Review: A'Pieu – Mulberry Blemish Clearing Ampoule & Cream (set) | Does Hydration clear Blemishes? Plus, a Mini Rant & a Book Recommendation

In my never ending quest to heal that dreadful adult acne I talked about at length recently, I got this set on a whim as I was browsing the aisles at Lalavla, where the Barbie pink packaging of A’Pieu’s (어퓨, pronounced <eoh–pyoo>) Blemish Clearing Ampoule and Cream (산뽕나무 잡티 앰플; 산뽕나무 잡티 크림) caught my eye.

Mulberry (오디, pronounced <oh-dee>) looks like an elongated blackberry and is sort of a famous ingredient in Korea, as it is used to make desserts, drinks and even Korean paper. Surprisingly, this Mediheal sheet mask that I reviewed recently is made from paper containing mulberry tree fibre! Suffice to say, I was intrigued.

Image Source

・What it is: ・

It’s a set containing a moisturiser and an ampoule (kind of like a serum).

・TL;DR:・ 

Hydrating but not blemish clearing.

・Price & Availability: ・

I think I paid around ₩18,000 for the set but I cannot be certain. Anyway, it was on the lower end when it comes to pricing, that’s what I remember most clearly. The cream was marketed as a gift with purchase, which is reflected further down below where the packaging notes that the cream is not for sale by itself. It must have been on sale at the time of purchase as I now see a smaller size (30 ml) being listed for the same price of ₩18,000 on A’Pieu’s official website.

・Size/Quantity: ・

The ampoule came with 50 ml and the moisturiser contained 22 ml. For the ampoule, 50 ml is a generous size from what I have seen – most ones that I have seen come in at 20-40 ml at the most. As for the cream, 22 ml is a bit small but then again, it is meant to be a gift with purchase, so fair enough.

・Ingredients:・

Supposedly, the ampoule contains 60% mulberry extract, but to be honest, unless I know how the mulberry was extracted, at what temperatures, and what carrier was used to dissolve it in, mulberry extract itself does not tell us too much about what’s happening here. Other than, there are quite a few lovely hydrators and brightening agents here, such as glycerin, butylene glycol and niacinamide. Additionally, the cream seems to contain some fatty alcohols that help hydrate the skin – not to be confused with denatured alcohol.

If you find alcohol in skincare as interesting as I, do check out the following blogs and articles:

Ampoule Ingredients

The ingredients look ok overall with the exception of Irish Moss, which apparently is an acne trigger but let’s hope that the concentration is so low that it does not matter.

Source: cosDNA

Cream Ingredients

Similarly, the cream’s ingredients seem ok. Just like the ampoule, it contains quite a few hydrators and brightening ingredients, along with a few essential oils. I do wonder whether the essential oils might not be skin sensitising to some though?

・Packaging:・ 

Packaging wise, I would say both are functional and somewhat basic, but not in an elegant minimalist way. More like, simple in a late 2000s/early 2010s kind of way.

The ampoule comes in a heavy glass bottle with a glass dropper that makes dispensing easy and hygienic, unless you want to be one of those Instagram influencers who drips product from the ampoule directly on their faces and inadvertently, but unavoidably so, touches their face in the process.

Mini rant. Seriously, who applies their skincare like an influencer? If you do, will you let me know why in the comments? To me, it looks somewhat fussy, potentially messy and unhygienic but I would love to hear other opinions as I try to continuously pop my information bubble and you know, I might be wrong?

The cream comes in a basic squeezy tube with a screw top lid, the cream is easy enough to get out and is easy to cut open to get to every last drop.

Book recommendation as per cream photo above: The Accusation by an anonymous writer who prefers to use the pseudonym Bandi. Bandi is an elderly Korean man who has been writing realistic fiction while living in North Korea for the past decades of his life. I used to live in Germany as a child, and now that I am in Korea – a country cut in two, just like Germany used to be – I am again fascinated by how countries come to be bisected and how life goes on differently.

His stories give you a rare, raw insight into what life is like north of the border and if that is something of interest to you, you may enjoy this book too. I got it from Kyobo though it must be available online too.

・What the company says:・ 

No English site and the graphics are all embedded in the site, meaning I could not just chuck ad copy into a translator (Papago is the best for Korean translation, Google Translate does not work). Here’s a quick rundown of A’Pieu’s claims, which they use for both the cream and the ampoule – I translated them to the best of my ability as there is no official translation available currently:

  • targeted treatment products for blemishes, freckles, pigmentation
  • tested on humans
  • tested for skin irritation
  • plumping and hydrating
  • whitening/brightening
  • rated green as per EWG
  • visible improvement after two weeks, perfect results after four weeks

・Consistency/Texture:・ 

The ampoule is a thick, transparent, viscous liquid that spreads reasonably easily but takes a while to sink in and it feels a tad oily and heavy, but in a sense, more nourishing. It is not drippy or watery, meaning you’re less likely to waste it. This one needs to be patted and massaged in a little before you can comfortably continue with your next skincare step. This might feel a bit too heavy and thick for oily skinned folks.

The cream is a basic moisturiser, white and opaque, spreads easily. Just a tad heavier than most gel moisturisers. If you have oily skin, you may like it on its own; if you lean towards dry skin, you may use this as an emulsion and layer another oil or richer moisturiser on top, plus a sunscreen during the day.

Ampoule

Cream

・Scent:・ 

The scent was faintly herbal, as far as I remember. Nothing intrusive, even though I prefer fragrance free skincare. In this case, I was not bothered.

・Application:・ 

I used the ampoule after my acid and hydrating toner steps, and I used the cream like an emulsion as a second to last skincare step. They both applied and spread well, and though the ampoule took time to absorb, I enjoyed the richly hydrating feel it gave me. Skin felt really supple and plump and hydrated. The cream felt super basic but I was not too fussed.

・Efficacy:・

While skin did feel hydrated and comfortable, I cannot in all honesty say that it did anything in the way of brightening, whitening, preventing or mitigating pigmentation or clearing blemishes – which is what I originally got these products for!

They did hydrate but if I wanted a hydrating product, I would have just used my HG Gokujyun Gold Premium Lotion from Hada Labo (reviewed here) in place of the ampoule, and instead of the cream, I could have just gone for Illiyoon’s Ato Lotion and Concentrate Cream, reviewed here.

I could have gotten the same results but more bang for my buck (more whack for my Won 😁).

・Final Thoughts:・  

These products are by no means bad and if you can get them on special, I say why not give these bad boys a try in case the ingredients list speaks to you or in case you are just super curious about mulberry as an ingredient in skincare. Honestly though, these are just meh in terms of what they promise vs what they deliver and I’d say skip these in favour of stuff that really works.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

© 2020 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

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