Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The up-and-coming brand Anua is all about comforting stressed skin with natural goodness and minimalist formulas. In particular, the heart leaf (also known as Houttuynia cordata), one of K-Beauty’s most popular and potent ingredients, is used to create a complete skin care regimen that can really do everything – soothe, hydrate and fight free radicals! At the heart of this wonder ingredient is an abundance of polyphenolic flavonoids that are loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, as well as polysaccharides that retain moisture. The result is a range of products tailored for dehydrated, sensitive, and acne-prone skin – gentle enough not to cause irritation and powerful enough to provide a thorough detox.
As I get older, I notice that my skin reacts badly to internal and external stress. Rough and red spots often appear after late nights (or extensive snacking), new blemishes appear with worrying regularity, and fluctuations between oily and dryness are more common. Because of this, I'm more than a little excited to try out Anua's heart leaf product range, which includes cleanser, toner, ampoule, cream, suntan lotion, and mud mask. Will it calm down and comfort itself as promised? Read on to learn how my skin fared after two weeks of this intense regimen!
The product: This pH balanced foam cleaner was developed to provide moisturizing impulses and soothing benefits in addition to deep cleansing. It contains 90% natural ingredients, including an impressive 35% heart extract! Skincare superstar glycerin is also on hand to help moisturize and restore skin barriers.
The low-down: I'm a staunch fan of gel cleaners, but this milky version with a whipped cream consistency gave me a serious break. A thorough, yet very gentle cleanse successfully removed dirt and impurities from my pores to give my skin a pleasant, refreshing finish. My face didn't feel tense afterwards, and in one exciting twist, my pores seem to have shrunk slightly – no doubt because I got rid of all that stuff in them!
The product: This 77 percent heartleaf extract to fight free radicals and soothe the skin, portulaca oleracea (a staple food for Korean herbal medicine) and panthenol to further soothe irritation, as well as sugar cane extract, glycerine and betaine to deeply moisturize, sebum and work sebum production while you prepare the skin for the rest of your skincare routine.
The low-down: While I wasn't 100 percent sure about applying toner given the minor irritation I had, the alcohol-free formula turned out to be a godsend as it quickly cleaned my pores and plumped my sensitive skin. It might not have fancy add-ons like anti-aging powers, whitening benefits, or exfoliating properties, but as a skin relaxant that doesn't dry out your skin, it does its job pretty well – especially when used along with Anua's specially formulated Cotton Pad for toner, a curved pad that is super absorbent.
The product: This honey-colored ampoule is considered the star of the collection and is filled with 80% heart leaf extract to give disturbed skin tones the skin care equivalent of a cuddly party. Moisturizing staples like glycerin and betaine keep the skin hydrated, while arginine provides an extra layer of protection. Plus, it comes in a frosted dropper bottle that is as stylish as it is easy to use!
The low-down: I love how this serum comes in a thick, viscous formulation but soaks into the skin surprisingly quickly and doesn't leave a sticky feeling after. Two to three drops in the morning and in the evening, and I noticed subtle differences in my skin – reduced pores, a new smoothness and a slight reduction in redness and itching. The results weren't dramatic, but I wasn't expecting a miracle turnaround – just a slow, steady improvement that the product provided.
The product: This simple but effective gel cream is enriched with a whopping 78% heart extract along with five key moisturizers (hyaluronic acid, amino acid complex, panthenol, ceramide and menthyl PCA) and removes roughness and dryness, regardless of skin type or skin condition.
The low-down: First of all, I thought it was great that this cream only had a faint herbal scent – a godsend for someone like me who prefers their products without scent. Second, I loved the texture. It's light and refreshing rather than rich and dense, but still offers a decent dash of moisture. While this works great as a moisturizer for summer, it may not be adequately hydrating in winter, especially for drier skin tones. As for its soothing properties, I can't tell if my improved skin condition was due to this one product or the combined effects of everything in this routine, but the gentle formula certainly doesn't hurt!
The product: A physical sunscreen specially developed for sensitive skin. It is free of 20 dangerous substances and has a smooth, milky texture. Not only does it come with SPF 50+ PA ++++, but it also offers moisturizing benefits thanks to ingredients like butylene glycol and glycerin, while extracts from heart leaves and cica provide a final calming effect.
The low-down: As a lazy girl, I recently swapped all of my sunscreens for sun sticks. I was still eager to try this out as it is supposed to be extremely gentle. Overall, it was a solid performance that provided decent sunscreen that only required a few touchups over the course of the day. The thicker consistency means some mixing is required for full absorption on the face – you need to be extra careful to avoid an annoying whitish cast!
The product: This 70% heart leaf extract exfoliating mud mask absorbs sebum, removes dead skin cells, and removes gunkel to promote softer and smoother skin.
The low-down: I've always preferred sheet masks as they are less messy and drying. But my skin has been quite oily lately so it now seems better than ever to try Anua's mud cream mask. To my surprise, there was no stinging when applied and no discomfort when drying. The next morning, I woke to a subtle glimmer on my face that I hadn't seen in a while. A true keeper!
My skin has seen small but encouraging improvements in those two weeks. It feels smoother and looks clearer, and even those annoyingly enlarged pores appear smaller. I'm still not sure if Heartleaf is actually the all-round ingredient that will save my skin in the long term, but in the short term it has been shown to be effective at taming redness, smoothing out irritated areas, and creating an all-round skin-soothing experience .
Of all the products in the routine, I could take or leave the sunscreen and toner that don't necessarily top other K-Beauty favorites, but I immediately embraced the cleansing, ampoule, cream, and mud cream mask. The cleanser rises over the gel cleanser (a western brand) I used and makes my skin look clearer and refreshed. The ampoule has gently reset my skin, the cream has been added to my rotation of summer moisturizers, and I'm thrilled with how the mud cream mask quickly rejuvenates my complexion.
Anua's motto is "keep things simple". While some may find their products a little too simple, that's ultimately what I love about them. No harmful substances or allergenic ingredients, just plant-based goodness that subtly offers steady benefits.
(Visited 1 time, 1 time today)