To date, I’ve used quite a few Whamisa products, most of which were overwhelmingly meh. A wiser person would’ve given up on the brand by now, but the marketing- the promise of better skin delivered by organic flowers- keeps me coming back. This time, I’ve found a keeper!
At A Glance
Whamisa Organic Flowers Refresh Toner
Where does it fit in your routine?
Although it’s called a toner, I actually use this as a first essence, meaning it goes after cleansing (and after any pH dependent steps, if any).
Size and Price
Each bottle contains 120ml of product. I purchased this from Testerkorea for ₩34,000, which is $26.37 with the current exchange rate. GlowRecipe carries the Deep Rich and Original version of this toner for $40, but as far as I know they do not stock the Refresh.
This comes in a frosted, glass bottle that is fairly heavy and feels very substantial. There are these beautiful blue etchings of flowers that adorn the bottle. I love how luxurious the bottle looks and feels!
Smells like the most delicious black licorice candy you’ve ever had. I usually don’t like black licorice (except Jacobsen Salt Co’s super salty version which is amazing) but I can’t get enough of the scent of this toner.
Color and texture
It’s a thin, watery toner with good slip. It absorbs completely and doesn’t leave a residue.
What’s in it?
- ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT
First, I need to rant a little. There’s been a big deal made around the fact Whamisa products do not contain “water” which I don’t understand. First of all, adequate hydration is one of the most fundamental steps in making sure your skin looks and acts its best, so why demonize water? Also, using this product ingredient list as an example, the idea of “waterless skincare” is misleading. Aloe is the first ingredient listed but aloe juice is 99.5% water, so how is replacing water with something that is 99.5% water creating something “waterless”?
That said, aloe is a basic but good ingredient for the skin. It contains glycoproteins, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and polysaccharides, which can stimulate skin growth and repair.
- CHRYSANTHEMUM MORIFOLIUM FLOWER EXTRACT
The research on this extract is limited, but there is evidence that oral intake of this in conjunction with soy and copper peptides reduces skin damage from UV irradiation. This is also the flower that goes into chrysanthemum tea so who knows, maybe it’s got soothing properties too that just haven’t been substantially validated yet.
- CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT
There are two varietals of camellia sinensis – camellia sinensis assamica, the larger-leafed of the two, turns into your Earl Grays, English Breakfast teas, and other teas that are produced in India (except Darjeeling). Camelia sinensis sinensis, the more delicate of the two, grows in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Darjeeling (India), and becomes your green teas, white teas, oolongs, pu’ers, and some versions of black teas. I mention this not only because camellia sinensis is an incredibly cool and versatile plant, but also because the bioactive compounds can vary quite a bit depending on the varietal, source, processing, and extraction. For instance, black tea has the most tannic acid, which has astrigent and anti-inflammatory properties, whereas white teas and green teas have a higher concentration of epigallocatechin gallate, which is an antioxidant. That said, in general tea possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-mutagenic effects.
- Various Ferments: LACTOBACILLUS/CHRYSANTHEMUM SINENSE FLOWER FERMENT FILTRATE, LACTOBACILLUS/NELUMBO NUCIFERA FERMENT FILTRATE, LACTOBACILLUS/TERAXACUM OFFICINALE (DANDELION) RHIZOME/ROOT FERMENT FILTRATE, GALACTOMYCES FERMENT FILTRATE
Like all Whamisa products, this toner is packed full of various ferment filtrates. The idea behind fermented ingredients is that they are partially “digested” already, which makes their beneficial components easier for the skin to absorb.
Acne Triggers & Irritants
Cosdna identifies no acne triggers or irritants. It’s worth noting this does contain alcohol and fragrance, in case you are sensitive to those.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Camelia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Nelumbo Nucifera Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Teraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Rhizome/Root Ferment Filtrate, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Alcohol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Fragrance
I would describe the scent as medium strength, so if you don’t like fragrances at all, this product might not be for you. Interestingly, I actually dislike the scent of most of the Whamisa products I’ve tried so far but I absolutely love this licorice-y fragrance.
Also, this toner does contain alcohol. I don’t think it’s a lot – I really only notice it when I go very heavy handed – but if you have sensitivities to alcohol, you may be better off trying either the original or deep rich versions of this toner as both are alcohol free.
So this is labelled a toner, but given its ingredients and texture I think it’s actually more of a first essence and I use it in my routine as one.
To use, I shake the bottle a few times over my palm and then pat the liquid all over my face and neck. This removes any post-cleansing dryness or tightness, and provides enough hydration while I brush my teeth or get lost on Instagram before remembering to continue with my routine. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, this product is nice but alone will not be enough. If you have oily skin, you will likely appreciate its lightness.
Ever since I started using tretinoin, my skin has become more sensitive and prone-to redness than I like. This product does not irritate my skin in the slightest and actually, will lessen some of the existing irritation.
Overall, I love this toner.
It’s light, hydrating, mildly calming and brightening. The results from it aren’t as impressive or noticeable as from the From Nature Age Treatment Essence, but it’s good enough and the luxurious frosted bottle with the beautiful flower etchings and the delicious licorice scent bring me so much joy when I use it! I’ve got about 1/5th of a bottle left, and not only have I repurchased, but I have also ordered the two other versions because if they’re similar at all to the refresh, I imagine I would love them too!
This is labelled a toner, but works perfectly well as a first essence. It is not the most effective first essence I’ve used, but it is light, soothing, refreshing, and smells amazing and comes in a beautiful bottle to boot!
Disclaimer: This product was purchased by me. This post contains an affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not add any cost to the customer but does help support this site’s upkeep.