17 Dec 2016

Review: Tony Moly Intense Care Galactomyces First Essence 94.5%

I am crazy about treatment essences. You can even say that I collect them like stamps. The passion starts from my first bottle of Nature Republic First Essence and then evolved through Primera Miracle Seed Essence, IOPE, Hera, Lirikos, Secret Key, Missha and so on. Currently, I have at least 15-20 different treatment essences in my cupboard. And today, it is Tony Moly's turn.

I don't usually use a lot of Tony Moly products. Most of them fail to impress me. I know the brand is famous for its tomato mask, mascara and snail products. I've tried the Tomatox Magic Massage Mask and was seriously unimpressed. The same goes for its snail products. And Tony Moly isn't the most innovative brand, unlike Innisfree which always comes out with better and fancier ingredients. Although I am not a fan of Tony Moly products, but since I am a fan of treatment essence, I couldn't resist the temptation to get this Galactomyces First Essence when it was on sales!

I think it is fair to say that this looks very much like SK-II Pitera Essence. After all, it is a dupe for SK-II Essence. When I approached Tony Moly counter, the sales ladies there always try to sell this Essence to me by saying that it is the cheaper version of SK-II Essence.

Now, treatment essence has become a new skincare category or trend. Almost every brand has their own essences, even non-Asian brands like Estee Lauder and Kiehl's. Naruko also comes out with their own version of treatment essence under its sub-brand Jing Cheng! You will know how popular essence has become.

There are two versions of Tony Moly Galactomyces First Essence. The 94.5% red version for drier skin and the 96.5% blue one for oilier skin.

Its official description claims that this is a treatment essence made of 94.5% of fermented yeast to brighten and clear up the skin complexion. In short, this claims to be an essence that can moisturize, treat, brighten up, and tone the skin. Nothing new or fancy, pretty much every treatment essence can do this. The question is, how well can it do?

The First Essence is made of plastic container like Lirikos and Nature Republic. Handy, light, travel-friendly and will definitely not break like the Missha one.

Unlike SK-II, it doesn't have any funky or yucky saliva smell. Only a mild alcohol scent. The texture feels like water but will leave a tacky or oily finish especially if you apply it on your palm. It is pretty moisturizing, but not necessarily hydrating or refreshing. Lirikos is much more hydrating without the tacky finish. Discounting the oily finish part, its texture is the closest to SK-II or Missha compared to all other treatment essences I've tried.


Galactomyces ferment filtrate, PEG/PPG-17/6 copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol

The ingredients are pretty straightforward, like SK-II. It has 94.5% of fermented yeast, solvent, some preservatives and moisturizers. Nothing more, and nothing less. As such, how well this essence does is solely depended on the fermented yeast extract, which is responsible for faster cellular turnover and gentle exfoliation. Proper formulation will allow it to exfoliate, renew, and regenerate, revealing a younger and brighter-looking skin.


I have been using this almost everyday for a month and then quite sparingly for the next 3 months. If you use it everyday, it will not be able to last you for more than 2.5 months.

Honestly, I really liked it when I first using it but started to get bored when I realized that it will leave an oily or greasy finish on my skin. Kinda like Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum. Instead of prepping the skin for better skincare absorption, this Essence alone will somehow block other skincare from settling well on my skin. It may look moisturizing but is actually not hydrating or refreshing at all. Lirikos is better in term of moisturizing in that sense.

Of course, this Essence also has its strengths. It is quite moisturizing, hence suitable for those with drier skin or living in a colder environment. It is also pretty soothing. It will calm and heal my hormonal breakouts without causing irritation or leaving behind scars. It also has a decent brightening effects but it is more notable for its ability to clear out blackheads and dirts. It may not be as effective as SK-II but is pretty impressive for its price (RM 199 official price, but RM 150 or even RM 70 on sales if you get it in Korea or from a Korean retailer).

If I were to compare it to other treatment essences, Primera is more soothing, Lirikos more hydrating, Missha exfoliates better, Secret Key more refreshing and can lighten freckles, SK-II better at cellular renewal, whereas Nature Republic is better at brightening. Tony Moly Intense Care Galactomyces First Essence 94.5% may not be excellent in any part, but it is pretty decent and average in almost everything. It is a great starter for those who have never tried any other treatment essences.

However, I still wouldn't repurchase because I really dislike the oily finish it leaves. Either it is intended to help drier skin endure colder season, or it is a flaw in its technology. Lirikos one is pretty moisturizing without the oiliness or tackiness. But if you want results, and care less for its texture, then this is a good product to try!

About: treatment essence, skin booster
Function: moisturizing, exfoliating, skin renewing, anti-aging, brightening, soothing 
Best suited for: normal to dry skin
May not suit: individuals dislike products with oily finish, oilier skin

packaging: ★★★★
scent: ★★★
texture: ★★ (oily finish)
ingredients: ★★★★
efficacy: ★★★★ 
overall impression: ★★★ (pretty decent)

You can get this from: Tony Moly Malaysia | Lazada | Jolse
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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