Mamonde is a Korean cosmetic brand that specializes in products “inspired by flowers.” The brand’s overall feel reminds me of Yves Rocher and other similar “botanical” lines.
I’d previously only tried one product from Mamonde, the sadly discontinued Rose Honey Sleeping Mask, so when I was searching for less expensive ceramide products, I was happy to give one from Mamonde a try.
This Skin Softener is part of Mamonde’s Ceramide line, which also includes an Emulsion, a Light Cream, and an Intense Cream.
A skin softener in Korean skincare is basically a hydrating toner, a light, skin-balancing lotion that is meant to be applied after right cleansing. It’s not a toner in the Western sense. I’ve rarely ever used a Western-style toner, since my skin is dry and I’m not interested in the astringent properties that many toners seem to have. And, shouldn’t my cleansing step already ensure my face is clean? (Maybe I could have used one to balance the pH of my skin after cleansing, though.)
A hydrating toner, however? That sounds just like my cup of tea.
This Skin Softener comes in a very generous 200 mL size. The bottle is made of a hard plastic that has no give. The cap comes off to reveal a small, pea-sized hole opening at the top, so you dispense this product by turning the bottle upside-down and shaking it once or twice over the palm of your hand.
I kind of hate this method, and would have vastly preferred a pump, or at least a squeezable bottle. It’s not a deal-breakers, though, since the product is on the more watery side and dispenses very easily.
Another minor quibble I have with the packaging is that the bottle is also only slightly translucent, so you have to hold it up to the light and squint a little to see how much product is left inside. The packaging is pretty and feels nice in the hand, but I would have preferred a few minor adjustments to make it more pleasant to use.
The ingredient list on the packaging is only in Korean, and I can’t find a list at all on Mamonde’s website. So, I ran a photo of my box through Google Translate, and here’s what it spat out:
Moisture Ceramide Skin Softener
Wrinkle Reducing Functional Cosmetics
High Moisturizing Skin that strengthens disordered skin barrier and provides gentle moisture
Effect / Effect: Helps to improve wrinkles of the skin
Usage / Capacity: Apply the proper amount and apply evenly to the skin
Efficacy Ingredients: Adenosine
Ingredients: purified water, propanediol, ethanol Glycereth-26, beta-glycerin, hibiscus bark extract, hydroxypropyl bis palmitamide Emae 01 (200 μg of ceramide DC-104 component), butylene glycyl bisphage-18 methylethyldimethylsilane dimethicone sodium methylstearoyltaurate stearyl behenate adenosine, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate / vpicopolymer methylhexyl glycerin inulin laural valine acetate poly Le Bait 20, Phage-60 Hyde Genetically castor oil Pigments 17/6 copolymer Hydrogenated lecithin Polyglyceryl-3 Methyl glucoside distearate, disodium iodide 0L Phenoxyethanol fragrance
How to use morning and evening, after skin cleansing Step
If you have any symptoms or side effects, such as redness, swelling or itching, you should consult a specialist if you use cosmetics or use direct sunlight after using cosmetics.
2) Keep away from scratches
3) Keep out of the reach of children
Keep out of direct sunlight
If there is something wrong with this product, Customer Service Center 080-023-5454
So, yeah, the translation is a little goofy and not terribly helpful. I definitely did see the Korean for “butylene glycol” (according to this nifty Korean ingredient translation page), but it somehow came out as “butylene glycyl bisphage-18 methylethyldimethylsilane dimethicone sodium methylstearoyltaurate stearyl behenate adenosine”. I guess my photo wasn’t as clear as it could have been. It doesn’t help that Mamonde’s packaging is highly textured, so it’s harder to read the small print.
In any case, it contains ceramides, and that was the main reason I bought it! While I’m quite pleased to see it fairly high up on the ingredient list, I have also read that ceramides are most effective when paired with certain fats (liposomes), to help them penetrate the skin. I’m not sure that this product contains that kind of ceramide delivery system, so I didn’t expect it to do wonders the way my first experience with ceramides did. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper and is intended for a different part of the skincare routine.
I’ve been using this Skin Softener for a few months, now, usually morning and night after cleansing, though I have mixed it up a bit (sometimes I put a serum like The Ordinary “Buffet” on first). Hyaluronic acid also sometimes get layered under, or over, the softener (I’m never quite sure when HA should be applied, but I like to sandwich it in between watery layers, regardless.)
I can’t say this product has changed my life or anything, but it is a real pleasure to use! It has a watery, vaguely gel-like consistency, and I use two shakes of the bottle, which is enough to generously cover my face and neck. It is very soothing and keeps my face “water-plump”, particularly when combined with some hyaluronic acid (I’ve used the one from The Ordinary and a new one from Vichy, both of which I should review soon). It feels a little tacky at first, but it does sink into the skin pretty nicely, and makes a good base for applying any other lotions or creams on top.
It does leave a slight sheen after it dries, but during the day, I always layer other products over it, like sunscreen and/or foundation. It is lightly fragranced: a dewy, rosy floral with a hint of something fruity and aquatic. Pleasant, to my nose (does it smell like hibiscus? I don’t know what hibiscus smells like!).
Now that it’s summer and it’s been warm and humid, I’ve actually found that I barely need any additional moisturizer when I use this Skin Softener, even with my dry skin! I’ll occasionally use a light moisturizer over it during the day, but at night, just a sleeping mask will do. My skin doesn’t get clogged up by heavier creams and oils, and it generally just feels much nicer.
Would I repurchase this product? Possibly—though I feel that I should try several other Korean hydrating toners before declaring this one to be good, or great, or whatever. Overall, I liked this product a lot, and it has piqued my interest in hydrating toners. I can’t say that the ceramide in it was really effective—plus I think it might only be using one type of ceramide, when there are something like ten types. I’ve actually just resorted to spending my Optimum Points on the newly reformulated Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules, which have multiple ceramides in a concentrated serum—but I really enjoyed using this type of toner. It’s been lovely and cooling to put on my face this summer, and I feel that it has a calming effect on my eczema-prone skin. I am sure that it won’t be enough for my dry skin when winter arrives, though, so I expect to have to change up my routine in the coming months.
I just wish that toners would come in smaller bottles and cost less: I want to try them all! This 200 mL bottle is going to take me ages to finish, even though I slap it on willy-nilly. I have read about some people doing multiple layers of hydrating toner—each layer is a “skin”, because Koreans use the word skin to refer to these hydrating toners (you can actually see that in the Google Translate section above, referring to “High Moisturizing Skin“). Maybe I’ll give that a try in an effort to use up more product, haha!
The product has a long-ish shelf life; the bottle I just purchased this spring expires in 2020.
Moisture Ceramide Skin Softener Hibiscus contains 200 mL and retails for ₩16,000 / US$16 (I got mine at Sweet Corea for $11.01, plus additional shipping charges). It is made in Korea.
Mamonde was launched by AmorePacific in 1991 as a botanical beauty brand. The name is derived from the French for “My World” (Ma Monde). AmorePacific are a Korean beauty conglomerate who also own Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige, Aritaum, Sulwhasoo, and Annick Goutal fragrances, among others. Mamonde and its parent company are based in Seoul, South Korea.