Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: TONYMOLY Magic Food Banana Hand Milk


I love Korean beauty, I love TONYMOLY, and I love bananas. So when I was #TrynaGetTo50 on the Ulta site a while back (I just invented that hashtag to express the feeling of hunting around the Ulta site for things to add to your cart to get you to free shipping), and I saw that they had the Magic Food Banana Hand Cream here for $9.99, that was it. I added it to my cart quicker than you can say, "I don't care that I already own 30 other hands creams, I NEED THIS ONE."

I should add that the price of this hand cream at Ulta is pretty competitive compared to other major US retailers (it's $12 at Urban Outfitters, Birchbox, Lord & Taylor, and even on the TONYMOLY US website), plus Ulta does not exclude TONYMOLY from their coupons (yay!).  But you CAN get this product for less if you want to go with retailers that specialize in K-beauty and ship from Korea (like Korea Depart). and you can also get it for less on Amazon but be sure to check where the item is coming from because if the seller ships from Korea, you might have to wait a few weeks to get your order. I've ordered Korean beauty products from sellers on Amazon who ship from Korea, and I think the longest I've had to wait was three weeks to get my order. So that's just something you should be aware of if you're new to K-beauty and you're expecting your order within a day or two. NOT going to happen if the seller ships from Korea.

So now that I've been using this hand cream for over a month, let's get to this review!

TONYMOLY Magic Food Banana Hand Milk 
(retail: $9.99 at Ulta, 1.52 oz.)


Made in Korea


So can we talk about how adorable this packaging is? In real life, it's NOT the size of an actual banana. Well, I take that back. It's actually about the size of a mini banana (the tube is about four inches long). I had it on my coffee table the other night and, from a distance, it looked exactly like a mini banana. 


Once you twist off the cap, you'll see that the dispenser tip is VERY small. I'll get into this more in a moment, but for now I'll just say that the opening of the tube is quite small, which means it dispenses just the tiniest ribbon of product.




My photo above is an extreme close-up of this product on the back of my hand. In real life, this little bit of product has about the same circumference as a piece of yarn. 


Once you start to spread this hand cream onto the skin, it breaks down quite easily.

So first let's talk about the fragrance, since I know that personally, that was the thing I was most curious about when it comes to this product. This hand cream smells EXACTLY like banana flavored Laffy Taffy to me. It's a sweet, artificial banana fragrance, through and through. It's my opinion that artificial banana fragrance usually goes one of two ways for people: you either LOVE it, or you absolutely DETEST it. I happen to love a good fake banana scent, so I'm super happy with the way this hand cream is scented. The scent is medium-strong during application, but it fades pretty quickly. After an hour, I can no longer detect it unless I put my hand right up to my nose, and even then it's pretty faint.

So now let's talk about the consistency and performance. It's almost automatic for me at this point, when it comes to something that comes in super-cute packaging, to assume that the actual product inside the packaging is going to suck, or at least be a little lackluster. When I saw that this was called "hand milk" I immediately envisioned a thin, watery product that would yield zero to little actual hydration or moisturization.  So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not the case at all.

Looking at my pics above, you can see that this product has a thicker consistency; it's a cream--not a lotion or milk. It's not so thick that it's a butter though--it's definitely a cream. It breaks down quickly on the skin, and it's easy to spread. However, once I start working this into my hands, it sort of "gums up" a bit. The texture turns a little gummy, and then it becomes a little sticky/tacky. BUT, after a few minutes, once this product has absorbed into my skin, that gumminess completely goes away. So I'm then left with skin that just feels soft--not sticky, tacky, or too waxy.

As for performance, again, I was pleasantly surprised. After application, my hands continue to feel soft and moisturized for several hours, even after one hand-washing (it doesn't really stick around beyond one hand-washing though). Shea butter is the third ingredient in this hand cream, and it also contains coconut and macadamia seed oil, so it's no surprise that this hand cream softens my skin and adds some nice hydration.

BONUS: due to the extremely narrow opening, you can get great, targeted application with this product. The tiny opening does not lend itself to dispensing a lot of product quickly, but I have found that my favorite way to use this hand cream is on my cuticles (seriously, it's great for cuticles!). So I LOVE that I can squeeze the tiniest strip of product directly on my cuticles without wasting a drop. I honestly have to wonder if TONYMOLY intended for people to use this on their cuticles, because the narrow tip feels like it was made for cuticle application.

FINAL VERDICT: Some products are all about the packaging. But with this hand cream, it's not design over substance. I actually really like this product and it works quite well on my dry hands. I love the artificial banana scent (your mileage may vary there) and I REALLY love using this product on my cuticles. I absolutely do not regret this purchase, and I see myself repurchasing in the future. And NOT just for the adorable packaging.

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.
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29 comments

  1. G, I have been looking at this.since my first trip to Korean Beauty stores. But I wanted your review first. This sounds like a winner as my hands suffer from all the washing. May I also say your recaps on Korean and Asian beauty and food are invaluable ! Daiso is amazing!
    Thank you so much for the great info
    You are amazing...!
    Dallas 2012

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    1. Oh Sue, your comment made my day! Thank you so much! I'm SO happy to help, and I'm so happy you like my little Asian food posts on Instagram. And Daiso IS amazing, right? Love that store so much it hurts, I tell you! Lol. ❤

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  2. G, I've been a follower of your blog for a long time, so I'm pretty shocked that you'd use a Japanese word, kawaii, to describe a Korean product. Just mildly racist there...

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    1. Oh my goodness. I would NEVER intend to be racist in anything I write or say, either on my blog or in real life. Can you please explain to me how this is has what you describe as "subtle" racism? I deeply apologize for my apparent ignorance on this matter!

      I used the Japanese word Kawaii to connote that it's "cute" in the typical Kawaii style. I always believed you could apply this to word to anything; not just Japanese products! I've seen it used to describe Korean, Japanese, US, etc. products many, many times, and was not aware that it could EVER be perceived as racist if used toward anything but Japanese products. Just recently I saw a popular beauty blogger use "Kawaii" in reference to an upcoming Too Faced product. Would that also be considered subtle racism?

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    2. It conflates Japan and Korea, which is a form of orientalism, by categorizing all Asian peoples as one. The usage of the word "kawaii" for non-Asian products is probably a little less fraught (because it no longer has the all-Asians-are-the-same connotation), BUT some would consider it a form of appropriation. "Kawaii" has more implications than merely "cute," so if the intention is to simply call something cute, it would not be appropriate.

      To me personally, I would consider it somewhat inappropriate to use "kawaii" to describe a non-Asian product in most contexts. However, it'd be nearly always racist to use "kawaii" to describe a non-Japanese, Asian product in the US, due to the all-Asians-are-the-same stereotype.

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    3. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, and for providing so much detail. I completely understand now, and I have removed the reference to this being kawaii in my blog post.

      As a longtime follower of this blog, I hope you will accept my apology and that you do not interpret my use of this word in this context as anything but ignorance on my part. Any intentional or perceived racism was NEVER my intent, and I am grateful that you took the time to explain your point of view, and how this word fits into the bigger picture. I will certainly only use it to describe Japanese products from here on out!

      Again, thanks for the explanation--this blog is as much as about me learning things as it is my readers learning things, and I deeply appreciate that you explained this to me so that I can move forward and not make this mistake again.

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    4. Phew, I'm so happy reading your response. I was a little scared I'd have to stop reading your blog and I really do enjoy it!

      On a happier note: the banana lip balm in the same line no longer is the same size as a mini-banana, but also smells delicious.

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    5. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry that you were even a tiny bit scared in anticipation of my response! I'm grateful that you took the time to explain everything, and I'm also grateful that I'll continue to have you as a reader! And thanks for the tip about the lip balm--I NEED it! xo

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    6. Seriously? Why do you care if anyone uses the word "kawaii" to describe something cute regardless of it's origin? I'm Asian and I use "kawaii" whenever I want to regardless of whether I am describing Japanese or Korean things. There is NO RULE that says you have to use a Japanese word to describe a Japanese product or a Korean word to describe a Korean product. G, you are within your right to use this word. I did not find your usage of the word "kawaii" offense, racist, or anything of the such. I believe the person above is in the minority with their opinion.

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    7. Thanks, Unknown. I've seen many people use it in reference to non-Japanese things (just like I originally did) but I understand what Helena is saying and, even if not everyone feels this way, I think it's extremely important to be respectful and mindful of the reasons she laid out in her response. I appreciate you saying you didn't find it offensive though, because I never meant for it to be. :)

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    8. Tony Moly products are produced for the kawaii culture, so I don't see how calling them what they are intended to be is racist.

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    9. Are you kidding with this? Sephora (and most western retailers) conflate K-beauty and Japanese products all the time. How is it "racist" for G to use a word? What if she used a Spanish phrase, like "me gusta?" Would that be racist too?
      This thought policing needs to calm down. Quit picking on people that obviously have zero bad intentions. If you wanted to educate, than do that. But don't go around the Internet accusing everyone of racism. That's a great way to dilute the word and make it so it has no teeth. If everyone is racist, then no one is racist.

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    10. Asian here. Not offended in the slightest. Go cry racism somewhere elsee, will ya?

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  3. I love artificial banana scent and flavor, and I had to buy this cream, too! I want the lip balm, but haven't tried it yet.

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    1. Yay for a fellow fake banana scent lover! Lol. I really want the lip balm too. :)

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  4. I have been on the fence about trying this for ages. It's cute and I LOVE banana laffy taffy but I wasn't sure how the product actually was. I think I need it. Also the banana sleeping pack. I really need to try that too and the lip balm...

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    1. I would LOVE to know what you think when you get it! It really does smell like banana Laffy Taffy, which actually ends up making me a little hungry when I use it. Lol! I need that lip balm too, girl. I think it's next on my list. ;)

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  5. I ended up getting the Tony Moly panda eye sticks off Amazon, they were never in stock on Sephora and then they kind of phased out most of the products. Luckily it arrived quickly via Prime shipping. They are pretty good! I don't think banana-risqué products are for me, but still enjoyed the post.

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    1. Aaah, I remember wanting the cooling eye stick when I first saw it at Sephora (Ulta has it too, BTW) but then I saw that ethanol (aka ethyl alcohol; pure alcohol) is the 4th ingredient, and my skin tends to get a bit dry when I use products containing that ingredient. So for something to use under the eye, I didn't want to risk it since that area of face needs moisture. May I ask if you found it to be drying? Thanks!

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  6. Do you think that you could do, at some point, a post just on your favorite Korean beauty products? I just recently started following a Korean face cleansing routine and am in love! I would love to read about done of your favorites. Thank you!

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    1. I would love to, and I'll certainly keep that in mind for a future post. Thanks so much for asking! xo

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  7. I just recently noticed that Tony Moly was finally at my local Ulta!!! I can't wait to do a haul! When you said Banana Laffy Taffy I was sold! Going to include the lip balm as well and I read that they have a Baby Feet dupe that I am going to try in the fall after I run a marathon! Thanks G!!!!

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    1. Lol I think you're going to love this one, Robin! And I've heard good things about that Baby Foot dupe. I say that as I'm eyeing that original Baby Foot package that's STILL sitting on my desk waiting for me to use. Someday...someday! Lol. ;)

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    2. I tried out the Tony Moly Babyfoot dupe a few weeks ago and (for me at least) it was a total bust! I left it on for the longest possible time and noticed it was warm/burned slightly. When I removed the booties I was shocked to see my nail polish had literally melted off! But it has been over 3 weeks and I never had any peeling results! It just severely dried out my feet, and then I had extremely minor flaking like a mild sunburn for over a week. My feet have never, ever been so rough and dry! Disgusting!! Hope it works better for you.

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  8. I have the banana sleeping pack and I LOVE IT. It comes in the same adorbs packaging (but a larger opening) and has the same unbelievable scent. I also like the performance. It's not too goopy for my combination skin and when I use it, I don't wake up with greasy face like some other night creams

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    1. Thanks so much for the great info about that one! I've been eyeing it (along with the lip balm) and I feel another purchase coming on soon! Lol! :)

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  9. I've tried several TonyMoly cute packaged items with the same pre-judgement that cute and not expensive means not as good quality. I've loved them all. This hand Cream and the "matching" lip balm are both great. There is a coffee face scrub is also adorable and amazing. I'd love to see you review it and other Tony Moly cute products. The Panda eye sticks are great as well (the cooling and the priming)

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    1. Oh, maybe you can answer my question I posed above about the Cooling Eye Stick. I remember being drawn to it when it was first on the Sephora site, but I noticed that the 4th ingredient is ethyl alcohol (pure alcohol). That ingredient tends to dry out my skin (something I do NOT need in my under eye area! Lol) so I was wondering if you find that product to be drying at all? Thanks!

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  10. Tony Moly really does have the cutest packaging! I've only tried one of their products so far: the Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm (housed in a golden egg!) and it's a really great pore-blurring primer. I've just started delving into Korean Beauty and I'm really impressed with the high quality at a budget-friendly price of a lot of their skincare products.

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