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This article contains affiliate links* The Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus is just the right remedy for parched winter skin, so it’s time for my review of this intensely hydrating K-beauty treasure from one of my favourite Asian skincare brands!
I swear it’s a coincidence that I’ve recently been almost only been reviewing K-beauty toners on the blog! Hey, what can I do when so many of them have been both blowing me away and also been super popular in the skincare community? There has just been so many great toner launches from Korea lately, how could I not tell you about as many of them as possible to help you choose the right one for your skin? And, see, the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Plus Toner is such a special treasure – especially in this dreary, skin-destroying winter weather – that I absolutely have to review it here on the blog!
I don’t know how Isntree keeps doing it, but this still relatively new K-beauty brand has consistently been blowing me away with its well-formulated, delightfully effective, straight to the point minimalist products. Their hyaluronic acid product range in particular has been a true love of mine since I tried a few of the products as samples after visiting the Beauty trade expo in Düsseldorf, Germany, last year. Be it their jelly-textured Hyaluronic Acid Water Sleeping Pack*, the wonderfully simplistic Hyaluronic Acid Moist Cream* or the Hyaluronic Acid Water Essence* (still high on my wish list).
Isntree reformulated their most popular product, the Hyaluronic Acid Toner, in mid 2019, and brought out the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus as a new addition to their HA range. The moment I saw the dark blue toner bottle on their Instagram account, I got heart eyes. I really liked their “og” Hyaluronic Acid Toner, and to hear that this newer “plus” version had an even more hydrating formula of course made me covet it instantaneously. So, let’s learn a bit more about what makes this a great toner!
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus – the Basics
The Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus is meant to be a sort of hybrid between a hydrating toner and an ampoule. Isntree in fact markets this mostly as an ampoule style treatment. So, the “plus” in the name basically hints at this being “more than” just a hydrating toner. With its 5 types of hyaluronic acid (the “basic” HA toner in the transparent bottle has 3), this certainly promises to be a rich and plumping product, though if you want the most extreme, intense hydration level, the Hyaluronic Acid Water Essence with 8 types of HA would be the one to choose.
Isntree describes the Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus as a “moisture boosting toner” with a “dense moisture ampoule texture.” Apart from the 5 types of hyaluronic acid – of low, middle and high molecular weight – it also boasts a number of plant extracts that are especially beneficial for sensitive, inflamed skin.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus:
“Water, Propanediol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trehalose, Sodium PCA, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Althaea Rosea Root Extract, Betula Alba Juice, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Beta-Glucan, Betaine, Panthenol, Cellulose Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Scutellaria Baicalensis Extract.”
Look at that gorgeous ingredient list! As with most Isntree products, the formulation is kept free from any known problem ingredients: no alcohol/ethanol, no fragrance, no essential oils. As for the rest of the list, it is packed full with lovely humectants (“water-grabbing” ingredients) such as beta glucan and glycerin, hydrating birch and aloe vera leaf juice, and popular K-beauty ingredient stars such as skin-brightening licorice root extract, soothing green tea and chamomile extract, and my forever favourite – centella asiatica extract. Also worth a mention: “polygonum cupsidatum root extract” (Japanese knotweed), a great source of resveratrol, said to help smoothen wrinkles and protect against polluaging.
Not too shabby, huh? Ok, let’s see how this promising-sounding formula performed on my skin!
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus – How I Got on with the Product
I’ve tried a number of richer hyaluronic acid toners (or “lotions” in Japanese beauty): from the wonderful, but sometimes a bit too intense for me Hada Labo Premium Lotion* to the, sadly, for me whitehead-causing iUNIK Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner, these thicker textured hydrators are always a bit tedious to apply, since they tend to take a while to sink into the skin. They can also be quite sticky, which I’m ok with for my PM routine, but find difficult for a morning routine that also involves sunscreen and makeup application.
In comparison, the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus has a surprisingly lightweight texture that feels far less viscous than I expected. How Isntree manages this feat without adding any alcohol (which can help lessen the thick feeling and make products sink into skin faster) is beyond me, but this is probably the first truly rich hydration toner that I had zero feelings of stickiness or tackiness from when applying it.
The texture is nevertheless noticeably thicker than a watery toner and feels surprisingly cooling on the skin. It sinks in ultra fast and with less of a shiny, “slick” finish than most hyaluronic acid products that I’ve tried, another surprise, a pleasant one given my quickly oily-looking skin. My face is left looking softly glowing and noticeably smoother.
The Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus has no discernible scent at all, not even a chemical smell like many of the unfragranced toners I’ve tried. You also only need a small amount, as it spreads out well – I would use your palms to apply this and not use a cotton pad.
I would say this toner feels a tad less moisturising than the Hada Labo Premium Lotion, but also seems to sink in deeper and penetrate more thoroughly into the skin’s layers, drawing in moisture to cause a plumping effect. I so often get the feeling that multi hyaluronic acid toners rather sit on the skin, which can be useful as a form of protection from dehydration caused by humidity or very dry winter air, but doesn’t always help combat especially age-related dehydration and loss of firmness. With the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus, I really feel that the skin receives a long-lasting and very effective boost of hydration, and all without causing any breakouts for me despite the richer formula.
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus – the Bottom Line
There isn’t much to add to my clearly very positive experiences with the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus. This is another winner from what has been pretty much my favourite Korean skincare brand of 2019. I wouldn’t say that this works exactly like an ampoule or even a toner-ampoule mix, and it could be not quite rich enough for very dry skin types, but especially ageing combo skin like mine will enjoy this greatly. It is deeply, deeply hydrating without feeling sticky, tacky or too heavy, and the hydrating effect seems to last long-term, making skin feel and look more bouncy, smooth and plump.
I can also tell that the added plant extracts have a soothing effect on my redness-prone skin, and I think this would be a great toner choice for sensitive skin types (but do check for personal intolerances of course). Isntree is wise to leave out fragrance and alcohol from pretty much all their products, and I can wholeheartedly recommend the entire hyaluronic acid product range. I must say though that I don’t really see as much of a need for the other HA toner anymore, since the plus version reviewed here is so very good indeed. Maybe if you have very oily skin, the even lighter original HA toner could work better, but otherwise I would recommend for you to try out the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus over the “simple” version in the transparent bottle.
If you are interested in purchasing this K-beauty gem, I got my Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner Plus as a souvenir directly from Korea, but it is now also available online at Yesstyle* (for currently around 20$), at Jolse* (prices fluctuate between 24 and 15$) or at Stylekorean* (for currently 19$).
So, let me know in the comments: What’s your current go to winter toner for an extra dose of hydration? Have you tried any Isntree products yet?
Take care guys!
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