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Disclaimer: This blog article contains PR Samples!° Is there anything more delicious than discovering a new and unique K-beauty brand? Aqulabo truly deserves to become a breakout star in the global Asian beauty community this year, and so I shall do my part today and introduce you to the beautiful Aqulabo Jelly Mist and Oh! Very Bright Sheet Masks.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I first discovered the intriguing new K-beauty brand Aqulabo on Instagram. Listeners of my K-beauty podcast know by now that I have a habit of stalking the Korean and Asian skincare hashtags to unearth new gems to try out. I admitted to having become a bit of a brand detective in a recent episode about the ways that K-beauty has changed me!
Well, I basically blame all those Texture Tuesday shots of the delectably gooey Jelly Mist for making me develop an instant crush on Aqulabo, a still very new and very, very promising brand from Korea. And, well, two emails later, a lovely package from the brand with the two products they have, as of now, on offer made its way to me: I was delighted to unbox not just the Jelly Mist, but also the Aqulabo Oh! Very Bright sheet masks, which I hadn’t seen anyone mention anywhere on social media yet.
It has been a good two months now since I received the products (which I had to wrangle from a cranky, middle-aged, male, and very German customs officers using all the charm I could muster). Given the fact that so far, no other blogger has really done a full review of either the Jelly Mist or the brightening masks, I felt it was time for me to put the word out there about this great K-beauty brand!
Aqulabo: Innovation Meets Minimalism
Since Aqulabo ist still quite a new brand, and because I cannot read or speak Korean, my information about the brand is…limited. What I do know is that the brand name is composed of the first syllables from the words “aqua” and “laboratory” – Korean brands love to do this, for some reason, and many brands randomly connect two English words that sound deep and emotionally evocative, e.g. Commleaf, which connects “comma” and “leaf” to evoke the image of “pausing in nature.” Oh well.
So, “aqua” and “laboratory” come together to form Aqulabo – a not quite as vaguely romantic and far more straight-forward brand name, I would say, hinting at the consciously minimalist and clinically clean brand image. A glance at the products’ ingredient lists definitely supports this idea, with exciting high tech ingredients to be found in there, plus some old Asian beauty favourites. Pure and clean ingredients that are effective and gentle, and all this without relying on unnecessary fragrance, alcohol, or any other potentially skin-aggravating additives. You can see why this brand appeals to me, can’t you?
Aqulabo was founded in 2018, so it really is a brand baby, which explains why for now there are only two products to choose from. Both the Jelly Mist and the Oh! Very Bright sheet masks feature a fascinating main ingredient, “Gomisin N.” I had to do some digging to learn more about Gomisin N, and I must say I’m intrigued! There is quite a bit of research out there about Gomisin N, although to be fair, it’s mostly on its effects on hepatitis and infections when taken orally.
So, Gomisin N is a lignan isolated from schisandra chinensis, also known simply as schisandra or magnolia berry, which has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. In Korean, schisandra is known as omija, and apparently a tea made from the berries – omija-cha – is quite popular there. Lignans are polyphenols in plants, in case you were wondering. And, well, polyphenols are all the rage in skincare right now! Caudalie was probably the first brand to advertise the anti-oxidant properties of polyphenols won from grapes, and with anti-pollution skincare becoming more and more of a global trend thanks to us wrecking the planet, I’m expecting many more brands to get in on the polyphenol trend.
With Gomisin N, Aqulabo has found an antioxidant superstar, which furthermore has strong anti-inflammatory and potentially skin-brightening properties. It’s quite a fascinating ingredient! But let’s look at the two Aqulabo products a bit more in-depth now to learn what other skincare ingredient goodies hide inside the understated, silver and white packaging of the brand.
Aqulabo Jelly Mist – My Review
The moment I read the words “jelly” and “mist” together, plus got a glimpse of the unique texture of this product, I was hooked! The Aqulabo Jelly Mist really is one of a kind, and I don’t think there is another face mist with the same gel to liquid formula out there.
The Jelly Mist can be used in a number of ways, but it was mostly conceived as a “mask boosting mist” meant to support and enhance the effectiveness of sheet masks. You can also use it to mix together your modelling masks or your dry clay masks, and of course it works equally well as a normal face mist throughout the day.
It is important to know that the jelly texture of the mist does not cause any problems with the spray nozzle, which can happen when mists are more viscous and thus clog up the nozzle. Once this is sprayed onto the skin, it turns into a watery and very fine mist, which feels soothing and cooling. I’m really amazed at how this transforms from this thick jelly texture to a runny liquid the moment it comes out of the spray nozzle! The mist isn’t sticky or tacky at all, it really feels exactly like water, but much more hydrating.
Let’s have a look at the ingredient list for the Aqulabo Jelly Mist:
“Water, Butylene glycol, Glycerin, Schisandra chinensis fruit extract, Glycine, Serine, Glutamic acid, Aspartic acid, Leucine, Alanine, Lysine, Arginine, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Proline, Valine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Methionine, Cysteine, Ceramide NP, Hydrogenated lecithin, Gellan gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium chloride, Chlorphenesin, Propanediol, Calcium lactate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-hexanediol, Caprylyl glycol.”
Apart from the already discussed schisandra/omija fruit extract, the Jelly Mist contains a number of amino acids, meant to help repair and soothe the skin. Some amino acids, such as Arginine and Lysine, are also said to have skin-firming and line-smoothing properties. You can read more about amino acids and what they can do on the Paula’s Choice website.
The Aqulabo Jelly Mist is free from any alcohol or fragrance. In fact, it has a slightly “chemical” smell similar to the Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner, but I do not find this too uncomfortable since the smell is very fleeting.
This mist has become a constant, pretty much daily companion in my skincare routine, though I mostly use it as a simple face mist and can’t really say that I noticed any “mask boosting” effects when I sprayed it underneath the Aqulabo sheet masks. The one thing this seems to do is leave the mask moist for longer, but I don’t think it adds any benefits to a sheet mask in particular.
What the mist does, however, is provide intense hydration and calm down redness. My skin always seems to calm down considerably after I spray the mist on my face, and it has been a godsend these past weeks during the uncomfortable cold spell we’ve been dealing with here in Germany.
Aqulabo Oh! Very Bright Sheet Mask – My Review
I was pleasantly surprised that the brand had not only sent me the Jelly Mist, but also a pack of 10 sheet masks – I hadn’t even realised that they make sheet masks! Already insta-pleased with the minimalist packaging and the clinical look of these, I got hyper excited once I opened the package and stared at the truly delicious ingredient list.
Here are the ingredients of the Aqulabo Oh! Very Bright Sheet Mask:
I mean… Come on! Literally all my K-beauty darlings are in this one mask: niacinamide, licorice root extract, centella asiatica, Baikal skullcap, green tea leaf extract, plus that intriguing schisandra fruit extract – what a powerhouse of a mask! The Aqulabo Oh! Very Bright mask is also free from alcohol or fragrance. The ingredients are all chosen to provide hydrating and especially strong skin-brightening and texture-improving properties, as well as calm down redness and help soothe inflamed and stressed skin.
The sheet for this mask is very thin and soft – I know, I’m being a bad blogger for not showing the material here, but I just feel so protective of the 7 masks I have left in my pack, I just can’t bring myself to sacrifice one for close-up photos that may contaminate it. Sorry! But, please trust me when I say that the mask is incredibly thin and very pleasant to wear, adhering well to the skin and staying moist for a long time. I can leave the mask on my face for a good 45 minutes without it drying up at all.
The essence for the mask is slightly milky in colour and has a sticky gel texture – it feels cooling on the face. Just like the Aqulabo Jelly Mist, it has a very faint chemical smell to it that fortunately doesn’t linger for long.
After using this mask, my skin always feels especially well-hydrated and plump. I can’t say that it has an instantly brightening effect, but using this regularly definitely improves the complexion, thanks in particular to the niacinamide and the licorice root extract. What this mask truly excels in, however, is providing pure, clean and sensitive skin friendly hydration.
Thus, the Aqulabo sheet masks are perfect for anyone with dehydrated skin prone to redness. Both drier and oilier skin types should benefit from using this mask, in my opinion. For drier skin types, I would suggest using a heavier cream with occlusive (“water locking”) ingredients afterwards, to seal in all that humectant goodness.
Aqulabo – A Brand to Watch!
I’m still so excited that I stumbled upon Aqulabo and their products! Given that this is a new brand that is basically still in its infant shoes, I suspect we will see more product goodness come out in the next months. I for one cannot wait to see what else this K-beauty derma brand has in store for us.
Both the Aqulabo Jelly Mist and the Oh! Very Bright Sheet Masks truly impressed me. Especially the sheet masks, which I didn’t know much about beforehand, won me over quickly thanks to the beautiful formulation of their essence, with so many amazing, effective K-beauty star ingredients such as centella asiatica, niacinamide and my beloved licorice root extract (seriously, more people need to talk about licorice root extract and its proven skin-brightening effects!).
If you are a fan of clean, low irritant, fragrance- and alcohol-free skincare with anti ageing and brightening properties, then you should have a look at the Aqulabo Jelly Mist and Oh! Very Bright Sheet Masks. Luckily, they are now newly available at Bemused Korea, a curated Korean beauty store that I can highly recommend. And, cough – they also carry my beloved A. By BOM Ultra Time Renewal Eye Serum, so you should totally consider ordering that one too if your budget allows it! The Jelly Mist retails at 32$, and the Oh! Very Bright masks cost 3$ for a single mask, and 30$ for a 10 sheet pack.
Let me know in the comments: What brand discovery have you made lately? Any new, up and coming K-beauty brands you feel I need to know about? Let’s chat!
Take care guys!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by Aqulabo for review purposes – I am not obligated to write this blog review, and my opinions are entirely my own.