If you think I’ve been on a Naruko kick lately, you’re not wrong. This is a Taiwanese brand I’ve been interested in for so long and now that I’ve started trying their products, I can’t seem to stop. I’ve experienced really great customer service and I have truly enjoyed so many of the products. In addition, I love that they do not test on animals and the company seems to be quite environmentally conscious. They don’t use parabens or synthetic preservatives, which is a plus for those looking for “natural” skincare.
The Naruko Magnolia line is designed for anti-aging and brightening. The description on the products says that it is suitable for “aging, flabby, and dull skin”. I don’t know about…”flabby”, but I presume that refers to skin that may be sagging and needs extra firmness. As a 33-year old woman, I’m not exactly an ancient crone, but I like to use anti-aging products for prevention and moisture, as long as they aren’t too rich. The Magnolia lotion and night gelly are perfect for these purposes. Neither are terribly rich so don’t clog my pores, but they are moisturizing and firming and really delightful to use.
As for the brightening claims, I use quite a few other stronger brightening products, so I can’t speak to whether the Magnolia lotion and night gelly themselves are doing much for lightening dark spots and brightening my skin tone. However, as you’ll see below, they do contain a fair amount of ingredients that are known to work for brightening, so they probably don’t hurt.
Psst! Shoutout to Sabin over at Asian Beauty Obsessed whose glowing recommendation pushed me to purchase these!
Naruko Magnolia Brightening and Firming Lotion EX
Ingredients: From bottle label (I killed my eyes transcribing this, so please be a doll and attribute it to me if you use it, k?). Key ingredients in bold.
Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, niacinamide, crambe abyssinica seed oil, hydrogenated polyisobutene, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, triethanolamine, cetyl ethylhexanoate, magnolia officinalis bark extract, meadowfoam seed oil, bisabolol, taiwan magnolia grandiflora flower water, phospholipids, plantago major seed extract, polyquaternium-51, xanthan gum, magnolia grandiflora leaf oil, essential oil of lemon, algae extract, sodium hyaluronate, kalanchoe spathulata extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, scutellaria alpina flower/leaf/stem extract, peucedanum ostruthium leaf extract, gingko biloba leaf extract, artemisia umbelliformis extract, leontopodium alpinum extract, epilobium fleischeri extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, chamomilla recutita flower extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, argania spinosa kernal extract, carnosine, ellagic acid, methylisothiazolinone, arbutin, carbomer, ethyl ascorbic acid, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, solidago viraurea extract
Niacinamide, effective for brightening and lightening pigmentation spots, is high up on the list, so the Naruko Magnolia Lotion’s brightening claims are definitely backed up by some real ingredients. There are also a ton of botanical extracts as well as arbutin (skin lightener), and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) down low on the list.
The Naruko Magnolia Lotion is a light emulsion type product. It’s thicker than a serum or essence, but not quite occlusive or rich enough to use as a final step moisturizer. I’ve grown increasingly fond of emulsion type lotions lately, as they give my skin an extra boost of moisture and richness and allow me to use a light cream on top (rather than a really thick and heavy one).
The fragrance is quite strong. It’s quite a bit stronger than the Night Gelly, in fact. It’s a fresh floral fragrance that will probably appeal to those who like floral scents but will turn off people who are more sensitive.
Another inconvenience I noticed was that it’s really hard to get out of the bottle. The Magnolia lotion comes in a hard bottle with a reducer cap. Since the lotion is quite thick, I have to slap the bottle against my hand to get the product out, making it inconvenient to dispense and difficult to control the amount of product. I got around this problem by decanting the lotion into an empty Innisfree green tea serum bottle, but I would love to see this product come in a pump bottle.
The Magnolia Lotion is light but seems quite moisturizing. It does leave quite a bit of shine on first application and for me, it takes a while to sink in. Once absorbed though, my skin feels soft and plump with just a hint of residue. The finish is a tiny bit sticky, which is another reason why I like to use a light cream on top of it.
I will say though, that for me the fragrance is too strong. I greatly prefer the Magnolia Night Gelly, which has a similar fragrance but is quite a bit more toned down. This might be the only reason I might not repurchase the lotion.
The effects are really nice though — plump, moisturized skin without feeling weighed down. This is a really nice extra moisturizing step in my routine and I highly recommend it if you want to add a little extra oomph to your skincare routine as the weather gets colder.
Naruko Magnolia Brightening and Firming Night Gelly EX
Ingredients: I stupidly lost the box….so see CosDNA. I’d like to point out that the first 15 ingredients after water are plant extracts that are combined into one entity called “Phytoferulin complex” which allows it to be placed up high in the ingredients list. The next 3 ingredients after the complex are alpha-arbutin, tranexamic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), all pigmentation-fighting ingredients, followed by sodium hyaluronate. So yes the ingredients list is fantastic. I have a feeling that the ingredients are not put in the same order that they would be in the US, but nevertheless there is some good stuff there.
I love the Naruko Tea Tree Night Gelly, so I was excited to add the Magnolia version to my repertoire. Although both gellies look similar — a translucent white gel — the Magnolia gelly does have some clear differences that set it apart from the tea tree gelly.
First, the Magnolia gelly isn’t quite as jelly-like as the tea tree gelly — it’s a little richer and creamier, and not quite as wobbly and fresh-feeling. I like both, and I feel the Magnolia gelly fulfills a different function — it is more moisturizing and creates more of a protective film on the skin.
That being said, although the Magnolia Night Gelly is richer than the Tea Tree version, it’s still quite fresh-feeling and light as overnight masks go. I love the “jelly” feeling, which is refreshing and dries to a smooth and non-sticky finish.
While I didn’t experience (or expect) anything mind-blowing from the Magnolia Night Gelly, it’s definitely a product that I keep reaching for again and again. The consistency is really perfect for my normal-dehydrated skin. It’s moisturizing but not heavy feeling, and I really enjoy the fragrance (which is lighter than the lotion’s scent and leans a little more jasmine tea-ish). In the morning after I use it I definitely notice that my skin is plumper and feels smooth and firm.
While the Tea Tree Night Gelly is a staple in my routine for blemish-fighting, the Magnolia Gelly satisfies my need for a restorative, moisturizing overnight mask to replenish my skin and keep it glowing.
I would definitely repurchase the Magnolia Night Gelly. It is a moisturizing, soothing, and nourishing overnight mask that leaves my skin feeling plumped and firm. The scent is pleasant but not overpowering.
I would think twice about repurchasing the Magnolia Lotion. While I love the consistency of it and its moisturizing properties, the fragrance is a little too strong. However, if scents don’t bother you, I’d recommend it, as it’s a really great product.
Buy it at
Magnolia Brightening and Firming Lotion at Naruko Boutique on sale for $14.99
Magnolia Brightening and Firming Night Gelly at Naruko Boutique 2-for-1 deal for the extra large 80g jar for $24.99
I’m looking forward to trying more from this line! They have an oil cleanser and a cream cleanser that sound like they might be quite gentle so I’d love to try those next.
The products in this review were purchased with my own money. There are no affiliate links in this post. All opinions are my own.