Essences seem to be having a moment, don’t they? First essences, traditional essences and single extract essences are hot products on the Asian beauty scene and I’m all for it!
What is an essence? Essence is considered the essential step in a skincare routine. They’re different from toners because they’re more highly concentrated and targeted products. Traditionally, essences help to target uneven skin tone, increase cell turn over (gently) and with time will make your skin appear more youthful.
I’ve been loving the resurgent popularity of essences and have been trying a lot of different ones. But I must admit, recently one has really impressed me above the others – Primera Miracle Seed Essence.
My skin type: Combo/dry, dehydrated, sensitive
Heads up: I received my bottle as a complimentary press sample from Primera.
How to Use
The marketing for this product claims the “Primera Miracle Seed Essence is infused with the energy of lotus seed to make skin translucent and radiant. Miraculous seed essence containing all the energy generated upon germination, creating radiant, glowing skin.”
It’s recommended to use after toner (but I found success using this before toner; more on that later). It’s also recommended to use 2.5ml on a cotton pad for full results. The essence bottle has markers indicating how much to use every time. My bottle was packaged with a box of 70 cotton pads. Primera definitely wants you to use cotton pads AND 2.5ml!
INGREDIENTS: Water, Propanediol, Nelumbo Nucifera Germ Extract, Niacinamide, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Citrate, Adenosine, Disodium Edta, Sodium Hyaluronate, Saccharomyces Ferment, Potassium Hydroxide, Acetic Acid
Highlights: Essential oil, fragrance and alcohol free. Minimal ingredients.
Lotus Seed Extract
Lotus seeds are the “miracle” in this miracle essence. While no skincare product or ingredient is a miracle worker in my eyes, lotus seed extract has some really intriguing benefits going for it. It’s rich in amino acids, which are an NMF (natural moisturizing factor) that helps to hydrate skin and lock in that hydration, aiding barrier function.
Lotus seed extract is also high in linoleic acid, which is essential for a healthy moisture barrier function. Linoleic acid helps to replenish the lipid layer and helps aid skin’s moisture retention, resulting in decreased dehydration! But there is even more beyond just moisture barrier function.
Linoleic acid can also help those with acne or clog-prone skin since it can help regulate sebum flow. Linoleic acid helps keep sebum fluid and reduces the amount of keratin, which is the substance responsible for creating the hardened plugs or clogs.
Lotus seed is also known to have antioxidant protection which can help reverse and prevent damage to the skin.
Saccharomyces Ferment and Niacinamide
Niacinamide appears high on the list and is the brightening insurance for the essence. Niacinamide is an effective and reliable ingredient to help support the moisture barrier and has good wound healing properties.
Saccharomyces ferment is rich in amino acids and beta-glucan and has skin soothing benefits. Fermented ingredients also serve as penetration enhancers, allowing the entire essence to absorb into the skin better and help other skincare products applied on top do the same!
This essence is very fluid and runny, but it has some body to it which keeps it from being a purely watery and thin essence.
I do find this absorbs well but I think it performs best when applied with a cotton pad (as the instructions suggest). I must admit, I’m pretty strictly against applying essences and toners with a cotton pad. I find that 1) they absorb more product than they apply and 2) it creates a lot of unnecessary trash. But… this does work better with a cotton pad.
I tried to apply this with my hands and it was ok, but unremarkable. When I applied this with a cotton pad, it seems to dive deeper into my skin and became an amazing hydration bomb.
Now, the secret to this could be that cotton is able to deliver the recommended 2.5ml of product more effectively than hands (that’s a lot to cup into your hand), but either way I did see a positive difference with the cotton.
My bottle was packaged with Primera cotton pads. They worked well but sometimes left cotton residue on my face. A minor annoyance, but worth pointing out.
Anything that I describe as a hydration bomb is a win in my book. I do really enjoy this essence; I find this delivers a lot of deep hydration into my skin that plumps and also soothes. My sensitive skin loves the formula. Not all fermented essences agree with my skin but this one seems to be pampering and comforting my skin way beyond just hydrating.
I have noticed with long term use this helps keep my overall skin tone looking even and healthy, and I naturally have adjusted my other hydrating products because I just don’t need as much when I’m using this essence.
The instructions say to apply this after toner in the traditional essence step. But I have found this functions optimally for me before toner, much like a first essence. This could be because the fermented ingredients help my toner absorb even better when applied after. Or, it could be due to the fact that it just hydrates my skin so much that it’s easier to apply the essence first and adjust my toner layers after.
While this doesn’t make a huge splash in my routine, it’s one of those excellent foundational products that my skin misses when I stop using it.
Now on to the bad-ish. This essence is pricey. Primera is considered a department store brand in Korea and comes with that more mid-end price. This essence retails for $58.
I do think this essence is worth paying a little more for, but I must admit that if you follow the recommended 2.5ml per application you will empty this bottle in about 30 days. That’s a pretty penny to spend on something you will use up very quickly. Of course, it’s possible to stretch the essence by applying less (and it’s likely the brand is recommending a little more to get you to purchase more often) but either way I do feel that price per usage (nearly $2 a day with 2x usage) is high.
This review is based on the standard 150ml size. There is a 225ml size available for about $10 more, it should get you an extra 30 days, or more, of use.
I really like this essence, it’s great for dehydrated skin and is suitable for sensitive skin. If you’re looking for a taste of mid-end K-beauty or a product to splurge on, this could be a good place to start.
- Delivers deep hydration
- Soothing for sensitive skin
- Skin barrier supporting
- Sensitive skin appropriate
- Adds brightness to the skin
- Minimal ingredients
Who is this best for: All skin types will enjoy this but it’s definitely going to best serve those who also struggle with dehydration, barrier issues, sensitive skin and acne or clogged pores due to a weak barrier function.
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