The most recent product I tested for BeautyLab is another one for the Book of Long Names: Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule a.k.a. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule. Any future child of mine will probably get a name as lengthy as that because I was only given a three-letter one. Call it karma if you must.
The “LongName Ampoule”
Much has been written about this product before but for someone who’s only calf-deep in Korean skincare (as opposed to knee-deep or chest-level for some), I was definitely curious about this ampoule’s supposed benefits. In Reddit’s Asian Beauty thread, this product has been dubbed “LongName Ampoule” for short, which for me is still a tad too long.
Essentially, this ampoule promises to repair damaged skin, and strengthen and brighten complexion.
Just to refresh our collective memories, ampoules are thick viscous liquids that deliver a high concentration of actives targeting specific skin problems such as hyperpigmentation, acne, dullness or signs of aging. The terms “ampoule” and “serum” are often used interchangeably. Ampoules are an essential part in Korean skin care which you can read about here.
But let’s stop talking about the product’s name and move on to its even longer list of ingredients, which include several familiar-sounding ones such as bifida ferment lysate (a gut microbe — think good bacteria), niacinamide, glycerin, as well as a slew of herbal extracts, most of which are in the middle going towards the bottom.
Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycereth-26, Juniperus Chinensis Xylem Extract, Sorbus Commixta Extract, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Betaine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Disodium EDTA, Silica, Tripeptide-1, Tripeptide-10 Citrulline, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ceteth-3, Ceteth-5, PEG-5 Rapeseed Sterol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Sea Water, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract, Ethyl Hexanediol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Polysorbate 20. Cyclomethicone, Grifola Frondosa (Maitake) Mycelium Ferment Filtrate Extract, Ophioglossum Vulgatum Extract, Carbomer, Glyceryl Caprylate, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lactobacillus/Rice Ferment Filtrate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Ferment Extract, Yeast Ferment Extract, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Acacia Arabica Stem Bark Extract, Adenosine, Dimethiconol, Xanthan Gum, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Octyldodecanol, Cyclomethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Dextrin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Manilkara Multinervis Leaf Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Maltodextrin Crosspolymer, Macadamia Seed Oil, Propylene Glycol, Retinol, Cholesterol, Beta-Sitosterol, Lecithin, Panthenol, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Ceteth-24, Choleth-24, Glyceryl Arachidonate, Glyceryl Linoleate, Glyceryl Linolenate, Ubiquinone, Cetyl Phosphate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterol, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Copper, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Biotin
Glycerin is a known humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to skin, while niacinamide is proven to have brightening effects. And, according to this article on ViaSeoul, Bifida Ferment Lysate is “a probiotic that strengthens the immune system, reduces sensitivity and helps the skin repair itself.”
Serious Bottle Envy
While I will always have a soft spot for Hello Kitty and similarly cute packaging, nothing about the Missha Time Revolution Borabit Ampoule (Borabit apparently means “purple bottle” in Korean) is cute. It is elegant, womanly and just WOW. I am seriously envious of how it can wear both purple and pink (in gradated shades no less!) without looking tacky.
The glass dropper cap makes it easy to control the amount of ampoule used (1 or 2 drops is recommended). To avoid product wastage, there’s also a plastic ring near the opening of the bottle that helps to shave off any liquid sticking to the dropper. At around US$40 for a 50ml bottle, you certainly don’t want to waste a drop of this.
Since the ampoule is rather viscous in texture, I figured it might be too heavy to use in the daytime, what with the 34°C summer temperatures here in Hong Kong. So I use it at night, right near the end of my skin care regimen, which currently ends with a nice, cool sheet mask. I find that even if I applied anywhere from 4 to 6 products like lotions, serums and essences, the Borabit Ampoule never feels too sticky. Ten minutes after massaging it gently into my skin, my face only gets slightly shiny which is a big deal for me.
After over a month of twice-to-thrice a week use of this ampoule, were there any improvements to my skin? My skin definitely looks brighter and more hydrated, which led to some interesting comments from people about me looking like I had a good night’s rest. Okaayyy … However, I would attribute the hydration to my increasing use of sheet masks and yes, getting more hours of sleep.
The one thing I did notice is that two recent acne scars near my mouth are now nearly invisible. These were remnants of my recent bout with hormonal acne a month ago and I made sure to add extra, tiny Borabit drops on those spots to see whether they would fade more rapidly. It worked!
I’d recommend this ampoule for those who want to start an anti-aging skin regimen early in the game, such as those in their twenties. While there’s only a very miniscule amount of retinol in this reformulated version, I can honestly say that the amount of fermented, as well as hydrating and brightening ingredients are a good starting point to building up a more targeted routine.