TonyMoly Appletox Peeling Cream Review
I have a love-hate relationship with the cutesy packaging used for a lot of Korean skincare products. I love how creative companies get when it comes to packaging the products, and the containers look very exciting sitting on my shelf among my other, more traditionally packaged items. But packaging my skincare products, which I take very seriously, in fruit and vegetable shaped containers makes it very easy for me to doubt their efficacy. I feel like they are trying to distract me with their flashy, toy-like exterior so that I’ll forget that the product is supposed to actually do something. With all that in mind, I still couldn’t help myself when I saw the exciting apple shaped containers for TonyMoly’s Appletox line, and I purchased the Appletox Peeling Cream ($12-$14) and the Red Appletox Honey Cream ($12-$20) almost immediately upon discovery. I’ll be reviewing the Peeling Cream today, so hold onto your fruit-shaped hats!
What is it?
The TonyMoly Appletox Peeling Cream is an AHA massage cream treatment for the face, designed to be used a couple of times a week. It has a very creamy texture, and when you massage it onto your face, you will feel little bits of what TonyMoly claims are dead skin particles mix in with the cream.
Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to find a full ingredients list for this product. It was nowhere to be found online, and the packaging did not come with an ingredients list in English – or any other language. The star ingredients for this product are:
– Green Apple Extract
– Papaya Extract
– AHA (This was listed separately, although I suspect that the green apple and papaya extracts are the AHA in this product)
– Vitamins A, E, B1, B6, C
Those ingredients are good, but I really wish I knew more about what else was in the product. It definitely has some moisturizing properties, and I would love to know which ingredients are responsible for that. It would also be nice to know what fillers it might contain, and whether there are any ingredients in it that could cause a reaction for some people. If there’s anyone out there who has access to a full ingredients list for this stuff, please contact me! You will have my eternal gratitude.
Here’s the full ingredients list:
Water, Mineral Oil, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl octanoate, cellulose, 1.3-butylene glycol, teurolratum, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, beeswax, glyceryl stearate / PEG -100 stearate, polysorbate 60, Disodium EDTA, Allantoin, Metilparaben , Carbomer, BHT, peuropilparaben, glyceryl stearate, sorbitan Sesquioleate, Dimethicone, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hyaluronate, apple extract, papaya leaf extract, gum-Biosaccharide 1, Phenoxyethanol, Perfume, Lactic acid, PCA, citric acid, glycolic acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, pyruvate acid.
Those wishing to avoid mineral oil and parabens will want to avoid this product, though, for the record, neither of those ingredients have been scientifically proven to be harmful in any way, and in fact, they possess great benefits. Mineral oil is extremely effective for dislodging blackheads, and there are currently no natural preservatives that even come close to parabens when it comes to preventing product spoilage. The ingredient that is most cause for concern here is Cetyl Alcohol, which is a well-known acne trigger, and a personal enemy of mine. However, because this is a wash-off product, the acne risk in this instance is minimal compared to a moisturizing cream.
The product claims to provide moisture and remove dead skin cells.
There are no directions (at least not in English) included with the product, but I did find varying sets instructions on a few websites:
The TonyMoly Singapore website says:
After daily cleansing, apply an appropriate amount onto the skin and gently massage in a circular motion. Once dirt particles appear, simply rinse off with lukewarm water.
Massage cream on cleansed face for 1-2 minutes; leave on for 1 minute and rinse off.
Kuki Beauty Shop says:
Step 1: Apply onto dry face, massage for two minutes.
Step 2: Leave on for 10 mins or so.
Step 3: Wet hands & rub off mask to exfoliate dead skin cells for two mins. If you exfoliate [rinse] right after applying the product, the mask is not dry enough to allow the dead skin cells to ‘stick’ to the mask.
Pretty & Cute says:
After cleansing, apply generously to dry areas all over the face, avoiding eye and mouth area. Gently massage for 1 to 2 minutes and leave for 30 seconds. Gently rub your face in a circular motion and wash off with lukewarm water.
I tried each method, and found that the Pretty & Cute instructions to give me the best results without irritation. I have very sensitive skin because I regularly use a prescription retinoid, so leaving it on for only 30 seconds after massaging was very important in terms of not causing any irritation. Those with less sensitive skin could probably follow the YesStyle instructions and leave it on for 1 minute. Leaving it on for 10 minutes, as Kuki Beauty Shop instructed, resulted in temporary damage to my moisture barrier. I had lots of dry patches for the week following that particular Peeling Cream application, which flaked under my foundation and triggered a pretty brutal cystic pimple on the side of my nose. I think the person who wrote the Kuki Beauty instructions must have some pretty tough skin, and unless you also have skin of steel, I’d strongly advise against leaving this stuff on for 10 minutes.
The Appletox Massage Cream goes on smooth, but quickly acquires a mildly gritty texture which is said to be the bits of dead skin peeling from your face. I strongly suspect this is not the case – I think there is actually an ingredient in the cream the solidifies when it comes in contact with the skin that causes this change in texture, giving the illusion of being able to feel the dead skin being removed. I found the massage process enjoyable and satisfying nonetheless – it certainly helps that this product smells absolutely divine – exactly like fresh cut apples, actually.
After rinsing, my skin immediately felt very smooth and had a nice, bright glow about it. The glow actually sticks around for a day or two afterward. Additionally, the dry skin flakes that sometimes appear underneath my foundation have been drastically reduced. I also suspect that for some people, this product could reduce the appearance of acne scarring over time. I didn’t personally see a lot of scar reduction, but my scars had already been greatly reduced in appearance from using the Missha Aqua Cell Renew Snail skincare line. I find this product to be very gentle as well. Provided I didn’t leave it on my face for 10 minutes, I wasn’t left with any patches of irritation, and my skin felt moist and soft after usage.
I really like this product. It’s relatively gentle but still effective at exfoliating dead skin and brightening my complexion without drying me out. It’s a giant bummer that the full ingredients list isn’t available, and it was a pain in the butt figuring out how I’m actually supposed to use this stuff. It would be nice if the packaging was more informative.
Where to Buy
Sasa, Pretty & Cute, and YesStyle all carry this product. Pretty & Cute actually ships from the US (they have a brick & mortar store in Portland, OR), so that would actually be my top pick from those options. However, there are a few Amazon sellers that carry this product as well. I purchased mine from this Amazon seller for just under $12. Shipping was free and I had it in my hand just 4 days after ordering.
Skin & Tonics Rating :
Performance: 4/5 – Exfoliates and moisturizes, just as it claims, and has a very pleasant scent.
Quality: 3/5 – Though the packaging is exciting, it’s extremely uninformative. I have no idea what’s in this stuff, so I can’t give it anything higher than a 3.
Value: 5/5 – At $12 for just under 3 oz. (80 mL), this is a steal. Since it’s only used 1-2 times a week, that 3 oz. should last 2 or 3 months.
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