Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner Or Why is Knowing pH Levels Important and More on Skin’s Acid Mantle

What is it?

Before I write what is Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner I need to answer bigger question: what is skin’s acid mantle and why is it important?

Our skin consists of three layers:

  • Epidermis – the outermost layer,
  • Dermis – middle layer,
  • Subcutis (or hypodermis) – the innermost layer.


Epidermis as the outermost skin layer is the one that protects our skin from water loss, microorganisms, toxins and other external factors. It consists of five layers of keratinocyte cells that keep moving upwards the skin surface and undergo series of changes during the process. This is called keratinisation.

These five layers are:

  • Basal layer (stratum basale)
  • Prickle layer (stratum spinosum)
  • Granular layer (stratum granulosum)
  • Clear layer (stratum lucidium)
  • Horny layer (stratum corneum)

Epidermis is covered with hydrolipid film which is basically mix of fats (lipids) and water and makes our skin’s barrier. That fat part of this mix are known as lipids and they bound together epidermal cells and make protective wall on skin.

Water part of this mix is that protective acid mantle. It consists of:

  • Lactic acid and various amino acids from sweat,
  • Free fatty acids from sebum,
  • Amino acids, pyrrolidine carboxylic acid and other natural moisturising factors (NMF).

To obtain normal processes on and in the skin, pH of protective acid mantle of healthy skin needs to be 5.4 to 5.9. And there you go. This is where you are supposed to keep your skin’s pH level. This is universal pH scale (our blood pH is 7.4, and cytoplasm of our cells pH is 6.8):



But what about cleansing, applying actives, or other skin care pH altering steps?

I keep on bumping into myths about solving this question:

 Myth 1:

After cleansing, you should leave your skin alone, doing nothing, at least for 20 minutes to recover its natural pH.


After cleansing skin will recover its natural pH after at least two hours. Left alone you will only make your skin dehydrated. Korean skin care has golden rule of 10 seconds after cleansing. This is the time where you should apply your next step after cleansing to prevent your skin of losing its moisture.

Solution is simple. Use cleansers that are slightly acidic and fall into this nice range of 5.4 to 5.9. If you use acidic cleanser, your skin is already on balanced pH level, and you do nothing more to achieve it.

Myth 2:

You should use pH adjusting toners of pH 4 or less to lower your skin’s pH so your actives (exfoliators) could work.


If you have used acidic cleanser your skin’s pH is intact, you don’t need to adjust anything. Applying toners with pH that low and afterwards even lower will only lead your skin to over-exfoliation an possible skin irritation.

Of course, if you want achieve that exfoliation boost for various reasons, and you are definitely into this matter, then knock yourself out. Sensitive skin types (especially rosacea) should not consider this practice.

It is important to keep our skin’s barrier intact and one of the ways to do so is to use skin care products that won’t mess up our skin’s acidic mantle. This doesn’t by any chance mean that the pH is the sole criterion of validating skin care product. Everything else and only together, including ingredients list and the most important – the product formulation, make the skin care product convenient (or not) for particular skin type or concern. But products with pH 5.5 are considered more appropriate for sensitive skin in particular.

This is where Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner comes in.

It is toner designed for sensitive skin types, but I recommend it to all skin types. It is gentle, soothing and protective toner.

“Low-irritant, weakly acidic toner soothes heated skin caused by external stimulation.”

(source: official Etude House website)



How to use it?

After washing the face, dispense onto the palm and apply on the face in a gentle tapping motion to promote absorption into skin. For skin prone to irritation, keep toner in the refrigerator before use or soak a cotton pad or a dry sheet with toner to use it as pack.




Nice, rather short, but well engaged list of ingredients. Emollients, humectants, and soothing agents like panthenol, madecassoside (centella asiatica), and green tea and Chinese skullcap extracts are combined with sole purpose of skin improvement.

Rosacea safe?


Who is it for?

Sensitive skin types, all skin types

Does it work?

When I got this toner, I was so sceptical. Etude House is known for their corky design and it is brand primarily targeting young people’s skin needs. As I fall more into “grown-ups” category (ok, this is understatement) I was kind of “ok, I will just try a little bit of this toner.” This is when I fell for it. I use it almost every morning or during the day.

This toner has also “Dust Cut” properties which means it also protects skin from external pollution factors.

After couple of months of using this toner, I realized this one is the one I use most. It’s watery, gentle, without any scent and it’s sooo light. I always somehow have mental picture of it as if it is a glass of water for thirsty skin. It also reduces redness and deals with small bumps on my face.


You can use it (I personally didn’t) for 7skins method (layering toner 7 times), or lotion mask. Works perfectly reducing heat and cools down the flushing.

I like using it as mist. Soothing, cooling, hydrating mist that is.

It comes in very elegant transparent 180 ml / 6.08 fl. Oz. bottle made of sturdy plastic. This is full size product, but there is also travel size (easy size) of 80 ml /2.7 fl. Oz. available. It is reasonably priced and you can buy it here:

180 ml

80 ml

I am missing the punch line so I will simply say that I will repurchase this toner. Probably on and on.

Be kind to your skin barrier. Feed it, pet it, trim it from time to time. If you know what I mean.

Thumbs up?




This is not a sponsored post. I purchased it, used it, reviewed it. However, this article does contain affiliate links. That hasn’t by any chance affected my opinion about this product. Everything written here is my honest and unbiased opinion.


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