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The Review: TonyMoly Aquaporin Skincare Set

January 07, 2016 Sable Yong

Now that winter has properly made its blustery entrance into NYC, we’re really starting to feel the parch. Sure, we can finally wear all the cute sweaters we bought way back when, but there comes that familiar icky dryness that has us keeping our humidifiers on blast. It seems that each winter, every beauty website distributes those “Top Ten Moisturizers To Keep Dry Skin At Bay!” kinds of articles that throw overwhelming loads of expensive creams and lotions in your face, and you’re supposed to choose one magical balm to keep your face far away from Flake City (population: you and everyone else suffering from heater-induced skin thirst). But as many of us K-beauty buffs know, it’s not just about ONE product to save the day—it’s about a certain combination of products and routine.

Enter Tonymoly’s Aquaporin line. If you couldn’t tell from its name, this is a collection that basically mainlines hydration into your skin. All the products contain smart botanical marine ingredients like chlorella, spirulina, plankton and mineral willow water to marinate your skin in nourishing water-based moisture for the ultimate dewy complexion. Water for hydration—seems like a big DUH moment, but I’m pretty sure my favorite merman, Derek Zoolander, had it right.

If we want to talk humectants (the stuff that BINDS moisture to your skin), the Aquaporin Skincare Set is a good place to start. It has a toner, emulsion, and moisture cream (plus a travel-size moisture cream to keep in my bag in case I want some extra moisture throughout the day). My double-cleanse tends to change up a lot since I like switching my water-based cleanser from time to time, so I don’t mind that this set doesn’t have a cleanser (though there IS a oil-balm cleanser in the Aquaporin line).

Let’s start with the toner. It’s called an Opening Toner which is meant to simultaneously sweep remaining impurities that your cleansers may have left behind while also prepping your skin with light hydration to absorb treatments. The whole “opening” aspect pertains to Aquaporin’s concept of opening “water channels” to your skin. I’ve never heard of this concept, but I imagine it has to do with using water as the key to hydration, so this is a kind of gateway. And BOY is this toner hydrating!
The consistency is thicker, like a runny gel, as opposed to the usual watery consistency of toners. It makes it a lot easier to pour into my hands and pat it on my face, actually (I always feel like I’m losing too much product haphazardly splashing toner on like aftershave usually) and since it takes a few pats to absorb, I don’t have to do that “oh no—must apply next step in two seconds or else my skin will be past optimal absorption stage!” dance to slather on essence. Lots of people gripe about how lengthy a Korean skin care routine is, but I always think there isn’t enough time in between steps, honestly!

Following my essence and serum, the Aquaporin Waterful Emulsion comes next. Emulsions are basically light moisturizers. You can use them on their own if you have oily/combo skin or if you just really hate the feeling of thick goop on your face. This emulsion however is a bit like spackle, in the sense that it’s a moisture concentrate that spreads out thinly while absorbing deeply into your skin to fill in dry patches and really get those humectants in all your nooks and crannies. I can imagine using this a great summer moisturizer at night, since it feels so light.

But considering it’s the opposite of summer right now, bring on the face goop! Aquaporin’s Moisture Cream is the velvety answer to your utilitarian winter moisturizer. It is thicker than the emulsion, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a thick moisturizer. It does however do its job. A good moisturizer should hydrate as well as seal in moisture, and this one does both. Due to its silky texture, it spreads easily over my face and absorbs in a few seconds. I like to spread it around and then do a little patting action to really press it into my skin. It doesn’t feel heavy or greasy at all, but I feel plenty moisturized! Plus, it’s light enough to layer underneath my SPF in the daytime, which is such a relief because sunscreen just isn’t hydrating enough on its own, and I can’t bring myself to omit it in the winter (and neither should you!).

Incorporating this set into my skin care routine has my skin as plump and dewy as ever—it’s like winter never happened! Except here I am bundled in woolen layer upon heavy knit layer. Well, at least my skin looks good—what little of it is exposed :)

How do you deal with winter dryness? Any good humidifiers I should check out?


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About Charlotte

Soko Glam co-founder and chief curator. Licensed esthetician sharing the love of all things K-beauty.

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