Korean beauty and skincare seem to be very much in vogue just now. Sheet masks and creams are huge but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Exfoliaters are also increasingly popular. After trying the Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water By Wishtrend* for a month, what did I think?
Although I’ve used a Korean foot peeling mask (!) and a sheet mask from my first ever Birchbox, I haven’t tried any other Korean skincare products before. Wishtrend are an online Korean beauty, skincare, body and hair care store. As well as stocking brands such as Klairs and Jungle Botanics, they also sell their own specifically created By Wishtrend products because, “healthy skin is the best makeup you can do.”
Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water
The only exfoliating toner I’ve heard of before is that cult favourite Pixi Glow Toner which uses glycolic acid. So I know it can cause skin irritation for those with sensitive skin. Mandelic acid, from bitter almond, is kinder but, as a cautionary note up front, I think (but don’t know) that it may not be suitable for those with nut allergies or who are specifically allergic to almond.
The Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water is one of Wishtrend’s top ten most loved products of 2017. Recommended for all skin types (sensitive, dry, combination, oily, acne-prone, aging) it’s a hydrating and non-irritating exfoliant that can be used daily, while boosting the effectiveness of other products.
The mantra of this gentle acid water is “Don’t peel but prep with Mandelic Acid.” It helps with pigmentation to improve skin tone and texture by removing dead skin cells and smothing dull or rough skin. As a mild exfoliator that works on the surface of the skin, it should be safe to use even for sensitive skin. And it’s helpful for acne due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.
Mandelic acid. As one of the AHA ingredients, it has a large molecular size which causes very little irritation to the skin due to low permeability (unlike Pixi’s glycolic acid). It helps to improve pigmentation as well as to restore ageing skin. It also has antibacterial properties that are effective for inflammatory acne.
Beta-Glucan. Moisturising, redness reduction, anti-inflammatory and soothing effects.
Panthenol. Also known as vitamin B5, it acts as a humectant and moisturiser, improving the skin’s abilities to regenerate and maintain hydration. It’s also used to prevent inflammation and to prevent itching.
Centella Asiatica Extract. Helps regenerate damaged skin.
Sodium Hyaluronate. It naturally attracts and helps retain moisture within the skin, preventing dryness after exfoliation.
How to use
Wishtrend recommend using this on a clean face before your toner or moisturiser – so basically the same as any other exfoliator. You can either tip a small amount into your hand and smooth it over your face, or saturate a cotton pad and wipe it over your skin. I didn’t want to waste any so I used my hands. There’s a slight but not unpleasant smell to the water, reminiscent of almonds (to me anyway, although I may be susceptible to auto-suggestion here!). And because it’s a water, it’s colourless and clear – hence no shot of it in my hand because there’s nothing much to see!
Because it’s an acid-based product, you shouldn’t use it with other facial scrubs, AHA/BHA, or Vitamin C products. And if you’re going to use it in the morning then you should definitely apply sunscreen afterwards.
But I don’t see the point of removing dead skin cells to then clog my face with sunscreen. I trained as a Beauty Specialist a looooooong time ago and remember being taught that skin renews itself at night. This being so, for the last month I’ve been using it at night, after cleansing. The theory being that if I remove any dead skin cells then my night-time moisturiser will stand an even better chance of working 🙂 (Wishtrend suggest sensitive skin users only use it 2-3 times a week though.)
Does it work?
Yes! That was straightforward, wasn’t it? My skin isn’t usually especially sensitive (although Balance Me products don’t agree with me) but I do have a fair amount of redness and occasional breakouts across on my cheeks. As mentioned above, I’ve been using the Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water every night for a month, which isn’t that long. However, I’ve definitely noticed my skin is clearer, smoother, with less redness, and fewer breakouts. I plan to continue using it (at night) when we’re on holiday too, although I’ll probably limit it to 2-3 times a week in case my skin flares up.
I didn’t know what to expect from either Wishtrend or their Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. At first glance, I couldn’t see how an acid water was going to manage the job of my usual exfoliators (you know, the sort you apply and rub gently) but I’ve been very surprised and delighted. I think it’s one of those rare suit-all products that once you find you’ll keep using it because it actually works.
For $22 (around £16.50) I also think it’s great value, especially as I’ve only used a tiny amount of my 120ml so far. I clearly won’t need to restock for a while, but after reading some other fellow bloggers’ Korean beauty and skincare reviews, I’m excited to add some more items to my Wishtrend shopping cart in due course!
Have you tried any Korean beauty or skincare products before?
* I was gifted this product in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own and this is an honest, unbiased review. This post also uses affiliate links.