Review: Tosowoong | Time Shift First Essence | Korean Skincare

If you haven’t heard already, essence waters are one of this year’s top words to add to your beauty vocabulary. Having made big waves in Asia over the past few years, they are a combination of toner and high nutrition essence to deliver a potent dose of concentrated skin care benefits in an single easy to use application. Today we’re talking about the Tosowoong First Essence, my first Asian essence water experience!

Brand: Tosowoong
Product: Time Shift First Essence*
Collection: Time Shift Range (Toner, Serum, Emulsion, Essence, Cream)
Size: 150ml
Price: 38000WON (approximately $40CAD)
Availability: Tosowoong Website (Int. Shipping), Tosowoong eBay Shop
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.

As one of the most popular essence waters in the Korean beauty market right now, this Time Shift First Essence contains 80% black yeast filtrate as its main skincare ingredient. Combined with a handful of other plant extracts, it is supposed to provide moisture, reduce wrinkles and improve skin brightness. It’s made without mineral oil, artificial colour, artificial fragrance, GMO ingredients or parabens. The Time Shift range is marketed for both men and women, especially those with troubled or sensitive skin between the ages of 20- mid 50s.

The product itself comes packaged in a hefty and elegant glass bottle with a screw cap and single hole dispenser on top. It looks right at home next to some of the higher end products in my skincare collection and aesthetically it’s very well designed.

The bottom of the bottle is stamped with the manufacturing date (Korean products usually prefer a manufacturing date versus an expiry date but expiry is usually 3 years unopened or 1 year once opened). The box is printed with all the descriptive information and the ingredients list (I have the English ingredients at the end of this post).
Meant to be used as the middle step between your face wash and moisturizing cream, essence waters (as a whole) can be used in place of toner/serum or in addition to your toner/serum. To keep things simple, I’ve just been using the First Essence after cleansing my skin and right before my face cream, twice a day morning and night.

One thing to note about essence waters is that they are not meant to be used with a cotton wool. Traditional toners will advise you to saturate the cotton and sweep it all over the skin but essence waters are to be used by dispensing a few drops onto the palm of your hand (hence the small opening) and patted onto the skin for better absorption.

Unfragranced and with a water like consistency, this was gentle yet refreshing on my skin. If you’re prone to over washing your face with heavy foaming cleansers (or acne fighting cleansers for that matter), this puts immediate moisture back to your skin without a hint of stickiness. Each application only takes a few drops and even with more than a month of usage, I still have plenty left in the bottle. For days when my skin is feeling extra sensitive or stressed, this can also be used as a quick refresher to calm and sooth troubled skin.

Now I think it’s important to note that the First Essence is meant to be used in conjunction with the rest of the (extensive) Time Shift range for maximum cohesive results. However I have noticed more suppleness, smoothness and a temporary reduction in visible pore size when using this regularly. The fragrance free formula and lightweight consistency were also a welcomed change when my skin was irritated and I loved being able to put this right on top of my regular skincare when I need a quick pick me up. The hydration is immediate yet potent enough for mild to slightly dry weather and made my combination skin balanced, elastic and quite happy.
For those looking for intensive anti-aging benefits or brightening results, you may want to look elsewhere for something more potent or think about adding the serum and cream in addition to the First Essence for enhanced results. On it’s own, I didn’t see any major results in either category.
Compared to the Biotherm Life Plankton Essence Water (reviewed), this has a better texture and will be more suitable for a wider range of skin types and is more comfortable to use but the Biotherm seems to exhibit more immediate repairing properties.
I love how gentle the Tosowoong First Essence is and its been a great product to hydrate, soften and help minimize pore size. However I’m not fully convinced that it’s quite as miraculous as its advertised to be in all its skincare aspects especially for brightening and anti-wrinkle. This would make a great enhanced toner product for those looking to simplify their skincare routine and are looking to upgrade their basic skincare to something with more nutritional benefits while not quite ready to delve into serious anti-aging products. Great for sensitive skin, oily to slightly dry skin types and in my opinion a perfect men’s product as well.



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INGREDIENTS: Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Water, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sucrose Palmitate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Asparagus Lucidus Root Extract, Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Pinus sylvestris bud Extract, Pinellia Ternata Root Extract, Plantago asiatica seed extract, Portulaca Grandiflora Extract, Robinia Pseudacacia Flower Extract, Psidium Guajava Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Abronia Villosa Leaf Extract, Cinchona Succirubra Bark Extract, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Badger Oil, Adenosine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

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