10 Feb 2017

Introducing The Korean 7 Skin Method and A Comparison Review on older and newer version of the Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence

I thought it is only a matter of time before I give up on this product completely. I had heard great things about it, but also some negative ones which complained about how this feels nothing more than just a hydrating toner. Unfortunately, I belonged to the latter. This used to be a "meh" for me until I learned about this interesting Korean 7 Skin Method that I started appreciating it.

So, what's the Korean 7 Skin Method?

Basically, it is a skincare hack that requires that you put on 7 thin layers of hydrating toner, also known as “skin” in Korea right after cleansing. Doing so keeps your skin hydrated, saturated and plump so that it will perform optimally.  However, it is important that you choose the right kind of toner or “skin” for this step. Avoid anything that is harsh and drying like astringent-toner, exfoliating toner or those with a lot of alcohol.  Actually there is a quick tip of choosing the right toner for your skin – just go for the toner that calls itself “skin”. Normally, Korean hydrating toner is known as “skin” whereas their more drying astringent toner is called “toner” (e.g. Mamonde Rose Water Toner). You can also use essence toner or milder treatment essence for this purpose.

Actually, I have been practicing this long before learning about the “7 Skin Method” but in a different way. My inspiration is derived from "lotion mask", which is a common practice in Taiwan and Japan to soak your toner (known as lotion in Japan) in a facial cotton and apply it on your face for about 5-10 minutes like a facial mask, before putting any serum or moisturizer. The key of this step is to pump as much as moisture as possible into your skin so that it can absorb nutrients better without any heaviness or stickiness.  Just like how you need to apply ¼ tbsp of sunscreen in several thin layers to avoid burdening or caking your skin up.

Well, if you are curious, I don’t actually put on 7 layers every time. I sometimes do 3, sometimes 5 or more depending on the type of toner I use and my skin condition. I personally don’t recommend overdoing it to avoid irritating or weakening the natural protective barrier of your skin.  This is the first and essential step to giving you that enviable Korean glow. This step is also great for Malaysian weather especially those with dehydrated skin that cannot afford putting on heavy moisturizer.

Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence is a wrinkles-repairing, brightening and skin rejuvenating treatment essence that you use right after cleansing (cleansing toner is considered a cleansing step) and before a hydrating toner. It is similar to but not quite the same as SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.  It doesn't brighten up or exfoliate your skin effectively like SK-II, more like a moisturizing essence that repairs sign of aging and firms up the skin. The skin will be left healthy, younger-looking and clear but not as dramatic as the performance of SK-II. You can call this a slow-working but more-natural alternative of the SK-II.

There is a standard look for all treatment essence. They always come in a tall and sturdy plastic or glass bottle with at least 150ml of product inside. Normally, a bottle of this is said to last for only about a month but my experience tells me that even if you use it twice a day, you will still need at least 2 months to finish it up.

The Soybean Energy Essence has a clear, runny but slimy consistency that resembles the texture of Cosrx Advanced 96 Snail Mucin Power Essence and Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion. However, it is the easiest to absorb among all the products I have mentioned despite having the gooiest consistency. I have no difficulty layering up to 10 layers of this product on my skin and still not feeling overwhelmed or sticky. There is no fragrance whatsoever for this product so good news for those who are sensitive to cosmetic fragrance.


Bacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Propanediol, Arbutin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Subtilisin, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, BIS-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Water, Ethylhexylgylcerin, Disodium EDTA


This is the older version that we are talking about here. As you can see, main ingredient here is fermented green bean (soybean) extract which is indigenous to the Jeju Island. These green bean are collected and placed in vat for 300 days at a 620 height off the Halla Mountain where the temperate climate and polar climate met. These green bean needs to undergo 4-step high concentration fermentation process before skin-benefiting substance and soybean oil can be finally extracted, making every drop precious with 300 days and nights of Jeju Island essences in it.

Soybean extract is a nutritious ingredient, especially the fermented ones. It contains essential fatty acids, trypsin inhibitor, amino acids, isoflavones, lecithin, phytosterols, saponins, minerals and vitamins that are important for optimal skin health. Research shows that soybean extract is able to stimulate collagen and hyaluronic acid productions which will result in plumper and hydrated skin. Consistent use of soybean extract can also firm up the skin, improve elasticity and provide suppleness to the skin while lightening hyperpigmentation and protect it against sunlight exposure. An american journal published in 2004 also found that isoflavone in soybean has anti-aging effect on hairless mice that suffered from uv damage. Basically, soybean extract is a potent antioxidant with skin brightening, hyperpigmentation-lightening, moisturizing and elasticity-improving effect on the skin.

This essence also uses arbutin, which is a famous fruit-derived substance known for its melanin-inhibiting property to lighten hyperpigmentation and brighten up the skin. Lactic acid, which I believe is a substance obtained from the soybean extract, is an AHA responsible for exfoliating and skin lightening. In addition, there are oat kernel extract, lotus flower extract, prune extract, and so on anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients. Oat kernel extract is also present in many Belif products to ease skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne and flaky skin. Lotus, in addition to its potent antioxidizing property, carries additional skin brightening benefits. There is also adenosine, a key building block in cells to transport energy within cells and repair cellular damages. It is responsible for giving you that genki, healthy and revitalized complexion.


Bacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Propanediol, Arbutin, Polyglycerin-3, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Betaine, Adenosine, Water, Ppg-13-Decyltetradeceth-24, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin

I know there will be people asking me about how this performs in compared to the newer version of Soybean Energy Essence. Well, basically their concentrations are the same but the newer version has fermented oil added to give more nourishment and wrinkles care benefits to the skin. Also, this is now labelled "total care" instead of just "anti-aging" and "brightening", like the Orchid line. Same old ingredients are used here, such as the fermented soybean extract, arbutin, oat kernel extract and adenosine. Newer formulation contains far less ad-hocs or texture ingredients making this more concentrated. In term of consistency, this is as slimy as the older version but with more bodies and will leave the skin slightly tacky compared to the older version, probably because of the added fermented soybean oil inside, so I still prefer the older version.


Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence has a pH of 5.5

In term of performance, the Soybean Energy Essence is not something that will give you immediate effect, unless if you apply it generously or use it as a lotion mask. During the first month when I used this, I don’t feel a thing. This Essence seriously feels nothing more like a hydrating toner. No significant lifting, anti-aging or moisturizing benefits after using. It is not until when I started layering 5 or more thin layers of this Essence that I notice some difference to the texture of my skin. My skin is now firmer, pores slightly smaller, texture more refined, bouncier and overall more “healthy-looking”.  However, this does not refresh or cool down my skin, nor does it hydrate. I also did not notice any improvements to the fine lines (I don’t have wrinkles yet) on my skin. I wouldn’t say that it reduce blackheads or acne, but my skin is a little bit less likely to have hormonal acne after using which is a positive sign I think. I don’t use this during which my skin is sensitive or irritated so I cannot comment is soothing and calming effects. 


Overall, I would say that this is a decent treatment essence using natural ingredients with firming, texture refining and elasticity-improving benefits. Not the cheapest essence I bought but quite decent considering the performance and price. Not something I would repurchase as I have other favourites for treatment essence and this doesn’t refresh or hydrate well enough which is something I look for in a treatment essence.

packaging: ★★★★
scent: ★★★
texture: ★★★★
ingredients: ★★★★
performance - hydrating: ★★
performance - brightening: ★
performance - pores care: ★★★★
performance - firming: ★★★★
GENERAL IMPRESSION: ★★★★, suitable for saggy, mature and drier skin

You can get this from: Innisfree Malaysia | Hermo | Althea
[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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