If you’re already a little familiar with Korean skincare, then you’ve likely heard of iUNIK. Today I wanted to write a guide to the various serums available from iUNIK for you – because I am going a little bit crazy for this brand right now.
iUNIK is a Korean skincare brand that I’ve been loving a lot lately. So much so in fact that three iUNIK products make up part of my daily skincare routine! I’m a big believer in keeping your skincare routine simple and fuss free – by focusing on beneficial skincare ingredients that target your skin concerns and eliminating unnecessary ingredients (that may do more harm to your skin than good).
iUNIK products provide just this with their minimal ingredient lists containing some pretty awesome natural ingredients – such as propolis, snail mucin, galactomyces ferment filtrate, tea tree leaf water and Centella asiatica extract.
The very first iUNIK skincare product I added into my routine was the Tea Tree Relief Serum, as I was looking for something soothing for my skin after long days in the hot tropical sun. I loved it so much that I also purchased their Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum soon after writing my article on the benefits that propolis has on the skin. I’m so happy with both of these serums that I’ve been eyeing off the rest of iUNIK’s serum range (especially after writing my recent article on the benefits of galactomyces ferment filtrate and finding out about their Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum).
So since I have a little obsession with iUNIK at the moment, I decided to write a helpful guide to their range of serums. If you’re looking to incorporate a serum into your skincare routine, but aren’t sure what your skin needs, then hopefully this guide can point you in the right direction. Or maybe you’ll be like me and slowly buy them all, one by one (please don’t blame me if you also get hooked on iUNIK’s skincare products!).
Currently, there are 6 iUNIK serums available – with each targeting a specific skin concern:
- Beta-Glucan Power Moisture Serum (moisturizing and strengthens skin’s barrier)
- Black Snail Restore Serum (anti-aging, repairing and skin brightening)
- Noni Light Oil Serum (anti-aging and moisturizing)
- Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum (nourishing, anti-inflammatory and brightening)
- Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum (sebum control, pore minimizing and hydrating)
- Tea Tree Relief Serum (skin soothing and acne-fighting)
A Bit More About iUNIK – The Brand
As I’ve already mentioned, iUNIK is a Korean skincare brand with a philosophy of simple, clean and minimal ingredient lists. There is a big emphasis on natural skincare ingredients that are beneficial for skin concerns such as acne, skin aging, irritation and hyperpigmentation.
I’m a big fan of some of the hugely beneficial natural ingredients used in Korean skincare products (especially those supported by loads of scientific research). I think that my skin and iUNIK are truly a match made in heaven since a lot of the natural ingredients used across iUNIK products are ones I’ve already written articles about:
- Centella asiatica (read my article on this acne-fighting and skin soothing plant extract here)
- Snail mucin (read my article on the wonderful effects snail mucin has on your skin here)
- Propolis (read about the acne-fighting, anti-aging and soothing properties of propolis here)
- Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (fermented skincare is huge in Korea and I wrote about the benefits of galactomyces yeast ferment in skincare here)
iUNIK is still a relatively new brand (the brand was only established in 2016), but I have really noticed a lot of their products taking off this year.
In terms of pricing, their products are quite affordable – I’d say in line with COSRX, Etude House and Innisfree.
The packaging of iUNIK’s skincare products is very clean and simple – which complements their philosophy of minimal and natural ingredients. I really like that the packaging of all their serums looks identical (except for some color differences on the labels) and that you can see the color of the serum through the clear glass dropper bottle.
A Guide To iUNIK Serums
As I’ve mentioned, iUNIK currently have 6 serums to choose from, all of which target different skin concerns (although some do overlap a little, as you’ll see). I like that each serum contains a high concentration of a star ingredient and that they contain additional beneficial ingredients to complement these star ingredients (with the exception of the beta-glucan Power Moisture Serum, which contains 100% beta-glucan).
I’m currently using the Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum and the Tea Tree Relief Serum in my skincare routine (I alternate between them depending on what I feel my skin needs the most). I’ve been really happy with these two serums so far – which is why I was intrigued to find out more about the remaining iUNIK serums I haven’t tried yet.
Beta-Glucan Power Moisture Serum
What it’s for: The iUNIK Beta-Glucan Power Moisture Serum is a highly moisturizing serum that strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier and also calms and protects the skin.
How does this serum work? This moisturizing serum only contains one ingredient: beta-glucan, which is a polysaccharide sugar derived from the cell walls of mushrooms (although it is also found in other types of yeast, oats and seaweed). Beta-glucan is a humectant and studies have shown it to be 20% more hydrating than hyaluronic acid at the same concentration. Beta-glucan also has been shown to have antioxidant and skin-soothing properties – making it suitable for even sensitive skin and a great anti-aging ingredient.
Full ingredients list: 100% Beta-glucan
Other notable ingredients: None, since this serum only contains one ingredient.
Texture and fragrance: Although this is a relatively thick and viscous serum, it’s not sticky and absorbs into the skin quickly. It also has no fragrance.
Who Should Use It: This serum is suitable for all skin types and it’s even suitable for people with sensitive skin. It’s a great alternative to the best-selling HADALABO Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion as it also has terrific skin hydrating properties but with additional skin-soothing and anti-aging benefits too.
Black Snail Restore Serum
What it’s for: The iUNIK Black Snail Restore Serum is an anti-aging and skin-brightening serum that also nourishes, moisturizes and soothes the skin.
How does this serum work? The star ingredient of this serum is snail mucin (snail secretion extract), which is a versatile skincare ingredient that helps to improve fine lines and wrinkles, fight acne and reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. To be precise, this serum contains 70% snail mucin. Although this serum doesn’t contain as much snail mucin as the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, it’s still a very effective product and it contains many other beneficial ingredients (see below).
Full ingredients list: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, Methylpropandediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Glycereth-26, Water, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistleto) Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces/Imperata Cylindrica Root Ferment Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Allantone, Centella Asiatica Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Vaccinum Angustifolum (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Carbomer, Arginine, Pentylene Glycol, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Aspalathus Linearis Extract
Other notable ingredients: Centella asiatica (which his great for soothing and calming red and inflamed skin), niacinamide and licorice root extract (both are ingredients that are widely used in Korean skincare products to help brighten the skin), sodium hyaluronate (the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid which helps the skin retain moisture), mistletoe and soybean ferment extracts (which help to repair and moisturize the skin as well as promote cell turnover), a mix of 5 “black super food extracts” (consisting of black bean, black sesame seed, black rice, kelp and eggplant fruit extracts which have antioxidant effects on the skin), and adenosine (a soothing and skin-restoring ingredient with anti-wrinkle benefits).
Texture and fragrance: This is a lightweight, unscented serum which is clear and has a viscous consistency slightly thicker than water. It absorbs very quickly without leaving a sticky or greasy residue.
Who Should Use It: This serum is suitable for all skin types and would be a good choice for anyone looking for an anti-aging and skin-brightening serum consisting of natural ingredients. However, this serum is not as moisturizing as the COSRX snail mucin essence or all-in-one cream, so if it’s purely snail mucin you’re after then I’d go with one of those products instead.
Noni Light Oil Serum
What it’s for: The iUNIK Noni Light Oil Serum is an anti-aging serum that keeps the skin hydrated and helps to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
How does this serum work? This serum contains 42% noni (Morinda Citrifolua) fruit extract which is rich in vitamins A and C and other antioxidants, which help to fight signs of aging by protecting against free radical damage. Studies such as this one have shown that a skincare regimen containing noni fruit extract results in significant improvements in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as skin elasticity and firmness. Noni fruit extract also contains essential fatty acids which help to improve the function of the skin’s moisture barrier.
Full ingredients list: Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract (42%), Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate, Trehalose, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Morinda Citrifolia Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Exract, Brassica Oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Allantoin, Arginine, Xanthan gum, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Pentylene Glycol, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract, Perilla Frutescens Leaf Extract, Yucca Schidigera Root Extract
Other notable ingredients: This serum also contains various plant oils including jojoba, macadamia, and olive oil which also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and help to keep the skin moisturized. It also contains antioxidant-rich plant extracts including blueberry and kale, as well as licorice root extract (which is a fantastic natural skin-brightening ingredient).
Texture and fragrance: This is a white and viscous (yet very lightweight) serum that feels very smooth and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. Even though it contains plant oils, it doesn’t feel oily at all, making it suitable for oily skin types too.
Who Should Use It: This serum is recommended for all skin types and it would be beneficial for those wanting to address fine lines and wrinkles or improve the health of their skin’s moisture barrier.
Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum
What it’s for: The iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum contains 70% propolis extract, plus many other beneficial ingredients which together work to heal, calm and nourish the skin.
There are some fantastic Korean propolis serums on the market, but after spending hours researching them all, I actually chose to buy this one, and I’ve loved it so far.
How does this serum work? Propolis is a bee-derived ingredient and it happens to be a staple in my skincare routine as it has so many benefits for the skin due to its powerful antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Propolis has been used in many cultures for centuries and studies have shown that it is effective at treating acne vulgaris, increasing collagen production, as well as soothing the skin and decreasing inflammation.
Full ingredients list: Propolis Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Extract, Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methylpropanediol, Niacinamide, Dipropylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Glycosyl Trehalose, Honey Extract, Beta-Glucan, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Allantoin, Carbomer, Arginine, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Adenosine, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Pentylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Portulaca Oleracea (Green Purslane) Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Morus Alba (White Mulberry) Fruit Extract, Ginkgo Biloba (Maidenhair Tree) Nut Extract, Caprylyl Glycol
Other notable ingredients: Apart from propolis, this serum contains a long list of other skin-soothing ingredients including rose water, honey extract, adenosine, beta-glucan, Centella asiatica, green purslane, and ginkgo biloba nut extract. Also present are some fantastic skin-brightening ingredients, including niacinamide, pomegranate extract, fig extract, white mulberry fruit extract and 12% sea buckthorn fruit extract. Many of these ingredients also have potent antioxidant properties, which means that they have anti-aging benefits too.
Texture and fragrance: This serum is slightly yellow and has a thin (almost watery) consistency – which means it’s perfect for applying BOTH in the morning and evening. It has no noticeable scent and I like that it absorbs into my skin really quickly (since I often don’t have time to wait much in between my routine steps).
Who Should Use It: This propolis serum addresses multiple skin concerns, making it great for any skin type. If you’re looking to treat acne, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, calm irritation and reduce redness, and fade hyperpigmentation – all while providing your skin with a big bunch of minerals, vitamins and amino acids – then perhaps you need to give this serum a try.
Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum
What it’s for: The star ingredient in the iUNIK Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum is galactomyces ferment filtrate (it contains 50%). It contains many other fantastic ingredients that together give this serum multiple skin benefits – it’s moisturizing and soothing for the skin, plus great for minimizing pores, reducing acne, controlling excess sebum AND fading hyperpigmentation!
How does this serum work? I recently wrote an article on the benefits of galactomyces ferment filtrate, and one of the products I came across when researching for that article was this serum – which actually sparked my interest in writing this review on iUNIK serums.
Galactomyces ferment filtrate is a by-product of fermented sake, and galactomyces is actually a type of yeast that breaks down active compounds in the sake or other substances it’s added to (via the process of fermentation). This results in the formation of many vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are beneficial for the skin and also easier for the skin to absorb.
Galactomyces ferment filtrate has been found to:
- help fade hyperpigmentation (by reducing melanin production)
- reduce water-loss and help keep the skin hydrated (by strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier)
- decrease the number of enlarged pores and blackheads
- reduce sebum production, and
- help treat acne
Full ingredients list: Water/Aqua, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (50%), Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (10%), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Allantoin, Illicum Verum(Anise) Fruit Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, 1,2-Hexaanediol, Zanthoxhlum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Disodium EDTA, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Carbormer, Sodium Hydroxide
Other notable ingredients: The other star ingredient in this serum is rose water, which has anti-inflammatory properties – making it great for reducing redness and puffiness. Rose water also has anti-bacterial properties and may be beneficial in preventing acne. Also present in this serum is niacinamide which is highly effective at treating enlarged pores, regulates sebum production, improving the function of the skin’s moisture barrier and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Niacinamide is not irritating on the skin, which is why you’ll find this ingredient in so many Korean skincare products. This serum also contains a bunch of herbal extracts, which have antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Texture and fragrance: Although this serum contains 10% rose water, the scent is very faint and not overwhelming at all. It’s a light serum that isn’t quite as thin as water, but it’s also not gel-like. It’s absorbs into the skin very quickly without leaving a sticky residue.
Who Should Use It: This serum is beneficial for both dry and oily skin types that are looking to address multiple skin concerns such as acne, enlarged pores, and blackheads – as it’s both moisturizing and effective at controlling sebum production. However, avoid this serum if your skin is very sensitive to fragrances as rose water and anise extract can cause some skin irritation for some people.
Tea Tree Relief Serum
What it’s for: This is the very first iUNIK product I purchased because I was looking for a serum to help cool and sooth my skin after spending time in the harsh Australian sun. This serum does exactly that! It’s soothes irritated skin, provides moisture and helps keep the skin plump. The ingredients it contains also means that its effective at treating acne and fading hyperpigmentation – which was really a match made in heaven for my skin.
How does this serum work? This serum contains 67% tea tree leaf water (which is basically tea tree oil dispersed in water). Tea tree oil is an ingredient derived from the leaves of the Australia tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and it’s known for its skin-soothing and acne-busting abilities (due to it’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties). In addition to tea tree leaf water, this serum also contains 19.7% Centella asiatica extract, which is a herbal ingredient known for it’s powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (making it really good at healing wounds and treating acne). Centella asiatica also decreases trans-epidermal water loss, resulting in more hydrated skin AND it has been shown to increase collagen production, improve skin firmness and elasticity AND reduce the skin’s sensitivity to irritants.
Full ingredients list: Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Water (67%), Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Glycereth-26, Water, Centella Asiatica Extract (19.7%), Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Betaine, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Extract, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Extract, Cellulose Gum, Allantoin, Beta-Glucan, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Adenosine, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Xanthan Gum, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex
Other notable ingredients: As I’ve already mentioned, the iUNIK Tea Tree Relief Serum also contains 19.7% Centella asiatica extract, which works well with tea tree leaf water to soothe and the skin, improve the skin’s hydration, reduce inflammation and fight acne. The serum also contains adenosine (which is also a skin-soothing ingredient that also has anti-wrinkle effects) and niacinamide (which has a wide range of benefits on the skin, including the ability to fade hyperpigmention, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and regulating sebum production).
Unique to this serum is a mix of 6 vegetable sprout extracts (brocolli, alfalfa, cabbage, wheat, canola and radish seed), which nourish and protect the skin with vitamins, minerals and enzymes AND improve the skin’s moisture barrier with essential fatty acids. As if that wasn’t enough – this serum also contains 3 hydrating humectants (sodium hyaluronate, betaine and glycerin), which work to attract and bind water to your skin so it stays hydrated. AND for extra skin-soothing benefits, it also contains dipotassium glycyrrhizate, a compound derived from licorice root extract.
Texture and fragrance: This serum has a pale-green color when in the bottle (which is due to the natural coloring agent Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex – which also has wound-healing properties). On application to the skin, the serum is clear – so don’t worry – your skin won’t be left with a green hue. The serum is quite runny (almost like water), but it feels a little slimy when you put it on (almost like the COSRX snail mucin essence). It’s not sticky at all though and it absorbs into the skin really fast and has a nice cooling effect. iUNIK also say that this serum has a slight herbal scent, however I can hardly notice anything at all.
Who Should Use It: Do you have skin? Then I think you will benefit from this serum! Okay, jokes aside – I do think this serum is suitable for all skin types. It’s helps keep the skin hydrated, soothes irritation, fights acne, helps to regulate sebum production and brightens the skin too. That pretty much covers all skin types and skin concerns! Can you tell when I’m really impressed with a product I’m using??
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this guide on the serums available from the Korean skincare brand, iUNIK, whose products are slowly taking over my whole skincare routine. I really like how each serum is formulated with a star ingredient, such as propolis, tea tree leaf water and snail mucin to address specific skin concerns. I also like that the ingredient lists in all of these serums are quite minimal and are mostly comprised of other beneficial ingredients – which work to complement the star ingredients in each serum really well.