I don’t like to use toners all that much, but here’s one I’d be happy to soak up if I have a bottomless purse. The IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning costs 65,000KRW (US$65), and lasts about two to three months from my experience. I first came across this product here, a Korea shopping guide on CNN Travel. With a bit more research I realized this sounds a lot like SK II Facial Treatment Essence (so darn expensive) and its many Korean dupes, like the Missha First Treatment Essence. The Bio Essence claims to:
- Maintain skin health through its Bio-redox 93.7%
- Restore transparent, clear and smooth skin
- Boosts the vitality of the skin, encouraging skin renewal and aiding in cell cycle
The product comes in a sleek frosted glass bottle. The texture and smells is just like water, and I wasn’t sure what it is doing to my skin. I followed instructions dutifully—soak the Bio Essence on cotton pad and gently swipe in circular motions. After three weeks of usage, there was an overall improvement to my skin in terms of texture and tone.
My problem with the product is how wasteful it is. The cotton pad soaks up most of the essence, so with every application half of the product actually lands in your bin. It’s the sort of guilty feeling when you don’t finish your meal and you think of others who can’t actually afford to have any food. Moreover, I was at a point where I wanted to streamline my skincare to reduce the number of products I put on my face. I decided I’d rather spend more on moisturizers and serums instead. I benched it after the first month.
It is only in the past two weeks that I have started to appreciate what it can do for me. I am currently undergoing a skin crisis (zits, peeling skin and all), and the Bio Essence is one of the few products that does not sting my face. I think I’d write about the other products that I’m using to calm my skin at a later date.
I will not re-purchase this despite my new found appreciation. The Bio Essence, though cheaper than SK II, is still far too expensive to order five times a year for a constant supply.