gentle but brightening

Gentle but Powerful Brightening

By Kate Limond
26/03/2024 | Read time: 5m

Solid products from Isntree and Beauty of Joseon

Reviewing Isntree was one of the first things I wrote for UNBLEMISH. And you’ll find plenty of Beauty of Joseon reviews in the K-Blog too. I’ve been using both of these brand right from the very start of my K-Beauty journey.

They’re great intro brands to Korean skincare because their products have much sought after ingredients, the formulations are suitable for a variety of skin types and they tend to be easy to use.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not pushing the boundaries of skincare, both companies are constantly innovating.

Isntree TW Real Bifida Ampoule


This amouple has a very similar texture to Isntree’s C-Niacin Toning Ampoule but it’s thinner so it has a true watery feeling.

The texture is super light so it will be suitable for all skin types, oily skin could use this instead of a serum, especially for the morning. For drier skin, it’s a great additional product for hydration and of course for the ingredient benefits too.


Where do I start!

The star ingredient here is the bifida ferment but there’s also niacinamide which will build on the barrier support and glowiness of the Bifida.

Read more about these ingredients here: bifida and niacinamide.

Isntree are spoiling us with this ingredient list: there’s also rice ferment and peptides!

Both rice and peptides can have well-aging effects, helping reduce fine lines. And as a bonus effect, rice can work in tandem with niacinamide to help even skin tone.


This is one of those products that’s a bit hard to judge where to position in your routine because whilst it’s a serum, it’s more watery than some toners.

Anything with a slightly unusual texture for its product type means I’m going to experiment with where I put it in my routine!

Because this serum is super lightweight and really watery, I was confused about when to use it. Of course, serums come after toners but this is thinner than my Waphyto Regena toner.

It works exactly as it should when you apply it after toner and even when the toner is thicker, I didn’t have any issues with it drying properly.

But I also wondered if it would work well as a first step, in the slot I’d use for Missha’s Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence 5x.

First essences tend to have a lot of fermented ingredients and are usually the lightest of all products and they help your later steps absorb better as well as making your skin glow. Read more about first essences here and here.

Although the Isntree is an ampoule, it has a lot in common with the Missha. It’s a little thicker than the Missha but not by much in my opinion.

I can confirm that the Isntree works just like a first essence and feels great as my first product after cleansing.

Beauty of Joseon Light On Centella Vita C Serum


This is a very light gel cream type texture. I’d say it’s a little lighter than the Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Serum Ginseng + Retinal.

I’d say these new serums from Beauty of Joseon are cream serums, which is like a combination of the moisturising properties of a cream but with the lightness of a serum. It’s such an innovative formulation that really suits the ingredients.

Obviously, this is a little confusing, because like the Isntree, where exactly do you put them in your routine? I’ll write more about this below.


Ok, you’ve probably heard of Vitamin C and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you have absolutely heard of centella because it’s a K-Beauty favourite ingredient that is lots of products.

In short, both ingredients can support well-aging by reducing the appearance of fine lines. Vitamin C can help with pigmentation and well-aging, plus centella is super soothing and comes with well-aging benefits!

However, the classic Vitamin C is ascorbic acid which can be irritating and it can easily lose potency by breaking down (oxidising).

The Beauty of Joseon uses a Vitamin C derivative, which means that it is stable and far less likely to be irritating.


There’s no heaviness, it’s hydrating whilst giving you lightweight moisturisation. I’d say this one is more hydrating and a little less moisturising than the Ginseng + Retinal.

I mentioned that the formula is a cream serum, which is a very good way of thinking about how this product works.

Watery products with ascorbic acid would go first in your routine – for example, the Anua Green Lemon Vita C Blemish Serum, which I’m trying right now, goes on to bare skin.

However, I think that your skin type will determine how you use this product and it doesn’t need to go on bare skin because it’s a derivative of .

If you have oily skin, the Beauty of Joseon could be a good substitute for a moisturiser in your morning routine if you’re finding your moisturiser is a bit heavy.

Other skin types would want to add a moisturiser as it probably wouldn’t be enough on its own.

This serum is brightening but it’s hard to say if it helps reduce pigmentation specifically for me because I use other products with ingredients aimed at pigmentation!

Its always tricky when reviewing something like this because there are so many great Asian beauty products that target pigmentation.

I definitely didn’t lose any progress when I rotated out my usual pigmentation products, like those with glycolic acid, though, which I think is a strong vote in favour of this serum!

And if your skin is sensitive and struggles with stronger acids, this could be an excellent choice. I certainly make sure I use this if my skin is feeling a bit sensitive instead of my stronger acid products.

Final Word

It’s one of the hallmarks of K-Beauty that the products are designed for efficacy but often have formulations that work for sensitive skin.

Once again, Isntree and Beauty of Joseon deliver innovative products that have well-aging benefits for sensitive skin. Although always patch test to be safe!