Tonymoly Latte Art Cappuccino Cream-in Scrub Review

This review has been a long time in the making, because it's one of those products that you neither love enough to use often, or hate so much you want to get a PSA out there as soon as possible.

This product is a classic example of me getting suckered into purchasing via a cutesy gimmick/adorable packaging.  Tonymoly in particular is very good at this; their products are never particularly good, yet I continue to pick things up because I fall in love with the packaging.  In this case, I was actually angry because I ordered it thinking it was going to look like this:
"The latte art hearts are so cute!" I thought.  "I love how the bottom of the cup unscrews and reveals the 'coffee'/product inside!"  I thought.   Thus, I bought it.  However, that's not what I got.  Instead, I got this:

I of course furiously started googling as soon as I unboxed it, and I saw to my dismay that it was not a fake, it was in fact the 'new' packaging and I was not going to have any latte hearts greeting me each morning.

I was really hoping the scrub inside would make up for it, but alas, it was pretty firmly mediocre, even if it has an interesting gimmick.  Read on for the full review!


Full product name:  Tonymoly Latte Art Cappuccino Cream-in Scrub

Purpose:  A gel-to-cream massage pack with scrubbing particles for exfoliation.

Scent:  Strong coffee scent, leaning towards coffee candies rather than actual coffee.  I quite enjoyed the smell personally, but those looking to avoid fragrance may want to pass.

Texture:  A very thick rich gel that turns into a cream as you massage, with suspended gritty particles that don't dissolve.

Quantity: 95g and it's actually quite a bit smaller than it looks in photos, size comparison is below.

Availability:  Tonymoly's Amazon siteTesterKorea, and many other online vendors, it's widely available.

Price:  $10-$14 with shipping, which works out to $0.11 to $0.15 per gram.

Rating: 3/5

Repurchase:  No.  I don't hate it, but it doesn't really do much.

Full Review:

The first thing I noticed about it, after the initial disappointment of the packaging, is how tiny it actually is.  This is not mug-sized, it's like a toy version of a coffee mug.  The orange I put in the photo is a medium sized navel orange, it's not one of those giant ones that you could mistake for a grapefruit.

The mug is now clear frosted 'glass' (actually a heavy plastic) as opposed to the white opaque original version, and it opens from the top instead of the bottom as the original did.

The lid has a paper insert that has the 'latte art' design, now just a boring spiral that looks cheap, and the spatula is now brown.

The spatula is meant to look like a spoon immersed in the latte, but even in the real-life pictures from bloggers (instead of the product shots) the original version looks a lot more believable.  Sadness.

I do like the fact that it comes with a spatula that is embedded in a way that makes it harder to lose, but I find the uneven shape of the mug in general is tough to store, so I usually pop it back into the original box.

The sides (not pictured) are in Korean, but they do kindly provide English on the bottom along with a full ingredients list!  I was unable to find this scrub already registered on so, with bleeding eyeballs, I have transcribed it here:

For all skin types Scrub, the color changing cream that takes care of message[sic] and keratin removal simultaneously

This scrub, with an additional massaging effect, contains the active ingredients of coffee and milk extracts, which work to remove: flaky, dry, dead skin cells and impurities from the the skin, while also providing nutrition to the skin.  The warm sensation produced when rubbing the scrub on the face with the color-changing scrub removes impurities deep in the pores.  The grains within the scrub make the skin smooth and glossy.  In addition, the ingredient of peptide supplies firmness to the skin, and the ingredient of O2 Carrier Complex make the facial contour slimmer.

Directions: Apply an appropriate amount to the face and gently rub until the color of scrub changes.  Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Ok so here's the part where I go OCD in the name of good blogging.  I after I painstakingly typed all that out, I fed the ingredients into cosdna for the benefit of those curious.

Ingredients: Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Polysorbate 80, Sucrose, Milk Protein Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) See Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Leaf/Steam Extract, Hemerocallis Fulva Flower Extract, Nymphaea Odorata Root Extract, Myriophyllum Spicatum Extract, Sansevieria Trifasciata Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf Extract, Honey Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Microcrystalline Wax, Lactose, Cellulose, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Butylene Glycol, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Caffeine, Water, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance.**

(Click image on the left to launch it in a readable text size)

I was surprised to see that the potential irritants were actually quite far down the list, and that some of the key ingredients (namely Milk Protein and Coffee seed extract) were listed near the top.

**Please deities of blogging, please may I never have to manually type out Hydroxypropyl or Phenoxyethanol while squinting at blurry text ever again.  PLEASE.
According to Tonymoly, the star ingredients are:
  • Milk protein extract(1%) - providing excellent moisturizing. 
  • Caffeine -accelerates inner body circulation, effective on puffy face. 
  • Acetyl hexa-peptide 8 - diminishes wrinkles and lines, effects like botox. 
  • Natural coffee extract- enriched caffeine from coffee seeds. 
  • Coffee and milk extract removes dead skin and dirt, gives nourishment. For massage and scrub. 
If I cared more about this product, I'd do some research to see if any of that has any legitimacy, but frankly, this product is so meh I'm going to just move on to the gimmick:

The scrub starts off as a dark brown, translucent gel that is very thick and sticky.  It has a pleasant, if artificial, coffee scent and begins to feel warm almost immediately, and changes colour.

It has tiny grains of something suspended in the gel to provide exfoliation, but this is not a 'scrub' in the traditional sense as the particles are quite sparse.  It's sort of a weird blend between a massage gel/cream and a scrub, but I don't like that.  If I want the abrasiveness of a particle exfoliant, I want a scrub that is primarily particles suspended in just enough medium to make it easy to use.  If I want a massage gel/cream, I don't want sharp exfoliating particles randomly floating around and scratching me as I massage my face.

As you massage the gel, it starts to turn into a cream and lighten in colour, and continues to become warmer and warmer as you go.  It never becomes painful for me, as it doesn't take very long to 'colour change' from 'coffee' to 'cappuccino' and turn creamy, and I have experimented with massaging up to about 5 minutes at a time.

The warming effect doesn't really persist past a few minutes nor does it get particularly 'hot', and I'm very curious as to what the warming agent was; I did some cursory checking of likely suspects from the cosdna list but didn't find anything convincing.

The idea, I am sure, is that the heat causes your pores to open up so you can massage out the gunk the way you do with oil cleansing, but it didn't have any noticeable effect on my (very clogged) pores.  Sensitive skin sufferers should probably avoid this just due to the heating aspect alone.  I won't deny it's neat to see it change colour, but if I'm going to use a product on my face, I expect good results.

And that's pretty much the crux of it; I wasn't wowed by the effects-- yes it makes your skin soft and maybe the heat helps clear pores, but I didn't notice anything special and it's both sticky and hard to clean off.  The heat meant I had to be very gentle with the cleansing products I used to get it all off, and as a result it was a challenge to remove it thoroughly.

Final Thoughts:

Both milk and caffeine are commonly used as skincare ingredients and do have a proven effect on your skin, but if you are looking for the benefits of either,  I'd recommend you look for them elsewhere.  This scrub/gel/cream/whatever isn't it.

If you know the ingredient that causes the warming effect, or have tried this scrub, please let me know in the comments below!

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. They did the same thing with the Milk-Tea Morning Pack. Both of the packaging WERE super cute. I don't know what Tony Moly was thinking when they changed the packaging. You're right about this product thought. There isn't really anything too special about it. It smells nice to me. Thanks for the review xoxo <3

    1. Why do they mess with a good thing?! Why would you take packaging that was driving more sales, and reformulate it into something less attractive that puts off buyers?

      I agree about the smell, and sometimes I will use it in the morning when I'm trying to trick my sleepy brain into thinking that the coffee is already brewed and it can go ahead and wake up already ;)