Brand Spotlight Megapost: Tosowoong, with First Impression Reviews!

So it looks like I won’t be getting much sleep tonight. Sucks for Near Future Me, but guess what? The peace and quiet (and the foreboding drone of Forensic Files in the background) provide the perfect conditions for me to finally open up and share my feelings about my new favorite brand, Tosowoong, and some of the really impressive Tosowoong products I’ve added to my routine.

About Tosowoong

My absolute favorite aspect of the K-beauty lifestyle is the process of discovery. It feels amazing to stumble across a little-known, little-hyped brand and find gem after gem after gem to love. It feels even more amazing when that brand’s gems can be had for very reasonable prices. Affordable products means more products for me!

I’m currently on a quest to hunt down the Tosowoong equivalent of COSRX’s wonderful Lee Hye Young. Even though I haven’t yet found someone to give me real color about the brand, however, I’ve picked up some information about the brand here and there during my endless romps through Tosowoong’s product portfolio.

Launched in 2004, Tosowoong is a Korean cosmetics brand that emphasizes proven, KFDA-certified “functional” ingredients (like niacinamide and adenosine) in relatively simple formulations. They offer a broad selection of products, ranging from standard skincare items like cleansers, toners, essences, serums, moisturizers, and masks to cleansing tools and accessories. Tosowoong also makes makeup. I’ve got a couple of eyeliners and an eyebrow “tattoo” pen on the way. But those aren’t here yet (sigh). Today’s post is all about the skincare!

Tosowoong’s packaging isn’t always the prettiest, and their product marketing materials can be a little strange and more than a little unnerving. None of that detracts from the brand even a bit in my eyes, because my skin absolutely adores their products.

Tosowoong product lineup

This month alone, I’ve gone from Low Tosowoong to All Dis Tosowoong.

I’ll tackle the products I have in the order in which I received them, more or less.

Tosowoong sheet masks

Much like Rick and Evie’s discovery of the mummified but all-too-undead Imhotep, my discovery of Tosowoong was entirely accidental. I was at the height of my propolis craze and searching Wishtrend for propolis sheet masks to round out an order of C21.5 vitamin C serum, which only Wishtrend is authorized to carry. The listing for 5+2 free (so, 7) Pure Propolis sheet masks caught my eye. Propolis extract, niacinamide, adenosine, and a full 23g of essence where most sheet masks only provide 20? Sold.

Tosowoong sheet masks

I haven’t tried the Pure Green Tea yet. It was a freebie with one of my many recent Tosowoong orders.

I got the Pure Propolis masks. I tried the Pure Propolis masks. I fell hard for the Pure Propolis masks. They’re everything a good sheet mask should be: intensely hydrating, intensely plumping, and calming enough to produce an instant brightening effect on skin. For some reason, they’re quite sloppily folded in the mask packets, but who cares? They’re great. I got through my first batch of 7 Pure Propolis masks in what seemed like no time at all, hauled another set, and, a few weeks later, picked up a pack of Pure Deep Sea Water as well.

If you’ve been following my transition from All Things Propolis to All Things from the Sea, then you’re probably not surprised that I’d spring for the Pure Deep Sea Water masks next. Their effects are similar to those of the Pure Propolis, but the Pure Deep Sea Water masks feel simultaneously lighter and more hydrating, making them almost the perfect sheet masks for summer. If Tosowoong would switch from their current sturdy mask sheets to thinner and clingier cotton or silk sheets, they’d be everything I dream about in my feverish sheet mask dreams.

I’m almost through with my first full ten-mask box of the Pure Deep Sea Water and have another set to go on the mail carrier’s truck this week. Of course I have more Pure Propolis on the way as well. Winner!

First Impressions: Tosowoong Propolis and Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essences

The next Tosowoong product I tried out was the Propolis Natural Pure Essence, followed shortly afterwards by their Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essence.

Summertime has given me a new appreciation for the gel-type essence. No matter what the weather’s like, my skin always craves hydration, and in the summertime, I vastly prefer that hydration to come in a light, watery, fast-absorbing form. Texturally, these essences deliver. They sink in within seconds of application and suffuse my skin cells with a refreshing burst of hydration and some really excellent ingredients, among them ferments, antioxidant-rich berry extracts, niacinamide, adenosine, and, of course, each essence’s featured ingredient.

Tosowoong essences

I’m running low on the Pure Propolis and have a Snail coming to replace it.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed about Tosowoong’s vast array of essences is how similar they are. It looks like they take a base essence (key ingredients include their antioxidant-packed “V-Berry Complex,” niacinamide, Rh-oligopeptide-1 a.k.a. EGF, sodium hyaluronate, and adenosine) and add the featured essence ingredient, with few other changes. And you know what? That works for me. My skin drinks these essences right up. I usually chose one for use in the morning–propolis if I’m in need of soothing or trouble care, syn-ake otherwise for general anti-aging–and layer both at night. While it’s still a little too early to determine whether they’ll have significant effects on my skin, it isn’t too early to declare that they’re a fantastically reliable source of hydration and antioxidants, two things I’m determined to pump into my face at every opportunity. Super.

First Impressions: Tosowoong Timeshift Serum and Timeshift Emulsion

After my incredible disappointment in Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule, I was on the hunt for a new anti-aging serum. You can probably see where this is going. I took a look at the ingredients for the Tosowoong Timeshift Serum and decided I had to try it out.

Tosowoong Timeshift Serum

Little bottle, big potential.

The Timeshift Serum reminds me strongly of the DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum: copious amounts of ferments, as well as seaweed extract, niacinamide (Tosowoong loves niacinamide, which I find endearing), adenosine (see previous), and antioxidant after antioxidant after antioxidant. Except the Timeshift Serum is cheaper and easier to acquire.

It was a good call. As with the essences, it’s still early days for me with the Timeshift Serum, but I’m already noticing some visible firming in certain areas of my face that have been the first to lose elasticity. The 30ml bottle of this doesn’t last long, so I’ve already got a backup on the way, and I’m definitely encouraged enough to keep using this instead of looking for another wrinkle fighter. Marvelous!

Tosowoong Timeshift Emulsion

This is the Khloe to the serun’s Kourtney. Please don’t hate me for making that reference.

As the weather got hotter, I got more and more interested in finding a really great emulsion. You know where this is going. I picked up the Timeshift Emulsion because I already liked the Timeshift Serum. So far, I’m very happy with my choice. The Timeshift Emulsion is perfect for normal summer days, when my skin needs a good dose of moisture but my sweat glands don’t appreciate a heavy layer of anything. It sinks in quickly and leaves my skin velvety soft–and, unlike the serum, there’s plenty of this product to go around. Splendid!

Tosowoong Don’t Worry Mist and Propolis Natural Pure Mist

Korean facial mists are another thing that this summer has taught me to appreciate. I don’t have too much to say about these mists besides that their price is right and they feel wonderful spritzed over my face on hot, dry days, but I do use them for different purposes.

Tosowoong Don't Worry facial mist

I love how friendly this mist is. “Don’t worry!” it tells me, when I worry. “Just mist!”

Tosowoong advertises the Don’t Worry Mist as a dust-cut product that creates a barrier between your skin and the elements, in particular the dust, dirt, and pollution that our faces face whenever we venture outside. These days, I spray this mist onto my BB cushion puffs to get some of that protection patted directly onto my skin. I also do a couple of spritzes right after I finish putting on makeup and, if I’m out for a particularly long stretch, take it with me to re-mist while on the go. It’s a little on the perfumey side, but the fragrance dissipates quickly, and the spray feels like turning the sprinklers on over a parched lawn. Awesome.

Tosowoong Propolis Natural Pure Mist

It looks a lot like the essence, and that’s because it is a lot like the essence. It’s basically the essence in spray form.

The Tosowoong Propolis Natural Pure Mist has a very distinctive yeasty, beer-y smell thanks to all the ferments it contains. I’m not the biggest fan of that smell, so this isn’t a mist that I’d carry around with me or enjoy spraying on myself all day. I am a big fan of the ingredients in this mist, however, so I use it during my skincare routines on days when I need lots of hydration but the weather prevents me from applying lots of heavy layers. I spray it on in between each step and, if I’m using a sheet mask, right before putting the sheet mask on, too. Dependable.

First Impressions: Tosowoong Super Aqua Cooling Gel

I’ve known for a while that the final missing piece of my final-step moisturizer collection would be a hydrating gel. I’ve got plenty of occlusive creams and I’m all set on emulsions, but there are days out here where the coastal air hangs so damp and heavy and warm that anything richer than a refreshing moisturizing gel would be unbearable.

Tosowoong Super Aqua Cooling Gel

It is super. It is aqua. And it is most definitely cooling.

God, just looking at the jar makes me feel a little cooler. This dense, smooth, clear blue gel with its sea water, glacier water, and seaweed extract goes on as light as silk and absorbs in a snap, leaving nothing behind but a faint tackiness that shows a film has been formed to hold all the hydration in. It plays wonderfully well with my sunscreen and makeup and it really does feel cool (probably because of the alcohol, but I’ve noticed no drying or other ill effects from the alcohol, so to my face I say, “Drink up!”). Applying this on a hot and muggy morning or evening is like dunking my face straight into a crystalline blue pool. Incredible!

First Impressions: Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash

And finally, we come to the most recent and most interesting addition to my now Tosowoong-heavy routine: the Enzyme Powder Wash.

I’ve never paid that much attention to enzyme cleansers before. I’ve been satisfied with my staid but mild and effective Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam for ages. But Snow White and the Asian Pear’s recent review of Su:m37 White Award Enzyme Powder Wash got me really intrigued by the powder wash concept. When I noticed that Tosowoong makes a version and that that version has a pH of the ideal 5.5, I snapped it right up.

Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash

Seriously, this stuff is really something. Even Domo thinks so.

This cleanser is friggin’ cool. Inside that bottle you’ll find a coarse white powder, the grains and fragrance reminiscent of powdered laundry detergent (if that weirds you out, just remember: pH 5.5). Pour a bit into your hand, add water, and rub your hands together as you would with any foaming cleanser, and you’ll create a nice soft lather. Use a bit less water for an instant exfoliating facial cleanse. Sprinkle some onto a wet konjac sponge and squish the sponge a few times, and a mountain of foam will emerge.

This cleanser is a fantastic cleanser. It gets my skin feeling softer and cleaner than the Hada Labo, but is equally as mild. Even when I don’t put any products on my face right after cleansing, my skin doesn’t feel at all dry, tight, or stripped. Its gentle enzyme exfoliating action has been enough to uncover and dislodge a whole mess of grits already. As a final bonus, the fact that it’s a dry product means the Enzyme Powder Wash is ideal for traveling. No need to decant and Baggie this one, and now I’ve got room to bring a bit more skincare than the TSA would otherwise allow. Fuggin’ RAD.

In conclusion, my experiences so far have shown me that Tosowoong products are extremely compatible with both my skin and my wallet. I haven’t met a Tosowoong product I don’t like and I’m excited to continue getting to know the brand.

As far as I can tell, the online store with the best selection and prices for Tosowoong products is RoseRoseShop. Check those prices out and tell me you’re not impressed.

Have you used any Tosowoong skincare products?

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41 responses to “Brand Spotlight Megapost: Tosowoong, with First Impression Reviews!

  1. I love The Mummy reference! A total guilty pleasure movie – it’s a relaxing re-watch every time! I’ve been on a search for better performing face masks, so I’m going to give these a try along with the Khloe. Uh, I mean the Timeshift Emulsion…your write up is great, and comprehensive, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry you can’t sleep 😦 , but yay for awesome reviews of awesome products!

    I have the serum, an assortment of masks, and silk face powder on my way from WishTrend (I had to use WT instead of RRS as I needed to order more Klairs masks, which are lifesavers for my skin when it’s irritated). After reading your review, I can’t wait! I’m really excited for the face powder, as the stuff I’m currently using (Laura Mercier translucent matte powder) is not doing the job anymore. I’m also unimpressed by the Missha ampoule; I’ve used it faithfully now since December, and I’m just not seeing any results.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, I’m interested to hear about the silk face powder when you get it! I’m really stoked for the Tattoo Eyebrow thing, as I’m tired of my current brow routine (kind of high effort even on casual days). But definitely look elsewhere besides Wishtrend next time…I was looking at their prices and like, holy crap. Ridic.

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      • Sure, I’ll update on the powder once I use it. I almost ordered from RRS, but like I said, I needed some Klairs, so my big haul came from Wishtrend. I’ll try RRS next time, or maybe even venture into the Tosowoong eBay shop if I am brave enough. (Never bought from eBay before.)

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  3. You’ve been talking a lot about Tosowoong lately, so I really enjoyed this spotlight! I have the Syn Ake essence on the way, but now I wish I picked up the Propolis as well. I’ve added it to my ever growing wish-list along with the enzyme powder wash. Man, just when I thought I was good with Hada Labo cleansing foam!

    Also, Forensic Files FTW! Despite what the show is about, I love it and the Peter Thomas’ voice is strangely soothing to me. I’ve fallen asleep to that show a few times with a sheet mask on…which inevitably freaks out my poor husband. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • “His body was found rigid on the floor in a position that suggested extreme distress. When interviewed, the victim’s wife claimed that there had been nothing unusual that night. She had fallen asleep with a sheet mask on in the living room.”

      I get so paranoid when I watch too much of that show or The First 48, though. Or any crime show, really. Bad things can happen to anyone at any time 😦

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  4. I just recently got my first Tosowoong product: their Dr Troubex lotion which I’m really liking so far. I have the pure propolis masks on the way and I’m super hyped to try them out. I got both for a great price on their Ebay which is a bonus!

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  5. Hi! I ordered the Tosowoong Propolis Natural Pure Mist from the Tosowoong account on eBay. I also received samples with the mist. My Propolis Mist has a date stamp that indicates: 11/10/2014 while a sample of Dr. Troubex Sparkling Toner is stamped 10/04/16. I understand that Korean companies use manufacturing dates, however since one item has a future date and one has a past date, I am concerned. Do you know if they use manufacturing date or expiration date?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for introducing me to a new brand, especially one that seems to be reasonably priced! Can you please kindly link their ebay store here?

    How long do you expect that 70g powder wash to last? Snow White and the Asian Pear said she is able to get 3 uses out of each 1.5g packet from the Su:m37 powder wash. Would you say you use about the same amount (approx. 0.5g/usage, making the 70g last around 140 uses)?

    Many thanks in advance!

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  7. I might be easily influenced (heck, let’s say it, I AM easily influenced), but I am totally craving for some Tosowoong products now. I’ve never tried them before but all the reviews are so good I might just get some goodies!
    A small observation/wondering though: I had a look at the ingredients of the Enzyme Powder wash, and it doesn’t seem that good (starch, SLS, alcohol denat.), and so I am quite puzzled because you mentioned it’s mild and doesn’t make your face feel dry or tight. What gives? I am genuinely curious, not trying to challenge you or anything, because I’m not exactly a skincare expert (yet! haha) but I always thought SLS was a harsh detergent, and alcohol is only acceptable if there are enough moisturizing agents to compensate the dryness. Oh and starch is nothing bad as far as I’m concerned, just a ‘meh’ thing I guess.

    P.S. I just went ahead and ordered a bunch of Tosowoong sheet masks and the propolis essence. Oops.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have tried a lot of tosowoong, and as you are, I am pretty impressed. Those days, I especially like the propolis sparkle ampoule. It has a very watery texture that my skin drinks right up. And the bootle is so big, and makes the skin bright as only propolis can. A bargain.

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  9. Oh I’m so happy you liked the enzyme wash! 😀 RRS really has some good deals, I’ve been oogling their makeover unhealthily LOL…ugh, so happy for when September comes so I can try some of their things out. xD

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  10. So glad to have read this review! I am new to K-beauty; I am in the process of learning and experimenting, and I am hoping that eventually, I will be able to build a completely new beauty routine. Right before discovering a the awesomely cheap and generous samples on RRS (yes, I am *that* new,) I randomly ordered the Bee Venom Essence because 1. it sounded great and something wholly new to me, 2. my skin is an oil field in the summer, and I was looking for something light for daytime use, and 3. I was stung by a bee when I was a kid, and I wasn’t allergic to it (not saying it was a good experience, though.) Then I had buyer’s remorse, especially because there isn’t exactly a plethora of reviews online, and I know absolutely nothing about the brand. Now I feel much better, and I am back to being excited (and really impatient) for my order to arrive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • They make good stuff! I’d love to hear about the Bee Venom Essence once you’ve used it for a while, as I was waffling between that and the Snail (which I eventually chose, mostly because I miss snails).

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      • It definitely feels tacky; tacky enough where I don’t think I will be able to wear it during the day (I have oily skin,) especially not in the summer. That’s just a first impression. Got here within a week, though, and I received some samples, so that’s good.

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  11. Horray!I’ve also been really disappointed with the much tooted Mishha essence. Ive been on the hunt for some much needed preventive products. I’ll give Tosowoong a go!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve tried quite a few Tosowoong products after getting a few in various Memeboxes last year. I loved the Timeshift emulsion! Every other emulsion and lotion gets compared to it and I can’t wait until I make my way through my stockpile of products so I can justify rebuying it. It was light enough that it could be easily layered with other products but just heavy enough that it wasn’t just another serum. It also worked with both my day and night occlusives. I’m currently using the Tosowoong Syn-ake lotion. It’s too soon to say if it’s stands up to its claims, but it’s seems like a pretty good lotion. A little thicker than I’d like to use during hot, humid days but it does absorb very quickly.

    I have mixed thoughts on the Aqua cooling gel. I find it leaves a very tacky feel right after it is applied and it does take awhile to absorb, but once it does absorb I absolutely love how my skin feels. It is probably one of the most moisturizing products I have used. Maybe I should try reducing the amount I apply and see if the tackiness subsides. I always tend to over apply gels.

    Oh, and yeah the masks are amazing. I may have collected them all. Well, except the rice one. No one has time for making their own masks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get the tacky feeling as well, especially at night when I use it as an occlusive step. One thing I’ve found that helps is to really thoroughly pat it in–that seems to cut the majority of the tackiness out without losing anyof that wonderful hydration!

      I am also not even a little bit interested in the rice mask, hahaha.

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  13. Amazing review as always! It’s like I’ve been on another planet…Tosowoong has not been on my radar but now I have added some items to my wishlist. The cleanser really intrigues me, especially sine you feel it cleans better than the Hada Lobo. The HL didn’t deep my skin well enough and I was getting clogged pores 😦 What would you recommend for someone with acne prone skin that is sensitive and easily irritated??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm, the only “sensitive” wash I can think of is Hada Labo ES. I’ve heard some reports that it’s actually more stripping than the regular Hada Labo, however, and I haven’t yet opened mine to find out :/

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  14. what is the difference of the tosowoong ap therapy serum and emulsion? is there a difference in the consistency? i looked up the ingrediants on wishtrend and they are identical (with the order too).
    thank you in advance

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love reading this blog, and have been mildly obsessing over a Tosowoong haul now for a few weeks since reading this post. I keep reading conflicting reviews on RRS shop on the Asian Beauty sub. I want to place a pretty big haul but nervous about them messing up my order or being walloped by custom fees. What was your experience shopping with them? Thanks again for your awesome posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mm, I like RRS okay, but I will say that they have messed up my orders two or three times that I can remember (putting in the wrong item). A friend of mine has had quite a few issues with them not having something she ordered in stock but making sure she couldn’t cancel the whole order by shipping out the rest before they notified her that the one thing (usually what she really wanted) isn’t included.

      They have good prices, but those often even out when you get to the shipping step. I generally prefer buying from Jolse when I have to make a haul directly from Korea, as I’ve never had any issues whatsoever with them. Wishtrend is okay as well for niche brands, but they tend to be pricier.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. It was so funny how you like honey and kelp products too! I always have phases where I get super into one type of beauty ingredient. I love themed products from the ocean because it makes me feel like I’m a mermaid or something grabbing some kelp floating by. haha. Either way this brand sounds interesting and seems more affordable than some other brands I’ll try to get my hands on Deep Sea mask. Thanks for the brand introduction!

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  17. hi fiddy, i’m also disappointed with my missha serum. i wonder how do you compared the tosowoong time shift serum with your favourite banila.co miss flower & mr.honey essence oil? i’m looking for a substitute as well…

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