18 Nov 2017

Review: Hera Cell Essence

You should have heard of Hera Cell Essence if you are following K-beauty vloggers/bloggers. It is often compared to IOPE Bio Essence. I love IOPE Bio Essence and have raved about it in my previous review here. So, I am quite curious to try out this one since I am a kbeauty collector and I just couldn't resist the temptation to try out something different. I bought this from Gmarket long long time ago, and always didn't have the chance to use it. I was busy trying out other things and I didn't want to use many first essences at once to make sure there is no overlapping of performance. So I waited a few months after I finished the IOPE before started using this. Now let's take a look at this highly popular first essence in Korea!

Hera is a brand that is not so popular in Malaysia but highly sought after in Korea. It is one of the "more mature women" brands that sell high quality products. Their products are more focused on women with aging concerns thus is less discussed among younger users. I tried their Aquabolic line and wasn't that impressed. Next I jumped into this Cell Essence after several vloggers I followed are raving about it. It seems that many Korean women love Hera Cell Essence, some love it even better than IOPE, which is why I am curious to try out both!

Hera Cell Essence comes in a frosted glass bottle with a purple twist-open top. Unlike other first essences, Hera Cell Essence comes in a milky white colour and strong fragrance. Normally first essence is odourless but this Hera one has fragrance added inside so I guess that's why it is less popular outside Asia. Personally I am okay with the scent. It is still fairly strong but not as irritating as Biotherm one.

I use this Cell Essence as often as possible before toner, sometimes after toner if the toner I use is very watery and refreshing. My skin always feels refreshed and hydrated after putting this on. It also cools and calms my skin down. I sometimes apply it as lotion mask with sponge cotton and I do notice that my skin stays hydrated and comfortable for much longer compared to using it on palm or normal swiping.


Water, Propanediol, Alcohol, Niacinamide, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Achillea Millefolium Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, Octyldodeceth-16, Adenosine, Sodium Citrate, Lysine, Histidine, Arginine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xylose, Glucose, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Mannose, Sodium Chloride, Lecithin, Sodium Phosphate, Copper Tripeptide-1, Fucose, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Calcium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Millet, Fragrance


I love mineral skincare. They always make my skin fresher and more vitalized. Apart from the high alcohol content, I think the mineral contents inside here also contributes to the nice hydrating and cooling sensation I experienced from using the Essence. Other skin-benefiting ingredients like propanediol, niacinamide, lysine, histidine, arginine, sodium hyaluronate, glucose, mannose and so on contribute to the brightening and deep hydrating effects.

Niacinamide is my favourite ingredient out of all these, as it has been proven to help fading my freckles and keeping my skin healthy and younger-looking. However, for this essence, I personally did not experience a very strong niacinamide-related skin improvement. It does help to vitalize and brighten my skin but it does nothing to fade my existing pigmentation. Yarrow extract is also added here to offer astringent, skin-tightening and firming effects. Its anti-aging effect is complimented by lysine, histidine, and peach leaf extract, all of are potent antioxidants.

But if you pay a closer attention you'll notice that none of these are actually fermented. This is a treatment essence without any yeast content. It is more like a watery essence with a bunch of amino acids and minerals that are healthy for the skin.


I have been using the Hera Cell Essence for 4 months and I still have roughly 15% left in the bottle. I used its minis (15ml) occasionally in the past before opening its full size (150ml) so I definitely used it long enough to able to judge its performance. I also used SK-II Essence and other toners while using the Hera Cell Essence but I have been using Hera almost exclusively for the past 1-2 months before writing this review so I am pretty sure my opinion on it is quite fair and unbiased.

I think the product definitely serves as a wonderful first-care treatment step. You can use it as a toner to replace your hydrating toner because it is refreshing and hydrating enough for that purpose. You'll love it if you are a fan of Kose Sekkisei Lotion. Despite its high alcohol content, the Hera Cell Essence does not feel irritating at all on my skin. It feels very calming, cool, hydrating and refreshing on the skin and I like how it can "wake" my skin for the coming skincare buffet.

However, having used so many of it, I seriously did not notice a significant improvement in my skin texture. My skin tone does look brighter but my freckles and hyperpigmentation never seem to fade. In fact, they get worse. I think Hera Cell Essence is good if you want something refreshing, hydrating, cooling and brightening. It feels more like a hydrating toner than first essence. It is definitely not as good as IOPE in term of skin refining, lifting, and acne reducing but there are things that I like about it though. I think it is quite similar to Kose Sekkisei Lotion in term of its performance so those who are bored of Kose can definitely give this a try!


I think this is a lovely essence toner. It hydrates, calms, cools, and freshens up your skin really well. However, this is definitely not comparable to IOPE if you are looking for something that can correct and treat. This cannot reduce your pores size, refines your skin texture, or regulates your oil-moisture balance. It is more like Kose Sekkisei Lotion which hydrates and brightens, so you hafta weight your priority and skin needs before making your buying decision.

- pretty packaging
- nice scent
- hydrating and refreshing texture, not sticky or tacky
- skin brightening and hydrating effects
- can double up as toner

- is not a real treatment essence
- heavy; not travel-friendly
- expensive

Extended Reading:

Overall impression: ★★★★☆
Repurchasing: ★★★★
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[Disclaimer] Product is purchased with my own money. All copyright of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.

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