Hungarian Water Essence
belif's Hungarian Water Essence is a product whose claims make it sound like it's the soothing nourishment skin needs, but a problematic formula means it's not the best option when it comes to getting hydration.
As advertised, this "water essence" is remarkably lightweight, with a fluid texture that instantly sinks into skin, providing smoothing results. It dries quickly, though, so it might not be what one is expecting when you read the claim that it provides "deep, lasting hydration."
Scanning the ingredients, there are some winners here, including antioxidants, skin-replenishing, and skin-identical ingredients, though it's light on some of the best hydrating ingredients available for skin care products.
Then there's the issue that this contains fragrant lavender extract, alongside fragrance and fragrance ingredients. There's enough in here that the smell of this product is potent, and continued use of fragrant ingredients can lead to skin dryness over time, not hydration (see More Info for details).
Considering the issues this formula contains, plus the price you're paying, it's better instead to consider one of the option on our list of best toners & face mists.
- Provides lightweight hydration.
- Formula includes antioxidants, skin-replenishing, and skin-restoring ingredients.
- Opaque packaging ensures light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable.
- Formula is light on powerhouse hydrating ingredients.
- Contains irritating lavender extract.
- Includes fragrance and fragrance ingredients that can cause irritation.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Owned by South Korean corporate giant LG (yes, the electronics company), belif is a natural skin care brand whose main selling point is the fusion of the sensibilities of Korean skin care – sheet masks and essences are featured prominently - with the philosophy of an old-fashioned European apothecary.
The result is an offering of skin care products that is best described as hit-or-miss. Most of them contain a mix of herbs based off “Napier’s Formula,” a blend of herbs concocted by Scottish apothecary Duncan Napier in the mid-19th century. Anecdotal stories tell of its miraculous effect on skin, though there’s no hard research showing this specific blend of ingredients is better than any other beneficial skin care ingredients.
There are some good products with a robust blend of antioxidants to be found, but most of belief’s lineup contains fragrance (or additional fragrance ingredients), and the brand usually packages its moisturizers in jars (which puts beneficial air- and light-sensitive skin care ingredients at risk because of exposure to both). Were it not for these two missteps, we’d be much more enthusiastic to recommend this brand as an option.
You can find out more about belif by visiting the brand’s website at https://www.belifusa.com/.
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.