I was so excited to try out the mal:gem toner and emulsion kit by Etude House, I had such high hope for it that I bought this trial kit once I saw it! I didn't want to buy two huge bottles if it didn't work very well, so samples are always my favorite thing! There were two problems while trying them out for the review... First, I lost the Emulsion bottle for about a week while using it, I couldn't find it anywhere and looked for it about once an hour each day, and it randomly re-appeared one day! Second, the product was not nearly as wonderful as I had hoped.
Etude House - Mal:Gem Trial Kit (Smoother and Deep moist)
(3 out of 5)
The mal:gem line by Etude House was endorsed by Sandara and SHINee, like most of their products, and so I was excited to try it out! I usually really like products by Etude House, but they are mainly makeup products and not skin care. The line has several different products to it, each member of SHINee sponsored their own bottle. There is Minho-Fresh, Onew-Smoother, Jonghyun-Moist, Key-Deep Moist, and Taemin-Essential. The pack that I bought had the Smoother as the toner, and the Deep moist for the emulsion, since those are the basic and most popular types.
I was happy with the overall packaging of the products. The sample set that I bough came wrapped and sealed with the official mal:gem and Etude House labels on them. I appreciate this, because then there is no way for a person to sell a fake product, and it guarantees that what you bought is genuine. The packaging for the larger bottles of the product look very sleek and professional. Each one has a different, simple, design and looks girlish and elegant. One of the things that originally drew me to the product were the bottles themselves. The sample bottles hold a bit more than ones I have tried in the past, since the bottles are slightly wider than most.
The system is very interesting. You have so many products that you can choose from, depending on your skin type, and you can also mix and match your favorites. Not only are there many kinds to pick, but there are also different ways that you can use them. You can apply them as you would a regular toner, wiping your face with a cotton pad, use an empty mask sheet and soak it with the product, or use thin sheets and press them on your face, which is in between using them as a cleanser and a mask. Since I didn't have the specialized extras, and also wanted to compare the line to others out there, I used the "traditional" approach. I love the diversity that they provided and I think it makes it more fun to use. All of the products in the line are free of Paraben, Artificial Dye, Benzophenon, Mineral Oil, and "Animal Material". I have to say that I am really glad to know I wasn't rubbing animal materials on my skin! Because it has no artificial dyes and is free of harsh ingredients, the products are good for people with sensitive skin or allergies. The Smoother/Toner from the set contains citrus and sugar ingredients, including lemon, orange, grapefruit, sugar cane, and maple. Citric acid is a great natural exfoliant and skin cleanser, so it makes perfect sense that it would be in it. The Deep Moist/Emulsion contains Soybean extract, which is a natural moisturizer. The line contains natural ingredients, which sets it apart from others on the market.
The Smooth Toner has a very thin consistency, it's more watery than other I have tried in the past. I'm not sure that I like how thin it is, I would prefer something with more "body" to it, that sticks to my face more than just wiping it clean. The Deep Moist Emulsion is also a bit watery. It's milky and spreads evenly, so if you really want to moisturize you will have to use more of it. Even though they were thinner, they did last a while, so if you buy them you won't have to restock for a while. If I put aside my consistency preferences, the most off-putting thing about the product was the smell. I really dislike the smell of the Deep Moist... It's not fruity, or floral, it just doesn't smell very good and I didn't want to put it on my face and continue smelling it until it was absorbed. The toner didn't have this problem, but the emulsion definitely did.
Overall, they didn't work very well for my skin type. I didn't break out from using them, but I also didn't see much change in my skin after about two weeks of using them. So while they didn't make my skin worse, they didn't make it much better either. My skin stayed at it's normal state, and they kept my skin clean and moist, but I didn't see improvement when it came to skin tone, clarity, or pore size. It was good to have a moisturizer and toner to use at night, but I would rather have one that improves my skin over time. It may just be my skin type, or the way I used them, but they just didn't work well for me. Maybe if you have different skin, or you use them as masks or cotton sheets, but from my experience I wasn't as impressed as I hoped I would be. I would love to try some of the other bottles in their line in the future to see if they suit me better, but I won't continue to use the Smoother or Deep Moist versions.
When I bought this it had recently been released, so the only options were the full bottles and the small pack that I bought. The sample pack that I bought is no longer being sold, making it very difficult to find. I looked it up, and recently they released an even better trial kit! It contains a bottle of each kind from the line, as well as cotton pads and mask sheets! You can find this online on Ebay, etc, and also on Cosmetic Love for about $20 Here. It may seem pricy at first, but each bottle goes for around $17 each, so to try them all and get the extras as well is a very good deal. You can find different deal online if you look, but you can buy the Smoother Here and the Deep Moist Here as well. If you want to try them out for yourself, look around and see what you can find. If you have sensitive skin I would recommend trying them, but I am still on the lookout for a set that better suits my skin.
If you have tried it, let me know what you think!
See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,