Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

by Paris B on · 49 comments

in Moisturiser,Product Reviews,Serum,Toner/Lotion

When I last went off to the beach, I took with me a range of skincare for hydration. It was a range of products I’d been using at the time, and to my surprise, I’ve become quite devoted to 2 of the products. I’m almost halfway though the bottles which is why I figured I’d better tell you about them before all I have to show are empty ones icon smile Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

The products in question are from the Laneige Water Bank range which is targeted at hydration. This is one of Laneige’s bestselling ranges but when I first tried it two years back, I wasn’t terribly impressed. It was only when I picked up a bottle of the Emulsion meant for normal to dry skin in Korea, that I actually found myself liking it. Moral of the story, don’t write off a product at first go because skin can change icon wink Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

laneige water range Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

I will tell you about 3 products today from the Water Bank range, but I will tell you here that I only like 2 of them. The other one, you could easily do without since I can icon razz Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin Please feel free to let me know if you disagree though.

Laneige Power Essential Skin Refiner* (RM110/200ml)

This is the one I could do without. The product is called a Power Essential Skin Refiner and in Laneige, is used after the lotion to soften skin by removing the dead skin cells and purify the skin. This is to prepare the skin to absorb the essence and emulsion more easily. I personally wasn’t impressed with it.

It must be said that I already use a daily wipe off exfoliator that works, which might explain why I do not see the benefits in this one. This product comes in different formulations for different skin types, and mine is Moisture to add moisture. It also comes in formulations for Sensitive skin. To use, dispense on a piece of cotton pad and wipe over your skin. The moisture one leaves a layer on the skin which I wasn’t too keen on. All in all, I say just skip this one.

laneige water range4 Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

Laneige Water Bank Essence* (RM165/50ml)

This is supposed to be a new formulation of a classic fave. I was not too impressed the first time I tried this one, but this round, I liked it. The essence is a light gel like texture that absorbs very quickly and easily into the skin with a light fresh scent. The product seems to melt into my skin on contact which is a nice feeling as it does not leave a sticky residue. I personally do feel that it does do everything it says it does – provide long lasting hydration and leaves skin feeling moist almost immediately.

I like using this in the day because its so light yet hydrating. For a skin hydating product, I think it works and my combination-dry skin actually feels much more comfortable with this on. I must note however, the scent. Although I find the scent light and fresh, it may feel a bit too scented to some people so I would suggest that you take a healthy sniff to see if you like it. I am happy with this one, and am still using it in the day when I think it gives me the most benefit thanks to the heat and the air conditioning at work.

laneige water range3 Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

Left: Laneige Water Bank Essence Right: Laneige Water Bank Balancing Emulsion Dry to Normal skin

Laneige Balancing Emulsion Moisture – Dry to Normal skin

Ah this is one of my favourite purchases from my trip to Korea. I picked up various items from various Korean brands but this! This one does all it says on the box without looking cute and silly and crap like that icon razz Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin As you may expect, I found the rest of my purchases pretty much bleh icon razz Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

I tried the Emulsion for normal skin once before but it left no impression on me. When I went to Korea, I picked up a set of products with the Balancing Emulsion for Dry to Normal skin. The texture is still a liquid emulsion, not a cream, and it is thicker and more opaque in texture. Like the Water Bank Essence, I find that when I spread it out in my palms, the heat from my hands seem to melt it a little, so it takes on a slight watery texture.

Absorption is quick and it makes my skin feel very comfortable. Despite the “dry” or “moisture” tag, it does not make my skin oily and I swear, it worked very well to keep my skin feeling hydrated. It helped to balance out the dry parts of my skin vs the not so dry parts, and I liked that! I use it day and night and I use about 2 pumps sometimes if I want a thicker layer on my skin. “Thicker” is relative. Its still very light and it never feels heavy, which is nice. I never had much of an impression of Laneige before, but since I’m already on my way to finishing up 2 products, I can safely say that its been worth a second look icon smile Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

laneige water range2 Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

Oh I should make comment about the packaging of the emulsion and essence. It comes in a pump bottle, but the pump is a narrow nozzle that I somehow really liked. One pump dispenses a good amount of product and it is very easy to control if you want less. I think some other brands could really learn from this.

In a nutshell

The Laneige Water Bank range of products is targeted at skin hydration. The products are scented which can be off putting if you are sensitive to scent. I find that the scent has been reduced as compared with the ones I tried before, but it is worth noting. It would be nice if Laneige eventually becomes unscented although I’m not sure how well that would sit with the Koreans. Product wise, I like the Water Bank Essence and Moisture Balancing Emulsion, both of which I felt did a good job for my skin. They are both light and absorb quickly into the skin without feeling sticky. I used these exclusively for 2 months day and night and I do think it helped my skin a lot (went through a bit of a bad patch) and kept it feeling comfortable even in air conditioned rooms. I didn’t derive any benefits from the Refiner so I’d skip that one.

Pros: Essence and emulsion both have a light texture that almost feels like water, Absorbs quickly, Skin feels hydrated even after prolonged exposure to air conditioning and sun, Not terribly pricey

Cons: Derived no benefits from the Skin Refiner, Scent can be too strong for some

Who will like this: Anyone who wants a hydrating range of skincare that isn’t too pricey

I do not have the ingredient list (its usually in Korean and I can’t tell if its an ingredient list or just a product blurb) but if I ever come across it, I’ll add it in.

Have you tried anything from the Laneige Water Bank hydration range of products? Do you have anything you like?

If you want to try it, I’d say try the Essence and Balancing Emulsion. For me, these are sufficient and you can use it in conjunction with other products. I do. Can’t leave my anti-aging and whitening stuff behind can I? icon wink Laneige Water Bank Skincare: Banking on water to moisten and hydrate skin

Paris B

Laneige Power Essential Skin Refiner Price: RM110/200ml Water Bank Essence Price: RM165/50ml Balancing Emulsion Price: RM120+ (unsure) Availability: All Laneige counters

Disclosure: Items marked * are press samples. For posting guidelines please read my disclaimer.

Previous post:

Next post:

[ 49 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Janice September 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

I’m using the Waterbank Gel Cream and i really like the texture. Prior to this, I was using the Clinique DDML, and most often, my skin gets that ‘burning’ sensation after using it (together with the Clinique toner). In the end, I’ll have to rinse off everything. But with Laneige, I noticed my skin is very much hydrated and it leaves my skin feeling soft and moist! It’s light-weight too and not oily at all, and it’s so easily absorbed! Love the scent too. I’m already in my 2nd bottle/tub and have a 3rd bottle in stock too.

I tried the Waterbank Essence but I’m not too sure whether I like it or not. I use it together with the Pore Clearing essence (given as samples) and I get pimples. I’m not sure whtr it’s due to the waterbank essence, or the pore clearing essence, or could be both? I dont get a lot of pimples, just one of two, but it’s enough for me to stop using the products. One of my friend, she said that Laneige is too moisturizing for her, and she tends to get those tiny bumps on her forehead when using Laneige (and Kose too), so she’s using Clarins.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I can’t use the Clinique toner nor DDML but Moisture Surge suits me skin fine :) as for Laneige, I haven’t tried the gel cream but it sounds like good stuff! Good to know you found Something to work for you :) sorry to hear the essence didn’t. I guess it’s just one of those things. Skincare is such a tricky business!


Tine September 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

Haven’t had the chance to try out Laneige yet. It’s not available here, so I’ll have to get it from S’net. When I was back in Malaysia late last year, I saw the BB cream, saw the price, immediately put it back down and walked away :P

Geek’s been raving about the Sleeping Mask, which I’m quite keen on. Perhaps I’ll try that out first :)


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I like the Sleeping Mask since they reformulated it and it’s a nice way to get a mask on without too much hassle. I use it off and on too :)


SharonC September 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

I bought the Firming Sleeping Mask when I was in Seoul back in March. It’s the newest in their sleeping mask range and so far I don’t see it being sold at Laneige Counters in MY. Maybe they haven’t got the clearance from the Health Dept??

Anyhow, the funny thing is I was gonna get the Water Sleeping Mask BUT grabbed the wrong one and found that out when I got to my apartment. I did try using it and guess what? My skin is so moisturised the next morning. However, it didn’t last, I so believe that I should be using the whole range to keep it moisturised?

I just recently purchased the Balancing Emulsion Light (due to my oily t-zone and normal u-zone). My current korean moisturiser is not keeping it moisturised enough (altho the pimples are almost non-existence but the redness and oiliness of my skin is abit grrrrrr).

I hope by incorporating the Balancing Emulsion will somehow give me what I want. Will most probably get the Skin Refiner Light once I finish up my 2 bottles of Simple Toner… :P I’m actually following Laneige’s directions in using up the toner on cotton pad and swiping motion on my face to see if it ‘exfoliates’ and then have the moisturiser absorbs better or not. :D


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

They have a Firming Sleeping Mask now? Wow sounds most interesting! I’ll try to find out if it’s going to be available here :) maybe it’s just late, as usual. I hope the line works for you. I didn’t like it the first time I tried it, or rather I wasn’t too impressed but this second time around, I actually found I liked it better. It might also be my skin, who knows :)


SharonC September 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I’ve finally gotten the Balancing Emulsion Light on Monday this week. The seller was so nice to give me 2 bottles of Refiner Light (5ml each), 2 bottles of Balancing Emulsion Light (5ml each) and a bottle of Water Bank Essence (15ml pump bottle).

OMG i tell you, @#)($)(*@)#@, I’m so in love with the essence! After having the routine of:
Skin Refiner Light
Balancing Emulsion Light
Water Bank Essence
My own korean moisturiser

My skin seems to be more moisturised. When I wake up in the morning, it’s no longer dull looking and oily to touch. Although it does ‘look oily’ but when i wash it in the morning, it feels like the oiliness has reduced by 50% (no kidding) but I just dun get why it looks shiny but doesn’t feel oily. Weird la. Anyhow, I’m gonna be banking in on their essence soon.

Oh by the way, made a purchase of their 400ml Skin Refiner Light (price is just a tad more expensive than the 200ml one – so it’s really a steal!) in a limited edition bottle – so cute but … damn huge. Thinking of how to bring this when I travel! Hopefully my seller includes another 15ml Water Bank Essence in this package!! :P Kiam siap to the max! At least it’ll last me awhile till I need to get a new full sized bottle!

Why have I not tried Laneige sooner?!??!


Paris B September 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Great to know its working out for you, Sharon :)


Sze Ling September 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

Now I’m intrigued! (yet again…) :P You know I’m all about hydration. :D

But after seeing the price of Laneige in Korea, I just can’t get myself to buy Laneige here anymore. Haha. Mind you, last year, I bought the Sleeping Mask for only RM60 at Seoul Airport. ;)

I’d keep these in my to-buy list if I ever get the chance to transit at Seoul again. Hehe.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Yes, I remember you are all about hydration! ;) I know exactly what you mean about prices. I got a whole set of stuff almost full sized and it cost me about RM 200 or so with a ton of gwps. Prices locally are still affordable but once compared, makes it hard to buy, helps to have friends or family travel eh? Else no choice. Gotta suck it up and buy here hehe


shusheshe September 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I’m heading to Seoul for my vacation in November and this just added to the list of things I need to pick up there!


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Lol!! I hope you will like it! Seoul in November sounds like fun


Jyoan September 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I’ve finished my Water Sleeping Pack long ago, but have bought so many other night-time mask that I haven’t upgrade to the new-improved Water Bank version of sleeping pack yet.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I’ve tried a few brands but I find the Laneige sleeping pack works the best for me. Absorbs better, and my skin feels nicer too. That is, if I don’t compare with using just a thick layer of gel cream :)


stephy September 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

after emulsion, do we still need to apply moisturizer?


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Nope, the Emulsion is the moisturizer unless you have VERY dry skin :)


stephy November 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Do they have toner? is skin refiner their toner? thanks =)


Paris B November 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Yes, that would be their “toner”. Korean and Japanese skincare don’t have toner per se in the Western sense, but they do have a lotion between cleansing and moisturiser.


Janessa September 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Now I want the balancing emulsion moisture product! I’ve tried some Laneige before and I like their scent. I currently use one of their products every night as a moisturizer and it’s the last product I put on. It’s called the “water sleeping pack” with “snow water” and it comes in a jar. It’s such a light gel consistency that feels refreshing.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Oh yes, I like the Water Sleeping Pack too :) it feels very comfortable doesn’t it? :)


Bugs September 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Bought and finished water bank essence, err… more than 1 year ago. The texture and scent was OK but didn’t see any improvement of “water” level on my skin, I even use 3 pumps of the essence. Same with the sleeping pack many ppl raves about. Maybe my skin was too dehydrated….. Until I got a sample of Cosme Decorte Liposome. It really plump up my skin, no more dry lines on cheeks ( imagine how dehydrated my skin was )… But then, my pocket hated me very much !!! I too, hate my skin coz it juz lovessss $$$ stuffs >_<'''

Btw, even though the content did nothing for me, I liked the bottle and the long pout of the pump very much.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Ouch! Cosme Decorte! I haven’t ventured there yet ;) my skin loves the pricey stuff too. Very ouch on the pocket right? :(


lazeny September 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

When I went to Laniege to get an assessment they offered me a customized range of products for my then overly dry skin. They are Water Bank Essence, Hydra Solution Cream (w/c since then have been discontinued in my country) and Water Sleeping Pack. Then they added Perfect Renew Essence to be used at night when those 3 proved to be insufficient in hydrating my skin. They recommended I used everything generously and hydrate myself so I did. I balked at buying the cleanser, emulsion etc because I was satisfied w/ my Shu Uemura cleansing oil.

After a week or so, my dry skin improved significantly, after then my skin went into this awful breakouts. We all chalked it up to hormonal problems because it did fix my initial issue of dry skin. But it turns out I was using too much of all the products. I also developed perioral dermatitis. I only realized that after about two months of diligent use. Needless to say it was a waste of money and effort.

Now I’m just finishing my Water Bank essence then I will take a break, and moving on to Physiogel.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Oh dear, sorry to hear you had a bad reaction to the products but thanks for sharing! That’s what I like about all the interaction we have here. At least we share our experiences so others are warned that what works for me. y not work for everyone else :) thanks and I hope your skin is much better now :)


Becca September 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I’ve tried only one or two products from Laneige–can’t remember what they’re called though (one, I think, may have been a Snowise Emulsion or something like that). I love the light gel texture of the products though–I really like that for my oily skin. But, like you mentioned, my main problem with many Asian brands is that their products are so insanely, heavily perfumed. It’s really ridiculous.


Paris B September 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I like how light Korean or Asian skincare is generally but often, the products are scented quite heavily, pretty much like French skincare. Don’t you realize that? :)


Becca September 7, 2012 at 5:13 am

Really? No I hadn’t noticed…but I guess I haven’t tried that many French brands? I use a lot of Caudalie, and their stuff is really lightly scented. I’ve also tried Vichy and La Roche-Posay though and their stuff is super lightly-scented too (at least the items that I’ve tried). Which brands have you used so I can avoid them? :P lol


Paris B September 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Yep, most of the department store brands like Chanel, Lancome etc tend to be quite strongly fragranced. I haven’t tried Caudalie and I love Vichy which isn’t scented. Wish we had La Roche Posay stuff. They come highly recommended!


Mira September 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

From Laneige, I only have tried the Water Sleeping Pack and the Snow BB Soothing Cushion. I love both of them especially the sleeping pack. When I repurchased my sleeping pack last week, I was given a sample of the new waterbank essence and gel cream. Haven’t try it yet though.


Paris B September 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I like these 2 items too! :D Give the essence and gel cream a go and let me know what you think of it :) I haven’t tried the Gel Cream yet


Lisa September 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Ever since i bought the bb cream compact you’ve blogged on here, Laneige has constantly been on my mind for a while. I love this product. Have been using it very religiously recently. And guilty to be terribly neglecting my foundations. However, i’m quite reluctant to try out other items from the brand as it seems that korean products are a lot cheaper in Korea than here. I might however cave in and get the essence. I love it after trying one sample given to me by the SA when i bought the bb compact. However, it is just one sample. Think i will go get another sample to try out before deciding. Recently bought the Ettusais Skin Version Up Extra and so far i am loving it too. This is another brand that i’ve rarely pay much attention on like Laneige. Skin Version Up Extra seems rather similar in function to the Laneige essence? No? I love the new Ettusais Foam up cleanser too. You must check it out. The dense foam feels like a heavenly treat on my skin. Weird? :-)


Paris B September 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Haha I know! I was using the BB compact for sooooo long too! :D I have to agree with you though. Korean brands are most certainly much cheaper in Korea. Its affordable elsewhere but in Korea it suddenly seems cheap. I guess that’s what happens when you cut out the shipping costs and taxes :) The Ettusais product sounds lovely! Unfortunately for us, Ettusais seems to have disappeared from our shores :(


Icyblue September 6, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Water Bank Hydro Gel is superb with its light texture. Works well and won’t be too heavy on oily skin. Nice scent as well. :p


Paris B September 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Ah I haven’t tried that one, thanks for the rec :)


pj September 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

one thing I hate about their product is it’s too much / too big. somehow I can’t seem to finish using it and see no benefits for my skin. and not to cumbersome mention the glass like bottles. however, i love their sleeping mask! it works very well, especially when you top it with skincare moisturizer routine. i use it 1-2 weekly.
my fav skincare is Origins :P


Paris B September 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I’ve never tried anything by Origins yet but I’ve heard many good things about it :) I don’t mind their large bottles. Most of them aren’t much larger than other skincare I already use :D


pj September 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

If you want to try Origins, you can call them and ask for mini facial (not sure if it’s on-going or during certain period), the SA will give you a mini facial + skin care & recommend products suitable for you, and samples too :)
So far it’s suitable for my skin and I like their SA – not pushy and very informative – telling you how to use products (step by step).
Recommended outlets : Gardens or Pavilion’s (Parkson – I think)


Paris B September 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

Thanks for the suggestion, PJ! I might drop by and take a look one of these days :D


casey23 September 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Oh thank you Paris I was really wondering about Laneige since it is not sold here in Turkey I am gonna order some stuff to my friend :) Do you know if they are sold in Sephora or hould I just order online? Can you recommend a safe site for ordering?


Paris B September 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I don’t think Laneige is sold at Sephora. I know some are sold on Strawberrynet but am not sure where else does sorry!


ysk September 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Water bank essence was my favourite hydrating essence last time but recently it doesn’t hydrate my skin at’s no longer my favourite brand:(


Effa Haniza September 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hi Paris! I just came across your site when looking for reviews for these Laneige products. Thank you for your review. I’m just starting to try Laneige. Before this I only use Hada Labo facial wash and nothing else. I’m learning so much from your site already :)


Paris B September 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Hi Effa :) I’m glad you found them useful – I did like 2 of the products so I hope they will work for you too :) See you around!


catherine September 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hi Paris B, do you have the price list of the Laneige products you bought in Korea. I’m currently using this brand too. And I would like to compare the price here with in Korea as my colleague is heading to Korea next month. I wanna ask her to help make purchase. Hehe…


Paris B September 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Hi Catherine, im sorry but it’s been over a year since I was in Korea so I can’t remember the prices. I’d put it at maybe 10-20% cheaper, but they are very generous with samples and GWP and also have sets that make it more worth while.


dian September 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hi Paris,

I use the Water Bank Essence too and it helped my dry cheek, give moist and glow under my bbcream (works more better than ? O S É Sekkisei Cream). However, I’m a bit reluctant to use it on my T-zone that has acne. Can I know how you’re applying the Essence ? With 5 dot method or spread on palms and just pressing it lightly all over face ?




Paris B September 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hi Dian, I never use the 5 dot method for anything cos I find it too concentrated so I always use the palm method for a more even and tuner layer :)


Michelle Beh October 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I’m going to get one soon too!! Wanna try out Laneige products also :)


Shirley January 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I’ve been using the refiner and emulsion (light version) for about a year and I can say that both have done wonders to my skin – nothing extreme of course, but my skin is less oilier during the day, appear much more hydrated and I get less mild acne breakouts.
I’ve tried the essence (got the 15ml samples from purchasing the refiner + emulsion) but for me, it doesn’t do anything special, except during colder months – it keeps my skin a bit more hydrated, but even then I still have to follow with the cream (the gel cream)


Let's Talk ~ Share your view

No SEO names, rude comments or advertising in comments. Please read the comment policy if new.

Previous post:

Next post: