Battle Of The Luxury Oriental Medicine Skincare Part 1 : Toners





Hellooooo everyone! I know you’ve been waiting for this post and so much time has been put into this. There are quite a few luxury oriental medicine Korean skincare brands out there – and we are often lost when it comes to choosing! Starting from Part 1, i will be reviewing and comparing all the different oriental medicine brands side to side to you all get to see their differences, and hopefully makes it easier for you to choose one that suits you. Starting off i will be comparing the basic lines from the different luxurious brands – and when that is done, i will be comparing their whitening lines, hydration lines, anti-aging lines, etc.


First off, i will be introducing the four different brands i will be comparing here. Sulwhasoo is from giant Amore Pacific and the mother and pioneer of Korean oriental medicinal skincare. LG’s The History Of Whoo is it’s biggest competition. The last two are newcomers that appeared only last year : Allvit from Woongjin Coway ( a company that excels in manufacturing water filtration, humudifiers, etc ) is their 2nd foray into the cosmetics world after Re:NK and last but not least KGC ( Korean Ginseng Company )’s first cosmetic brand – Donginbi.



Brand Introduction



  • Sulwhasoo Basic Line





  • History Of Whoo Gongjinhyang Line



  • Allvit An-On Hydration Line



  • Donginbi Red Ginseng Deep Moisturizing Line




Product Introduction


  • Sulwhasoo Balancing Water



  • History Of Whoo In Yang Balancer



  • Donginbi Red Ginseng Deep Moisturizing Softener













Inspired by traditional aesthetics realized by the richness of porcelain carefully kneaded by a master craftsman and beautiful curves that Koreans have long loved, Sulwhasoo containers exude humble yet warm care that are not only beautiful to the eye, but comfortable to the grip.




The Allvit design is based on “beauty by itself” – traditional beauty unique to Korea which values life force and communication. Like a component of nature, it adapts to and harmonises with natural elements such as mountains, wind, rocks and rivers.

The design motif is a lotus flower with a single drop of dew resting on its petal. This flower signifies the theme of beauty most succinctly since it is self-purifying, while the dew represents life-giving water, epitomising nature’s power to provide vitality overnight. Lotus leaves grow in muddy water, but rather than being contaminated by the water they in fact purify it. This process is similar to the human skin – full of tactile sensitivity and vitality. The dew formed on a lotus leaf is created through a reduction process by which the spirit and energy of the universe are condensed during a peaceful, moonlit night. This design introduces the image of an Oriental herb-based cosmetics line, created with utmost care.

It won the prestigious design award Red Dot for Best Practice last year.




Unlike the other three toners, the History Of Whoo design esthetic is probably the closest to ‘orientalism’. Just like how the brand concept it – the packaging of their products very much look like ancient china royalty. Elegant, classy – the toner comes in a curved bottled with gold carvings on the top.




My favourite cosmetic packaging and design was always the History Of Whoo – until Allvit came along and took the title away. Allvit’s packaging is just breathtaking. You really do need to own their full size products to admire the beauty of the design.

In all honesty – they are all attractive. Whoo and Allvit are more grandeur and to-your-eyes, while Sulwhasoo and Donginbi are very simple, elegant and discreet. They are all made from glass ( except Whoo ) so they are really heavy. Whoo is the lightest of them all ! If i had to choose my least favourite – it would probably be Sulwhasoo.










Texture wise – as you can see the Allvit toner has the most liquid and runny texture out all of 4 toners. The Donginbi and Sulwhasoo has a similar texture which intially ressembles a gel-toner. However when spread on the skin, it becomes watery. The Sulwhasoo toner becomes more watery in texture and becomes similar to the Allvit toner, while the Donginbi retains a more viscous watery-gel like texture. The Whoo texture i would say is in between the Allvit texture and the Donginbi texture. It has a watery-gel like texture, almost similar to the Hada Labo lotion. As you can see above, the Whoo toner did not drip down just like the Donginbi toner.





Scent wise – the Whoo toner has the strongest scent. The scent is really over-empowering and when i used it initially, i couldn’t stand it. However, i have really gotten used to the smell, and sometimes enjoy it. It also has the most non-oriental herbal scent out of the 4 toners.

Again, the Sulwhasoo and Donginbi here has the more ‘oriental medicine’ smell. It’s very nice and pleasant and isn’t very empowering. The scent is quite similar here except that the Sulwhasoo toner has a stronger alcohol scent. The ginseng scent is quite apparent here in both toners.

The Allvit scent is here, i would say is in between Whoo and Donginbi. It has a more refreshing sweet floral scent to it that isn’t too strong. You will probably love the scent. This is actually my favourite. The entire line of the Allvit series smells really nice, especially their Gel Oil and Foam Cleanser!








Sulwhasoo had the lowest reading and it definitely felt so. However I would say that it is ‘the worse of the best’. It definitely felt a little less hydrating compared to the other 3 toners. Despite being the most watery toner, the Allvit does a good job in hydrating the skin achieving the highest reading. I felt that the Whoo was the most hydrating toner out of the lot, and also has the best after-feel as it leaves the skin really soft, plumped up. All of them absorbs easily.








For this test, i applied the toner on the back of my hand, left it there for 90 seconds without touching nor patting it, and then doing the stickiness test. To be honest, none of the toners are sticky at all, although the Whoo has a initial stickiness to it but goes away quickly. The Allvit toner is the least sticky of all as expected due to it’s runny texture!



Ingredient List


  • Sulwhasoo Balancing Water

Source : Korean Skincare


  • History Of Whoo In Yang Balancer



Will put the list of the Donginbi and Allvit once i have it. Those of you who have it please do share it with us!




  Sulwhasoo Whoo Allvit Donginbi
Content 125ml 150ml 130ml 130ml
Price 57,000 55,000 50,000 50,000
Price/mL 456 367 385 385







Above is the ranking of the toners. The Whoo definitely wins it for me because it is the cheapest one – yet very hydrating and plumps up the skin. Absolutely loves how my skin feels after applying it. The only drawback is it’s super strong scent – to which i have gotten used to it and starting to like it now!

Those looking for a light, refreshing toner – go for the Allvit ! The Donginbi and Sulwhasoo toner are rather similar but the Donginbi toner is more hydrating and costs cheaper as well !


The next review will be comparing the difference essence from the 4 lines!


Have you tried any of these toners? Which one do you like more?

  • Kevin J

    Llang also has a toner in its lines. Or should I say two toners?

  • Kevin J

    I actually liked the Sulwhasoo toner. It is probably one of the better toners around, which does have a texture that feels more than water. The one factor about use of toners is the feel of it on your skin other than the meter readings, of course, and so, I actually like the gel-like texture. Sanghwang Jin toner is also quite good, after I have used the samples years ago for a purchase of the Sanghwang Jin cream, and so is the toner for Sansim Yang Myeong series. Generally, I can say that Korean cosmetic companies, regardless of their market share, tend to be pretty stringent in standards of manufacturing and research for their Oriental medicine cosmetics and if it is a case of me not liking it, it is just due to the fact that my skin does not agree with it.

    • hopeinablog

      i do like the sulwhasoo toner too, but it is pale in comparison to the rest considering its the most expensive one!

      • Kevin J

        Sulwhasoo is definitely the most expensive brand in Korea in terms of department store brands. Although I don’t think that Koreans in general spend an exorbitant amount of money on cosmetics and skincare, owing to the already cheap price of cosmetics, certain brands such as the Face Shop is not always as popular among some owing to the association with the Body Shop in the similarity of title, and by extension, the expectation that its skincare won’t be good too (Compared to the Japanese whom I find associate the quality of a product with the price….you can comfortably find products here which sell online for around 5500 Yen, around 66 US dollars or so, which is just a normal bottle of lotion and in a small quantity at that!!!!!) The toners from the Extra Refining line of Sulwhasoo are extremely expensive, and one would ask oneself why one needs to pay so much for toner which is just meant to prep the skin for moisturization at best!!

  • Alexandra Teunis

    Merciiiiii Hope !!!!! Tu sais combien j’attendais cette revue avec impatience ;-) Vivement que tu écrives la suite!! Je vais enfin pouvoir mieux adapter ma routine de soin grâce à tes conseils et tes explications percutantes, j’utilise actuellement la gamme Basic de Sulwhasoo mais je voulais tester celle de Whoo sans trop savoir par où commencer. Comme j’ai une peau “mature” (hé oui !), je me demande ce qui lui conviendrait le mieux.
    Hâte de te lire!

    Bon w-e !

    • hopeinablog

      tous ca, ce sont des gammes ‘basique’ – peut etre tu peux utiliser la gamme pour la peau mature ! pour whoo c’est la gamme hwahyun ou jinyul. pour allvit cest la gamme youth replenishing, et pour sulwhasoo cest la gamme time refining!

  • Maria

    thanks for the review! i adore my sulwhasoo water but now i think i might need to try other brands also – at least in sample version!
    btw – what’s the pricing of other toners? same as sulwhasoo?

    • hopeinablog

      ah, the pricing is written in the review. those are the ‘normal prices’, but u can get them much cheaper on gmarket. for donginbi, u can get it from the seller i recommended on ebay!

  • Luna

    Awesome comparison post! I know Sulwhasoo and Whoo are the more established brands, but I’m really more interested to try out Allvit and Donginbi.. might pick up Donginbi from the ebay store you recommended =)

    • hopeinablog

      hehe share it with us once you’ve tried it ! Have you tried the toners from sulwhasoo or whoo ?

      • Luna

        I’ve tried a sample of Sulwhasoo’s toner, it was pretty good, but I couldn’t bring myself to shell out for the full-size. I’ll try Whoo one day when I strike it rich and can afford the whole Seol line.. hehe..

  • bibeautyful

    I’m loving the Donginbi whitening kit right now. Love the smell too. The smell kinda remind me when I put on my Nesura nose strips.

  • Patio UV Umbrella

    Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year, but it’s only fun when you are staying healthy and making sure that you are protected against harmful UVA/UVB rays.

  • Kev Jang

    The toner phase is often optional, as indicated by dermatologists and aestheticians alike, and the emulsion or cream phase is much more important because it seals in any moisture right after washing. Perhaps an upcoming review of the various Oriental formula herbal emulsions or lotions would be a better one?

  • Benny

    First of all, thanks for sharing this. The best review ever.
    I just love the history of whoo. I’ve been using whoo for about 4 months with balancer, lotion, essence, eye cream and cream. I’ve never tried sulwhasoo and the rest but I’ve tried OHUI and to compare the history of whoo and OHUI, I’m more in love with the whoo. It left my skin so heavenly soft after washing my face in the morning. I’m planing to get the whoo sleeping mask as soon as I save enough. ;)

  • imbingq

    I’m using “History Of Whoo In Yang Balancer”, liked it better than ”
    Sulwhasoo Balancing Water”.

  • JJ

    Hi, do you think the strong scent is natural or perfumed? OK for skin you think?

    Thanks you

  • Lisa

    Thank you for the thorough review.
    What seller can you recommend on ebay?

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