Last year, on our trip to Crete, I picked up the Black Pine serum-oil from the Greek brand Korres. I originally wanted to get my hands on their Wild Rose Brightening & Nourishing Face Oil that, at the time, was well talked about. But typically me, I set off all shopping for the last minute! So the Wild Rose oil was out of stock and I had no time to search for other pharmacies. With the conclusion that they are quite similar, with one being just more nourishing than the other, I settled with the Black Pine serum oil instead.
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Korres | Black Pine Serum
It should be noted that this serum has different names depending on the region. In the US it is called 3D Sculpting & Firming Sleeping Oil, while in the UK it’s called Firming & Nourishing Active Oil – putting no emphasis that it should only be used for nighttime – and in Greece as Advanced Firming, Nourishing & Antiwrinkle Serum-Oil. The formula is – or seems – the same despite the different names.
As I mentioned, I wanted the Wild Rose oil but came home with this instead. It was just slightly more expensive than the Wild Rose oil, costing me €39. At Sephora, and some other places the price is around €59(!), so I would definitely recommend you to try buying Korres products directly from Greece or other pharmacy websites! You should not be paying more than around €39 for the product.
This review is written 1 year after purchase.
What it is and who is it for?
The Korres Black Pine oil-serum is like a secondary serum, a light oil blend with potent extracts. It’s supposed to visually plump the skin and promote skin elasticity and firmness. As a comparison, the Wild Rose oil focuses more on brightness and contains a higher amount of vitamin C.
This one, however, is boosted with Black Pine extract from trees in the Mediterranean that supposedly survived the ice age. The Korres research lab found that polyphenols found in black pine maintained the elasticity on connective tissue better than all other polyphenols studied and has a patent on the extracts.
The Black Pine-line of products is geared towards more mature skin in need of wrinkle correcting and lifting. However, there’s no rule that someone close to their 30’s can’t start using this line as a preventative measure.
This serum also contains brightening fat-soluble vitamin C. Which was why I was intrigued by this product in the first place. I wanted to add more products with vitamin C and try different kinds.
If you’re looking to get either this one or the rose oils, note that the Wild Rose contains alcohol in its formula (in the middle of the INCI right before tiny ingredients). I don’t think it’s enough to dry out the skin or cause problems, considering it’s an oil-based product. But for anyone who cares, heads up! Other triggers with the Wild Rose oil-serum is that it contains sensitizing compounds like citronellol, eugenol, and geraniol. It doesn’t contain any essential oils, so it must be from the rose powder. I personally do use rose water even though it’s deemed as a poor choice by Paula Begun. However, it’s all a personal choice.
The Black Pine serum-oil has patented black pine polyphenol that helps with firmness and works against free radicals. It also contains patented Paracress Extract which helps with restoring collagen fibers. Together with natural low comedogenic oils, it works to nourish and firm the skin. The oil has an extremely thin texture and sinks in right away upon application, but feels instantly nourishing at the same time.
Experience & Use
What hit me at first was the scent. But I’ll talk about it in a separate paragraph below!
The oil-serum is supposed to be used after the main Black Pine serum but before your moisturizer. As it is a serum-oil, it has a very light feel on the skin and sinks in without leaving a residue. If you hate oils, this one is for you!
It says to warm 2-3 drops between your fingers and massage it onto your face. My experience is that the oil is just too dry for 3 drops to be enough for a massage. Instead, it’s better used blended together with your moisturizer for easier application, nourishment and added glow. This is how I ended up applying it throughout the use.
And if you don’t find this serum to be too expensive to waste, going for more than 3 drops to do a nightly massage can be a nice treat for the skin.
The Korres Black Pine serum-oil is composed of a blend with several low comedogenic oils like argan, almond, apricot, and jojoba oil. So the chances of it breaking you out are quite low, but everything is relative.
I didn’t experience any major brightening from the vitamin C that I could pinpoint, and the anti-aging stuff may be too early to notice. But I did find my skin feeling smoother and having an overall healthy glow about it. It definitelly replaced my use of jojoba oil and became a part of both my night and morning routine.
Despite the oil being very light and quick to sink in, this stuff will last you a long time! It says to be used within 6 months of opening, but for me, it almost took a year. I would also often blend it together with rosehip oil for some added vitamin A-properties. They worked really well together.
My skin is nor dry or oily, but I can definitely see it help with dry patches as well as balance out sebum production on oily skin. So it’s something for everyone.
So, I’m quite sensitive to scent. I didn’t know how this smelled when I picked it up. I knew that it had fragrance but thought, how strong could it be? Well, it’s between strong and on the verge of tackiness I would say. There are also other reviewers that has pointed it out.
As the rest of my skincare is either unscented or mildly fragranced I let it pass. However, I won’t lie, gifting it to my mom did pass my mind. Though, I decided to give it a proper go.
But it’s good to know before purchasing that it has a strong scent, and not to everyone’s liking. I don’t even know how to describe the scent for you, it’s like woodsy with a hint of vanilla? But I could be wrong.
It’s hard to tell for sure if it was my routine of keeping it everything else low fragranced. But never during the time span of use did the fragrance or the oil bother my skin in any negative way. This quite confused me because I’ve learned to see fragrance as an unnecessary evil. And definitely, removing fragrant products, especially those with essential oils, has improved my skin by a lot!
But it could be because the Korres Black Pine serum-oil uses artificial fragrance instead of EOs. Meaning it doesn’t contain the usual sensitizing by-products of essential oils, which either can irritate your skin at application or do so with time.
I would say that the fragrance lingers but also don’t. It will eventually fade and doesn’t stay in a headachy-kind-of-way that’s bothersome.
Know me, I wouldn’t have used it up if it did!
Would I buy this again? Yes, I ended up adoring this oil! Everything from the packaging down to the formula! I would even be interested in trying the Black Pine serum, which has a white cap and is slightly less expensive.
I really loved blending this oil together with my moisturizer. It gave my skin a nice plumpness and glow to the skin without leaving your skin feeling greasy. I truly miss it in my routine now that I’ve finished it. I literally have nothing bad to say or complain about the formula, except for the scent. But as I’ve stated, it has not aggravated my skin in any way!
I know I have crossed a few products off my repurchase-list before only because of the fragrance. And even though I wasn’t crazy about the scent on this one, and it’s quite strong at first glance, this one didn’t cause a headache or any irritation to my skin. The scent did grow on me, and in the end felt very therapeutic to the point that I related it to nighttime. While on the skin, it didn’t linger in a way that was annoying or overpowering throughout the day. Which I’ve had some cases with.
– For example, Clarins, like wtf, are they trying to sell me a perfume or a moisturizer? Sometimes the moisturizer’s fragrance lasts longer than the actual perfume!
So I must say that Korres did a good job of making me like a product despite including something I would naturally avoid. It makes me question if all fragrance is necessarily bad? As there’s a ton of reviews on fragranced skincare with high ratings.
Not to sound like I’m changing sides here, I still think fragrance isn’t skincare and has no benefit to the skin whatsoever. For most part, it’s better avoided.
However, it’s a shame. I definitely wish Korres would come out with a fragrance-free line of anti-aging products as they are truly wonderful. But in the end, I think some fragranced products may be allowed to have, as long as your routine doesn’t consist of a cocktail of scented products. I think most people’s skin will be okay.
Maybe it’s a bit too early for someone in my age to start using this line, but I still would recommend this product to anyone closing in on their 30’s and ages above who are looking for an oil-product that’s light, nourishing and with added extras (like vitamin C and anti-aging extracts). Because of its light feature, I think any skin type will do fine with it. But if you know your skin doesn’t do well with scented products, I can only give you my experience and you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the price.