18 Apr 2017

Of Water Science and Dewy Skin: A Brand Overview and Reviews of 25 Laneige Products Part 1


Laneige and Innisfree are two brands that I am sure most of us are aware of, especially kbeauty lovers. Laneige beauty philosophy is all about using better water technology to impart glow, radiant and clarity to the skin. Its pursuance of sparkling beauty allows it to unleash dazzling charm of a person through its flawless complexion. And through its beauty ambassador Song Hye-Kyo, we can definitely see its ultimate beauty goal, which is to reverse the skin's natural aging process through the utilization of water technology. Laneige believes that the natural moisturizing barrier of the skin start losing its vitality over time as we age, and this is the primary factor that leads to aging. As such, keeping the skin constantly moisturized is the key to a clearer, babyish soft and younger-looking skin.

Below are the list of products I have tried from the brands:

  • Laneige Vitamin Brightening Cleansing Water
  • Laneige Oil Free Cleansing Liquid
  • Laneige Multi Cleanser
  • Laneige Clear C Advanced Effector
  • Laneige Essential Power Skin Refiner_Moisture
  • Laneige Water Science Mist #Brightening Sparkling Water
  • Laneige Water Bank Mineral Skin Mist
  • Laneige Time Freeze Eye Serum
  • Laneige Water Bank Essence_EX
  • Laneige White Plus Renew Original Essence_EX
  • Laneige Balancing Emulsion_Light
  • Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream
  • Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream_EX




Laneige Vitamin Brightening Cleansing Water


This is a micellar water with makeup removing properties. Normally I use this to remove sunscreen and dirt. I don’t recommend using it on foundation or other colour makeup, especially if the makeup contains waterproof elements or oils. I experience breakouts after not properly removing all my cushion foundation using my old Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Water. I think this Laneige one is lighter than the Innisfree one therefore may not be strong enough to remove heavier makeup. You use as the first step of your evening routine on a cotton pad to wipe off any dirt and sunscreen before following that up with a foam cleanser. You can also use this a cleansing toner after your foam cleanser but I personally don’t like having surfactant on my skin after cleansing. I find them irritating.

This cleansing water has a clear, runny liquid consistency. It feels like water on your skin and is totally non-greasy or oily. It smells like a blend of Laneige fragrance with vitamin C added inside, which I personally don’t like. It comes in a convenient pump-top that is easy for product dispensing. A bottle of this can last you for a very long time even if you use it every day. Mine is at least 50% left when I am 3-4 months through it.  This particular cleansing water doesn’t come in a cotton pad unlike its Advanced Effector counterpart so you will need to buy your own ones. You can refer to my previous comparison review of cotton pads to find the one that suits you the most.

Performance-wise, I think this is really effective at taking off my sunscreen, makeup residue, and dirt. I normally don’t use it on heavier makeup but as you can see in the picture, this can actually remove some waterproof makeup. My skin is left refreshed and clean after using, not too tight or drying. Basically a decent cleansing water if you can get it at good prices. Not sure if I would repurchase because I still prefer the scent and texture of the Nature Republic one better, but Laneige fan can definitely give this a go.

Laneige Oil Free Cleansing Liquid


This is an oil-free and mild cleansing liquid that is designed specifically for sensitive skin. It can also be used to remove makeup and sunscreen as well, making it essentially a double-cleansing-in-one product. No oil, artificial fragrance and alcohol is added, only skin-benefiting botanical ingredients such as peppermint extract, sugar cane extract and alchemillia vulgarias are present here.

This is a unique cleanser, I have never come across something similar so I am quite curious about it. It is an odorless, lightweight liquid (not water) that can take off even most makeup within a few seconds of massaging. It doesn’t foam up like most other foam cleansers but you can tell that your skin is clean after you rinse it with water.

Although I enjoy using this as a gentle and non-stripping makeup removing liquid, I still prefer something that can foam up. Something that can offer a more refreshing yet moisturizing cleansing experience, such as my beloved Belif Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist and Kose Sekkisei White Liquid Wash. I wouldn’t purchase the full bottle in the future but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has sensitive and dry skin; or those who want a convenient two-in-one makeup removing liquid.

Laneige Multi Cleanser



Laneige claims that this is a foam cleanser with makeup removing and exfoliating properties. Basically, what it is saying is that you can skip your double cleanse with this product as it can remove makeup, take off sunscreen, deep cleanse, and gently exfoliate.

Well... is it true? Absolutely no. There isn't anything in the ingredients list that tells me that this is a makeup removing cleanser. It contains just the old stearic acid, myristic acid, laureth-1 phosphate (which is a foam booster), lauramide DEA... things that you commonly seen in foam cleanser. I don't see anything that tells me about makeup removing. Moving beyond that, having tested it on my skin, I also didn't notice any makeup removing or exfoliating benefits. I need to cleanse the back of my hand twice, and the second time adding more force to see if the makeup I put on will come out. And it doesn't. 

As for the exfoliating claims, this doesn't contain any granules or the right pH for it to work as an exfoliant. It has a pH of 8.0, which is quite high for a cleanser, thus any chemical exfoliants will get neutralized at this pH.

In addition, this alone is also too harsh as a foam cleanser. It has a pH of 8.0. The consistency is fairly watery, not too creamy and is easy to work with. The scent is also quite mild and barely noticeable. However, it leaves my skin soooo dry and tight that I just have to apply my moisturizer immediately after. It is definitely not in my repurchase list. Too harsh and drying as a foam cleanser.

Laneige Clear C Advanced Effector


This is a skin booster with loads of vitamin C rich berries extract and niacinamide. I bought this simply because I wanted to do a comparison review on all SK-II Facial Treatment Essence dupes and this is the closest to treatment essence among all other Laneige products. Besides, Laneige claims that this can complement the efficacy of its White Plus Renew Original Essence so I want to see if the claim is true.

Consistency-wise, this is a very refreshing, alcohol-infused runny liquid that is even lighter than water. It gets absorbed immediately once you pat it on your skin without leaving a trace. Another good thing about this Advanced Effector is that it comes with a cotton pad. Most Korean essences come with a box of complimentary cotton pad. The fact that this one comes with one confirms my thought that this is indeed a skin booster or treatment essence type product.

Performance-wise, this is a very refreshing booster that can improve the cellular turnover of the skin, making it appear smoother and brighter. The ingredients used also give it anti-oxidizing and exfoliating properties but I personally only experience smoothing and brightening benefits, not exactly anti-aging or exfoliating. Besides, I don’t think it is a good hydrating product, in fact, it is quite drying. If you read my full review and comparison review on this product, you’ll notice that I don’t really enjoy using this Advanced Effector. Although it can brighten up my skin, but the White Plus Renew Original Essence alone is sufficient to bring significant brightening benefit for the skin, not necessary must be accompanied by this Effector. Hence, I will not repurchase after I finish using my current one. Unless if you are looking for something refreshing with toning and treating properties in one, and it must be from the brand Laneige, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

Laneige Essential Power Skin Refiner_Moisture



This is a toner for normal to dry skin. I didn't want to get the light version because that particularly one has more alcohol content and smells strongly of alcohol. I think Kose Sekkisei Lotion with the same amount of alcohol content is sufficient to serve me so I rather get this moisture version. Laneige likes to call its toner "power essential skin refiner" so a lot of people will be confused about its product lineup. I think the brand is trying to say that this toner is an essential step that can refine your skin. Anyway, just keep that in mind that this is a toner.

Consistency-wise, it is slightly thicker than water. The smell is quite perfumy. If you like the smell of Laneige products then you will like it. Otherwise, just don't bother about most Laneige products. They all smell like that, including its best-selling Water Bank line. Although Laneige claims that this contains bio-dusali and fermented seaweed to refine and tone your skin, I don't think it works well as a second cleansing step. The "light" version might take off your makeup residues but the "moisture" version feels just like a normal hydrating toner.

In my opinion, this is a very moisturizing hydrating toner that smells nice. I seriously do not think that it has done wonder for my normal to dry skin. I don't find my texture becomes more refined, or there is radiance in my skin. Even if you look at the ingredients list, most of them are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. There is also some humectants and water-binders, but you don't get to see witch hazel extract or alcohol. There is also no niacinamide or active ingredients... stuffs that can really work to minimize your pores. According to my experience, if you properly hydrate your skin, your pores will appear smaller so I guess this is what this toner is trying to achieve.

Laneige Water Science Mist #Brightening Sparkling Water


This is a mist made of sparkling water with brightening and moisturizing benefits. To be very honest with you guys, I bought this simply because I am attracted to the “colourful” selection. It is cute to have mist with different colours and functions. I used to be a huge fan of Laneige Water Bank Mineral Mist so I was intrigued to try this one out.

The Water Science Mist in its Brightening Sparkling Water “flavour” is a very nicely formulated mist. It is housed in a beautiful blue packaging with a convenient spray top. I notice that this particular one lasts longer than my other mist. My old lover Etude House Mineral Bottle, for instance, tends to finish fast so I guess it is the formulation or bottle design problems. The mist is made of mainly sparkling water, alcohol and perfume so it is not as moisturizing as the Water Bank Mineral Mist, but something about it really makes my skin glows so I am keeping this in my office and use it whenever I have guests visiting.

I also bought the Time Freeze, Water Bank Moisture Biogene and Whitening ones which I will update you guys in my part 2 review.

Laneige Water Bank Mineral Skin Mist


This is my holy grail facial mist, which is featured in my multiple annual skincare awards. This mist shows that facial mist is not just water, it is water+++. It is formulated with glacier water a whole bunch of skin soothing and moisturizing ingredients like trehalose, betaine, parsley extract, green tea, natto gum, beta glucan, lavender extract, centella asiatica, aloe vera leaf extract, vitamin B5, arginine, and so on. The ingredients alone are already many times more nutritive than the Water Science Mist Sparkling Water.

I have tried a lot of facial mist from various brands but I will always go back to this one. Not only does it smell super relaxing, it is also very moisturizing and soothing on your skin. It can also control the sebum production on my skin by attaching to the sebum and making my skin feeling less greasy. I am not sure about the science behind this but that is how I feel after spraying it on my face.

I have to agree with Laneige that this is indeed a restorative facial mist for dry and tired skin. Give it a few spritz in the office to lighten your mood, regulate your oil production and clear your mind.

Laneige Time Freeze Eye Serum


I am gonna admit that I am not using this, only my mom is. But since I want to talk about Laneige products, I might as well touch briefly on this eye serum. I believe that a lot of people are curious about it so here is the review.

Basically, this is an eye serum, but you can use it as an eye cream if you have oilier skin, or under your moisturizer if you don't have sensitive eye area. My mom uses it as an eye serum day and night underneath her moisturizer. Laneige claims that this can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. I don't think it claims to "reverse fine lines", more like "prevent fine lines". Her old favourite Belif Peat Revital Eye Cream claims to stimulate collagen production around the eyes to reduce fine lines.

My mom said that she likes this better than the Belif one. She finds this lighter, more hydrating, and works better underneath her makeup. She did not report any improvements on her fine lines and wrinkles but the skin around her eyes do appear firmer. I am not sure is it because of her better diet or lifestyle recently but I can see the improvements after she starts using this eye serum. I don't think she has any intention to go back to the Belif one as yet because she still prefers the consistency and performance of this eye serum. I will update you guys with more information when I receive more feedback from her later~

Laneige Water Bank Essence_EX


A lot of people swear by this Laneige Water Bank Essence. It is a highly popular moisturizing serum in Asia and is also one of Laneige’s best selling items across the world. You use this after toning and before heavier serum.

Laneige Water Bank Essence_EX is a moisturizing serum. It is called “essence” because despite its skin treating properties, it is super lightweight and will melt on your skin like water hence titled “essence”. Keep in mind that the “essence” we are talking about here is not your first essence or treatment essence, it is an Asian beauty term for lightweight serum.

I don’t have a lot of comment about this essence. It is just a very moisturizing and soothing skin treatment that will keep your skin plump, soft and hydrated. Most moisturizing serum does that, but this product does it a lot better without leaving any stickiness, and that’s why a lot of people have been loving and raving about it. I use this after exfoliating or when I want to put on multiple layers of skin treatments. The soothing and lightweight properties of this essence make it perfect for those purposes. This is a moisturizing essence that will be loved by oilier and combination skin. If you have drier skin, then maybe you can try their newly launched Water Bank Double Layering Oil that I think is only available in Korea currently.

Laneige White Plus Renew Original Essence_EX


This is the upgraded version of their whitening serum. The one I talked about in my previous review was their older version.

Actually, there isn’t any discernable distinction between both products, maybe just a slight difference in packaging, consistency and formulation. The older version is housed in a less silvery bottle and its consistency is slightly thicker than this. And the older version doesn’t contain a “EX” in its title. As for the ingredients, the newer version is more concentrated with less frills. It only maintains squalane, shea butter, niacinamide, and yeast extract from the older formulation and adds in another scientifically-backed skin lightening ingredient known as the Asian’s lizard tail. It also contains less emulsifiers, surfactants and all those texture stuffs to give this product a lighter consistency.

As discussed in my previous review, this is one of the few whitening serums that gives me visible results after using. My skin is at least a tone lighter, it also looks clearer and more radiant. There is also a soft glow to it. I am pleasantly surprised by the results it gives, although the unit price for this serum is kinda on the higher side. If you are willing to fork out RM 200 on a brightening serum, then this is the product that won’t go wrong for you. But if you are looking for something that can lighten your hyperpigmentation or bleach your skin, then this isn’t it. It does lighten my hyperpigmentation, but it does it very slowly that I think I might as well rely on my chemical exfoliants.

Laneige Balancing Emulsion_Light



I am not exactly a fan of lotion or emulsion. I don't like most of them and I don't think I will want to purchase anymore lotion in the future. This Laneige one is not my type either. It is lighter than most lotion I have tried but it is still milky and somehow... feels like the oil and water are not properly mixed. It is like suspension and I don't like suspension.

This "Balancing Emulsion_Light" is designed for those with combination and oily skin. I got it because I want my toner and emulsion to come in pair. That was an obsession back then and I regretted it now. This product was not bad, it is still lighter than most emulsion and it blends in nicely into the skin. But if I were to choose, I prefer the Gel Cream which is more moisturizing without the "suspension consistency".

Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream



This is a gel cream designed for combination to oily skin. You can also use this if you have normal skin or living in a hotter environment. The one without "EX" in the name is the 2016 reformulated version. Laneige claims that it instills "hydro ionized mineral water" and biogen technology into the new formula to make the cream attracts and locks moisture better. It also contains a unique winter cypress polysaccharide extract to lower the skin temperature by 2.4°C so that your skin produces less oil.

I bought this immediately after testing it on my skin. It makes my skin so cool, supple, and soft to touch. It is also much more moisturizing than the previous version. And I must admit that the cream looks absolutely gorgeous in the Boutique. But the frustrating part is that the sales girl there refused to entertain me because I wasn't wearing anything nice, although I still politely asked for her attention to buy this item. Not the first time that I faced similar problem with Laneige though. There is a sales girl at Laneige Boutique that finds me too poor to purchase anything because I didn't buy anything the first time I entered the store. I guess I wouldn't buy anything from that Boutique anymore after receiving that kind of customer service.

Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream_EX


This is a moisturizing cream designed for dry skin. The one I was using was their older version that came as a GwP with my other Laneige purchases. This is basically an emollient cream that doesn't have any smell at all and feels rather rich and tacky on the skin. It is really creamy and to some extent, greasy, when you blend it out on your skin. I think the greasiness came from the ingredient hydrogenated C6-14 olefin, which was also found in my most hated emulsion Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Lotion. I didn't like any moisturizer that contains this ingredient so you can guess my thoughts on this one as well.

I don't want to make this a super long review so I will break it down into several parts.
Do check them out here: part 2
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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