Tonymoly From Ganghwa Pure Artemisia First Essence Review


I have reviewed two mugwort FTE’s ~ yes, they are first essences~  already ~ I’m From and Missha and now I am finally giving my opinion on the Tonymoly From Ganghwa Pure Artemisia First Essence.  There are so many types of these essences flooding the skincare market, so hopefully, my reviews will help you decide which one is best for you! “Single essence” treatments are trending now ~ whether it is Amore Pacific Vintage Single Essence made with fermented green tea or these fermented and aged mugwort essences.

Skin Type/Concerns: Oily, blemish prone, pores, aging, hyper-pigmentation, fine lines/wrinkles

All reviews are my own honest opinion and  I never have been asked to write copy for a brand.  This blog post might contain promo codes, affiliate and referral links, which using my links will help generate a small commission that helps support my blog at no extra cost to you. 

What is 🍃🍃Mugwort?  Well Mugwort is an ingredient that has been used in traditional Asian medicines for centuries and there are several different types of mugwort;  From wiki

  • Artemisia annua – annual mugwort
  • Artemisia argyi – Chinese mugwort, used in traditional Chinese medicine
  • Artemisia douglasiana – Douglas mugwort, native to western North America
  • Artemisia glacialis – alpine mugwort
  • Artemisia indica – Japanese mugwort
  • Artemisia japonica – Oriental mugwort
  • Artemisia ludoviciana – western mugwort, native to North America
  • Artemisia norvegica – Norwegian mugwort
  • Artemisia princeps – Japanese mugwort (“yomogi”), Korean mugwort (“ssuk”), used as a culinary herb and in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Artemisia stelleriana – hoary mugwort
  • Artemisia verlotiorum – Chinese mugwort
  • Artemisia vulgaris – L.–mugwort, felonherb, green-ginger, common wormwood
image from

Tonymoly’s mugwort essence is made from artemisia princeps, otherwise known as yomogi in Japan and ssuk in Korea.   Tonymoly grows their mugwort on Gangwha Island off the western coast of Korea.  This seems to THE place where Korean mugwort is grown, as so far, I am seeing Gangwha Island crop up quite a bit in my mugwort skincare reviews.  Gangwha Island’s maritime climate, seabreezes, abundant sunshine and clean soil is optimal for growing mugwort.   Tonymoly harvests their mugwort in May and then it is aged for over 3 years.  Finally, using a heat extraction method,  the mugwort essence is extracted and ready to be bottled.  

image from

Mugwort helps reduce redness, rashes and other skin issues, including allergic reactions.  It contains a rich source of  vitamin C, essential amino acids such as histidine, valine, leucine, and isoleucine. It also has non-essential amino acids including arginine, glutamic acid, glycine, serine and tryosine.  Due to its gentle nature, mugwort leaves can be added to a baby’s bathwater to help soothe and reduce any skin dermatitis.  It helps heal skin wounds, such as blemishes, as it has anti-bacterial and anti fungal properties and it is a topical anesthetic.  It contains a rich source of antioxidants as well and has been known to reduce and lighten hyper-pigmentation caused by age, sun damage and blemishes.  It is very well suited for all skin types, including sensitive skin.   Fun Fact: Wort comes from an old term that meant a useful plant

Now, all of these mugwort essences claim that they 100% pure mugwort, but that really isn’t the case. I posted this before but I think it bears repeating ~ I found this great video from Beauty Blogger, Soo Beauty, who explains the 100% mugwort claim, preservatives and why are these essences so darn expensive??

In a nutshell, Soo Beauty explains that it isn’t really just 100% mugwort ~ the plant is put in a solvent, such as water, alcohol or oil, and the plant matter is dissolved in those solvents.  They all have some type of preservative ~ she mentioned that I’m From Mugwort has 1,2-hexanediol, which is a non-irritating preservative.  She didn’t mention what the Tonymoly has, but they all need some type of preservative to prevent the product from going bad.   The expense behind these essences, and I am sure this applies to any single essence, is due to the special technology that each brand uses to extract the essence.   It is a really good video, so if you have time, I highly suggest watching it!

This essence comes in a tall 150 mL plastic bottle with a lovely dark olive green ombré shading and Hangul very prominently displayed down the front of the bottle.  Tonymoly didn’t get all cutesy with this product at all and decided to showcase it with very classy looking packaging.   The cap is a dark brown-black and it twists off to reveal a pin hole applicator.

Tonymoly only has listed one ingredient, but based on Soo Beauty’s video, it most likely has a preservative in it ~ this has the 100% Artemisia Princeps.  Based on the three mugwort essences I have tried:  this one, I’m From and Missha ~ this has the thinnest and most wateriest texture, a beautiful amber shade and it is the darkest in color  and the scent it is amazing.  This is the most mugwort-y scent and it is just lovely and herbal.  

It is not sticky or tacky and because it is so watery, it dries down almost immediately.  Mugwort essences are not really overly hydrating, as their principle goal in life is to reduce redness.  This has no oily residue and leaves my skin very smooth and soft.  Since it dries down so quickly, I can easily apply several layers in record time.  This has a pH level of about a 5.5 to 6. 


image from jolse

Tonymoly has instructions on how to use this, but choose the method that works best for you.  For oily skin, they recommend applying it with a cotton pad and for dry skin, to pat it in.  I have oily skin, but it is dehydrated, so I like to pat the essence in.  It is so watery, it doesn’t matter!!  You can also use this as a pack ~ just soak cotton pads or a compressed dry mask in the essence, apply to your face and let it stay on for 5 minutes to really help soothe and calm down your skin.  This essence can also be decanted into a mist bottle and used as a facial mist all through out the day. 

This is very refreshing on my skin and right now, it is the clear winner of the 3 essences I have tried so far.  Why it won out over I’m From and Missha

  1. The Packaging:  I am happy with the plastic bottle.  Missha and I’m From are in glass bottles and I am always scared I will drop them on my tiled bathroom floor and they will break into a million pieces.
  2. The Scent: This has the strongest herbal mugwort scent of the three and I love it.
  3. The Texture:  It isn’t oily, doesn’t FEEL oily, doesn’t feel like anything but water on my skin.  Dries down quickly
  4. The Price Tag: Best price out of the three. 
  5. The Description:  Tonymoly doesn’t beat around the bush to keep you guessing here.  They came out and SAID it.  It is a First Essence Treatment, just as all of us have suspected for a long time now.  The other brands just danced around the name.

I am surprised that Tonymoly beat out Missha and I’m From.  I normally do not like Tonymoly for skincare products ~ I  mean, I will purchase them for the cute factor, but the From Ganghwa Pure Artemisia isn’t being marketed as cute or for kids.  This is serious skincare and I actually have purchased the sleeping mask pack to try out next.  So as of October 27th, 2019, Tonymoly is the clear winner of the Mugwort essences.  I have several more that I own and I think the next one I will try will be the Hanyul.  I heard it is a bit more “oily” and since the cooler weather is coming, this might be the time to try it out. 

image source jolse

Where to Purchase



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