MUN No.1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum Review

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It’s fascinating to me how the deceivingly simple face oil can be so intricate and complex. On paper its just a mix of plant oils blended together yet to experience a well made blend in person is something else entirely. Each blend maintains its own character, personality, and tells their own story. Case in point, the cult beauty product from make-up artist Munemi Imai, MUN No.1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum. This luxe oil earns my respect for the risks it took. At $95 for a mere 0.5 oz (15ml) of oil, founder Munemi Imai’s confidence lies in the blend of 3 seemingly simple yet powerful 100% organic oils: Argan, Bulgarian Rose, and Prickly Pear Seed. These are oils that have been seen in other products but never in such a stripped down way that really calls to focus the individual power of the three oils.

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Argan is already an established super star in the beauty world, launching lines from Josie Maran to Kahina Giving Beauty. It’s many uses have been heralded by Moroccan women for centuries, yet have only been appreciated by the Western luxury beauty shopper recently. There really isn’t anything Argan doesn’t do, it’s the most pure all in one skin care ingredient that moisturizes and heals and softens (thanks to high Vitamin E).

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Bulgarian Rose is one of my favorite fragrances. It’s just so luxurious and the aromatherapy benefits are plentiful. In this blend, Bulgarian Rose takes the front seat in the scent department. I read in an interview that in creating this oil, Munemi needed an oil to balance the scent of the Prickly Pear which wasn’t the most palatable, and after lots of trial, this rose was chosen. It’s obvious that she did her research well because this fragrance is fantastic. It reminds me of those fresh rose soaps made locally when I was a child. It first appears strong, almost spicy then levels off. Between the precious bottle, orange hue, and this fragrance, the entire experience feels very special.

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Prickly Pear Seed is one of the rarest, most expensive oils, and it is said to heal and brighten skin, essentially making skin appear healthy and glowing. It is packed full of every good thing skin could want or need and is what I consider to be the most special part of this serum and one of the best ingredients for skincare in general.

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This serum is an anti-aging product that targets wrinkles and fine lines while toning complexion. I believe the argan helps to smooth and soften lines/wrinkles along with prickly pear seed which also makes the complexion better. Although the serum is prescribed as night time product, one can use it during the day as well. I personally keep it for night as I think the smell is wonderful for bedtime and I want to save what precious drops I have of this oil.

Now onto my personal experience..

munI found this oil to be so thoughtfully made. The confident blend of 3 oils works well in creating a minimal yet worthy product that is well rounded and versatile. The fruity scent of rose is a little on the spicy side but calms down to remind me of very fresh rose soaps, so it smells clean and fresh. The texture is actually thicker than I expected, more so than May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew which itself is good for dry skin. Although it is thicker than expected, I did not have any breakouts and the serum worked very well with my skin. It kept my skin very hydrated, even allowing me to forego moisturizer during the oddly cold winter/spring transition in New York.

I follow the instructions to a tee, applying a toner like Yuli Cocoon Elixir to get skin damp and conditioned before applying just 1 pump of the Youth Serum. This minimal routine really gave my skin a break. After 3 weeks of use, I have to say, it is a joy to use this serum each night. Being welcomed first by the fragrance then by the three organic oils as they sink into skin, it truly feels like a luxurious experience. I also discovered this serum to be great around the under-eye area as Prickly Pear Seed Oil is known to reduce dark circles.

Now onto the price. For those of you who love a well made luxury product, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this serum. I know there are also people who will only shell out this kind of money ($95 for 0.5 oz) for something that can deliver miracles. If you’re in this camp, I’m just going to be honest that you may find yourself feeling a little uneasy. There are times when I use this that I think $95 for three oils is a bit much but I value that extra bit of polish and attention that separates this brand from a simple DIY. Results wise, this serum is very good and each of the wonderful superstar ingredients is given adequate opportunity to shine  but where it really excels in my opinion is with reactive, sensitive skin. As this serum only contains 3 (very high quality and beneficial) ingredients, the chances of something setting off a reaction is VERY VERY LOW. It’s also good for those who like to hop from product to product because the pared down ingredients list really helps give skin a break, almost like a juice cleanse for skin. I don’t imagine anyone will find this serum to cause breakouts or adverse reactions unless you happen to be sensitive to Argan, Rose, or Prickly Pear – in which case, it’s best to just skip this and similar serums all together.

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I wish the bottle could be 1 oz instead of 0.5 oz but that’s neither here nor there, and a bottle of this serum can last a good 2.5 months. As someone who enjoys splurging on luxury beauty products, I found MUN’s Dream Youth Serum to be a wonderful addition to my growing collection of oils. It has a special place as an effective minimalist product on days where I want to give my skin a break without depriving it.

Have you given this very special serum a try? What is your take?

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12 thoughts on “MUN No.1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum Review

  1. Thank you for sharing! I always love your reviews. Seriously no one reviews them with your candor and wisdom. For me personally, I don’t think I will be buying this serum although I have no doubt it is wonderful just because it is too high of a splurge for me to justify for 3 oils.

  2. Sad to say I was a little underwhelmed with this oil. It’s nice enough, and I didn’t experience any breakouts or anything like that, but I didn’t notice any improvement to my skin either. Also, when used sparingly on the under-eye area (which is main reason I purchased it) I wake up with puffy eyes, which is unusual for me. So that was disappointing. I’ll continue to use it, but wouldn’t repurchase. Smells nice, but very strong, so I would definitely recommend sampling first for that reason alone.

    • Thank you for sharing! I had no idea this could cause puffy eyes! For myself, I did not notice any puffiness or lack of puffiness, it did seem to help my eyes feel or look less tired.

      Yes I think a lot of reviews online are overwhelmingly positive of this oil, which while a very good blend – definitely surprised me a little on the smell.

    • It might be because you’re using it at night. I’ve heard it’s generally not wise to add oils around the eye area at night because at certain stages of sleep the body temperature increases (probably during REM) — this heats the oil, and since warmth increases the space between molecules, it wouldn’t surprise me if it lead to stretching of the skin. Seeing as the body slips in and out of different stages, heating up during REM and cooling down during NREM, the skin would be continually stretched during sleep [not a lot, but the eye-area is incredibly delicate], which could explain why you wake up puffy-eyed (water-retention is a sign of irritation in the area).

      Why this won’t happen with water-based eyecreams could be a matter of absorption — whereas most oils would have trouble absorbing through the eye area due to the few pores in this area (this is why a light oil is best for the eye area; prickly pear, for instance, both light and high in viscosity/vitamin e, a perfect mix, is often praised as a great oil around the eyes; argan oil, however, isn’t a particularly “light” oil, and probably would have a hard time absorbing around the eyes), water would quickly absorb and therefore creams containing it wouldn’t make the skin stretch, revert to normal, then stretch again during the night, leading to no puffiness. Light oils with high viscosity (quick absorption).

      EDIT: Did some digging to confirm my impressions, and the body temperature rises during REM (happens about once every hour) and decreases during NREM. Link here: http://www.ask.com/question/does-body-temperature-rise-during-sleep

      Here’s the link to the discussion of oil under the eyes: https://www.essentialdayspa.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=45527

      EDIT II: Neimanidealist, would you be interested in doing an overview of the most important facial oils, and their benefits? There seems to be an overwhelming amout of good options out there — emu, tamanu, rosehip, prickly pear, argan, baobab, sea buckthorn, black cumin seed, macademia — it’s become difficult to know which one would work the best for you, especially when different parties highlight different qualities of the oils (for instance, one place they’ll say prickly pear is excellent as a wrinkle reducer while argan oil is excellent for moisturisation; another place they’ll highlight argan oil’s as a wrinkle repairer and prickly pear as a texture-refining and inflammation / age-stopping / moisturising miracle worker). I think a lot of readers, as consumers, would be interested in your breakdown of the oils and which skin type and issue they’d be most compatible with.

      • James, I’ve only just read your reply. Firstly, many thanks for your detailed response. Secondly, I think you have hit the nail on the head. I had remembered reading the same thing about oils potentially having that effect and it was the first thing I thought of when I first encountered the puffiness from the Mun No.1 serum.

        If that truly is the case, then I find that particularly disappointing considering that Mun No.1 is sold as a ‘night time’ serum that ‘brightens dark circles’, I’m sure I’m not the only one who bought it specifically to use around my eye area at night.

        I read that the staff at Spirit Beauty Lounge are addicted to using this as a hand treatment, which seems absolutely bonkers to me considering the small size and expensive nature of the oil, but since I can’t really use it as I intended, my hands might be about to get the best treatment they’ve ever had!

  3. Thank you so much for the review! It is so insightful. I feel like LM though. It is a bit too pricey for me, especially when compared to other serums that are half the price for the size and are maybe a bot more advanced/better put together, like yuli.

  4. I also think the ingredients are amazing and simple, but I have to agree with L.B, it didn’t make my skin any worse, but I didn’t notice the slightest improvement either, nothing noteworthy. As it was very pricy, I will continue to rotate it in my skincare routine until the bottle is empty, but I will not repurchase. I am glad other people like it though and it worked for them 🙂 Great review!

  5. Life changing serum, the scent is subtle, after using for a week friends started to ask what I changed in my beauty routine. I have never received so many compliments for my “glowing skin”. I’ve been wary of oils but Aknari has been the best investment for my face, months later I am still in love with this serum!!

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