I grew up reading in beauty magazines, seeing on TV and hearing from friends that the important steps in skincare are cleansing, toning and moisturizing, in that order. Sadly, my experience with toners isn’t exactly pleasant. I know them as astringents and they’ve always left a stinging sensation on my skin. For a while, I skipped toning altogether (to my everlasting regret).
But today, thanks to advancements in dermatological research and technology, toners are no longer simply one-shot products, nor do they sting as much. Now many toners in the market are multitaskers, combining toning with cleansing, moisturizing and sebum control. Korean brand Etude House’s Wonder Pore Freshner is one of them. The 10-in-1 version comes in a big (and I mean BIG) 500ml bottle and the version I bought from YesStyle’s Beauty catalog includes an equally big box of cotton pads, all for an affordable US$23.17 (a 25% discount from its original price due to the ongoing Beauty sale).
May the Pores Be With You
As its “Wonder Pore” name suggests, this toner promises many benefits: balancing skin’s pH level, refining skin tone, maintaining the elasticity of pores, removing dead surface skin cells, deep-cleaning pores, controlling sebum and moisturizing skin.
For once, I’m glad of the bottle’s big size because it’s an easy reminder to use the toner morning and evening. I increased my application from twice to thrice a week at first in order to gauge how my skin would react to this new addition. I’m happy to say that like most Korean products I’ve tested so far, this toner worked well with the rest of my skincare products.
I was surprised to find out that even after double-cleansing, swiping the toner-soaked cotton pad on my face revealed remaining dirt and impurities. That’s what the toner is supposed to do: remove any impure residue and prep your skin for adding moisturizer, serum, essences, etc. I get a certain satisfaction each time I see the cotton pad with all that dirty stuff removed from my skin.
My only mistake at first was forgetting to apply moisturizer afterwards, resulting in some oiliness later on as my skin tried to compensate for the brief loss of moisture. Alcohol is listed as one of the primary ingredients (which may cause dryness), along with other known humectants (substances that attract and retain moisture) such as glycerin, butylene glycol and glycereth-26. After that incident, I made sure to always apply moisturizer right afterwards. Other ingredients include peppermint extracts, which is probably behind the slight tingling sensation, as well as orange, lemon and other fruit extracts. There’s a very subtle fragrance but it quickly dissipates as soon as I apply it on my skin.
The cotton pads have a porous layer on one side, and a softer one on the other.
It’s a Wonder Pore World
After several weeks of use, I can say that this toner lives up to several of its promised benefits. My face feels less oily during the day, which is a sign of better skin pH balance and sebum control. Any occasional breakouts are quickly subdued, probably because my pores are getting cleaned very religiously. As a result, I’ve seen certain areas of my face sporting smoother texture, especially around the bridge of my nose and along my jawline. Blackheads and whiteheads come out and are removed more easily as well. My pores are still quite visible but I’m hoping that prolonged use of the toner will continue to bring further improvement.
After almost four weeks, pores still visible but skin texture is improving and spots are fading.
Those with oily or combination skin types will most likely find an ally in this toner. Meanwhile, if you have dry or sensitive skin, it’s better to err on the safe side and test the product first. Aside from this product’s effectiveness, I also love the huge bottle and pump design. I foresee myself reusing the bottle for something else once it’s empty, and buying a new one soon enough.