I was first introduced to MUN in 2013, and I wrote my review of the now-renowned skin savior known as MUN No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum (formerly labelled Nighttime Dream Youth Serum) back in May 2013. My love of MUN has held steady these last two years, as its proven itself over and over again as the ultimate superpower in face oils.
Even people who have had the worst experiences with face oils will buy MUN Aknari in trepidation, then email me two weeks later enthusiastically exclaiming how their skin is now clear/plump/brighter/smooth/you name it.
It’s just one of those products that if it ever ceased to exist, there would be a lot – and I mean kiloliters – of tears.
When Munemi Imai, the beauty and brain behind MUN, told me of her plan last summer to launch a toner, I immediately knew it would be a stunner like its big sister. And let’s put it this way: I was sent a bottle for review and have since bought two more. Keep reading for all the details!
MUN No. 11 Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner Review
Years ago, I was not a fan of toners.
I didn’t see the point. They dried out the skin, they were a tremendous waste of cotton balls, and they seemed like just another way to extract a few dollars from our pockets.
I have since changed my mind. A real toner is meant to balance the pH of the skin, and work in tandem with your natural skin barrier to keep your skin smooth, hydrated, and free of infection and acne. A properly formulated toner is worth its weight in gold.
The basic idea is that our skin is naturally acidic, and cleansing (even though necessary, especially in polluted environments) alkalizes our skin, giving way to that “stripped” feeling everyone talks about and resulting in some combination of the following issues: dry patches, flakes, tightness, post-washing oiliness, and smatterings of blemishes. The two biggest “secrets” to preventing this fallout is to use a more acidic face wash (between pH 4.5 and 6, ideally nothing above a neutral pH 7.0) and use a properly formulated toner post-cleansing. That’s where MUN saves the day yet again…
Benefits & Experience
Toners are supposed to be on the acidic side (between pH 3 and 5) in order to help bring the skin back to its natural, healthy, acidic state (healthy skin is about pH 4 to 5.5). MUN Anarose is perfectly acidic at pH 4.5 but don’t be fooled – there’s no burning at all. In fact, it is instantly soothing and encourages the skin barrier to repair and maintain itself properly, which prevents dry skin, dry patches, roughness, redness, and blemishes.
I love the soothing and hydrating abilities of this concentrated toner and I notice a big difference in the hydration level of my skin – dehydration lines are nowhere to be found, oil production slows, and my follow-up skin care products like face oil or moisturizer sink in much faster. The texture is watery, not artificially thickened with silicones and polymers. It has the delicate floral scent of rosewater which dissipates a few minutes after applying.
How I Use It
First I double cleanse (first with an oil or cream cleanser, followed by a gel or foam cleanser) and gently pat dry. I then pour a few drops of MUN Anarose (I’m careful to pour slowly, it’s very watery) in the palm of my hand, press my palms together, then press my toner-soaked palms onto my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin to distribute the toner. I don’t like using cotton pads with toners because the cotton soaks it up and I would rather my skin do the soaking (the only exception I make is a Chizu Saeki lotion mask).
My skin looks and feels instantly radiant, healthy, soothed, and hydrated. I immediately apply my serum and moisturizer. You don’t have to wait for the toner to dry. I like to apply a drop or two of MUN Aknari all over my face while my toner is still a bit damp on my face. Try it that way and you’ll notice even more startling results.
Full Ingredients List
De-ionized Water, Rose Hydrosol* (Rose Water), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Maltodextrin, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Stem Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit (Goji Berry) Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Vegetable Glycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.
100% Natural. 92.5% organically derived. Vegan. *Certified Organic.
MUN is known for its quality formulations using the expertise of a certified lab in conjunction with its superior sourcing of high quality, organic ingredients directly from Morocco and Bulgaria. Below are some highlights from the stellar ingredients list.
Rose Hydrosol (Rose Water)
Rose hydrosol as the second ingredient, meaning it takes up a high percentage of the formulation. In this case, the ingredient is derived from fresh rose blossoms hand-harvested from Valley of the Roses in Bulgaria, where they are steam distilled to make a concentrated hydrosol. Not all hydrosols are created equal – in order to cut expenses, many manufacturers dilute their extracts and distillations with water or synthetic essential oils (this is bad because they can contain harmful byproducts and don’t have the benefits of the original essential oil) to lend a stronger rose-like scent that masks lower quality or heavy dilution. Quality rose hydrosol like this contains beta carotene and possesses antibacterial activity, great for those with acne and rosacea.
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice
This is a classic wound healer, most commonly used for the treatment of sunburns (who hasn’t seen those giant tubs of green-dyed goop in stores?). What is perhaps less commonly known is that aloe vera increases skin hydration, reduces water loss, and helps maintain the integrity of the skin barrier, which is essential for everyone, especially those with dry skin, dry patches, or acne.
A safe, non-toxic polysaccharide (carbohydrate) derived from starch that helps to stabilize skin care formulations. In a study in 2000, maltodextrin was found to enhance anti-aging activity of weak acids and reduce skin irritation associated with their use.
Prickly Pear Stem Extract (Opuntia Ficus-Indica)
Goji Berry (Lycium Barbarum)
Goji berry has the incredible ability to protect the skin from UV damage and increase the skin’s superoxide dismutase activity, reducing free radical damage and keeping the skin youthful, firm, and resilient. Fun fact: superoxide dismutase plays a key antioxidant role in the body, preventing oxidative stress and even playing a role in longevity. Sign me up!
Dehydroacetic Acid & Benzyl Alcohol
These two ingredients might sound scary, but they are not. They are both naturally derived and synthesized preservatives that are safe and nontoxic. Don’t be scared of the word synthesized, either – rose hydrosol is synthesized from roses and water, tea is synthesized from boiling water and the leaves/stems/etc. of a plant. Both have been approved for topical and internal use by the FDA, ECOCERT, NSF, and Whole Foods. You might have seen that benzyl alcohol is rated 5 from the EWG as a contact allergen, yet it’s important to read the details…it is rated a 5 at levels nearly 10 times higher than is used in cosmetic formulations. Keep in mind that some personal care products use benzyl alcohol in the 5% range of a formulation and they are still tested safe and non-irritating. MUN Anarose contains less than 0.5%. Several years ago, I used to believe that natural meant safe and synthetic equated to bad, but this is not the case at all. Remember that just because something is natural does not automatically make it safe (poison ivy, arsenic, potassium-40 anyone?), and just because something is chemically synthesized or derived does not make it harmful (penicillin and insulin for example).
This ingredient occurs naturally in our bodies, and keeps skin plump, firm, and hydrated because of its incredible moisture-binding abilities. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons baby’s have such plump, beautifully textured skin. I make sure to use at least one or two hyaluronic acid-containing product per day in order to increases my skin’s hydration (which protects against fine lines and blemishes) and also protect against free radical damage (which prevents signs of aging).
So does their list of product claims match up to my experience and results?
* Hydrates skin with an all-day effect. Yes! And it works beautifully with any facial oil or moisturizer.
* Softens and moisturizes skin. Yep, and it makes a big difference in how well my serum(s) and moisturizer sink in.
* Refreshes skin, giving it a natural glow. Yes, my skin felt instantly calm and cool after applying.
* Soothes, smoothes and comforts areas prone to dryness and fine lines. Definitely.
* Helps enhance performance of moisturizers and anti-aging treatments. Yes (see above).
* De-pollutes and protects against environmental damage. This is backed by scientific data on the ingredients, so yes.
* Achieves optimum results when used with No. 1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum. Yes (see above).
10% Off + Free Shipping For Epic Beauty Guide Readers!
MUN No. 11 Anarose is $68 for 3.38 oz./100 ml and lasts me about 3 months of twice daily use. It’s travel-friendly and I bring it in my carry-on luggage. MUN has graciously given a special code just for Epic Beauty Guide readers. Go to munskin.com and enter code epicbeautymun at checkout for 10% off and free shipping anywhere in the USA.
Have you tried MUN Anarose yet? Let me know if you have and your thoughts on it!