Dry Skin Challenge: Three PV girls try Pyunkang Yul

People tell me that I’m lucky to have dry skin because I don’t have to worry about getting pimples or having a shiny face. Both are certainly true, but dry skin has it own concerns, too. Your skin can look either red and irritated, or gray and sickly due to dullness. Extra dry spots can cause skin to look flaky and you can’t cover that with makeup because of the weird texture. Dry skin is also more prone to getting wrinkles and fine lines; just imagine how super matte lipsticks make every single one of your lip lines look more visible!

Keeping the skin properly hydrated is definitely crucial but it’s also important to address all the other concerns related to having dry skin. I used to think that a good moisturizer would be the solution to all my problems, but as with all things skincare, it’s important for the entire routine to work together. That’s why I got so curious about a Korean skincare brand called Pyunkang Yul.

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What makes Pyunkang Yul so interesting is that their products are developed by the Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic in South Korea. This institution is famous for treating atopic skin disorders, and their approach to formulating products is to remove any ingredients that don’t have a skin benefit, such as fragrance. The short and minimal ingredients lists hope to make it easier for users to avoid negative reactions.

Go Bloom and Glow, the official distributor of Pyunkang Yul in the Philippines, sent over some products for the PV team to try so I asked my fellow dry-skinned girls Tellie and Marielle to help me review.

Tellie tries the best-selling Essence Toner (P950 for 200ml):

The toner is a bit thick and viscous - just my type of hydrating toner! Its star ingredient is milk vetch root extract, that supposedly contains vitamins and minerals that optimises “skin temperature” for perfect elasticity.

After using a low pH cleanser, I saturate a cotton pad with this toner and aim for the dual action of gently exfoliating and hydrating my dry, dehydrated, and cracked skin. It just seems to absorb better! The gel type texture dries down in seconds and leaves my skin feeling pleasingly plump yet non-sticky. It’s a great hydrating toner, and my other skincare products layer neatly on top of it. My only complaint is that I sometimes get a whiff of it smelling fishy. Perhaps it’s because there’s no fragrance to mask the scent.

Ingredients: Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Arginine

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Tellie tries the Moisture Serum (P1,350 for 100ml):

The serum comes in a dropper bottle, and the texture reminds me of Hada Labo Gokujyun Milk - like body lotion, but on the waterier side. While similar, I ended up preferring this to Hada Labo because it moisturizes my skin better! While light and watery, it does leave me glowing, supple, and well-hydrated.

After using toner, I fill up the dropper and gently massage its full contents on my skin. It feels like the serum goes deep down to moisturize my skin from within. I like this serum because it also has a glowy, dewy finish.

Ingredients: 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

Marielle tries the Moisture Cream (P1,600 for 100ml):

If a versatile light moisturizer without all the bells and whistles is what you seek, then this is the product for you. The light, whipped consistency has the feel of lotion on the skin rather than a regular face cream! There's that mildly coated, slightly velvety feeling at first, but it gets fully absorbed by the skin and pretty much disappears altogether. There’s no greasiness whatsoever, so it can be used under makeup. It has a very faint, sweet herbal paste-like scent that you’ll only really notice when you put your nose near the jar, and it doesn't linger on the skin at all.

Because of how light the moisturizer is, I'd recommend this for normal to oily skin types. Those with dry skin can use this as a day moisturizer, especially if you hate getting a sticky face feeling when it’s hot. For cooler weather or for use in an air conditioned room, I'd suggest including this as one of the layers in a hydrating skincare routine because it doesn’t feel hydrating enough by itself.

Ingredients: Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Isohexadecane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Caprylate

I tried the Oil (P1,050 for 26ml):

I was excited to try this oil as I recently got a gua sha (a face massager made from jade, quartz, and other semi-precious stones) and needed something to help it glide on my skin easily. At first, I ended up using too much oil and feeling super greasy because the instructions don’t specify what an “adequate amount” means. It’s best to dispense just a couple of drops at a time and to apply on small areas of the face to avoid using too much product. 

The oil is lightweight and doesn’t feel sticky, so it’s very easy to spread and quickly absorbed. It has a bit of a pleasant herbal scent that doesn’t linger. This is supposed to be applied after other hydrating layers but I’ve also tried using it on its own. My skin feels so soft and smooth after application, I find myself constantly touching it afterwards!

Ingredients: Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Geranium Maculatum Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil

We had to skip trying the Cleansing Foam (P600 for 150ml) on our faces though, because when we checked its pH level, it registered as an 8 on the scale. Low pH cleansers are a must for us, so even though the formula is sulfate-free, the cleansing foam felt pretty drying when we tested it on our hands. It’s also strange that for a brand that supposedly does away with unnecessary ingredients, the cleanser contains added fragrance.

Ingredients: Saposhnikovia Divaricata Root Extract, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Lauric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Beeswax, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Lauramide DEA, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sodium Polyacrylate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Fragrance

While the brand isn’t specifically marketed for dry skin, those who have this skin type should definitely keep this on their radar. The Essence Toner has been a favorite in the local AB skincare community, and I’ve heard many good things about the Balancing Gel as well. I do hope that they improve on the Cleansing Foam formula though!

Have you tried anything from Pyunkang Yul? What was your experience like?

Photography bu Nicole Quindara