I wanted to pick up this Wonder Pore Freshner since I was running low on the toner I was using when I was in Seoul and had heard about how popular this was. I really liked the look of the whole Wonder Pore line when I visited Etude House but ultimately went for just the toner because I don’t really need a whole heap of pore care products.
Firstly, you’ll notice yes it is spelt incorrectly and should be freshener not freshner but I can forgive that because I like that Korean brands are trying to cater to the foreign market and I find mistakes on Korean packaging to be quite endearing.
This is basically an ‘ultra pore solution’ toner that claims to have a 10 in 1 function:
- Balance skin’s ideal pH level
- Refines skin tones
- Keep the elasticity of pores
- Removes skin surface’s dead skin cells
- Cleanse pore insides with cooling effect
- Deep cleanse pores
- Minimize appearance of pores
- Control a large amount of sebum
- Moisturize inside and outside of skin
- Complete smooth glass-like texture
The back of the packaging states:
This is a total solution product that effectively cleans the inside and outside of pores with its special peppermint extract. This Freshner balances pH levels, making skin pure like baby skin and preventing skin troubles caused by pH imbalance.
This comes in both a 250ml and a 500ml version. I bought the latter for 15,000 won (£8.50/$13) because it was better value for the quantity you get and also came with a box of 50 daily cotton pads to use with it.
Etude says of the cotton pads:
The thickness of cotton pad helps contents absorb effectively into skin and helps balance moisture and oil levels. The holes on the cotton pad’s surface clean off dead skin cells and sebum to complete perfectly clear pores.
What may initially be off-putting is the high alcohol content of this toner as it appears 2nd on the list and can cause dryness or sensitivity to skin for some people. Mentha arvensis extract is the peppermint extract that Etude says works on the pores but it is also a potential irritant trigger. There are however, antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as vaccinium myrtillus fruit/leaf extract aka bilberry, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, lemon and orange extract for healthy glowing skin and sugar cane extract (source of glycolic acid which is an AHA) to combat acne and blackheads. It also includes sodium hyaluronate aka hyaluronic acid which attracts and maintains water within the skin.
For me personally, my toner needs to have the basic functions. Not dry out my skin, remove the excess dirt and makeup that my double cleansing may have missed, lower my skin’s pH back to its normal level and prep my skin for the rest of the skincare that it needs to absorb. Therefore I’m happy with the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner. Anything else it may do, is a bonus.
I use this twice a day morning and night after I have washed my face with a foam cleanser. I apply 1 and a half pumps to a cotton pad and wipe my face. I then let it sink in and proceed with the rest of my skincare. Although some people choose to use first essences before their toner, I apply it after this. My foam cleanser has a higher pH than my skin so I need this toner to lower it back to normal again and also wipe off the remaining dirt before I apply first essences so my skin is at the optimal condition for receiving other treatments.
I have normal to oily skin so this Wonder Pore Freshner works well on my skin type. Despite having a high alcohol content and having a strong alcohol smell (it’s very similar to a nail polish remover scent), it does not make my skin dry out. It cleans my face enough to remove excess sebum and leftover makeup residue (if I’ve missed a spot with my cleansing), and while my face feels refreshed and tightened it’s not to the extent of being taut and dry.
It is a clear liquid, the same viscosity as water and absorbs into the skin quickly. I can’t say it’s had an effect on my pores either but they aren’t much of a problem to begin with. I don’t have acne but the occasional spot I get, it hasn’t been irritated by this which is a plus.
I wouldn’t agree to its claim that it moisturises skin inside and out because whatever sodium hyaluronate and other hydrating ingredients it has, are either too minimal to have an effect or are counteracted by the high alcohol content. After it’s been absorbed my face just feels and looks like I’ve just washed it and nothing has been applied. I don’t see the benefits of its claim to refine skin tone and provide a smooth texture. I don’t need it to be highly moisturising though because that’s the purpose of my other skincare steps to add hydration.
In my opinion, this toner is ok. Not great, not special but not awful either. It does it’s job for me and nothing more. If you looked at the 10 in 1 claims and were expecting it to have all those benefits on your skin and particularly your pores, then you’d probably be disappointed. For me it met about 5 out of 10 of it’s claims. I’d say exfoliating does a better job on pores and blackheads and I wouldn’t rely on this alone for pore problems.