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.
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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
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.
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.
Where can I buy COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence?
A 100ml bottle of COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence is easy to find on many of the K-beauty shopping sites I use, including:
Do you use a first essence? Which one is your favorite?