I was contacted by IUNIK about 2 months ago, asking if I would like to try their products. They are a new Korean cosmetic skincare brand with a very minimalist aesthetic and natural, ingredients-focused products. There was no obligation to review but I really enjoy both the serums I chose, have been using them everyday since, and want to share this new brand with my readers as it will work for a lot of different people and is also more affordable than other popular alternatives (which I will get onto below).
TEA TREE RELIEF SERUM:
First up, let’s talk about the tea tree relief serum. This claims to calm, soothe and provide relief to sensitive/problem skin that leans on the oily side, with its concentration of 67% tea tree leaf water, 19.5% centella asiatica leaf water and 6 sprout extract for moisturising and nutrition.
PRICE: USD15.49 (approx. GBP12) from their store unique4u.net
QUANTITY: 50ml/1.71 fl.oz
PACKAGING: Housed in a glass pipette dropper bottle with a simple white label. Has basic product function and main ingredients noted in English and Korean so it’s very product-friendly for non-Koreans to use. I really enjoy using products that dispense through a pipette as you can control the amount and it keeps the product sanitary. However, like most others, the pipette doesn’t reach to the bottom of the bottle so when you get to the end it becomes really difficult to get the rest of the product out. Usually I end up having to pour out a little from the mouth of the bottle instead.
INGREDIENTS: So the main bulk of the ingredients is made up of the tea tree leaf water and centella asiatica leaf water, both of which account for a whopping 86.5% of the serum. I really appreciate the fact that the brand has stated the % of the main star ingredient because it irks me if an ingredient-focused skincare product (especially if that ingredient is included in the name), doesn’t state how much is in there, since it could just be false marketing if it only contains a little and comes low down on the ingredients list.
Tea tree is great ingredient as it is antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. This makes it very effective for acne-prone people as it can prevent further breakouts caused by bacteria, treat wounds and promote healing.
I absolutely love products which have centella asiatica extract and it can be increasingly found in many Korean skincare and beauty products. Its benefits include speeding up the healing process of blemishes, wounds, inflammation etc, preventing scarring and improving skin elasticity.
SCENT: No discernible scent and no added fragrance which makes it good for sensitive skin.
APPLICATION/TEXTURE: I use about half a pump for my entire face and neck (both day and night); sometimes a bit more if my skin is feeling particularly irritated and red. It has a slight green tinge in the bottle which is beautiful, but it applies colourless like water. It is a very lightweight, fluid serum and actually performs more like an essence. Since it has such a thin, runny consistency and a high concentration of beneficial ingredients, I use this straight after my toner and first treatment essence. It absorbs almost immediately and doesn’t leave any visible residue; it simply makes the skin look and feel a bit more hydrated and I can move onto the rest of my skincare steps immediately (usually layering other serums, eye cream, moisturiser and sunscreen on top).
THOUGHTS: This claims to be moisturising and have whitening and wrinkle care but I take this with a grain of salt. I don’t necessarily believe this serum to be effective or at least potent enough to see a visible difference in regards to these benefits. While it does feel hydrating, I wouldn’t rely on this serum alone in winter to deliver added hydration before my moisturiser. (But then this is where the propolis serum comes in, which is perfect for layering over this). Although saying that, my skin is normal/dehydrated and this would be the perfect hydrating serum for oily skin types if used alone.
What this serum is nice for however, is calming and soothing skin irritations due to its 2 main ingredients. I have been using the LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence for the past 2 years and I feel at times that my skin has become accustomed to it so its not as effective as it used to be. So when I switched to this Tea Tree Relief serum, I had a small, itchy red bump that was caused by some irritation (wasn’t a spot/pimple), and it wouldn’t completely go away after 3 days. After the first night of using this, the next day the bump had gone down and it was no longer itchy!
This is useful for minor irritations and blemishes but if you have serious acne or pimples and spots, don’t expect miracles. This doesn’t prevent me from getting the occasional breakout of spots and pimples, but rather I use it to soothe and maintain my skin overall, calm the spots I have, and prevent irritations and redness from flaring up. This is a very gentle and mild tea tree skin treatment so I definitely recommend it for people with sensitive skin. I would say this works in a very similar way to the LJH Tea Tree 90 essence and has the same consistency, but is a much more affordable alternative.
PROPOLIS VITAMIN SYNERGY SERUM:
Next up, the propolis vitamin synergy serum. This claims to calm, nourish and brighten skin that leans on the sensitive and dry side, with its concentration of 70% propolis extract and 12% hippohae rhamnoides fruit extract (vitamin C).
PRICE: USD14.99 (approx. GBP11) from their store unique4u.net
QUANTITY: 50ml/1.71 fl.oz
PACKAGING: Also comes in a glass pipette dropper bottle with a simple white label with both English and Korean and the expiry date on the bottom.
INGREDIENTS: The two main ingredients of propolis and hippohae rhamnoides fruit extract account for 82% of the total serum.
Propolis itself is a substance made by bees (which I’ve talked about before with the Cosrx Honey Overnight Mask), that has soothing, calming and healing benefits for the skin. It is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and a source of antioxidants, amino acids and minerals.
Hippohae rhamnoides fruit extract (from the sea buckthorne fruit), is a highly nutritious fruit that contains an abundance of omegas, antioxidants, amino acids, minerals and vitamins (in particular one of the highest plant sources for vitamin C). Vitamin C is a proven ingredient for brightening and evening skin tone, reducing pigmentation, stimulating collagen production, neutralising free radicals and keeping skin looking more youthful.
LJH Vita Propolis ampoule is another very popular propolis product in Korean skincare which is much more expensive, comes in 15ml only and has 50% propolis extract. That’s not to say it isn’t a good product as I like using that one too in a different way, but the IUNIK serum is much better value for a product that is very similar in ingredients list. This contains almost all of the same potent ingredients that the LJH ampoule does, but with additional fruit extracts – pomegranates, mulberry, ginko and figs which combined, reinforce the skin benefits of propolis and vitamin C.
SCENT: If I put my nose right to the opening and take a sniff I can just about smell a faint scent that reminds me of vitamin C tablets for kids. On application though, this isn’t detectable and this is made with no added fragrance.
APPLICATION/TEXTURE: I use half a pump of this day and night also and typically comes after the tea tree relief serum and typically just before my moisturiser. I will usually have another serum in between these two products. This has a pale orange colour in the bottle but applies almost a pale yellow colour. This is not a heavy, sticky or oily serum so it layers beautifully with other products and absorbs quickly, but still feels soft and nourishing. It never feels too heavy and while it has a thicker consistency than the tea tree relief (which is much more like water), it is still runny and spreads out very thinly when you apply it.
THOUGHTS: I absolutely adore this serum! I’m already 1/3 of the way through it and 100% I will be getting another bottle when this one is done. It’s become such a staple in my routine that I really miss it when I don’t use it. My skin absolutely loves propolis because the effects are that it really calms and soothes my irritations and any skin troubles I have. It helps to keep the redness at bay which I’m prone to getting (or reduces it when I do have redness), and even calms my skin overall so it reacts less to external stimuli, which means less breakouts.
Another fantastic benefit I’ve noticed is that since I’ve been using this, my skin feels a lot more comfortable and hydrated during the day. My normal skin typically gets quite dry and tight from within by the afternoon (which is when I know my skin is getting dehydrated), especially when I’m at work in the office. Nothing else in my skincare routine had changed when I started incorporating this propolis vitamin synergy serum, so I knew it was this that was helping my skin retain hydration and moisture. These days my skin is a lot more comfortable and never feels as tight as it used to about the 6-8 hour mark, even with more matte foundations. I am curious as to whether my hydration can be maintained with this serum once it’s the middle of winter, but for now during the summer/autumn transition, this has been so effective!
I also find that my skin texture and radiance has improved with use and gives my face that nice inner glow which the LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule also does. However I haven’t really noticed much difference with my dark pigmentation areas from old spots. They are really stubborn so I have been relying on other targeted skincare treatments to lighten these areas. I would recommend propolis more if you struggle with overall skin dullness and lack of radiance rather than dark spots.
Overall, I love both serums but the propolis one has been the definite game changer for me. It solidified the fact that my skin reacts really well to propolis and is so reliable for soothing and adding skin vitality. The best thing is that it has also been able to reduce my dehydration when many products have failed at this.
Both these serums could work for all skin types in conjunction with other skincare products because they are gentle, effective and have a high % of active ingredients to help with skin troubles. If you’ve been hesitant to splurge on the more expensive LJH products (Tea Tree 90 Essence & Vita Propolis Ampoule), I highly recommend you give these a try first.