Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Geum Sul First Essence Booster

Packaging: It comes in a sturdy, pink glass bottle (100ml) with a cap that pulls off to reveal an airless pump to dispense the product. As with all of Missha’s MISA Geum Sul products, it features a pretty design on the cap that shimmers in the light. But the packaging for this product seems to differ depending on where you get it; on Missha’s official US website, the bottle is golden to clear at the bottom, whereas on Jolse, it is pink to clear and it also goes by the name “Gold Snow Giyun (Raise Luster) Essence.” I cross-checked ingredients just to be sure these products were the same thing (and they are).

Price: Its retail price is $50 USD from Missha US and $50 CAD from Missha CA, but I got it for the cheaper price of ~$35 USD from Jolse. Looking at the photo of the bottle turned upside down, you can see that one month’s usage hasn’t gotten me very far through the product, so I expect that it must last about three months’ worth. It is a lovely product, but it would hurt my wallet too much to buy it at retail price. Still, as a product that was heavily inspired by the expensive Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX, perhaps $50 isn’t so bad.

Consistency: It feels like a watery serum that spreads and absorbs easily; a little goes a long way. It feels very hydrating and moist upon application. I use three pumps for my entire face, but could easily use less if I wanted (I just love loading this stuff on my face!).

Scent: It smells similarly to Missha’s MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Finisher – medicinal/herbal, but this product seems to have an additional “earthy” scent that I just can’t seem to pinpoint. The scent is somewhat strong upon application, but it does dissipate soon after it has absorbed.

Ingredients: Analyzing the ingredients on CosDNA and even Skincarisma didn’t seem to reflect the actual order of ingredients, so here is the full thing here:

Saccharomyces/Panax Ginseng Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Betaine, Panax Ginseng Root Water, Arginine, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Glycereth-26, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-2M, Caprylyl Glycol, Alcohol, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Bacillus/Apricot Seed/Artemisia Annua Extract/Phaseolus Angularis Seed/Soybean Seed/Wheat Bran/Xanthium Strumarium Fruit Extract Ferment Extract, Sucrose Distearate, Benzophenone-5, Cellulose Gum, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Gold, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Extract, Velvet Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Mineral Salts, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Leaf Extract, Atractyloides Lancea Root Extract, Saposhnikovia Divaricata Root Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Actaea Heracleifolia Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Honey Extract, Acanthopanax Sessiliflorum Bark Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed Extract, Ardisia Crispa Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Callus Culture Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Prunus Mume Flower Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Atractyloides Japonica Rhizome Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Extract, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Cyclopentasiloxane, C30-45 Alkyldimethylsilyl Polypropylsilsesquioxane

Source: Missha US

This product has a number of interesting and novel ingredients, such as:

  • Fermented Ginseng Water – Strengthens skin’s barrier
  • “Chenjijeongwoldan” Extract – Vitalizes
  • “Cheonjong” Wild Ginseng Extract – Firms
  • Reishi Mushroom fermented with Gold Extract – Nourishes
  • Pure Gold 5,000㎍ – Purifies
  • “Yuyak Boham” Liquid – Smooths
  • “Cheongemcho” Extract – Vitalizes
  • Spiceberry Extract – Protects

A 2014 study revealed that

recent findings suggest that ginseng and its constituents might be potential candidates for novel skin whitening agents.

This is of particular interest to those of who suffer from hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, especially when we consider that ginseng shows up as many as four times in this product, with the first three being at the very top of the ingredient list. It also functions as a potent anti-inflammatory component, which is beneficial to those of us who deal with acne (!) by reducing redness and severity.

Yet another study in 2016 revealed that

the anti-inflammatory property of G. lucidum [reishi mushroom]… may be a potential treatment option for the management of skin diseases with cutaneous sarcoidosis and inflammation in the future.

As for the interesting “pure gold” ingredient (which can be seen in many of my photos above), I could only find one study in 2015 that suggested it may address skin aging. Whether it actually does something or not in this product is debatable, but it does make the product look very elegant – that much is true.

People whose skin is sensitive to alcohol may not react well to this product, unfortunately. Alcohol shows up twice, with the first type (denat. – one of the harsher kinds) is the fourth ingredient. While this does make the product absorb better, no doubt, I personally wish there was less of it.

Other notable ingredients include:

  • Niacinamide – Brightening
  • Adenosine – Anti-aging
  • Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract – Brightening
  • Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract – Anti-inflammatory

Overall Review: Despite my wanting to steer clear of products with higher alcohol contents, I can’t help but love this product. Looking at my face photos above, it is clear that even within a short span of time, it has done my skin nothing but good. (Side note: That breakout in the first photo was caused by having McDonald’s – WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?! Ah well, at least I can be assured my products are actually working…) On a day where my skin is drier, I simply mitigate the alcohol-drying issue by using more of my hydrating toners. I have used this product for a month as of now and I can only see the quality of my skin improving more and more with each use. 5/5.

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