I recently finished one of my favourite products ever: Nature Republic’s The First Essence. I bought this on a whim when I popped over to Korea back in November, and it had been burning a hole in my case/cupboard ever since.
Y’all know how much I love Nature Republic. As far as high street brands go, I find it pretty darn awesome. Despite having sensitive skin, I don’t always focus on specific ingredients, and I know that Nature Republic isn’t always the shining beacon of ethical and scientific skincare. However, I have found 99% of their products to work for me — and this one was quite possibly my favourite so far.
So, first of all, here is The First Essence in all its glory:
It comes in a tall frosted glass bottle, which wasn’t the most convenient for travelling, but you know… we all make sacrifices. It’s pretty tall and has a satisfying weight. I actually felt like this was quite a “grown up” K-beauty product to buy, as it wasn’t too gimmicky, the packaging was quite pared back and also because it’s targeting ageing. Ah, ageing, the universal unifier.
I didn’t hold on to the box, but you can find the full ingredients list here. I did, however, photograph the back of the bottle for your convenience:
Now, when I was in the Myeongdong Nature Republic store (where I bought this), I was not intending to take home this particular product. I mean, I was looking for a nice, lightweight essence that would nourish my skin without adding heaviness (check), but I didn’t think I’d find something amazing.
But the thing that really pushed this product over the line for me was the demonstration the lovely sales assistant did for me. In Korean beauty stores (actually, in Korean stores in general — hello, ArtBox), the sales assistants can come off a little keen, because they don’t give as much personal space as some Westerners may be used to, and their idea of good customer service is one that is very attentive.
There’s a lot of benefits to this method, although I sometimes find it a bit overbearing. But this particular sales assistant gave me my space, and then when I asked about an essence… bam! Out she came with this frontrunner.
She offered to demonstrate the product on the back of my hand, an offer I dutifully accepted. What happened next sort of blew my mind. After lightly applying the thin liquid and gently circling it on my skin, tapping a few times (of course), she showed me the difference compared to my other hand… and I was genuinely shocked.
The hand with The First Essence was way brighter, obviously more moisturised but also looked tighter than my now-scorned other hand. I actually sort of couldn’t believe it. It was as if this essence had just given my hand the drink it needed, and it was gulping it down. It had almost a shimmer or glisten to the skin, but it wasn’t sticky at all. Just… perfect.
So obviously I bought it… and in my overweight carry-on luggage it went.
Now, I tried to capture the consistency of this product, although I decided to photograph it at sundown which made things unnecessarily difficult. Nonetheless, you can see that it basically looks like water (in a good way) here:
One of the things that intrigued me and that I love about this product is its focus on fermented ingredients. As I mentioned, up until this point I haven’t made it a habit to study ingredients lists, although I know that would serve me well. I also know I should eat more vegetables and stretch more often but you know… that doesn’t always work out, does it?!
But I know that Fiddy is a big fan of fermented ingredients, as is Sheryll and a few other bloggers I read. There’s something about that fermentation (kimchi, anyone?) that just seems to work with my skin. Honestly, this product truly made my skin look brighter, which doesn’t usually happen — and which I didn’t think was possible, given my incredibly fair complexion. But it seems that miracles can happen!
Now, I tried to redo the miraculous occurrence from that Myeongdong store, and take pictures of my hands with and without the product. However, I’ve just realised that one of my pictures was a bit blurry, and I’ve since finished the bottle. Wah. I wasn’t sure if I should put this up, but I thought I’d try anyway… but please be aware that the “after” picture (on the left) was not blurred deliberately!
You can sort of make out a difference in texture, but if you think this is good… the real life effect is waaay better.
So, as I mentioned, I’ve now run out of this baby and I’m sort of heartbroken about it, not gonna lie. I’ve now moved on to the Beyond Aqua Bloom Moisture Toner, which yes, is technically a toner, but it’s super moisturising and jelly-like so it doesn’t count. It also smells like a cocktail. Win-win!
But this Nature Republic The First Essence is one of my favourite all-time products… yep, you heard me. Just the way my skin soaked it up… is anything better?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this product — has anyone else loved it as much as I? Let me know! 🙂