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Here’s What a Korean “Brightening” Essence Actually Looks Like on Different Skin Tones

The Korean Botanic Farm essence has both “brightening” and “whitening” on its product label. We’re here to show you why a variety of skin tones—from light to dark—can benefit from Korean products with these descriptions.

We treat post inflammatory pigmentation (acne scars), hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and dull skin as separate issues, but they all have the same solution. These forms of uneven pigmentation and texture can all be solved with brightening products!

Brightening sounds scary to a lot of people because they’re afraid that the product will lighten up their natural skin tone. But what Korean brightening or “whitening” products actually do is even out skin tone, i.e. lift dark spots without ever changing your natural pigmentation by helping slough away dead skin cells. Ever hear how working out will give you brighter, clearer skin over time? Korean “whitening” products do that kind of brightening, but in a bottle.

Today, we’re introducing the Botanic Farm Rice Ferment First Essence, for getting that bright, glowy skin.

The ingredients

The essence is packed with great ingredients known for brightening. It’s primary ingredients are fermented rice water and naturally derived botanical extracts. Fermented rice water is an ancient staple in Asian beauty routines. Women as early as 794 in Japan have incorporated rice water into their routines. Fermented rice water in particular is a great anti-aging ingredient rich with minerals, antioxidants, vitamins B and E, and pitera. These ingredients work together to smooth out skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores. Pitera is also one of SK-II’s secret ingredients!

The Botanic Farm essence also boasts peony extract for boosting circulation. When you go to the gym and work out on the regular, you end up with clear skin because you’re boosting your circulation and stimulating blood flow, allowing the body to release toxins. The essence contains lactic acid for some gentle chemical exfoliation that will sweep away dead skin cells and make way for brighter skin. It also contains licorice root, another known, natural brightener. Licorice root is an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant, making it great for soothing redness. It also has antioxidant properties, for protecting against and lifting hyperpigmentation, age spots, scarring, sun damage, and melasma.

How the essence feels:

Compared to other essences, this product is pretty lightweight. It has a watery consistency. Because of this, you probably wouldn’t want to drip it directly onto your face because it’ll slide right off. Instead, pour some into your palm or onto a cotton pad and pat into the skin. Because it’s so lightweight, it absorbs and dries easily so you won’t have to wait a long time before moving on in your routine.

The results

This essence is for everyone. Those, especially with darker skin tones, tend to be apprehensive about using brightening products because they don’t want to lose their natural skin tone. So to test this out, we asked a bunch of people of varying skin tones to try the product for five days and tell us their thoughts!

Martie

Here’s how the essence changed Soko Glam Director of People Operations Martie’s skin:

Martie says the essence felt, “good on her skin.” It was “super hydrating and left her skin feeling very smooth afterwards,” she says. “It’s slightly perfume-y, but I actually like the scent.” Though Martie said she “did not see any immediate results like a brightening effect from the rice, the hydration was felt immediately.”

Sabrina

Here’s how the essence changed the skin on our Supply Chain Operations Manager, Sabrina:

Sabrina was super impressed saying, “I love the essence! It left my skin feeling really smooth and even noticed a slight overall brightening. It also mixed really well with my other toner and serum and hasn’t broken me out!”

Erin

Here’s how it changed Erin’s skin:

“The product has a nice scent and feels refreshing when applied to the skin,” she says. “When using the product for the first time, after a few hours, my skin appeared a bit brighter and overall, there is a more consistent vibrance and glow to the surface of the skin.” She said that, after using the products for a few days, her skin appeared brighter and the essence “reduced redness of acne scars” making them less noticeable. She highlighted the best parts of the products as the “scent, the cooling feeling when applied, and reducing of redness and scars on the face.”

Melissa

Here’s how the essence changed Melissa’s (who you may know from the YouTube channel “This Curl Life”) skin:

Melissa says, “I really like the essence so far and I have noticed a change in the brightness of my skin, especially when I woke up this morning. My skin has developed a very nice glow! I also love the scent because it is light and not overbearing. I have become sensitive to fragrance in the last few years and this product did not affect my sinuses. I think the one downfall is that it is too liquid-y for my liking. I wish the product were a little more viscous so it would be easier to apply. I am not a fan of using cotton pads so I use my hands to apply most skin care, but this one was a little difficult because it was so thin in consistency.”

Lara

Lara loved how the essence made her skin feel softer and helped fade some pigmentation from previous acne spots. “I had been on the hunt for a product to help with my acne scars, so I was super excited to try this essence,” she says. “I noticed after a week that my skin looked more radiant and felt softer. While the scars didn’t completely disappear, they were much lighter.”

The Bottom Line

The Botanic Farm Rice Ferment First Essence is a great essence for all skin tones. It uses great natural ingredients that will life acne scars and other types of pigmentation in no time, leaving you looking, brighter, glowier, and all around healthier and more radiant.

+ What are your favorite brightening products? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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