Phytoncides might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you hear the term “plant-based beauty,” but these antibacterial compounds are some of the most beneficial skin care ingredients around. Released by plants (in particular coniferous trees) to protect them from external aggressors, phytoncides are known to boost the immune system. When infused in skin care products, this active ingredient helps tamp down inflammation, fortify the skin barrier and promote skin cell regeneration. In short, indulging in products with phytoncides is the skin care equivalent of a forest bathing session.
While I’ve always placed my trust in tried-and-true K-Beauty ingredients like cica and heartleaf, lately I’ve been craving something extra for my sensitive skin, which keeps cycling through bouts of irritation. I’m looking for ingredients that go beyond hydration and soothing care to offer significant skin-strengthening benefits. Phytoncides, which amp up skin resilience, appear to be the answer. When the opportunity came up to sample the Phytoncide line from KLAVUU, one of K-Beauty’s most popular brands, I found it hard to resist.
Powerful yet gentle, KLAVUU’s Phytoncide Mild Cleansing Foam, Quick Cleansing Pad and Peeling Gel are formulated with phytoncides derived from Jeju-sourced cypress leaf water. This trio of products specializing in freshening, detoxifying and fortifying skin is an exciting addition to KLAVUU’s range of vegan-friendly formulas covering everything from lip care to sun care. What’s more, the clean yet peppy product packaging of the Phytoncide line is a winner.
How did my complexion fare after two weeks of using the Mild Cleansing Foam, Quick Cleansing Pad and Peeling Gel? Given my positive experiences with KLAVUU in the past, I’m anticipating calmer, clearer and more settled skin – at the very least. Read on for all the deets!
In a nutshell: A foam cleanser with a gentle touch, this bestseller from the Phytoncide line provides a thorough cleanse. Hero ingredient phytoncide soothes skin while fending off external aggressors and combating inflammation. Naturally derived adenosine smooths skin, while heartleaf extract and rice ferment filtrate boost hydration levels. The pH-balanced formula is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
My take: Coming in a lightweight texture with a slightly translucent sheen, this cleanser is a solid product with significant skin-calming properties. I didn’t take to it immediately, partially because the cleanser didn’t foam up significantly when I massaged it onto my skin. However, it did the job perfectly in providing a deep and gentle cleanse. Additionally, the formula didn’t strip my skin of moisture. My face felt suppler and looked more settled by the end of the two-week trial, as well as being less red. While the cleanser may not have done the heavy lifting when it comes to these skin improvements, it definitely contributed in positive ways.
In a nutshell: Infused with three kinds of hyaluronic acid of varying molecular weights, this cleansing pad is a skin care multi-tasker that can tone, cleanse and hydrate all at once. What’s more, it comes with skin-strengthening benefits courtesy of its star ingredient: phytoncide derived from cypress leaf water. Formulated for use after your usual cleanse, the pad is embossed on one side to remove impurities and smooth on the other to moisturize and soothe skin.
My take: I had initial doubts about this product as I was reluctant to add another step to my cleansing ritual, which already included cleansing gel or foam on top of cleansing oil and makeup remover. But after trying the pads, I fell in love with them right away! Not only did they remove every last bit of grime from my face, they were a pleasure to use. I took to wiping pads over my face both day and night for instant refreshment – and of course, for the extra hydrating touch.
In terms of hydrating powers, these pads don’t disappoint. The essence absorbed quickly into my skin, leaving a soft, plumped-up look that faded only after an hour or so. Even though I experienced a slight stinging sensation upon application – which dissipated in less than ten seconds – I wasn’t too bothered about this initial reaction. Given how raw and tender my skin felt at the beginning of the trial, I believe even the gentlest formulas would have caused slight aggravation on my skin. In any case, the sensation occurred less and less frequently as I slowly ramped up usage during the two-week trial. In fact, regular use brought about calmer and even stronger skin.
In a nutshell: Formulated with BHA and LHA for gentle exfoliation, this peeling gel is a must-have for removing dead skin cells and impurities for a brighter and smoother finish. It’s enriched with star ingredient phytoncide for skin-strengthening and soothing properties. The formula is free of parabens, mineral oils and silicon.
My take: I’d never used peeling gels before. My only previous experience with exfoliating acids were peeling pads infused with AHAs, which gave me a temporary glow-up but also caused some irritation. That’s why I was a little apprehensive about trying KLAVUU’s peeling gel, even though the product is touted as exceedingly gentle on skin.
As I massaged an appropriate amount of the lightweight gel onto my skin, I could immediately see dead skin cells being sloughed off. I limited this step to less than two minutes before rinsing off, as I didn’t want to risk further aggravation on my sensitive skin. While I was pleasantly surprised by how gentle the gel was – it never caused irritation the three times I’ve used it – I also didn’t notice significant brightening, smoothing or pore-shrinking effects on my skin. I might have to use the Phytoncide Peeling Gel more frequently to achieve the bright, dewy look I desire, but given my skin’s patchy track record with exfoliators, I’m still debating whether I should take the plunge.
I appreciate the peeling gel’s ample soothing powers, which tamped down redness and resulted in calmer and healthier-looking skin.
My Final Verdict:
This skin care routine with phytoncides has been a refreshing and pleasurable experience. The Phytoncide Mild Cleansing Foam lived up to its name as the gentle-on-skin formula left my skin happily cleansed and hydrated. The Phytoncide Quick Cleansing Pad is another winner, especially in terms of moisturization and soothing powers. Instead of a sheet mask or sleeping mask every weekend, I can simply swipe these cleansing pads over my face at the end of my evening cleansing ritual! The hit of hydration is immediate and visible. As for the salicylic acid-infused Phytoncide Peeling Gel, I’m impressed at how effectively the formula soothes the skin, even though its skin-revitalizing properties were less than game-changing. For those who are new to chemical exfoliation or who have sensitive skin, this gentle peeling gel would be an appropriate choice.
Despite a few minor quibbles, I appreciate this collection’s ability to subtly improve my skin in as little as two weeks. The routine left me wishing KLAVUU would extend the Phytoncide line to other skin care products as well, such as eye cream, lip balm and body moisturizer! The experience has also piqued my interest in the rest of KLAVUU’s product range, which includes everything from the Relief Pearlsation Signature Hand Cream to the Pure Pearlsation pH Balancing Quick Cleansing Pad (a marine ingredients-based alternative to the Phytoncide Quick Cleansing Pad).
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