I love Korean skin care products for their focus on effectiveness paired with plenty of antioxidative plant extracts. Anywhere else in the world, ingredients such as Green tea extract or Vitamin E in a product would be highlighted as main selling point. But in South Korea antioxidants and skin care power ingredients such as these are the standard.
Just take the Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule I got in Seoul.
Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule ingredients
Shortly before departing for Korea, I read about the Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule on Fifty Shades of Snail. The ingredients (color-coded) are remarkable:
Water, sea water, glycerin, glycereth-26, butylene glycol, niacinamide, adenosine, glacier water, zea mays (corn) starch, microcystalline cellulose, mannitol, sucrose, CI 77007, tocopheryl acetate*, hydrolyzed collagen, laminaria japonica extract, codium fragile extract, gelidium cartilagineum extract, undaria pinnatifida extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract*, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract, centella asiatica extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, hordeum vulgare (barley) seed extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) seed extract, nelumbo nucifera seed extract, panax ginseng seed extract, punica granatum seed extract, borago officinalis seed oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, macadamia integrifolia seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, brassica campestris (rapeseed) seed oil, decylene glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, hexylene glycol, totarol, sclerotium gum, betaine, allantoin, sodium hyaluronate, carbomer, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, triethanolamine, phenoxyethanol, fragrance*, CI 42090
So many beneficial plant extracts and oils and other goodies! And plants translate into antioxidants, so hooray!
A few ingredients especially stand out:
Niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B3, possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties as it increases ceramides in the skin and mitigates the harmful effects of UV rays. Studies also suggest Niacinamide aids in decreasing acne and post-acne marks. It can be found in countless Korean skin care products including “first” essences such as the Missha FTE.
Licorice root extract is a popular Korean skin care ingredient known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, skin soothing and brightening properties. It is particularly efficient against acne bacteria, dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
Other extracts I personally appreciate in any product are Camellia sinensis leaf extract (= Green tea extract), Centella asiatica extract, Cucumber seed extract and Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) flower extract. But looking up most of the other ingredients individually on Paula’s Choice Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Truth in Aging has shown me that this is an outstanding product with outstanding ingredients in general.
Which is not to say that none of the ingredients will ever pose any problems at all.
Can there ever be too many plant extracts?
I love having as many antioxidants in my skin care as possible, but not everyone is a fan of so many plant extracts at once.
It’s true that plant extracts in skin care in general lack thorough scientific backing regarding their exact effects. Then again, so does traditional Chinese medicine. And yet it remains a solid and strong health care component in Asian countries such as China, Viet Nam or South Korea. In fact, TCM probably also explains why Korean brands like to add plant extracts to their products at all.
Still, the more ingredients in a product the higher the risk concerning intolerances of course. You could always turn out allergic to something specific. And tocopheryl acetate (= a derivative of Vitamin E), Hamamelis virginiana extract (= Witch hazel extract), Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract (= Rosemary leaf extract) and fragrance marked with *, for instance, should definitely give cause for concern as they have been shown to be common skin irritants.
To be perfectly honest, however, it’s unlikely that any of the plant extracts in the Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule are present in concentrations much higher than 1% anyway. Which ironically is good news! Low concentrations cancel out the irritant potential of any individual ingredient while the effects of its antioxidants are boosted by sheer variety. Because when it comes to antioxidants, it’s a fact that the more, the merrier!
Still, as with most skin care products, you always need to try for yourself really.
With all that being said, I love the Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule.
The ampoule is a clear, light blue gel enriched with small blue capsules that disappear upon application. It comes in a large jar with a spatula to spoon out the product. But I find this solution less than ideal.
Not only does the jar packaging make the ampoule inconvenient and a bit messy to dispense. Antioxidants are also very sensitive to light and air, and upon exposure to both can quickly degrade. For those reasons, I have decanted parts of the contents into a pump bottle which I keep dry and dark. I always use two pumps or about half a peanut sized amount, and spread quickly over my face and my neck.
The “all in one” part of the ampoule suggests that you can use it in a number of ways: in place of a serum, as a sleeping pack, as moisturizer both for body and face… But I use ampoules in general for the exact same reasons I use essences: as additional hydrating boost and regenerative, antioxidative skin care supplement.
Yes, the Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule packs countless antioxidants, even more than serums usually. Yes, it is so hydrating and moisturizing it could easily be used on its own and replace my moisturizer.
But still, I prefer to layer it in between my essence and a moisturizer. And it’s great for that, too, because it is so lightweight it does not clog pores or feel in any way heavy or greasy. Just don’t use too much because then it gets sticky and pills.
Judging from the ingredients, it has both humectants (glycerin, butylene glycol, Hyaluronic acid, dark seaweed, etc.) and occlusives/emollients (allantoin and sweet almond, macadamia, sunflower seed and castor oil, etc.) aplenty! Hence I think the Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule is great for almost any skin type except maybe sensitive. Or, of course, anyone with allergies against any of the ingredients.
But the real shocker is the price. Honestly, I cannot with good conscience explain how it is possible to pack this many impressive ingredients and still sell it for just ₩9900, or like €8, per pop! But apparently it is, which leaves you no good excuse not to at least try the ampoule. And if you didn’t like it, it works great as body moisturizer too.
I personally liked the ampoule so much, I got another jar just for back up as well as the Honey version in addition.The Scinic Aqua All in One Ampoule just simply has such a great texture and offers so much hydration – that alone had me sold. But above all I just love feeding my skin as many antioxidants as I can. And I always like to think that my complexion will look forever young and largely free from apparent signs of aging such as age spots and wrinkles because of it!
Do you know any Korean beauty product that’s comparable to this? Share, share, share!