Essence is one of those skin care categories I have typically shied away from. It isn’t that I had a problem with it, I just didn’t know what it did or why it was important. While it isn’t an essential step, like washing your face, essence is designed to open your skin so that you can benefit more from the following ingredients that you layer on after.
So maybe not essential, but certainly very helpful.
Essentially you wash your face to remove any surface contaminants like makeup or dirt and then apply an essence before going on with your serums and moisturizers. Easy right?
I don’t know why I thought it was going to be so much more complicated. If you’ve been following my Skin Care Line Up (posted on Fridays) you have seen the Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro essence make an appearance in the line up. The bottle lasted a little over a month and now alas it is empty and now it is time to tell you what I think of it as I rotate a new product into the lineup to take its place.
First of all, let’s look at what the product page says…
Real Skin Power, Real Skin Essence!
Water, The First Ingredient Introduced to The Skin. Natural Fermented Water targets benefits from the skin’s foundation to awaken a renewed. This naturally fermented essence is instantly absorbed into skin to maximize the skin benefits without leaving skin feeling sticky. It also help create the best skin condition for next skincare steps, achieving a healthy, supple, and glowing skin.
How to use: Use daily in the AM and PM after cleansing and at the first step of your skin routine. Abundantly soak/saturate essence on a cotton pad or ball to gently swipe along the direction of your skin’s texture and gently pat any remaining essence until fully absorbed.
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, CysteineNeogen Naturals
Okay that is a lot of ingredients, over forty actually. Don’t worry we aren’t going to break them all down. If you remember your label reading skills, ingredients have to be listed with those elements that have the highest concentration in the product first and then after they get below a certain percentage they can be listed in any order that the company wants. A general rule of thumb, at least the one I was taught, is that the top ten ingredients are generally what you want to look into as they are in a high enough concentration to have the most impact. So those are the ones we will briefly look at.
1 – Bifida Ferment Lysate – a probiotic that helps with skin damage in the presence of UV light, helps with hydration, strengthens your skin’s immunity (it is also why this is called a fermented essence)
2 – Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate – hydrates skin and helps balance uneven skin tone.
3 – Betula Alba Juice – anti-inflammatory and skin soothing often used to treat eczema and psoriasis
4 – Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake) – Acts as an antioxidant
5 – Aspergillus Ferment – used as a skin-lightening agent, making it effective to combat hyperpigmentation
6 – Glycerin – a humectant, a type of moisturizing agent that pulls water into the outer layer of your skin
7 – Dipropylene Glycol – a solvent, viscosity-decreasing agent (basically keeping everything liquid
8 – Methyl Gluceth-20 – used in cosmetics as emollient to soften skin and to help skin retain moisture
9 – Water – the moisture your skin needs
10 – Betaine – A gentle hydrating ingredient that works to balance skin’s hydration.
While we could break down all forty plus ingredients, basically these are the ones most active. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that they are mostly ingredients designed to pull moisture into the skin. The fact that an essence is designed to pull skincare deeper into the skin and make it more effective, kind of makes this the sort of list I would want to see.
I am a little bothered that niacinimides are way down the list coming in at number thirty one on the ingredients list, but as this really is only a prep for your other skin care I don’t see that as a deal breaker. Although if you do have an allergy to niacinimides you need to be aware that it is still on the list.
So far there are no real ingredient issues that I can see, but how does it work when actually used?
Well, the product page recommends dispensing it onto a toning pad and then applying it to the skin. I found this is fine when using a disposable cotton round but if I used one of the reusable ones then the product was just absorbed into the cloth. I could add more, but it felt like a waste. In the end, since I am using reusable rounds at the moment, I just dispensed a small amount into my hand, rubbed my hands together and then applied it to my face.
It was interesting.
Because it is clear and looks like water a part of my brain expected it to feel like water. It doesn’t. I applied it and my skin absorbed it really quickly so there was almost the sensation of drying as my hands moved across my face. The description says that it isn’t sticky but I don’t think that is true. If I pulled my hands down my face then my skin didn’t feel sticky. If I gan my hands up my face it did. It is similar o the sensation of stroking a dog or car with the fur and then against it.
I didn’t mind the sensation, and I think it actually might have meant that my pores were opening up and getting ready to receive the serum that followed.
While it is very difficult to tell if the essence really ‘worked’ or not, I can say that when I used the essence my serum absorbed more quickly than when I didn’t. It was a noticeable difference. With the serum I am currently using the recommendation is to apply the product and wait one full minute before moving on with the next step in your routine. When I applied it without using the essence first and waited for one minute my skin was still slightly tacky from the serum. If I applied the essence first and then followed with the serum, by the time the minute wait was up no tackiness remained.
Without a microscope to observe the skin cells up close, that is as good a judgement as I can make. It is less scientific and there isn’t a before and after photograph as it is mostly a determination by touch, but I do feel that it did assist my other products, which is what it was designed to do.
But now comes the big question, would I use this product again?
I think the answer is yes. I think I would use the Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro essence again. I think it is a good product. In addition it has also gotten me more interested in trying more essences in general. And we all know I am always ready to try a new category of skincare.