BAMBOO POWER UP! KEEP COOL AND
SOOTHE PRODUCT REVIEW
HANA CRISP on NOVEMBER 22, 2019
It seems that I’m a little late to the bamboo party. Thousands of years late, in fact, by traditional Chinese medicine standards, which has long made use of bamboo’s cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. Now, bamboo extract is a star ingredient in Korean skincare, giving green tea a run for its money (well, almost).
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH BAMBOO EXTRACT?
- It’s a rich source of natural silica, so it helps to increase collagen levels and skin elasticity, and also retain moisture
- It contains natural antioxidants which can help protect your skin from free radicals (read: aging!) and UV damage (like a booster, not a replacement, for your sunscreen)
- It has natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties to soothe and calm your skin
Not bad, huh?
If you want to incorporate some bamboo into your routine, the Keep Cool and Soothe line contains high concentrations of bamboo extract, as well as additional anti-inflammatory and moisturizing ingredients:
Bamboo Toner (350ml): 85% bamboo water + hyaluronic acid + polyglutamic acid
Bamboo Serum (50ml): 66% bamboo water + 4.5% Centella Asiatica + madecassoside + hyaluronic acid + polyglutamic acid
Bamboo Lotion (150ml): 51% bamboo water + 7 forms of hyaluronic acid
After using these products for the past few weeks, here are my thoughts:
Firstly, let me just say that toners have really come a long way since my high school days of witch hazel and other harsh stripping agents. Modern Korean toners offer a range of skincare benefits, often packed with powerful ingredients.
At the same time, for me, a toner is still a toner. I want something non-irritating, to return some moisture to my skin after cleansing and prepare it for essences/serums, but that’s about it, so it’s not where I invest my money.
The Keep Cool and Soothe Toner has a fluid, watery consistency and absorbs rapidly into the skin. It contains hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid, but it’s not as moisturizing as other toners I’ve tried. Keep Cool recommends layering the toner for increased moisture (but really, who has time to go in with multiple layers of the same product?). It does leave a distinctively soft, satiny feeling on my skin.
Keep Cool also suggests that this toner can be used in multiple ways. For example, you can soak some cotton pads in the toner and apply them as a 5-10 minute soothing face mask, or put it into a spray bottle and using it as a calming face mist – so it may be more versatile than your average toner. I didn’t do either of these things, partly because I already have face masks and mists in my bulging skincare closet, but I did use it as a quick cleanser in the morning on a cotton pad before going to the gym.
TLDR: This is a light, gentle toner that does the job, but there were no obvious additional benefits for me.
Like the other products in the line, the Keep Cool and Soothe Serum is more lightweight than other serums but still moisturizing. One to two pumps spread easily over my whole face. (Keep Cool suggests applying it on a moistened cotton pad but this seems unnecessary.)
It’s non-sticky, it absorbs quickly, and again, it leaves that silky/satiny feeling (that’s how I’d best describe it) on the skin. In terms of anti-inflammatory/calming properties, I tested these products during a recent bout of eczema around my mouth (ugh), and while I didn’t notice any reduction in redness or inflammation, they definitely didn’t make anything worse.
In short, I’d keep this serum on hand for a light, non-irritating layer of moisture – particularly for summer.
The lotion was the surprise here. It has a watery, fluid consistency that applies over the skin beautifully. It feels extremely light yet moisturizing and leaves a slightly dewy finish. The pump mechanism allows a lot of control too (sometimes it’s the little things in life!).
If you’re looking for a super-light, soothing lotion/emulsion, I think this is ideal. But in winter, especially here in Korea, I’d add a thicker, more protective cream on top before sunscreen (Keep Cool does have a cream product in the same line but I didn’t try it). Now I’m in my 30s, I like to keep those fine lines plumped out to the max!
If you’re looking for something gentle and soothing, or if you want to simplify your skincare routine for a while, I’d recommend this line. All three products are light, non-irritating, and barely scented. My normal/combination-type skin felt moisturized and comfortable, and I didn’t notice any oiliness in my t-zone that I sometimes get at the end of the day.
I think this would be an ideal daytime routine before sunscreen, for summer or oily/acne-prone skin (this is definitely coming with me on my Christmas holiday to Australia). In winter, I’d want to swap out the toner for a more moisturizing toner and replace the lotion or supplement it with a heavier cream.
This toner-serum-lotion combo would also make a good K-skincare starter kit. My only quibble is that all three products cost around USD 25 each, and I think you’d go through the toner and serum quite quickly, so I think you can find better value products out there.
① KEEP COOL Sooth Bamboo Lotion 150ml
② KEEP COOL Soothe Bamboo Serum 50ml
③ KEEP COOL Soothe Bamboo Toner 160ml
What do you use to soothe irritated skin? Have you tried the Keep Cool and Soothe line or other products with bamboo extract?