Worth the hype? Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review

If you’re a big lover of K-beauty, I’m sure you’ve bumped into Pyunkang Yul. Famous for their effective yet simple formulations, this Korean brand has taken the Internet by storm. Their Finnish retailer Kokoskin.fi kindly offered a couple of products for me to try, let’s see if the Moisture Ampoule* is worth the hype!

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule

This Moisture Ampoule by Pyunkang Yul is a moisture/hydration booster with only 6 ingredients. Designed to soothe and calm the skin while giving it a plump, bouncy texture. Pyunkang Yul products focus on safe and effective ingredients without fragrance. Developed in Korea by Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic. Retails €32.90 / $28 for 100ml / 3.3 fl oz. Cruelty free.


Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Polysorbate 80, PEG-150 Distearate, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glyceryl Caprylate

The star ingredient of this ampoule is Copris Japonica (aka Japanese goldthread) Root Extract that makes up 90% of the product according to retailers. I could find little information or studies on this ingredient that is not directly related or a review of Pyunkang Yul products. Even if the inspiration is from Eastern Medicine (like as hanbang, which I generally love in skincare), I’d like to read some studies. According to the brand it soothes and hydrates the skin while being the best suitable for oilier skin types.

The rest of the ingredients are actually surfactants, emulsifiers and one solvent to thicken up the consistency of the product. What I’ve read on PEG it should not be used on broken skin - thus, I don’t think this product is optimal for soothing major irritation. Overall the synthetic compounds in this product don’t appear to be hazardous, so I think most people can use this ampoule.

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule

The texture of this ampoule is a bit odd to me. On websites it’s described as ‘honey-like’, but for me it reminds of some sort of goo or a lubricant. You know, the stuff they used in Alien movies? Jokes aside, the texture is viscous without being too gloopy or stringy to my taste. On my dry skin it doesn’t glide on effortlessly - I prefer taking some product on my palms and pressing it on my cheeks, neck and forehead. Fortunately the texture isn’t sticky and the ampoule sinks in quickly. If your skin is more normal to oily you might just spread and gently rub it in with no problem.

I do feel this adds a layer of moisture to the skin, but I’m not sure if this has any other skin benefits.. On its own this ampoule isn’t hydrating enough for me and I need to top it up with an oil or/and a cream. While I like the short and sweet ingredients list I’m missing some basics that have good research backing up - such as hyaluronic acid. Pyunkang Yul is nicely inexpensive if you take the large bottle size in consideration, but I still feel the formula is inferior to other hydrating serums I’ve reviewed, such as Leegeeham, which has a bit similar consistency.

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

What I like about Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule is the price, lack of fragrance and other additives, but that’s about it. On a hot Summer day or for oily skin people it might be a good addition to the routine, but for my skin type it isn’t hydrating enough and I don’t think there is enough studies available backing up the root extract’s benefits. So for me it’s a pass, sadly, but I’m still very much looking forward trying other Pyunkang Yul products.

*This product was kindly gifted for review.
My thoughts are my honest and my own.

I Love Sheet Masks! Roundup of Reviews: Naruko, Whamisa, Naveen, My Scheming, Lululun and Pur~Lisse

I hate to admit, but I'm one of those people who do sheet masks while sipping wine (always white) with a straw. Sometimes I play video games while masking (any Overwatch fans here?), sometimes I sit back in my bed, cuddle with my cat and answer comments. Nothing feels better than hydrating, cooling sheet mask after a long day. Here's a review mishmash of some of the masks I've tried!

Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese and eco sheet mask reviews

My Sheet Masking Routine

I prefer to do sheet masks in the evenings and keep the mask on as long as possible. I don't keep a silicon or other plastic mask on top of the sheet, I feel that the sheet masks I use are good enough alone. If I'm in a hurry an need a 10-minute pick-me-up I slather with an essence (Korean "7 skin method" style), do a facial massage or use a wash-off mask using samples I'm having around. The beauty of masking is in the instant results: more glowing, hydrated, plump and soft skin - that's what I'm expecting from my sheet masks. While there are more special and specific ingredients advertised I feel that those focused on hydration or brightening give my dry prune-like skin the best results.

I've tested a ton of sheet masks during during the years and I tend to be somewhat picky... I will try anything, but I've found some very inexpensive gems (around €1-2/$1-3), which have raised my bar. As sheet masks are one-time use only I believe the individual price shouldn't be too high. Of course it's nice to treat yourself once in a while, but I think great results can be achieved with frequency and quite inexpensive masks. That being said, I have not tried masks worth of +15 euros. I have my doubts, but I'm willing to test a SK-II or Estee Lauder's mask in the name science: if my mind gets blown I shall eat my words. Meanwhile, I'm saving my pennies for serums and such.

To keep a track of all the masks I've tested, I use a GoogleDocs spread sheet.. talk about being a beauty nerd. I hope you enjoy these reviews, in this post I'm having a nice variety of masks from different countries as well some eco masks. I've graded all masks from 1 to 5, the ingredients are also listed below!

Naruko Snail Essence Intense Hydra Repair Mask

I enjoy Taiwanese masks and this is one of the best ones I've found. This is - if you don't mind "slimy" products. Yes, when you touch the essence and pull your hands apart you can see slimy strings - like in the Alien movies or Japanese lube (which they actually used in the movies, to my knowledge!). The essence is on the more thicker side and the sheet itself feels like a hydrogel. Before you get too weirded out, believe when I say this mask is fun to use and incredibly soothing, moisturizing and evens out your skin. Your skin will feel amazing afterwards. In my spread sheet I've simply typed "HG". Purchased from ebay.



Purified water, algin, snow fungus (tremella fuciformis) extract, hydroxyethylcellulose, butylene glycol, carbomer, glycerin, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, PEG-45M, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, sodium hyaluronate, snail secretion filtrate, allantoin, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, calendula officinalis flower extract, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, triethanolamine, beta glucan, sodium polyglutamate, fragrance, dipotassium glycyrrhizate

My Scheming Masks

I've tried several of these Taiwanese masks, but some of them have left me underwhelmed. If you dislike "drippy" sheet masks with enough essence with the rest of your body, these might be for you. The size and feel of the sheet have been nice, but I personally dislike when sheet masks have a disposable extra sheet. Although the masking experience has been okay, I've often felt tightness after taking it off. Not too special for my taste - except the Mandelic Acid Brightening Silk Facial, which is wonderful. I'm getting a whole box of those. Very gently tingling and exfoliates while hydrating. Next day I had mild pilling before using a peeling gel. Liked this "flavour" a lot! Purchased from ebay.

Mandelic Acid Brightening Silk Facial 4.5/5
other varieties 3~3.5/5

LuLuLun, Whamisa, Naruko, Pur~lisse, My Scheming and Naveen sheet masks

Blue LuLuLun Violete 7 day mask (Rich Moisture Type)

I got to say, the branding of LuLuLun is just darn cute. These Japanese sheet masks can be bought there everywhere, I probably grabbed mine while shopping in Loft. Personally I'm not a big fan of these masks. While multi-packs are good value and can be shared with a friend, I think the quality of these masks isn't too high. The sheet feels very light like a tissue and doesn't sit well on the skin. I prefer masks that are more doused in essence. I would only repurchase these to share with friends on a sauna night or quick use during travel. Sold in Loft and drug stores such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi in Japan.



Water, glycerin, propanediol, polyquaternium -51, glycosyl trehalose, glyceryl glucoside, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, Sodium PCA, royal jelly extract, sodium hyaluronate, citrus junos (yuzu) fruit extract, algae extract, sweet marjoram (origanum majorana) extract, PEG-40 water hydrogenated castor oil, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium citrate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, butylene glycol

Pur~lisse Blue Lotus+White Tea mask*

I was kindly sent some Pur~lisse's products to try and while I didn't become a fan of their skincare I did enjoy the sheet masks quite a lot. The essence light and milky, feels nicely cooling on the skin. The sheet is fairly large and a good fit on my face (I prefer slightly larger sheets) and feels very soft. Not too doused or dripping with liquid. Also, doesn't include any extra plastic sheet, which I'm not a fan of. While the mask feels nice, I wouldn't pay $8 for it. I didn't care for the fragrance, while it wasn't overpowering I was still bothered by it.



Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Allantoin, Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract,1,2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Polyacrylate, Fragrance

Whamisa Organic Fruits Hydrogel Sheet Mask demo
Whamisa Organic Fruits Hydrogel Sheet Mask demo

Whamisa Organic Fruits Hydrogel Sheet Mask*

It's been a while since I've tried a hydrogel mask and I expected it to wobble and dip apart, but Whamisa's 2-piece mask is nicely durable and didn't slide around. That being said, I did manage to get something (mask or essence) in my eye while adjusting the mask, which stung a little. The fermented smell is far from your usual powdery sheet mask fragrances, but I kinda liked it. The mask feels beautifully cool and the ingredients list is impressive. I wish this had been a bit more hydrating for my raisin skin, but otherwise a good mask. Something I'd take to an airplane thanks to its cooling properties (and to scare the staff). In Finland you can find Whamisa in eco shops and green cosmetics stores, such as Jolie* and Natural Goods Company).


Ingredients (essence)

*Aloe Maculata Leaf Extract, *Lactobacillus/Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Citrus Junos Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Ferment Filtrate,*Lactobacillus/Tomato Fruit Ferment Extract, *Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, ***Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, ***Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, ***Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Honey, Xanthan Gum, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, d-Limonene, Linalol

Ingredients (sheet)

Water, *Aloe Maculata Leaf Extract, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, *Lactobacillus/Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Citrus Junos Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Xanthan Gum, ***Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, ***Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, ***Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract
(* Certified Organically Grown *** Natural Preservative)

Naveen Firming Mask*

The sheet is on the larger site, even for my face, but I didn't mind it as I didn't get any product on my hair or anything. If you feel that some Asian masks run too small to hug every contour of your face, maybe this could be an option for you. The mask didn't drip but stayed fresh and hydrating for long. I really liked the feel of the organic cotton sheet and trying more "natural" sheet mask. No any instant feel of firmness, but as long as my skin feels plump and hydrated I'm good. While I very much enjoyed the mask I find it too pricey for my taste (I sheet mask so often), but worth of checking out if you're into more eco and 100% cruelty free skincare. (In Finland you can find Naveen in Pur stores or Luonto.life web shop for example)



Water, Rosa Damascene Flower Water*, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Anisate, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil*, Citric Acid, Glucosyl Hesperidin
*ingredients from organic certified agriculture

I hope this post was helpful to you - perhaps you found a new sheet mask or two to try? I'll gladly post more reviews in the future. What are your favorite sheet masks? I'd love to hear! Have a wonderful April!! xx

**Kindly gifted for review by Pur~lisse, Natural Goods Company shop and Luonto.Life. My thoughts are my own and honest. The links are for your convenience, non-affiliated and don't contain ads.

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil Review - Where Hanbang Meets Mineral Oil

This scenario happens to most of us: you come across a product that steals your heart - and then you check the ingredients list. Shocker. Sometimes it's good, sometimes.. not so. In today's post I'll have an interesting cleanser that uses traditional Korean medicinal herbs while some of the other ingredients may rise eyebrows. Let's see!

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil Review Flatlay

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil

Illi or Illiyoon is part of Amore Pacific, a Korean cosmetic company giant operating many beauty, health and skincare brands such as Etude House, Innisfree, IOPE, Laneige, Sulwhasoo and many others. On their website you can read more about their philosophy, brands and sustainability. Illi's key ingredients are Korean medicinal herbs aka 'hanbang' interpreted in a modern way. Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing oil comes in 200ml / 6.76 fl oz bottle costing $15-18.

What is hanbang? 

Hanbang (한방) stands for Korean traditional medicine, which includes an extensive use of herbal remedies to treat illnesses and maintain overall health and wellbeing. In Illi's cleanser there is fermented soy protein and other herbal ingredients, such as ginseng root extract, Japanese camellia seed and green tea extracts. Read more about hangbang and fermented skincare in my previous post.


Illi's cleansing oil comes in a simple plastic bottle, with a brown-burgundy tint. I always like tinted or opaque bottles, no matter how sensitive the ingredients are to light. But what is special is the pump - it's excellent. First of all, you can adjust the amount of product that comes out, the pump doesn't shoot out with a force. Secondly, the pump locks when you turn it sideways, which is great if you happen to travel with it. Thirdly, there is a separate lock that keeps the pump dispenser up and even closes the opening. Simple yet very effective design for such an inexpensive product. Love it!

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil Review

Using Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil

This is an emulsifying oil cleansing formula, best for 1st cleanse in the evening to remove sunscreen, makeup and other daytime gunk. I take about 1 1/2 pumps of the product in my palms, massage them together and start spreading it on my dry face. Make sure your face is dry so the oil won't emulsify right away! I massage my face in gentle motions, removing my eye makeup as my last step. If I'm wearing a ton of mascara I'll use an extra 1/2 pump to get rid of any traces of makeup. Then I'll rinse my hands and apply my wet palms on my face, letting the oil emulsify and finally rinse my face with lukewarm water. Clean and ready for second cleanse!

I'm enjoying this oil a lot, it's a true work-horse. Not the most elegant of cleansing oil experiences as Illi feels very light, there's no color and the mild scent is barely noticeable. I prefer thicker oils for a facial massage, but Illi doesn't drag or cause friction. It's cost-effective and does its job. In the demo pictures Illi removes easily my Rouge Bunny Rouge eye khol, Anastasia brow pencil, but leaves the finest finest trace of Kate's eyeliner. For me this is effective enough as I'll always perform a 2nd cleanse in the evenings.


Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG-8 Isostearate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Natto Gum, Dextrin Palmitate, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Butylene Glycol, Water, Fragrance

This cleanser has a couple of questionable ingredients, first of being mineral oil. Mineral oil is colorless and odorless oil, a popular ingredient in skincare. It's inexpensive, a by-product of distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. In cosmetics, mineral oil should be safe, stable, non-contaminated and non-toxic, but still many sites are full of scares of mineral oil. There has also been a lot of debate whether or not mineral oil is comedogenic aka clogs pores. To my knowledge, mineral oil isn't comedogenic - it just sits on the top of your skin without actually penetrating your skin or getting into the pores. Highly occlusive ingredients are good as they prevent water evaporation from the skin, but because of this nature it may still cause some people to break out. Mineral oil also has little other benefits to your skin: it doesn't provide any nutrients or antioxidants like other oils do.

I recommend patch testing if you are very sensitive to coconut derivative ingredients (Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride) or fragrance, although its very mild and at the bottom of the ingredients list. Coconut oil itself is listed as comedogenic, but its derivates are usually gentle emollients in skincare. If these raise a concern in you, I think there are plenty of alternatives in the market.

What makes the ingredients list special are the Korean medicinal ingredients: ginseng root extract, green tea leaf extract, camellia seed oil and natto. Ginseng is an "adaptogenic" herb, helping the body adapt in different environments and deal with stress. To my knowledge the amount of studies about ginseng in skincare are limited, but it's a popular ingredient in Asia to reduce the appearance of fine lines and brighten the skin. Effects of green tea are more widely known: its polyphenols are a great antioxidant with skin-soothing properties. Same can be said of camellia japonica aka camellia seed oil. And natto? Natto is fermented soy protein, surprisingly delicious (or disgusting, depending your taste). Natto is commonly eaten in Japan with breakfast and it looks like bean pieces in slimy, grey goo. But fermented ingredients show a potent as antioxidants in skincare, so I'm kind of excited of natto gum.

Personally I try to avoid mineral oil just because I think there are better, more nutrient-rich and natural ingredients. Same with pure coconut oil: I've been very prone to break outs in the past. With cleansers I'm not so fussy if they emulsify and don't need to be removed with a hot cloth. I haven't noticed any problem with Illi Cleansing Oil as it turns into a nice, milky emulsion when it contacts with water and rinses very clean, leaving the skin free of any oil residue, makeup, dirt and gunk. In my case this cleanser is perfectly safe to use, but if you know your skin doesn't agree with coconut derivates or mineral oil, proceed with caution or skip altogether.

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil Review Flatlay

Final thoughts

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing oil is a very pleasant, well-performing and fuss free cleansing oil. Personally I haven't had any trouble with the ingredients, but that being said - I'm dubious of the "Aging Care" name as all the herbal potency get washed down the drain within minutes. So, ignore the name altogether. I'm testing other cleansing oils, but I'm already planing to repurchase Illi sooner than later. While I'm very intrigued by herbal medicine in skincare, but above all I admire how effective and inexpensive this cleanser is. Hoping to try more from the brand soon, at least Illi's sheet masks are excellent!