If there is one Korean skin-care brand I can highly recommend, it's Keep Cool. A fairly new company — it was only founded in 2015 — Keep Cool's product line features a wide range of items that are simple yet effective. Characterized by its understated packaging, which is inspired by Northern European design per the brand, Keep Cool prides itself in using natural, cruelty-free ingredients.
It was by total accident that I received a bottle of Keep Cool's Soothe Bamboo Toner last winter. (I had ordered another, similar product but had the toner sent to me instead. At least I got to keep it at no extra cost!) However, to paraphrase legendary TV painter Bob Ross, there are no mistakes in the universe — only happy little accidents. Well, this "happy little accident" has turned into a toner I use religiously as part of my skin-care routine every day.
If I had to describe Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner in three words, I'd go with soothing (obviously), hydrating, and pleasant. But of course, I do have a word count to consider, so I'll elaborate on why this toner is one of the best Korean skin-care products you don't know about.
It's called Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner for good reason. The base for this formula is 85% bamboo water. So what makes that more special than regular H2O? Not only can bamboo water provide deep hydration, it also contains antioxidants to protect skin from damage-causing free radicals.
Other key ingredients include Phyto Green Shower Complex, which is a fancy-sounding term that refers to a blend of bamboo, cyprus, pine, and thuja. Combined, these ingredients soothe skin while alleviating redness and irritation.
Keep Cool's toner also features hyaluronic acid. This ingredient may be familiar to you as it's become a staple in a wide variety of skin-care products. As Paula's Choice explains, hyaluronic acid can attract and hold 1000 times its weight in moisture, making it especially useful for anyone with dry or dehydrated skin.
What you won't find in the Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner are any artificial dyes or fragrances.
After cleansing, simply use your hands or a cotton square to distribute onto your face, then pat (don't wipe!) until dry. If you're a fan of DIY masks, douse a few cotton squares with toner and place them on areas of your face that need the most TLC for about 10 minutes.
Before I was introduced to Korean skin care, toners were those harsh formulas I splashed on my skin when I was super oily and acne prone. (I have combination skin, though the scales tip toward oily in warmer weather — especially my T-zone.) Once I realized that toners didn't have to feel like my face was melting off, I've relied on the right ones to calibrate my skin while leaving it supple.
The Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner has a pH level of 5.5. Formulas with a high pH (anything beyond the neutral of 7) can damage skin's moisture barrier, leading to a multitude of problems such as dehydration and acne-causing bacteria. According to Paula's Choice, a low pH formula is much closer to the ideal required for healthy, balanced skin.
And of course, star ingredients such as bamboo water and hyaluronic acid help skin draw in and retain moisture while the Phyto Green Shower soothes and protects. These are especially important properties for a reliable skin-care product to have as we approach a hot and humid late summer.
As I mentioned at the start of this piece, the Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner is simple yet effective. It gets the job done without being too showy. It can be very easy to succumb to ultra-flashy packaging in the world of Korean skin care. Trust me, I've been there. But what good is the flash without the results to back it up? That's not a concern when it comes to this toner.
I'm someone who has struggled with dehydrated, problematic skin in the past. A perfect storm of factors — some beyond my control — had made it difficult for me to effectively address those issues. Introducing my accidental bottle of Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner has helped reduce a lot of those problems over the last year. My skin has not only been more hydrated and supple, but I've also been dealing with much fewer breakouts.
In terms of K-beauty, the price for Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner is considered rather affordable. However, relative to drugstore toners, you're shelling out a handsome sum of cash for a 12-ounce bottle ($30). But take it from me — it will last you months, so it's well worth the investment.
This lightweight toner is very easy to layer on for added benefits. (You can Google "7-skin method" to learn more about this.) Depending on how dry your skin gets in the colder months, it may not be enough on its own; however, it could act as a serviceable supplement to heavier, creamier formulas.
But overall? The Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner is one of the best Korean beauty products I've stumbled upon. It's a no-frills way to keep skin hydrated, soothed, and protected from environmental irritants. Plus, it's such a gentle formula that anyone with sensitive skin may want to give it a glance as well.
Consider this your invitation to check out a lesser-known Korean skin-care brand that isn't any less deserving of accolades. Your skin will thank you for it.
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