it’s true that a hyaluronic acid toner would be more deeply hydrating. I am currently really enjoy the Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner. It has a long ingredients list so you might want to check if you’re sensitive to anything, but it’s mostly botanical extracts and moisturizing ingredients like betaine and yes there’s sodium hyaluronate in there.

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  11. Hi I’m kind of a noob when it comes to skincare products. Can anyone tell me what is the effect of having silicone in the product and why some peoplw are opposed to it? Is there any long term bad effect from it

    1. I don’t have a problem with silicones in a well-formulated product, but some people appear to be sensitive to it (clogged pores, etc…). Generally, research shows that it is well tolerated by most people (and is less sensitizing than many natural ingredients) and is effective at holding moisture in the skin. I totally get that some people don’t feel comfortable with using synthetic ingredients, but I think that in this product in particular, it is used judiciously and doesn’t feel like it’s building up on my skin (personally). However, there are many other products that I DON’T like because they have a very siliconey feel and literally feel suffocating to the skin. I think it really depends on the product and on your personal preference.

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