First treatment essences are products that typically contain some form of yeast (or other) ferment, and they are meant to be applied prior to any toners or other essences. They are usually known for their ability to reduce redness and improve skin health and function. As a rosacea sufferer, anything that can possibly reduce redness is going to be an attractive option.
My first product in this category was the Nature Republic Saccharomyces The First Treatment Essence. I really enjoyed that product, but it was unfortunately discontinued and I was put on a mission to find a replacement. The COSRX Whitening Power Essence has been my first attempt.
Full Disclosure: This review contains no affiliate links, and the product was purchased by me. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal use and testing of the product.
What is it?
COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence is a first treatment essence designed to moisturize and brighten the skin. It should be applied after cleansing and after any active or exfoliants, but before any essences, serums, or other toners.
- Size: 100 mL
- Price: $19.86 CAD from Jolse.com
- Texture: Clear and colorless, very thin and watery
- Scent: None
- Packaging: Medium frosted plastic bottle with a pump
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (95.4%), Niacinamide (2%), Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Panthenol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Allantoin, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol, Adenosine (0.04%)
CosDNA breakdown. This is an incredibly clean ingredients list, only butylene glycol gets flagged as a 1 for comedogenicity.
As usual, COSRX is not at all shy about letting their star ingredients shine. The galactomyces ferment filtrate makes up 95% of this formulation. That leaves little room for other additions, but COSRX has been clever to add some other heavy hitters that have no need to be present in huge percentages in order to have a marked effect on skin: niacinamide, allantoin, and adenosine. All of these are meant to help with inflammation, redness, and brightening, and so COSRX has brought us a no-frills product that is very transparent about what it is meant to achieve.
This essence come in a sturdy, frosted plastic bottle with the label printed directly on the surface. The plastic is partially transparent, so you can easily tell how much product you have left. COSRX’s aesthetic is incredibly simple and clean, though I wouldn’t call it inelegant. Their packaging is pretty standard across their entire line of products, and I think it brings some refreshing minimalism without feeling like you are settling for low quality.
The essence has no fragrance, and so has no discernible scent. It’s a watery essence, but it has a thicker consistency similar to the Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. It spreads easily and sinks in very quickly. It can sometimes feel a bit tacky once it dries, but I immediately follow it up with another toner and more essences/serums, so it’s not really something to worry about unless you’re routine completely stops after this point.
Unfortunately with my subtype of rosacea, there’s not a whole lot any topical product can do that will have an effect on my redness. The physical structures of the capillaries in my face are what make my face red. Anti-inflammatories can help, but not enough to make my redness disappear entirely. It makes it much harder for me to assess the effectiveness of a product like this because I’ve got so much non-transient redness that gets in the way of any noticeable results.
So, as you might expect, I haven’t noticed much reduction in my redness. To be honest I can’t really say I’ve had many tangible benefits from using this product at all. Sometimes I can detect some added softness or smoothness, but with so many other products in my routine it’s hard to attribute that change to just this one. I do feel that having a fermented product in a skincare routine is really important for overall skin health, so I am not at all saying that this essence is a total loss. I’ve continued to use this product because I feel that having a fermented product will be better for my skin in the long run than not having one, but I can’t say that it’s been a game changer for me.
Would I Repurchase?
Not for the time being. I’d like to try out other products in this category for comparison purposes, but I also can’t really recommend a product in good faith if I can’t honestly say I’ve seen results from it. If you are looking to try something with ferments, I think this is an inexpensive option with a minimal ingredients list that can be a great introduction to this product category. If you are looking for something to drastically reduce facial redness, then I’d have to tell you to move on because this did not have that effect for me.