Review: COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence

Yeah, so, obviously the thing to do with this product would be to open with a witty comment about its original name, but I got nothin’. I’m just happy and appreciative of COSRX‘s openness to hearing feedback from their international customers and changing the product’s name to the Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence.

COSRX Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence

Honestly, wouldn’t you cringe, too?

Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*).

Purpose: COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence is a first essence-type skincare product that promises to hydrate and brighten skin while protecting it from visible aging.

Do not use if: You are sensitive to galactomyces ferment products, niacinamide, or anything else in the ingredients list.

When and how to use: After cleansing, or after actives or toner if you use them, apply to face in a thin layer using the palms of your hands. Press gently to aid absorption. You can proceed immediately to the next step of your skincare routine after applying this product.

COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence ingredients: Galactomyces ferment filtrate, niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, betaine, panthenol, glycerin, 1,2-hexanediol, allantoin, butylene glycol, xanthan gum, ethyl hexanediol, adenosine

CosDNA analysis

Notable ingredients: As the product name suggests, COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence contains a whopping 95% galactomyces ferment filtrate. A byproduct of the sake brewing process, galactomyces ferment filtrate–also the star of the way pricier SK-II Facial Treatment Essence–is intriguing. Fermentation breaks down the ingredient into smaller and potentially more bioavailable components. In the case of galactomyces yeast, these components may deliver antioxidants more effectively to skin, protecting it from environmental and UV damage that lead to premature skin aging.

95% fermenty goodness means that the rest of the ingredients only comprise 5% of the formulation. Still, the small amounts of niacinamide and adenosine may contribute brightening and anti-aging effects, while the sodium hyaluronate and glycerin provide hydration.

The only ingredient flagged in CosDNA is the ubiquitous penetration enhancer butylene glycol, which receives a 1 as a potential acne trigger.


Not gonna lie, COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence had a lot to live up to. I ordered this product in a fit of rage after hearing about the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence reformulation. I had really loved original recipe FTE, which I credit with giving me my first taste of the famous K-beauty Glow™.

COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence comes in the same kind of simple, semi-transparent plastic pump bottle as the AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid and BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. The pump dispenses a small amount of product at a time, so you may need more than one pump to cover your face, and definitely more than one for face, neck, and upper chest.

The product itself is a clear liquid. To me, it’s completely odorless, though others report a yeasty or even peachy smell. In contrast to most other first treatment essences, it’s noticeably thicker than water and has a lot of slip to it, making it easy to spread evenly across the face.

Did I mention that it’s odorless to me? Considering the fact that the smell of the AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid occasionally still slaps me across the face like a whap from a half-melted burning tire, the fact that the Whitening Power Essence doesn’t smell like anything is a distinct plus. And even if it does smell like yeast or peaches to you, that’s still pretty good.

COSRX Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence bottle

After over two months, this is what I have left.

Despite its thickness, the WPE dries down very quickly and cleanly, leaving no sticky residue behind, and, like many prep products, seems to help subsequent layers absorb more quickly and effectively.

In my experience, the WPE definitely lives up to Missha’s First Treatment Essence and in some ways surpasses it. I primarily used the Missha FTE for its brightening properties, which it delivered very effectively; I noticed no reduction in brightening or glow when I switched to the COSRX WPE, and the WPE leaves my skin significantly more supple immediately after use.

It really does have brightening power, too. In the interests of trying new things in order to have new things to review, I stopped using the COSRX WPE on my face about a week and a half ago. I’ve been using the rest of my bottle up on my arms and legs, where I have a very persistent farmer’s tan from the few days this year when I’ve neglected to put on sunscreen. In the short amount of time that I’ve been applying Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence to those areas, the edges of my farmer’s tan have softened up dramatically, demonstrating that the product really does work. And it’s hydrating enough that I’ve gone without body lotion on many nights without feeling tight or dry.

Conclusion: This is a solid, though not particularly groundbreaking, product from COSRX. The company does a great job of devising simple and effective formulations. While it’s too similar to other first essences to be a real holy grail, it’s definitely something that I’d recommend to anyone who wants a brightening and hydrating first essence.

Rating: 4/5

1 – This should be taken off the market.
2 – Caused me some problems; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Would buy again unless I find something better.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.

Where can I buy COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence?

Now renamed to the Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence, this product is available:

Do you use a first essence? Which one is your favorite?


76 responses to “Review: COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence

  1. I have blond hair and green eyes and much German ancestry–I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to buy this product! My name would go right into some horrible FBI database! In the event that they ever do change the name, about how long would you say the 100ml bottle would last? How does it stack up to other galactomyces products in terms of value?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Hahaha, the name…yes…but also one of many examples of strange product names or translations 😀 I’ve ordered the essence too, but it is still on the way. Looking forward to try it and to compare it to the Toosoowong Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essence which I’m using now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Am I the only one concerned by the lack of preservatives? Benton at least had some kind of herbal mambo jumbo, but here – nothing. Is it possible?
    The name is fine for me, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am actually using the Face Shop Essence and I love it but I think that this essence is something to try … Very good post! Thank you very much for sharing all this information with us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. New to AB, LOVE all your reviews, very informative. Just bought the Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule, I know normally ampoule should be applied after essence like FTE, but as the direction on the mizon bottle, it suggests to apply right after cleansing?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I noticed you said you used this on your body to get rid of a faint tan. Do you know if this is safe to use on skin with tattoos? My arms tend to get darker than the rest of my body and I hate it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mine’s on the way! I made the order on the 13th of October, and the guy said it’ll be here by the 27th… of DECEMBER. By which he means there’s a chance I’ll get it before 2016 but if we’re being real, 2016. Woe is me. Anyway, I was wondering how long it lasted you, the Secret Key Rose edition FTE looks super gorgeous and has niacinamide and rose things, so that’s literally the next in line, but I was considering getting it in advance so I don’t have to live an essenceless* world waiting for another to arrive. Let me know!

    *Essence referring to FTEs lol

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s called the third world for a reason. Sigh. I will dwell on the joy of it lasting for several months and considering getting the Cosrx propolis sleeping pack. My dermalady prescribed me Epiduo (0.1% adapalene and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide) and told me to use it every night! Gosh what pissed me off the most was she didn’t tell me that it’s an active and it has side effects and is potentially harsh on the skin. Now I’m trying to clean up this burning, stinging mess that’s dry to the point that it’s flaking! Any suggestions?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It does! I’m currently slathering on the Skinfood Peach Sake emulsion, Etude House Aloe moistfull soothing cream and Laneige water sleeping mask. I’m also using the Innisfree green tea seed serum, Etude house aloe first essence, TFS 99% aloe Vera gel, Laneige sparkling water pop essence and Naruko rose Hydrator. I’ve applied all this like four hours ago and my skin is already drying up again. 😪

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oooohkay…you gonna want to try to take out everything you have that has alcohol in it. I don’t remember if the Skinfood Peach Sake emulsion does, but I know the serum does, so definitely double check. Innisfree green tea seed serum is not a go either, that’s got alcohol and probably not good for your skin right now. TFS aloe vera gel probably has alcohol too. Dunno about the other stuff, but uh…that Laneige sleeping mask has always been a fail for me 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    • The emulsion has alcohol right after a silicone! Sigh. The TFS does have alcohol but it’s less than 1% since its 99% aloe. The Laneige is helping! So is the Etude cream, I’m also using the Avene thermal water mist and it’s helping calm my skin I think. The Naruko has butylene glycol, would that be potentially problematic?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey! Maybe you already know this because of ninja-blogger skillz, but Cosrx must have heard you! I got a sample size of Unfortunately Named Essence in the order from Jolse and, apparently, they’ve renamed it to – you called it – ‘Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence’! Clearly the Blogger Power Essence is strong with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey there! My mum saw my new Korean skincare items and she asked me if there is anything that could help her with her hyperpigmentation marks. So I was wondering if this one could help her. Or if you could suggest other whitening/brightening products? I also want to get her the Cosrx sun cream since I have it and I like it so far. Thanks a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi! Love your blog! I’m about to order a haul of delicious skin treats. What is the general expiry of this product (1 year, 2 years, etc.)? Also, if I’m only using this on my face, how long should a bottle last?

    Liked by 1 person

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    • I would use the Cosrx essence first as it’s formulated like a first treatment essence (like SK-II or Missha’s FTE) which are meant to be applied to bare skin quickly after cleansing–but it’s up to you and I really don’t think it will make a substantial difference either way 🙂


  12. Hi,

    I love your blog! I’ve been your silent reader for months since my husband got me tons of korean skin care products. And I got addicted ever since 😀 I just use this galactomyces…… few minutes ago and I felt minty-like sensation on my skin. Is it normal?


    • Hmmm I don’t remember a cooling sensation. How was your skin afterwards? Any irritation, redness, etc? If not, then it should be fine, maybe just a quirk of the product with your skin chemistry.


  13. Hi!! I just wanted to ask, would it be a good idea to use this on top of C20? I’ve added Cosrx’s AHA and Snail Mucin along with the C20 into my usual cleanse-tone-moisturize-protect routine since January of this year and I can already see major improvements. I’m curious about Galactomyces but not sure whether itll do something different from the products i’m using. From what Ive learned so far, C20 covers the brightening part, Snail covers the healing and hydration somewhat.

    I try to keep my routines as simple as possible for budget reasons so I’d rather not get something if it will be… redundant.

    I’m 29, normal/combination skin, living in polluted hot and humid Manila, Philippines. Skin goals: korean glow, anti aging (some fine lines were beginning to peep before I discovered cosrx), undereye dark circles. Oh and your blog has been my primary resource for all things related to Korean skin care. 😂


  14. Hi Fiddy! I’ve been pondering on getting the reformulated Missha FTE but then I read this post. I know I’m a little late in commenting on this but would you recommend this over the Missha one? I’m slowly building my AB skincare routine and I’m eyeing on adding an FTE next.

    I love your blog by the way! I always visit it whenever I’m thinking of buying another Korean skincare item… which is like, every day! LOL


    • Hi, thank you so much! Hmm–I prefer Cosrx’s version (and many of their products) both for myself and to recommend to others because their ingredients are so simple; it’s less likely you’ll run into something that will irritate or break out your skin, so I’d suggest going with that one!


  15. Hi. May I ask if I can use this as a standalone moisturizer since I have oily skin type? Btw, I really like reading your blogs 🙂 Since I’m new to these kinds of stuff, this really helped me.


    • Sana, I found this really moisturizing. You may not need another moisturizer, though when I was using it I always used another just in case. I would pair this with a light milk like moisturizer (Hadalabo Gokyujyun Alpha Milk is a favorite of mine). Hope this helps!


  16. How did this compare to the Secret Key rose edition? I was about to order the latter when I read something online about the rose irritating a few people’s skin? They got little whiteheads–sort of like what happens with me and the Shera Shera Honey Bomb all in one ampoule. My skin can be weirdly sensitive…so if this works just as well as the Secret Key or has comparable effects then I’m likely going to stick with it, white power and all.


  17. Hello Fiddy 😀 I’m currently using the Cosrx Snail essence and my oily dehydrated skin still feels like it could use an extra boost. I’ve been eyeing the long name galacto and I’m totally in if it’s a cheaper alternative to Missha’s. Can I use both the snail and galacto essence together? And in what order?


  18. hard for me to focus on the review while thinking about whats wrong with the name? what do you mean racism? cosrx sounds cool, sounds like a scientist. im asian (southeast) and i never know anything about american and cosrx? can somebody explain?


    • The product was originally called White Power Essence. Unfortunately the phrase “white power” has extremely racist connotations in the US. It was just unintentionally bad phrasing that they have changed a long time ago 🙂


  19. Heya! I’m a newbie and bought some products few weeks ago and I don’t know the order of application. I’m so confused help me please lol. Currently I’m doing
    BIORE Cleansing Water
    COSRX Gel Cleanser
    OST Vitamin C20 Serum
    COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
    COSRX Galactomytes 95 Essence
    MISSHA Time Revolution Ampoule
    Sheet mask or Moisturizer
    Am I doing this right? Thank you so much!


  20. Thank you for the informative review! I’m (very desperately) searching for products that will (permanently erase) reduce the appearance of sun spots and the redness I have on my cheeks along with pigmentation. Do you think this essence would be suitable for my (desperate) needs? My skin is dry, dehydrated, sensitive.
    Or, since writing this review have you discovered a magical potion that erases pigmentation and lightens the skin? (Hey, I’ve got’a ask)
    Really appreciate such thorough reviews!!


  21. Hello! I got this as a gift from a friend and want to try it but I’m currently using the Missha FTE. Can I use them “together” – one after the other – or I use one as part of my morning routine and the other at night?
    Thank you.


  22. Hello!
    Thanks for posting this. This was very useful to read before I bought the product. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now but I noticed that when I first apply it on after my Toner (innisfree Jeju volcanic pore toner) it stings my face a little bit. I apply the snail cream and my Benton eye cream right after and it stings for a little bit but then it goes away. Is this normal by any chance? Thanks!


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  25. Fiddy: I noted that you rated the Naruko First Essence very highly, and the Galactomyces-force is also strong with that one. I have the CosRX GWP, and I love it. Question–all things being equal, which do you recommend more highly? The Naruko, or the CosRX? (I also have the reformulated Missha FTE, which I still use, to use it up, but it pales (ha!) next to the CosRX, IMHO.)

    Thanks! (And thanks for all you do.)


  26. Hi! I have been using this Essence for a month now and I can see that my skin is much brighter. While looking for a moisturizer I heard about the brand Hada Labo so I purchased the Shirojyun Arbutin Milk. But Hada Labo is really famous for their “lotions/toners” so I am curious if the Hada Labo Shirojyun Whitening Lotion will be redundunt with my Cosrx Galactomyces essence? I am not using any toners yet and would want to use one to prepare my skin for my serums.


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  28. My skin is not used to galactomyces. So in that case would u recommend using this product? So is it better to look for something with a lower concentration?


    • Since galactomyces isn’t an exfoliating “active” ingredient, you shouldn’t really need to work up a tolerance to it. Just patch test a bit on a less visible part of your face to make sure you don’t have a sensitivity to it!


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