Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
COSRX’s Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence is a good, alcohol-free hydrating toner for all skin types, except its star ingredient isn’t quite the game-changer the brand describes.
Packaged in a frosted plastic bottle, this fragrance-free essence has a silky gel-liquid texture that works well with all skin types and feels moisturizing without being heavy or sticky. It works well either over or under other skin care products.
The headlining ingredient, galactomyces ferment filtrate, is a byproduct of fermented sake (rice wine), and like any ferment, can have hydrating and potential antioxidant properties. COSRX calls it “the best yeast for skin,” but there isn’t a wealth of research demonstrating it to be superior over any number of other good-for-skin ingredients (including other ferments be they from yeast, probiotics, or minerals).
Acting as supporting players are niacinamide, which can contribute to a brighter skin tone and reduce the appearance of pores. This also has skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate and skin-soothing allantoin. This combination of ingredients means that if you use this every day and be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen, you’ll likely see an improved skin tone and increased radiance as claimed.
*Note: because this package is frosted and not opaque, it’s best to store it out of direct light to ensure its ingredients remain stable.
- Silky gel-liquid texture feels moisturizing without being heavy or sticky.
- Works well with other skin care products.
- Galactomyces ferment filtrate has hydrating and antioxidant properties.
- Contains brightening niacinamide, skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate, and soothing allantoin.
- Fragrance free.
- Formula would be more impressive with additional beneficial ingredients.
- Packaged in a frosted bottle, so it must be stored out of direct light.
Formulated with 95% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, this essence helps nourish and hydrate the skin, and over time making it appears more radiant and clear.
COSRX is one of a growing number of Korean beauty brands – a category known by many simply as K Beauty – that’s gaining a foothold in the Western cosmetics world. COSRX got its start in 2014, though it’s essentially an offspring of older “sister” brands, including C20 and Gatzmen, which have longer-standing histories in the Korean market. As the story goes, COSRX came about after the parent company compiled a decade’s worth of research based on customer data and beauty consumer research.
The brand name, as you might have guessed, is a mash-up of “cosmetics” and “RX” (for prescription), and illustrates COSRX’s overall philosophy. Whereas some other K-beauty brands are known for whimsical packaging and brightly-colored products, CosRX’s focus is minimalistic packaging and products designed to target specific skin care concerns, each highlighted by active ingredients.
To that end, the brand is largely successful. Most of the packaging is designed to protect light- and air-sensitive ingredients, though there are some jars in the mix. The formulas focus on active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, and beta hydroxy acid (though it should be noted, COSRX uses BHA derivatives, since salicylic acid’s use is restricted in Korea).
Most of the exfoliants are formulated at the optimal pH for exfoliation, which is between 3 and 4, and are fragrance free. Unfortunately there are some formulas that include natural ingredients that can potentially sensitize skin, including pine and cedar extracts, and anise fruit extract – proof once again that natural isn’t always better! Some products also contain drying alcohol, which is interesting since other products are specifically advertised as being “alcohol-free.”
Overall, this line is worth considering, especially if you prefer a more targeted approach to skin care that focuses on science rather than trends. For more information, visit cosrx.kr, the brand’s official Korean site. COSRX is available for purchase at several U.S. and online retailers, including Ulta, Amazon, and SokoGlam.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.