The essence step in a skincare routine can sometimes be hard to pin down. Is it a watery fluid focused on brightening and hydration, or something with more weight that brings nourishment and soothing to dry skin? Luckily, more and more brands are coming out with a variety of products they deem as “essence”, meaning more options for more skin types.
For me, I’ve always gravitated to thin/watery essence products that can be layered to my heart's content! My first foray into essence was with the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence, and I have been hooked ever since. But recently, essences and toners that feature a single ingredient (usually focusing on antioxidant benefit) have piqued my interest.
The Make p:Rem Chaga Essence and Missha Red Algae Essence really impressed me this year, and now I have had the chance to put the Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water to the test. What I found was an essence that delivers a bit more than other super-simple formulated products. Let’s dive in!
Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water
This watery and layerable essence is all about the ginseng! I love working traditional/medicinal herbs and ingredients into my skincare routine. Jude Chao (of Fifty Shades of Snail) turned me on to the world of “Hanbang” style skincare early into my skincare journey. From then on, I gush over ginseng, job’s tears, green tea, and mugwort infused skincare.
Ginseng root water tops the ingredients list here followed by ginseng culture extract, ginseng root extract, ginseng berry extract, and fermented ginseng. Niacinamide, allantoin, and sodium hyaluronate alme make it into the formulation offering additional hydrating and brightening benefits.
From first use, I knew that the Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water was going to be a hit for me. The refreshing yet super mild ginseng scent (all natural, no synthetic fragrance here!) is just enough to invoke spa-like vibes without being overpowering or lingering. From there, the hit of hydration and mild cooling from a layer of this essence is really amazing. I found it to be perfect after a day in the sun or just when my skin was feeling parched/irritated.
Many brands incorporate ginseng for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging/firming, and general soothing benefits. And while I did see some mild results in those areas while using the Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water, I take most benefit from these types of products from the sheer antioxidant content. Antioxidants work behind the scenes to mitigate UV damage, environmental stressors (causing premature ageing), and improve skin resilience and moisture retention. I look for antioxidants in as many of my skincare products as I can haha!
Just a splash of this essence patted into skin is all that is needed for a nice boost of watery hydration and antioxidant benefit. But, for those with drier skin (or people like me who want their skin feeling ultra-dewy and plump), it’s easy to slap two-three layers of product on. The lack of oils here means that application never feels oily or greasy. Keep in mind however, that a nice moisturizer is in order to keep that hydration locked in. The Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream might be a good option!
After about two months of use, I can say that this essence has not disappointed me. My skin is always left feeling hydrated and plump immediately after application, and that increased hydration tends to stick around throughout the day. On particularly hot days, I sneak my bottle into the fridge so I have a nice/cooling product to apply when I get home. The antioxidant benefit here means that my skin tends to “bounce-back” from heat-related stress a bit faster and general skin irritation has come down since working the Ginseng Essence Water into my routine.
Overall, I am a huge fan of the Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water. Its lightweight and layerable feel, hit of hydration and major antioxidant power, and Hanbang focused formulation/scent check off all of the boxes for a perfect essence. Niacinamide and other ingredients elevate this one beyond other truly single-ingredient products.
I’m loving this new direction from Beauty of Joseon. They have been reformulating their legacy products to remove added fragrance, and the packaging evolution is just so beautiful. I fell in love with their serums last summer, and now I have another favorite to add to the list. I can't wait to see what the brand dreams up next!