This review contains PR samples° and affiliate links* Sometimes I come across Korean beauty products that weirdly seem to fly under the radar of the “skinfluencer” mainstream, despite being… Well, kind of amazing!? So, let me acquaint you with a hidden K-beauty gem in today’s review: the Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence, featuring current it ingredient, tranexamic essence!
Skinfood is one of those “og” K-beauty brands that started many of us on our path into the wonderful world of Asian beauty products. This road shop brand was widely available at a time when it was still pretty difficult to get your hands on popular Korean products, when Amazon and Ebay were the main way to shop for those goodies, always unsure if you would end up with “fakes.” The Skinfood Black Sugar Wash Off Mask* is just such an iconic product, as is the still unbelievably popular Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence.*
Now, I don’t know if you even noticed, but for a while it was virtually impossible to get your hands on these cult favourites, as most of the Skinfood stock was sold out for months internationally. The brand struggled financially and had to downsize severely, closing a number of shops in Korea and seeking new investors. Luckily, these struggles now seem to have been overcome, and Skinfood is back, slash thankfully never fully went away!
The Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence came to my attention when I watched one of Eunice’s videos of her checking out interesting products at Korean drugstore chain Olive Young.* Her friend and fellow Korea-based skinfluencer Medhi raved about the essence as a great brightening product, and I got intrigued, especially given the addition of one of the buzziest skincare ingredients right now, tranexamic acid. Fast forward a few weeks and I got my hands on this hidden K-beauty gem – so, now it’s high time that I share my experiences with you!
Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence – the Basics
The Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence is marketed as a brightening, glow-enhancing product, with the 96% organic yuja fruit extract highlighted as the main star ingredient. Yuja fruit is a citrus fruit commonly found in Asia and especially popular in Korea and Japan (where it is called “yuzu”). I have never tried yuzu myself, since I don’t think it is sold widely here in Germany, but I’ve heard its taste described as somewhere between a lemon and a tangerine. Like all citrus fruits, yuja is rich in vitamin C, and thus can be found in a number of Korean beauty products as a brightening ingredient with added antioxidant benefits. Indeed, I’ve noticed an upsurge in yuja-themed products lately, among them the lovely URANG Yuja Vita Ampoule, the extremely popular Some By Mi Yuja Niacin Serum*, or the ABIB Yuja Essence Vitalizing.*
Now, I can’t say for sure that citrus fruit extracts such as yuja actually brighten the skin in the same way that pure vitamin C/L-ascorbic acid does. Personally, I just like the refreshing feeling these types of “vitamin” products from Korea have – call me shallow, but I like me a good fruit-themed product, which is probably why I enjoy the Skinfood brand so much. Thankfully, the Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence also features a number of other brightening and skin-conditioning ingredients!
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence:
“Aqua, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Dipotassium Glycrrhizate, Disodium Phosphate, Monosodium Citrate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tranexamic Acid, Caramel.”
A short ingredient list, as you can probably tell straight away, and yet it is packed full with goodies for a brighter, more even-toned complexion: apart from the already mentioned yuja fruit extract, the Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence also features skin allrounder niacinamide, the stable vitamin C derivative sodium ascorbyl phosphate (which doesn’t oxidise as easily as L-ascorbic acid, though is also less potent overall), licorice root extract, and tranexamic acid.
Tranexamic acid is a derivative of the amino acid lysine and a true skin-brightening superstar, astoundingly effective in the treatment of melasma and other hyperpigmentation issues. It acts similarly to another skin-brightener, hydroquinone, while being a lot gentler and with less to no side effects. To describe its effect from my non-sciencey, amateurish point of view: tranexamic acid basically acts as a melanin blocker/prevents melanin from colouring our skin darker in some areas, thus brightening up those dark spots on your face caused by aging, sun damage or skin trauma such as acne scarring or laser treatments. “Melanin blocker” might sound scary if you have deeper skin tones, but don’t worry, this is safe for dark skin from what I can tell (check Labmuffin’s full article on tranexamic acid for more science-backed info)!
The cool thing is that tranexamic acid also has antioxidant properties, plus skin barrier repairing and supporting benefits. So, unlike so many other anti hyperpigmentation treatments such as harsher acids, it doesn’t dry out or damage our skin. The only problem with the hype around tranexamic acid is the fact that I cannot really find reliable data on how high the dosage needs to be to achieve all these miracle benefits – so, there is always a chance that it may not be potent enough if added in small percentages. Just keep that in mind when you give this interesting new ingredient a try! The Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence is free from alcohol or fragrance of any kind, by the way.
Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence – Why You Need It in Your Life!
So, let’s talk about why I consider the Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence a hidden K-beauty gem that needs far more attention from the global skincare community. If the yummy ingredient list alone hasn’t convinced you yet, let me just stress the fact that this is an alcohol- and fragrance-free essence, mild and lightweight, so ideal for summer days and warmer weather.
The texture of this essence is watery, similar to first treatment essences, so it works well as a separate essence step or as your hydrating toner. The added glycerin provides hydration without feeling sticky – I would say this is best used if you have oilier or combo skin. For dryer skin, if you want that watery texture, but a more deeply hydrating feeling, a toner such as the Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Treatment Toner may be a better choice. The Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence is definitely more aimed at skin that is only slightly dehydrated and mostly needs those brightening and texture-improving benefits.
The hydration intensity is comparable to the ever so popular, similarly watery-light Round Lab DOKDO Toner, refreshing and easily absorbed. I personally feel it is enough on a warmer weather day for my oily combo skin, but in winter I needed another layer of toner to combat dehydration. This layers nicely, so you can easily combine it with more essences, toners and/or ampoules to maximise hydration levels.
As for the benefits – I can definitely confirm that it has a brightening and texture-improving effect. It’s not as dramatic of an effect as maybe a super concentrated niacinamide serum or potent acid treatment can provide, but then the slower, less is more approach honestly has its advantages, the main one being that my skin doesn’t dry out or get inflamed from using this essence. On the contrary, the Dark Spot Clear Essence is a very gentle product, which I feel works to soothe my redness issues nicely.
I feel this is a great addition to any skincare routine, but especially younger (20s) skin should really love this. And if you have problems with fermented ingredients, which usually means first treatment essences are a no-go, this is such a wonderful alternative, similarly brightening, but free from galactomyces and co. I am curious to see the more long-term effects on my skin and will keep you updated regarding this. For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the skin-softening, subtly brightening, texture-improving benefits of the Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence!
You can usually purchase a 150ml glas bottle of Skinfood Yuja C Dark Spot Clear Essence at Yesstyle* for around 35$, but it is currently unavailable there. As an alternative, you can find it at this Ebay shop for currently around 43$, or at Testerkorea for 31$. Here in Germany/the EU, you can also purchase the essence at Kbeautyhouse,* for 38.50€.
Let me know in the comments: Have you tried any Skinfood products? What was your first ever K-beauty product?
°PR Sample, kindly provided by a brand or shop – I am not obligated to write this blog article, was not paid for the article, and my opinions are entirely my own.
*Affiliate Links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to use the link to purchase an item. This does not raise the purchase price for you, and it helps me and my blog to grow – so, thank you for supporting me in this way!!!