Ever since I discovered Houttuynia Cordata (aka heartleaf) from Abib’s Gummy Sheet Mask, I’m addicted to this ingredient.
Houttuynia Cordata is a medicinal herb used in India and China. It’s a leafy herb with its leaves in a heart shape, hence also called heartleaf. The plant has been found to exhibit anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. I found it to be a lot more effective than the much more raved Cica or Centella Asiatica products. In addition to the soothing and repairing effects, the thing I love most about Houttuynia Cordata is its ability to brighten. I found my skin tone has become lighter and clearer after I incorporated Houttuynia Cordata.
Houttuynia Cordata is being used in quite a number of products, but it’s not as intensely marketed or focused upon. I found premium brands like Su:m 37 and Primera has this ingredient in several of their lines. Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Mist uses Houttuynia Cordata Extract as one of its key ingredients. This toner, although not highly potent, delivers great results in terms of anti-inflammation, brightening and anti-oxidant.
Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Mist comes in a brown translucent hard plastic bottle with a spray nozzle. I really like the cleanness of this packaging, the colour combination and the mix of texture makes it simple, laboratory, but not boring.
The spray mechanism works very well. You don’t need much pressure and the mist is very fine.
The bottle is air-tight and can’t be opened. The content seems to be prone to oxidation as I can see slight yellow stains on the nozzle. But I’ve had mine for over 1 month now and the content hasn’t changed colour.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Bacillus/Glutamic Acid Ferment Filtrate, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Alcohol, Aspergillus/Saccharomyces/Rice Ferment Filtrate, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract, Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Panthenol, Allantoin, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
It’s not a long list, containing only 17 ingredients, but it’s also not the cleanest, it has some controversial ingredients such as alcohol, PEG and Fragrance.
Let’s talk about the good stuff first. Bacillus/Glutamic Acid Ferment Filtrate and Aspergillus/Saccharomyces/Rice Ferment Filtrate are the ferments in this toner. Different bacteria/probiotics were used to ferment various grains and the filtrate is the concentrated solution as a result of the fermentation process. Fermented ingredients are superior in skincare because during the fermentation process, larger molecules have been broken down to smaller sizes so they can be more easily absorbed into the skin. The process also releases highly active enzymes and amino acids which helps to increase the metabolism of the skin cells and in turn, helps with skin turn over and regeneration.
Sophora Japonica Flower, Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root and Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root are plant extracts that exhibit healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root and Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root are Chinese Licorice that also has oil control properties.
With the high proportion of fermented, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredients in this product, it’s obvious that this product is targeted at anti-aging and healing.
The controversial ingredients are Alcohol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Phenoxyethanol and Fragrance.
Alcohol has a bad reputation due to its irritating and drying effects. I personally dislike products that contained alcohol, I usually get red, burning and drying sensation from those products. But this mist is probably the most non-irritating, non-drying, alcohol-containing product I’ve ever used. It has a strong alcohol scent (which I dislike), but apart from that, my skin hasn’t detected any other effects of alcohol in this product. I have been using the mist with Pyunkang Yul’s Essence Toner, which might have alleviated some of the side effects.
PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil and Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane both have EWG rating of 3 due to the potential contamination of Ethylene Oxide during the production of PEG. PEG is produced by the chemical reaction of Ethylene Oxide and water or ethylene glycol and Ethylene Oxide is a known carcinogen and irritant. The end product (PEG) is not toxic but may contain traces of Ethylene Oxide, which is where the concern came from. Despite the requirements of purification to keep the impurities at minimum levels for cosmetics use and studies have shown positive results of using PEG-60, it remains as a controversial ingredient.
Phenoxyethanol is another ingredient that’s associated with Ethylene Oxide. It’s a synthetic preservative that has an EWG rating of 4 and has been found to be irritating to the skin and lung although unrelated to cosmetic use. The use of Phenoxyethanol is limited to 1% in cosmetics globally and regarded safe at this concentration.
I’m not sure what fragrance has been used in this mist, but it’s completely unnecessary as all I could smell is the pungent alcohol scent.
Overall, I think there are no red lights in the ingredients list. The use of Alcohol and Phenoxyethanol is proabably due to the presence of the ferments which required more effective preservatives.
The mist is colourless.
It has a strong alcohol scent when spraying out of the bottle, but quickly dissipates.
It’s like water.
I normally spray 4~5 times all over my face, then pat it in. The lightweight/water-like texture means it gets absorbed/evaporated very quickly. There are no residual that can be felt.
Because it’s not a hydrating toner, I like to follow this with the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner to add more hydration to my skin. The Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Mist also acts as a penetrator helping the Essence Toner to better absorbed into the skin.
Clear, brightened and balanced skin.
These results are probably not solely due to the Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Mist, but as the first step of my skincare routine (after cleansing), this mist toner fits very well with the rest of my routine. It’s a great first step toner. With its lightweight texture, it doesn’t block the products I apply afterwards, but helps with the penetration of my next skincare step.
I love how it keeps my skin well balanced. It has a pH of 6~7, which is quite neutral and hence very comfortable to use on the skin. It doesn’t make my skin dry or oily.
The brightening effect of this toner is better noticed than products that are marketed to be “whitening”. I have noticed not only my skin tone is brighter/whiter, but my spots on the cheeks are lightened.
Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Mist retails for 23,400 Won (~$29.50 AUD) for 135ml of product. I’ve used this product for about 1 month and have gone through 2/3 of the bottle. It’s not cheap for a toner, but also not overly expensive for a fermented toner.
Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Mist is a great toner to have for the summer season. It’s refreshing, lightweight and effective. Oily skins will definitely love it. Or if your skin is having trouble absorbing the products, Zymogen is a great first step toner that helps with penetration.
Where to purchase?