I try a lot of different skincare products and have more or less positive experiences with a fair number of them, but these days, it’s rare for a product to delight me so much that I actively look forward to the next time I get to use it, or to excite me so much that I can’t shut up long enough for my full testing period to finish before I start blogging about it. My current obsession, Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence, took me completely by surprise–but maybe this first look will keep it from taking you by surprise, too!
The product featured in this post was provided for my consideration by Beautibi.
I met my first bottle of Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence at the perfect time. Now that Young Master Fiddy has started school, I don’t have the time for a lengthy, comprehensive morning skincare routine anymore, not unless I want to sacrifice precious sleep time, which I don’t. Neither do I want to sacrifice my skin, though. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been auditioning different products for the crucial role of The Only Thing I Put On My Face Before Sunscreen. Then Beautibi’s new Classic box showed up at my door, containing the fresh-faced surprise star of my new day routine.
Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence is a biphase liquid formulated with a ratio of 20% oil-based and 80% water-based ingredients, allowed to separate into sexy sexy layers in the bottle rather than whipped together with emulsifiers into a standard lotion consistency. To use, you shake the bottle to mix the two layers, then dispense and pat the resulting liquid into clean skin.
I’m childishly fascinated by the whole “shake and mix and watch the layers separate again” process. Because OOH LOOK IT’S SO COOL.
Beyond the (very valid) SUPER COOL factor, unemulsified products like these offer a more substantial potential benefit for skin: more room for the ingredients we really want on our faces. The emulsifiers used to bind the water and oil ingredients in more conventional skincare products take up some volume in the overall product. Take those out, and you have a little more space for things that can do skin some real good. Not that that means the Balance One Step Facial Essence really does contain a higher concentration of the sexy stuff, but it does increase the chances for sexiness.
Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence ingredients: Betula platyphylla japonica juice, macadamia integrifolia seed oil, octyldodecanol, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, squalane, 1,2-hexanediol, pentylene glycol, pyrus malus (apple) seed oil, water, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, lactobacillus ferment, lactococcus ferment lysate, bifida ferment lysate, streptococcus thermophilus ferment, glycerin, sodium chloride, glyceryl caprylate, butylene glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, phospholipids, ceramide 3, cholesterol, arginine, phytosterols, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol
The first ingredient in the Balance One Step Facial Essence is birch sap. As I learned when reviewing COSRX Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion, birch sap is humectant and contains a number of skin-friendly nutrients, making it a more beneficial and efficient base for a product than plain water. Also high up in the list are several moisturizing, antioxidant-rich plant oils and squalane. Further down are a trio of ferments, which could increase the product’s antioxidant power and boost its anti-aging and sun damage prevention effects. The Balance One Step Facial Essence also contains Ceramide 3 and cholesterol, which, in conjunction with the botanical oils, may help to strengthen skin’s barrier against moisture loss.
I do notice a citrus oil (bergamot) in the ingredients list. Citrus oils in skincare products are controversial, especially since phytophotodermatitis caused by citrus fruits is very real. Personally, I used to be much more wary of citrus oils in my skincare, but these days I’m generally not worried about it. The oils are likely present in only trace amounts to provide fragrance, and in any case, even my hyperpigmentation-prone skin hasn’t experienced a reaction from this or any of the other citrus-containing commercial skincare products I’ve tried. That’s not to say that my way is the right way or only way, though! If you have concerns about the bergamot oil, patch test or avoid accordingly.
Speaking of fragrance, the Balance One Step Facial Essence doesn’t appear to contain any artificial fragrances. It has a sort of clean, earthy, herby scent to it that dissipates almost too quickly (to me, anyway!) once I put the product on.
As you may have guessed from the large number of oils and lipidy ingredients in the Balance One Step Facial Essence, this product was made for dry, dehydrated, or more sensitive or compromised skin. My question as I considered trying it out as intended, as a true single-step product without any hydrating products underneath or any emulsions or creams on top, was whether it could really replace an entire hydrating and moisturizing routine for my skin. My moisture retention has improved a lot since the height of my tretface days, it’s true. But continued use of tretinoin as well as the stronger AHA I’ve been testing lately mean that my skin does still need plenty of both water and oil in its diet.
Even shaken up to mix the oils thoroughly throughout the product, Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence is quite thin and runny. It definitely feels like a lightweight hydrating product one would put on early in a complete skincare routine; the closest comparison I can think of is Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil. I adore the Lasting Water Oil but definitely don’t think of it as a product that can replace an entire routine for my skin.
Once I applied the Balance One Step Facial Essence to my face, however, I could definitely tell the difference between it and a more standard hydrating booster. Despite the product’s thin consistency, it imparts a definite richness. It takes longer to dry down than a typical watery product–about 5 minutes or so, still much less time than a “normal” morning skincare routine would take–and once it does dry enough for sunscreen, it leaves my skin feeling thoroughly hydrated and moisturized, with a noticeable but extremely lightweight fatty protective film on top. Surprising!
Even more surprising has been how well the Balance One Step Facial Essence holds that moisture in my skin even when I use one of my more alcohol-heavy sunscreens on top. I’ve been using the Hyggee product as my only morning skincare for the past few days and have tried it with both Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk. These sunscreens owe a lot of their cosmetic elegance to the alcohol they contain, and the UV Perfect Bright Milk especially is a sunscreen I don’t use unless I’ve prepared with a heavier moisturizer underneath. Neither of these sunscreens gave me any problems while I had the Balance One Step Facial Essence on. My skin looked plump and glowy and felt perfectly moisturized all day. Amazing!
I still have plenty of testing to do before giving the Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence a final score. I want to compare it to even more products used as single-step skincare, try it under a wider variety of sunscreens, and see how well my skin continues to retain moisture over a longer period of time.
For now, though, I’m much more infatuated with this product than I expected to be considering I’d never heard of it until Beautibi curated it. Using it as my only morning skincare doesn’t feel like a trade-off at all. Actually, I look forward to my speedy but somehow still effective new morning routine, and I enjoy the product so much that I’ve talked myself into incorporating it into my longer night routines as well. I’m beyond happy with how it’s performed so far and have high hopes for how my skin will take it as the weeks go by!
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Do you have a single-step skincare routine? Are you happy with it?