What the Hell Is a Lumpoule?

I'll be honest: once you know, it's still a little confusing.
Publish date:
May 9, 2016
korean, highlighting, innovations, Korean Skincare, Ampoule, K Beauty, Lumpoule, Primary Raw, Soy

One of my favorite things to do — and I technically get to call it research — is to read about new South Korean beauty trends and products. And very rarely does a perusing session go by when I don’t want to try at least something new that I just read about.

Case in point: lumpoules.

I know what you're thinking. What even is a lumpoule? That was my first thought, and it was Marci's first reaction when I pitched this as a story. Even learning that lumpoule is a portmanteau, combining the words "lump" and "ampoule," doesn't really help because both words aren't very self-explanatory.

So let's break it down:

  • Ampoules: A kind of super-concentrated serum that gives your skin a major pick-me-up. They're used in conjunction with your cleanser, toner, serum and creams, and they come in all shapes and sizes. I've written about ampoules on xoVain before.
  • Lumps: The lumps we're talking about in this case are tiny bits of concentrated, fermented soy that are suspended within the ampoule. Soy is a potent skincare ingredient that helps stimulate collagen production and can make your skin look more vibrant, hence it being a primary ingredient.

Now, not to confuse you now that we've established that, but I've also read that "lumpoule" combines the words luminous and ampoule, which makes sense as well.

The above lumpoule is sold at Glow Recipe, and it comes with the adorable little "multi balm" pictured below.

The idea behind "luminous ampoules" is based on a Korean skincare trend that combines strobing or highlighting with skincare. So it's not just about applying the ol' highlighter to your face, but creating a truly luminous effect by layering an illuminating product with something like a serum or cream.

The tiny balm is meant to be applied on top of the lumpoule to create a sort of strobing effect. It's not really shimmery like a highlighter, but it does kind of glisten. It's also extremely moisturizing, hence the whole "strobe while you skincare."

In terms of texture, lumpoules are like thick serums. The Primary Raw product here has almost a snail-mucin-like effect, though not quite as gooey. It's light, kind of "bouncy" and ever-so-slightly sticky. I like to apply it after cleansing and toning, and before any moisturizers or creams. You can use it in conjunction with your normal serum, or as a replacement.

I actually haven't found many lumpoules in my research outside of the Primary Raw product. There's also one by Sshabov called SoyBio+ Fermented Lumpoule, but I haven't personally tried it.

So yeah, it'll certainly be interesting to see if other brands follow suit and create their own version of a lumpoule, and even more interesting to see what other kinds of products are invented over in K land. Glompoules (glowing lumpoules)? Freshence (fresh essence)? Brask (brightening mask)? All made up by me, but not out of the realm of possibility.

  • Does a lumpoule sound like something you'd want to try?
  • Help me come up with more skincare portmanteaus!