I wrote about “clean” beauty being one of the rising trends in Korean skincare, as we’re now seeing not just products with minimal formulas, but also paying attention to the source, the packaging, and environmental impact.
Vegreen is a brand that follows this trend, with their eco-friendly packaging, skin-friendly ingredients, and animal-friendly sources. While their star product is their vegan alternative to the famous snail essence, the Vegreen Skin Barrier Reishi Serum deserves some recognition too!
Table of Contents
What is it
Reishi Mushroom is known as the “Herb of Eternal Youth”, the Mushroom Extract is an ingredient that strengthens natural healthy skin barriers. Lactobacillus Ferment Extract maintains the oil and water balance on skin.
Best suited for
All skin types that prefer minimal routines and are looking for a single product that hydrates and supports the skin barrier health.
Things to note
Alcohol free, fragrance free, and cruelty free.
A clear plastic pump with partial label covering, so you can still see how much product is left. Due to the runny texture the product can drip when you dispense. A dropper would’ve been a more suitable imo.
No noticeable scent.
Watery. It feels more like a light toner than a serum. Easy to spread and absorbs quickly into the skin.
Dewy with a slight tackiness that can be offset if you applied a mist beforehand. Also goes away after you apply your next product.
We actually find 3 types of mushrooms in this serum:
- Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum Extract) – Has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help with wound healing and brightening the skin!1
- Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus Extract) – Found to have skin brightening properties and the ability to protect the skin from sun damage (ie great to layer under sunscreen)2
- Snow (Tremella Fuciformis Extract) – A humectant that draws moisture to the skin and has also shown to protect against UVA damage.3,4
There’s also several probiotics, which we know are beneficial to our skin microbiome:
- Lactobacillus Ferment – Also used in Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, the brand found that it has anti-inflammatory anti-microbial and skin protective abilities.
- Lactococcus Ferment Lysate – Technically a postbiotic, it’s been found to protect the skin against environmental and UV damage.5
- Saccharomyces Ferment – A byproduct of fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one study found it to have brightening properties.6
- Streptococcus Thermophilus Ferment – A really interesting probiotic that not only protects against UV damage, but has been shown to increase collagen production too!7
- Bacillus Ferment – Has skin calming and hydrating properties to support our moisture barrier.8
Obviously these all sound awesome, but keep in mind the studies are very limited, especially when compared to tried and true ingredients. Luckily we do see some great ones included, like niacinamide, green tea extract, and hyaluronic acid.
Overall there’s a theme of hydration + brightening + barrier support in this formula, making it a promising addition to any routine.
- Apply twice a day after cleansing and toning.
- Use 1-2 pumps and gently spread and pat into your skin.
- If you're using another serum, apply the lighter of the two first. Chances are it'll be this one.
- Continue with the rest of your routine.
Usage Experience & Results
I’m going to be honest here, my first impression of this serum was extremely underwhelming. The packaging is basic, the texture was too watery for my liking (I prefer my serums cushiony), and I was not a fan of the initial tackiness.
Unlike other hydrating serums, you don’t get that immediate feeling of hydration or plumpness either. Nor did I find it particularly soothing. The first few days I was scratching my head trying to figure out how and where this serum would fit in my routine, because it didn’t seem to be doing much of anything!
Now my skin gets extremely dry in the winter, and pair that with using retinol daily, I have to be very careful of irritations or compromising my skin’s barrier. That means multiple hydrating layers, and a thick moisturizer to lock everything in. This is when the serum started to shine.
I’ve found that even when I’ve removed all those extra layers and just used the Skin Barrier Reishi Serum with retinol, my skin never felt dry or irritated. Instead my skin felt healthy and more resilient! Looks like the mushrooms and probiotics were hard at work to keep my barrier strong!
Now I didn’t notice, nor expect, any significant anti-aging benefits from adding this serum. Nor did I notice any changes in my skin tone, despite some ingredients having brightening potentials. The Skin Barrier Reishi Serum definitely plays a supporting role in my skincare routine, keeping my skin balanced and inflammation free while other actives do their work. Team work makes the dream work!
What Others Say
A single pump is enough to cover my whole face leaving a very hydrated and glowy finish. Vegreen has done it again, at least in my opinion. I really enjoy using these two especially the Reishi Serum!Nikki, oily skin
I don’t notice any brightening effect from it, but it’s not something it claims to do anyway. It makes the skin look bouncy and gives a healthy glow.Ledia, oily skin
This VEGREEN Skin Barrier Reishi Serum has worked well with my combination skin. It helped stop the oil slick that I usually get in the afternoon. It also has helped to calm the redness that I have due to rosacea.Heidi, combination skin
Vegreen Fragrance-Free Nature Mucin Serum
This reminds me of the COSRX Snail Essence, down to the stringy texture. The Mucin serum feels more moisturizing and nourishing imo, and I like the extra peptides in the formula. But otherwise the two are very similar.
Holifrog Utopia Microflora Toner
Similar watery texture, but Holifrog feels more refreshing on the skin. Both are full of probiotics, and while I didn’t find this toner moistruzing, it was incredibly calming and effective at reducing redness.
Neogen Dermalogy Probiotics Double Action Serum
I haven’t tried this one but if you prefer a true serum-like texture, this one not only has probiotics, but also hyaluronic acid and ceramides to moisturize the skin. Plus it contains a bit of lactic acid for gentle exfoliation!
Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion
The og mushroom skincare product, I know a lot of people swear by this to calm their irritated or inflamed skin, but keep in mind this does contain essential oils.
Bliss Mighty Biome Pre/Post Biotics + Barrier Aid
A milky toner/serum that strengthens the skin barrier with pre+postbiotics and ceramides! I found this to be more hydrating than Vegreen, but oily skin types might not like the slightly heavier texture.
- Gentle on the skin with no known irritants.
- Improves skin health and resilience with regular use. Great barrier support for those using actives like retinol or AHAs.
- Affordable and will work for all skin types.
- One of the few vegan K-beauty brands out there.
- Packaging could be more user friendly given the runny texture.
- Won’t stand out on its own, especially if you’re 30+ with a more mature skin type.
Scores & Summary
Don’t let this unassuming serum fool you, it’s the kind that quietly gets the job done in the background to keep your skin balanced and healthy. It won’t wow you on the spot, especially if you’re dealing with concerns like fine lines and wrinkles, but it’s still a lovely companion serum to any routine. I don’t consider it a must have, but if your skin is easily irritated, it could be worth checking out.
To keep my content accurate and trustworthy, I rely on peer-reviewed studies, articles from reputable academic institutions, and quotes from certified healthcare professionals to back my claims.
Yin, Zhuming, et al. “Preventive and Therapeutic Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Skin Diseases and Care.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2019, pp. 311–321, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31777026/, 10.1007/978-981-32-9421-9_14
Min-Hee Guk, et al. “Antioxidant and Skin Whitening Effects of Inonotus Obliquus Methanol Extract.” ResearchGate, The Korean Society of Mushroom Science, 30 June 2013, www.researchgate.net/publication/263627124_Antioxidant_and_skin_whitening_effects_of_Inonotus_obliquus_methanol_extract.
“Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract in Skin Care: What It Is | Paula’s Choice.” Paulaschoice.com, Paula’s Choice Skincare, 2023, www.paulaschoice.com/ingredients/ingredient-tremella-fuciformis-sporocarp-extract.html.
Fu, Hao, et al.“Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharides Inhibit UVA‐Induced Photodamage of Human Dermal Fibroblast Cells by Activating Up‐Regulating Nrf2/Keap1 Pathways.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vol. 20, no. 12, 25 Mar. 2021, pp. 4052–4059, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33686752/, 10.1111/jocd.14051.
“Lactococcus Ferment Lysate in Skin Care: What It Is | Paula’s Choice.” Paulaschoice.com, Paula’s Choice Skincare, 2023, www.paulaschoice.com/ingredients/ingredient-lactococcus-ferment-lysate.html.
Jo, Dong-Uk, et al. “By-Product of Korean Liquor Fermented by Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Exhibits Skin Whitening Activity.” Food Science and Biotechnology, vol. 31, no. 5, 11 Apr. 2022, pp. 587–596, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35529691/, 10.1007/s10068-022-01062-7.
Liu, Cheng, et al. “The Potential of Streptococcus Thermophiles (TCI633) in the Anti‐Aging.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vol. 21, no. 6, 29 Sept. 2021, pp. 2635–2647, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.14445, 10.1111/jocd.14445.
“Bacillus Ferment | Paula’s Choice.” Paulaschoice.com, Paula’s Choice Skincare, 2023, www.paulaschoice.com/ingredients/ingredient-bacillus-ferment.html.