Skin Brightening Serums: Skinfood Yuja Water C Whitening Ampoule Serum & Neulii AHA VITA Brightening Serum Review

Neulii product received complementary from RoseRoseShop for review purposes. All opinions are my own and are unbiased.

I have hyper-pigmentation issues due to sun damage that occurred in another lifetime when I lived in bright, sunny Southern California.  I have been using actives and brightening serums to try and lighten those spots.  Two products that I have been using are Skinfood Yuja Water C Whitening Ampoule Serum and Neulii AHA VITA Brightening Serum.  I purchased the Skinfood Yuja product myself and Rose Rose Shop provided the Neulii serum for me to review ~ Neulii is Rose Rose Shop’s own skincare brand and they launched five different serums: AHA Vita Brightening, Aloe BHA Soothing, Greentea BHA Pore Tightening, Snail Bee Anti Wrinkle and Teatree BHA Blemish Control.

If you are interested, I have reviewed two other Neulii serums: Snail Bee Anti-Wrinkle (review) and TeaTree BHA Blemish Control  (review).   My skin type is oily, blemish prone with aging concerns ~ hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. 

Skinfood Yuja Water C Whitening Ampoule Serum  Skinfood recently came out with a Yuja line ~ Yuja (Yuzu) is a citrus fruit very popular in Asian markets, especially in Korea.  Skinfood’s Yuja Water C line are from Goheung organically grown yujas from the first and only Korean yuja artisan farmer, Taehwa Park.  These yuja fruits are grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers ~ instead, organic fertilizer made from seawater and organic compounds is used. (source Skinfood)

Description: A brightening synergy ampoule that contains organic Goheung yuja extract and oil to help lighten melasma and hyperpigmentation. Yuja, also known as yuzu in Japan, is a citrus fruit that is cultivated in Asia. It’ s sometimes referred to as “citron.” It’ s about the size of a tangerine, and is yellow-orange when ripe. The mature fruit contains a large amount of seeds. The fruit is not usually consumed like an orange, with the rind peeled and the pulp eaten. Like a lemon or lime, it is highly prized for its fragrant zest, essential oil, seeds, and juice. The juice of a yuja is particularly sour, and forms the base for yujacha, a citron tea which Koreans swear by as a cold and flu remedy, and ponzu, a popular Japanese cooking sauce. 


  • Citrus Junos (Yuja/Yuzu) is a powerful antioxidant, just like many citrus fruits are.  It contains more than 3 times the amount of vitamin C than lemons and vitamin C helps combat free radicals.  It can help reverse hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles that were caused by free radical damage.  It can also aid in the production of collagen, resulting in firmer and younger looking skin.  Yuja helps soothe and smooth your skin. This product contains 30% of Yuja extracts and oils. 
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is a powerful antioxidant that acts as an anti-inflammatory, improves your skin elasticity, enhance the skin barrier function and also it helps to even out skin tone and reduce post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. 
  • Beta-Glucan is a compound that is naturally derived from mushrooms, oats, yeast and grains.  It helps stimulate the production of collagen, speeds up wound healing, soothes and calms skin due to its anti-irritant and strong anti-inflammatory properties, moisturizes, locks in natural moisture, anti-aging and anti-wrinkle due to its anti-oxidant properties and also helps repair your moisture barrier.
  • Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate Filtrate ~ Probiotic, fermented ingredients in skin care products are highly moisturizing and also have antibacterial properties, which is why my blemish-prone skin loves it so much.  
  • Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli)  is a superfood it not only contains antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C, it also has Vitamin B complex, Vitamin E ~ which creates radiant skin and shiny hair as it revives skin tissue, Vitamin A and K, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Amino Acids and Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).  All of these vitamins help care for your skin and keep it glowing and healthy.  Broccoli also contains glucoraphanin, a phytonutrient, which has been reported in reversing sun damage on your skin.

Hydrating and soothing ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate, aloe vera, argan oil and bisabolol (chamomile derivative) help make this ampoule a rich source of moisture for your skin. Ingredients such as cedarwood oil, diacetyl boldine, maackia fauriei, sodium ascorbyl phosphate and ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (derivatives of vitamin C) are antioxidants that contribute to evening out and brightening skin tone.

Ingredients: Water, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Propylene Glycol, Beta-Glucan, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Gelatin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Maackia Fauriei Stem Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Cellulose Gum, Arginine, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Carbomer, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Disodium EDTA, Citrus Junos Fruit Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Juniperus Mexicana (Cedarwood) Oil, Maltodextrin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Diacetyl Boldine, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Bisabolol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol cosDNA analysis

One of the problems I have with this ampoule serum is that it comes in a clear bottle.  If you have vitamin C products, it should be in a darker bottle to ensure that it doesn’t degrade quickly.   Even though this is a smaller bottle, it does take a while to use up.  This has an eye dropper applicator to make it easy to apply the serum.  It has a light citrus scent, which I adore and this is very hydrating, but it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on my face, as it absorbs fairly quickly.  This increased my moisture level by a jaw dropping 62%!! 

This feels lovely on my skin, hydrates nicely, no tacky residue and smells great too ~ but does it brighten and lighten my hyper-pigmentation?  Nope.


Neulii AHA VITA Brightening Serum The Neulli line of serums come in a frosted clear plastic bottle with a pump applicator, making it easy to apply.   The pump doesn’t squirt the product out all over the place, but I am concerned about the bottle ~ just as with the Skinfood Yuja ampoule serum, this is also in a clear plastic bottle, even though it is frosted.  My experience with AHA’s is that it should be in a dark colored bottle, not clear.  A clear bottle will cause the product to lose its effectiveness quickly.


  • Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit is a vitamin-rich, anti-aging ingredient that contains antioxidants, promote cell health, moisturizes and helps heal sun-damaged skin.  It is a natural astringent and can reduce the appearance of pores, as it can tighten the skin.  Apple fruit extracts are perfect for oily skin and blemish prone skin types, aging skin, dull and uneven skin tones.
  • Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) contains vitamins C, A and E, beta carotene, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids.  Vitamin C is important for brightening and stimulating collagen production.  It contains 200 to 800 times more vitamins than apples.  Sea Buckthorn is known for its antioxidant properties to help slow down aging and to regenerate new skin cells, while penetrating deep into your derma layer and locking moisture inside.
  • Glycolic Acid (AHA) is an exfoliator and helps clear up acne, moisturizes and reduces the appearance of fine lines and premature aging, by increasing cellular turnover, revealing new skin.  If your skin is sun-damaged, adding AHA to your skin care routine is beneficial
  • Betaine  is superior for its intense moisturization and hydration properties, without the stickiness, and also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while attracting moisture (humectancy) and relieving skin irritation.
  • Panthenol helps cellular renewal and is an effective moisturizer. It is derived from plants and this ingredient comes from Vitamin B5. Panthenol is a natural humectant, which retains moisture and hydrates the skin. It also is a good lubricant on the skin, making skin look soft and smooth. It is also an anti-inflammatory
  • Sodium Hyaluronate is an intensive moisturizing ingredient which bonds water to keep skin hydrated. It is a natural substance found in the human body and it made up of amino and uronic acids, and helps retain 100 to 1,000 times its own water weight in our skin cells.
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)  is an antioxidant vitamin that is essential for tissue growth, repair and collagen production.  It is one of the best anti-aging ingredients, as it does combat free radicals.     

Neulii AHA Vita Brightening Serum is also free from parabens, phenoxyethanol, artificial colors and artificial scents.

Ingredients: Water, Pyrus Malus(Apple) Fruit Water, Hippophae Rhamnoides Water, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycolic Acid, Betaine, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate , Hydroxyethylcellulose , Sodium Hydroxide,  Xanthan Gum, Ascorbic Acid analysis

The texture of this serum is very watery and it has a bitter scent to it, common with AHA products.  I use this all over my face, concentrating on my cheek area, as that is where my sun damage is the greatest. According to the instructions, this is to be used before a toner ~ and I do use it that way, as it is so watery. It dries quickly and without any sticky or tacky residue.  I’ve talked about AHA’s before and what they are, but I will recap that information here again for you.

AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) are mainly derived from fruit and milk sugars ~ these are the most common using natural sources:  glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk), malic acid (apples, pears), citric acid (oranges, lemons), tartaric acid (grapes).  The two acids that can penetrate deeper into your skin layers are lactic and glycolic acids. You want an acidity of 3 to 4, with a 5 to 8 percent concentration of AHA.  The AHA ingredient should be one of the top 3 ingredients in the list and since AHA’s need time to absorb into your skin, you should not really bother with products that will be rinsed off, like cleansers.  You should pick AHA’s if your skin is not prone to breakouts or you really want to lighten hyper-pigmentation and tone and firm your skin, as they can stimulate collagen and elastic production in your skin.

Now, this product has only one AHA ingredient ~ glycolic acid ~  and it isn’t in the top three, but in the middle of the list.  It is iffy, because even though it meets the first criteria of an AHA acid, the placement in the ingredient list is questionable.  Apple extracts can be an AHA, but it would be listed as malic acid, which it isn’t. Now, is this an AHA? The pH level of Neulii AHA Vita Brightening serum looks to be a solid 3, which means it meets the second criteria for an AHA product ~ it passes the AHA test for pH levels, which I had mentioned that it needed to be between 3 and 4 to be effective as an exfoliating product that also firms and conditions your skin.  However, Neulii didn’t post the percentage of the AHA, so I did a little digging.  The lovely blogger Little Porcelain Princess had a screen shot of the Certification of Formula for this product and it looks like glycolic acid is 1.5% and ascorbic acid is at a woeful .0010%.  The concentration for the acids is not effective enough, even though the pH level is on target. 

This AHA serum did help refine my skin texture and smooth it, but it didn’t lighten my sun damage hyper-pigmentation.  I did not break out with blemishes with this, so that is a win ~ sometimes with AHA and BHA’s, I will experience a mild “purging” for a week but I did not with this product.


As neither of these products were effective with skin brightening, I decided to experiment with them.  I took some thin cotton sheets and soaked them with both the Neulii and Skinfood product, making my own “sheet mask”.  I then applied that to my face for around 30 to 35 minutes.  When I removed my homemade mask, I did notice an immediate brightening of my skin tone.  However, it does go away in a few hours, just like many brightening sheet masks.   I guess you could use these to make your own masks, but since there is a huge variety of brightening skin masks out there that are inexpensive, I guess I would ask ~ Why bother?  However, for me, as I already have these products, this is another way to use them.

Final Thoughts

This was a tough review to write ~ both products look great on paper for brightening abilities, but they did not work for my skin.  Maybe I have really tough skin when it comes to Vitamin C ~ I have only found one product that has worked for me using Vitamin C and that still only works for new PIH (post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation) ~ Rohto Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence with Vitamin C & E   I have yet to find a product that works on reducing my old hyper-pigmentation spots.  I will always be on the hunt for new items, but these two do not work for me.  I did love Skinfood’s Yuja product for its scent and moisturizing capabilities, but that isn’t enough for me to make a repeat purchase of it.  Neulii  AHA Vita Brightening serum seems to have right pedigree for an AHA ~  it has a perfect pH level and contains glycolic acid, but the concentration of glycolic acid is nowhere near where it needs to be.  Whether it was the lack of acids or not, it did not work for my skin.  That said, YMMV (your mileage may vary) and these products might be your Holy Grail.  For me, neither of these items came close to brightening and evening out my skin tone.

Have you tried either of these products?  How did they work for you ~ was it better, worse or neutral?  Out of the 3 Neulii products I have tried, this one is not as effective as the other two were.  Skinfood gets points for hydration and its scent, but that is about it.

Where To Purchase

Skinfood Yuja Water C Whitening Ampoule In Serum  44mL

See my savings page as some of these stores, I have referral or promo codes so you can save more money!

Neulii AHA Vita Brightening Serum 10 mL  

RoseRoseShop carries Neulii AHA Vita Brightening Serum (click here) for around $13.00 USD and all of the Neulii skincare products as well.  They ship internationally  and have some of the lowest prices on Korean skincare and makeup products.

Disclaimer: Neulii product received complementary from RoseRoseShop for review purposes. All opinions are my own and are unbiased

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