How do you feel about the concept of “skip care?” The concept is rooted in the idea that you don’t have to put all those products on your face to achieve results; rather just use a few, powerful and well-formulated products and you’ll get the same results.
Now, I’m an avid 10 stepper, so skip care sounds nice, but for me, less steps has never really worked well. However, I’m open to the idea.
Which is why when I saw the new Cosrx Light Fit Real Water Toner to Cream I knew it was something I needed to try! I mean, toning is my favorite step so how could I go wrong!
My initial excitement over the product definitely led to some questions, even before receiving the product. Questions like, what is it, how will I use it and what the heck is a toner that turns into a cream?
Thus began my quest to understand the Cosrx Toner to Cream!
*Full disclosure, this product was obtained with store credit provided by Jolse for purposes of review.
What is a Toner to Cream?
Cosrx Light Fit Real Water Toner to Cream is a product that claims to be a multifunction skincare product that can be used as your toner step OR your cream step. This claims to deeply hydrate, nourish, moisturize and brighten the skin, all while saving you time and skincare dollars.
So that all sounds good, but I’m thinking, what the heck does a toner cream look like? It’s in a tall, toner-type bottle so I’m thinking it comes out watery… turns to cream… how in the world…?
My skincare senses were getting excited to find out what the heck this texture was going to be!
It comes out like a gel-cream! (cream to toner to cream?) I was surprised to see the thick texture; I guess I just really was expecting it to be a toner first.
But then … but then it turns watery! As you spread this across your face it will turn into water! What!?!? Amazing! This feels super watery and cooling on the skin and it quickly dries down to a cream finish. Mind blown.
This doesn’t have any kind of rich, oily or greasy finish to it; it’s a very dry and very light finish.
The ingredients list isn’t long here, and to be honest I’m not seeing a ton of the super exciting extracts and ingredients you can often find in K-beauty lists. This one is very much utilitarian, but there are some standouts here:
Water, Sea Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Niacinamide, Hippophae Rhamnoides Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil
Sea Water from Gangwon-do: So how is this different from regular water, you might be wondering. Salty? Sea water is actually jam-packed full of skin beneficial minerals and can actually help fight the acne bacteria. The real exciting benefit about sea water is the fact that it can actually help the skin retain more moisture.
Hippophae Rhamanoids Extract: Also known as sea buckthorn fruit. This one is popping up a lot in K-beauty products recently, and that’s due to its excellent content of vitamin C and antioxidants! Sea buckthorn fruit is high in vitamins C, E and K and it’s considered one of the best plant sources of vitamin C.
Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, it’s well known for its ability to brighten an uneven skin tone and can even help the appearance of enlarged pores. But it’s also been proven to help boost the benefits of your moisturizer! Niacinamide can actually help your skin fight moisture loss!
FYI: There are 3 silicones in this formula (more on this in a bit) and bergamot oil used for fragrance.
I was excited for this product, it intrigued me and I’ve pretty much been impressed with all the Cosrx products I’ve tried so far.
But I didn’t like this product. At all.
And it came down to two big reasons why:
#1 Where does this go in my routine? One of my first frustrations as soon as I started using this was where in my routine should I place it.
Using this as a toner first was not successful. I felt that while this was a very watery *feeling* on my skin, it just did not deeply hydrate my skin at all. I was not impressed with its ability to hydrate my dehydrated skin.
So I started to use it as my cream step and it just didn’t really moisturize my skin enough! This definitely could not be used as a final layer and instead I had to layer another moisturizer over it. This left me feeling like the product really didn’t add anything to my routine.
#2 This messed with my other skincare layers. I started to notice this especially when using this as a toning step. When I layer on other serums over this Toner to Cream, I felt like it wasn’t absorbing into my skin properly which ended up making my skin feel drier and more dehydrated than before!
This was especially concerning to me, because if your skincare layers aren’t absorbing properly, it means that they aren’t working effectively for your skin.
This made me think about the silicones in the ingredients. Silicones serve a lot of different purposes in skincare, from spreadability to skin moisturizing and conditioning. One of the best known uses of silicones is as an occlusive. Occlusives create a barrier on the skin that helps hug all the moisture to your face and keep it comfortable throughout the day. As an ingredient that can create a barrier, it means that things placed on top of it have a hard time penetrating that barrier.
The silicones make sense, especially with the very unique texture of the Toner to Cream but ultimately, I think their use actually lets this product down in a big way.
But what about minimal routines?
You may be asking this question right now and I asked myself the same.
This product is clearly not going to serve a multi-step routine, especially with the layering issue. So what if you are a 3-step person, how would the Toner to Cream fare?
Don’t worry, I got your back. I was wondering the same thing, but not able to risk the intense dehydration a 3-step routine would cause my finicky skin. So in the name of a complete review I handed this over to my mom for testing!
My mom follows a simple 3-5 step routine and has normal skin with occasional dryness. She first started to use this after cleansing and before moisturizer in her morning routines. She reported early on that she liked this as a toner, especially because it dried down quicker than her other toner step this replaced, thus saving her time. However, after about two weeks she told me she noticed that her skin felt a lot more dry early in the day since switching to this Toner to Cream.
Some nights she used this with a serum layer on top. She reported that her face felt sticky after applying the serum and she felt that it wasn’t absorbing well into her skin. After a few weeks she reported that it felt like her serum (that she’s been using for years) no longer seemed to be working like it used to.
She also reported that this did not give her skin any noticeable brightness.
The Final Word:
I really like the concept of this product and I find the texture to be totally cool. But as a functioning skincare product, this just really misses the mark. A lot of style and not a lot of substance.
Cosrx Light Fit Real Water Toner to Cream retails for $22 for 130ml
*Indicates use of affiliate links that pay a small commission that help run this blog
Full disclosure, this product was obtained with store credit provided by Jolse for purposes of review