I’ve had my eyes on Pyunkang Yul ever since I learned how few ingredients its Essence Toner contains. Always biased towards clean beauty and recently suffering from severe blemishes, I decided to try its acne set comprising a cleanser, toner, cream, spot cream, spot patches and mask pack.
The non-foaming gel cleanser is scentless and colorless. Even though I happily anticipated this, I still find it a bit odd to apply something that produces no particular sensation or immediate effect on my skin! The gel does foam up a little if you lather hard, but never to the same extent as a foam cleanser. My skin just feels normal after rinsing, being neither squeaky-clean nor unclean.
The cleanser, toner, cream and spot cream are all infused with the same botanical extracts and devoid of any smell.
This toner feels like water on my skin. It’d probably have some existential problems if it wasn’t contained in a bottle labeled “toner”! “Refreshing” is the only word I could think of to describe a toner as simple as this.
Nonetheless, this is exactly why I chose Pyunkang Yul: to free my skin from all unnecessary additives. I want to go back to the basics and attend to my skin’s most pressing needs. Who needs rainbow-colored masks or metallic cleansers when your skin is breaking out? Call me paranoid, but I do tend to refrain from fancy skin care and makeup when my skin is troubled.
Being rather impatient, I’ve become addicted to spot patches because of their overnight effects, but spot creams also come in handy for large infected areas. This one feels similar to TROIAREUKE’s ACSEN Recovery Cream. It’s neither too hydrating, nor does it dry skin out. I used the spot cream together with the rest of the set so it’s hard to single out its efficacy, but I do believe it helped soothe my blemishes and make my skin smoother.
This gel cream is heaven-sent. It feels weightless, but does its job by moisturizing and soothing skin instantly. It’s best applied before bed or just before your morning makeup to give an essential dose of moisture. Just be careful not to slather on too much or your skin will turn greasy after a few hours.
Due to my frequent need for acne patches, lately I’ve been exclusively using G9SKIN’s spot patches, which come with 60 pieces per pack, so I don’t have to stock up all the time. Pyunkang Yul’s spot patches are a bit smaller (10mm in diameter versus G9SKIN’s 12mm). They’re also 50% more expensive. Outstanding in terms of thinness, invisibility, adherence, waterproof ability and efficacy, they stay put and don’t swell even after a thorough facial cleanse. Regardless, I see no reason to ditch G9SKIN’s patches as they suit my needs better.
This one is the weirdest of the set. Each packet contains four rectangular cotton patches soaked in scentless and colorless essence. The size is just enough to cover 1/4 of your face, so the easiest way is to place the patches on your forehead, cheeks and chin. The bad thing is that they can’t reach all the face’s nooks and crannies. The patches also tend to fall off due to the limited surface area.
I decided to use them like peeling pads, massaging my face with them so the essence could sink in. Soothing and moisturizing as they are, I find it ridiculous to have to use all four at once since the packaging is not resealable. Lazy people like me should probably just stick to regular face masks.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: the set cleared my breakouts in just three days! Even though it might sound as if the products didn’t work, they actually did. All the adult acne on my chin disappeared, my pores became tinier, and my skin was smoother.
But then a strange thing happened: whiteheads appeared where my skin is usually clear, such as the temples, the philtrum and near the brows. The whiteheads were flatter, smaller, much easier to conceal, and quicker to heal than blemishes, but I also didn’t want them, so I reduced the amount of product used the next week, applying only the toner, spot cream and cream. I reckon the cleanser is either too strong or too mild for my skin? I also enjoy foam cleansers much more than non-foaming cleansers, so perhaps this was just an excuse for me to go back to the former.
Pyunkang Yul’s Acne Set is a true SOS kit for inexplicable, catastrophic breakouts, especially during summer or if you’ve got oily skin. Despite its seemingly gentle formula and barely-there sensation on the skin, it may actually be too strong to be used daily, so I suggest using it sparingly over troubled areas. I’ll happily keep the toner, spot cream and cream for emergencies. The gel cream, in particular, deserves special mention. Gel creams that are unscented, alcohol-free, non-sticky, quick-absorbing and moisturizing are rare, so I give this one two thumbs up!