Made in: South Korea
What is it?: An Essence that aims to Hydrate + Brighten the skin (The Big Sell here is the 93% Fermented Ingredients i.e. Bifida Ferment Lysate + 28% Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate which are both supposed to provide the skin with both deeply moisturising + Skin-Plumping Benefits by drawing water into the skin).
Brand Description: A Fragrance-Free Fermented Treatment Essence that delivers some skin-beneficial ingredients to the start of one’s skincare routine. This aims to Hydrate, Reinforce the skin’s barrier + Moisturise. This also contains 17% Birch Juice and 9% Rice Extracts to brighten the skin. The overall effect is supposed to protect + Brighten the Skin. Hydrating, Skin Barrier + Moisturising – This is meant to be paired with the Micro Serum.
Supposedly Good for: All Skin Types
What I think: I think this works best for Oily + Combo Skins as this isn’t thick + is very watery + fast absorbing (so probably wont feel enough for Dry Skins). I think Dry Skins would much prefer the Serum.
Vegan?: Doesn’t Contain Animal-Derived Ingredients
Cruelty Free?: Yes
Packaging: Glass Bottle with a Screw Top. Very easy to Dispense and I don’t think it’s easy to over-apply.
Directions: Use this Daily in the AM and PM After Cleansing + Toning. Apply with the fingers or cotton pad. Pat the Skin lightly until the product is absorbed.
How I use it: I prefer to use this product right after cleansing (so as my toner) as it’s so lightweight, it’s actually thinner than some solutions/Toners I have, and I like to go from thinnest to thickest textures. Also, because this is fast-absorbing, I feel like this does prep my skin so I want it on before applying + Serums/ Moisturisers.
Key Ingredients: Bifida Ferment Lysate (Skin-barrier reinforcing + Moisture Balancing) – This is a Probiotic Ingredient (Actually in the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum – it protects the skin against UV damage and helps with DNA repair. It can also help reduce skin sensitivity. – Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (Meant to improve Skin Regeneration + Moisture) – This contains Amino Acids, Vitamins, Beta-Glucan and Essential Minerals so it’s good to Moisturise + Soothe the Skin.
Rice Ferment Filtrate – Hydrating + Moisturising
Betula Alba Juice (Birch Juice) – Is an Astringent (Like Witch Hazel), so it helps with the fast absorption of the product. It also supposedly provides antioxidant benefits (skin protecting) to the skin.
Other Notable Ingredients: Niacinamide (Brightening, Anti-Acne + Skin-barrier Reinforcing + Helps with Fine Lines). Green Tea (Antioxidant), Lots of Amino Acids (Skin Barrier Reinforcing + a few are Humectants). This also contains Hyaluronic Acid (Hydrating). Allantoin (Soothing).
Full Ingredients: Bifida Ferment Lysate, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Betula Alba Juice, Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake), Aspergillus Ferment, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Water, Betaine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract Ethylhexylglycerin, Trehalose, Lactobacillus, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Trideceth-10, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tropolone, Allantoin, Butylene Glycol, Coptis Japonica Extract, Arginine, Hydroxypropyl, Methylcellulose, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Calcium, Carbonate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Niacinamide, Dextrin, Glycine, Serine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Leucine, Alanine, Lysine, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine, Phenoxyethanol, Histidine, Methionine, Cysteine
NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE
Texture: Lightweight, Watery + Fast-absorbing! Definitely what you want (at least for Oily/Combo Skins) in an Essence that preps the skin for Serums + Moisturisers. Doesn’t feel sticky or tacky. I don’t find this intensely moisturising or hydrating, but I think it does a good job feeling like I’ve provided the skin with some hydration and prepped it to soak in more product!
I hope you can see how lightweight and watery this product is! It spreads along the skin easily and is fast absorbing! It doesn’t make the skin feel dry-er or dehydrated, it definitely adds something to the skin and doesn’t simply disappear. It basically feels like it smoothes out the skin and fills in some of those lines, ready for serums + Moisturisers.
Face Swatch Video:
Summer or Winter?: More of a Summer Essence (Very Lightweight).
Stings the Skin if Irritated/Sensitised?: Yes because of the Niacinamide + Hyaluronic Acid
Fragrance?: No added Fragrance and / Or Essential Oils
Good Under Makeup?: Yes!
How long have I been using this?: 3 Months
The Effect?: Kept the Skin Resilient and In Good Condition. In terms of Immediate Effects – this is fast-absorbing, so it really nicely preps the skin for thicker Serums + Moisturisers. It didn’t drastically change my skin i.e. If you’re expecting Skin resurfacing + a drastic reduction in Blackheads/Pores and Fine lines, then I would recommend AHAs and BHAs instead, but this is a great essence to use before adding those kind of Exfoliating Acids, as this contains Niacinamide and other skin-beneficial ingredients that help with the skin’s overall maintenance and skin barrier upkeep.
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What I like:
- Fragrance + EO Free
- Fast Absorbing
- Not Sticky or Tacky
- Has additional Skin-beneficial Ingredients (Doesn’t just rely on the Fermented Extracts)
- Lightly Hydrating (Not Drastic, but this doesn’t make my skin feel MORE dry i.e. it adds something!)
- Fine Under Makeup
- Kept the Skin in Good Condition
- Didn’t Sting or Irritate my Skin
- Preps the Skin for the Next Step of Skincare
- Lightweight Texture
What I don’t like:
- No drastic change to the skin (I.e. Don’t expect Pores + Lines to Drastically Change)
- Not that Moisturising (So Dry Skins may not prefer)
Overall Rating and Conclusion: 4.2/5 – A Very Nice first step, Skin-prepping Essence for my Oily-Combo Skin if you want to prep the skin before Serums + Moisturisers. I like that this isn’t just plain water and has a few added additional, skin-beneficial ingredients that make this product worthwhile to apply! I do think that the Serum has even more beneficial Skincare Ingredients so I understand why Neogen sell this or promote this as a pair.
Would I repurchase?: Yes I would! This is a non-offensive product that does contain Skin-Beneficial Ingredients (looking at you Niacinamide), and because this is fast-absorbing (I really like the pleasant, non-messy texture), I would repurchase. In fact, I have included this in my favourites HERE.
Dupe?: I don’t think I have an exact dupe to recommend as this is quite unique in both the formulation + texture (hence why it’s a cult classic I believe). HOWEVER, obviously the SKII Essence is what all of these Essences containing Fermented Ingredients are modelled after – but I wouldn’t recommend it due to the Heavy Fragrance. The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Also contains Bifida Ferment Extract if that’s what you’re aiming for. The Secret Key Essence is also meant to be a dupe (but I prefer this product over it).
If you specifically want a Toner that Contains Niacinamide + Is Brightening, then the Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner (My Review HERE) is good but it is thicker than this!
My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.
Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.
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