K-Beauty Barrier Repair Upgrades

K-Beauty Barrier Repair Upgrades

By Kate Limond
08/05/2023 | Read time: 5m

These Isntree and A’pieu products are so effective that I will be using them until it gets too hot for oilier skincare!

Isntree Yam Root Vegan Milk Toner


Isntree is one of my favourite brands for texture! Sure, it’s one of my favourite brands anyway but they also always deliver on texture in my experience.

This toner has a thicker-than-water, substantial and slightly oily feeling texture. It’s not jelly like the Tia’m Snail & Azulene Essence Toner but that’s ok, it still has a good texture for a toner!


The star ingredient is the yam root extract, which may be good for pigmentation. There’s not a lot of research on this but I’m pleased to see that it might help with evening skin tone.

There’s a wealth of light feeling oils and oil is key to barrier repair and moisturising your skin.

It also has plenty of antioxidants from plant extracts which are always great to help protect your skin from environmental damage and reduce the signs of aging.


As I’m sure you can imagine from my reviews, I use a lot of toners and, as one of my favourite categories of product, I’m becoming quite discerning in what I want from a toner.

Toner tends to be the first thing I’ll adjust when I’m adapting my routine to changing skin needs so it’s really interesting to find new toners with different properties.

For a toner with oil and moisturising ingredients, the Isntree actually feels quite refreshing when I apply it. The union of refreshing, moisturising and barrier aspects makes it the ideal choice for spring.

Whilst the refreshing feeling is very nice, I’m here for the moisturising and barrier repair effects: and it absolutely delivers on these goals.

The Isntree has actually replaced the Goodal Vegan Rice Milk Moisturizing Toner, as much as I like the Goodal. Since starting the Isntree, I’m finding I don’t need to use Dr Ceuracle Kombucha Tea essence as much, either.

The Isntree is multi-purpose product that’s highly effective at what it does: it’s more moisturising than the Goodal and more hydrating than the Dr Ceuracle.

As the temperature rises, I adapt my routine to what my skin needs, which I’ve written about in the skincare capsule wardrobe article. The Isntree is a great seasonal transition toner for my dry neck and it will also be an excellent winter toner.

I don’t like oily feeling products and whilst I’ll use straight up oil as a last resort, I’d much rather add more products that contain oil but are cosmetically elegant.

I’m also wondering whether the Isntree might work well as a summer evening toner: although it has oil, I’ve mentioned that it feels refreshing so there’s a chance it may work PM anyway. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m trying to work out ways to keep it in my routine when it gets hotter and I don’t need so much oil!

I’ve tried the Isntree as my sole toner (I usually apply quite a few in the same routine) and it works really well: three layers is the right amount for my dry neck skin with this toner. Dry skin will love this toner but it might not be the best choice for oily skin, unless you’re in serious k-beauty barrier repair mode.

A’pieu Madecassoside Sleeping Mask


I’m going to be comparing the A’pieu to Illiyoon ATO Ceramide Concentrate cream throughout this review. It’s not only the most similar product to the A’pieu that I’ve tried but also I got it for the same purpose – to help my dry, grumpy neck!

The texture of the A’pieu is definitely more oily feeling than the Illiyoon, which has a firmer structure. You think the Illiyoon wouldn’t well and certainly the A’pieu does spread more easily – but Illiyoon is a very confounding cream because it actually spreads nicely, despite having a more solid texture.


Obviously, the centella asiatica is the big draw here – not only does it have centella asiatica leaf water but also madecassoside, which is a key component of centella and the feature ingredient of this cream.

You can expect it to behave like all centella extracts do – soothing and anti-aging, so it’s a real multitasking ingredient and one I constantly seek out.

Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as being similarly effective to a ceramide precursor product. It’s great when things work as well as ceramides!

Ceramides are key for k-beauty barrier repair, which I’ve written about in my Illiyoon ATO Ceramide Concentrate cream review.


The A’pieu is magic in a tube! Whilst I was getting good effects from the Isntree toner reviewed above, adding the A’pieu sleeping mask ramped up my k-beauty barrier repair.

I was wary of both products at first because I’ve tried meadowfoam oil (Isntree) and shea butter (A’pieu) before – neither reacted well with my skin.

However, I carefully patch tested and introduced both of these products slowly – I’m amazed at the difference they’ve made!

As I mentioned, the feel of the A’pieu is definitely on the oilier end – whilst my neck does appreciate oilier creams, I don’t love the feel of them on my skin.

I’ve tried the A’pieu by itself and with Illiyoon (using half the usual amount of each). I sometimes find oilier creams rub off my skin because I’m a side sleeper. If this happened with the A’pieu, I didn’t notice any dryness in the morning.

In all honesty, my favourite option is using A’pieu and Illiyoon together because the Illiyoon is drier to touch so it works nicely on top of the A’pieu. Plus, when I’m in k-beauty barrier repair mode, I want as many ceramides as possible.

If I had to choose only one of these two creams, I’d take the A’pieu because I’ve noticed a bigger improvement in reducing reactivity and irritation.

Final word

Combining the Isntree toner with the A’pieu cream has had significant difference to my skin.