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My first experience with Secret Key was the Snow White cream, but my most sought-after product from the brand was always the starting treatment essence – the toner essence that made Secret Key famous and is still its bestseller. I tried the line's Rose Edition Sheet Mask some time ago and now it's time to check the original essence for yourself!
To my delight, this starter kit also includes the mini starter starter cream and starter eye cream to complete basic skin care. For those who have never tried Starting Treatment products, this kit is a wonderful place to start.
Here's what's in it:
Start treatment Essence 50ml
Start of treatment eye cream 15g
Start treatment cream 25g
What is Galactomyces?
The starting treatment essence consists of over 90% Galactomyces ferment filtrate and the Rose Edition even contains 94% of it. It is a fungal by-product from Aspergillus oryzae, a yeast used to ferment Japanese sake during the brewing process. Similar to how snail slime was converted to a skin care product, the benefits of Galactomyces were accidentally discovered when people noticed that older brewers' hands were smooth and wrinkle-free.
Studies have shown that Galactomyces offers the following skin care benefits:
• The pores shrink
• Reduces blackheads and comedones
• Balances the skin's oil-water ratio
• The hyperpigmentation fades
• Lightens dull skin
• Hydrates the skin
• Reduces wrinkles
Secret key against SKII
If you're curious as to why Secret Key's starter essence looks so similar to SKII's facial essence and MISSHA's Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, it's because all of Galactomyces contain as the main ingredient. PITERA is SKII's patented name for Galactomyces. The Japanese brand may have been the first to use Galactomyces in skin care, but many Korean brands have launched similar products in recent years. The Secret Key essence prides itself on affordability and a dual-function formula that contains soothing botanical ingredients. It offers both wrinkle care and lightening effects.
The essence is mixed with extracts from aloe, chamomile, green tea, centella, witch hazel, portulaca and rice to soothe the skin. It is free from parabens, dyes, fragrances, alcohol, animal oil, mineral oil and benzophenone. Both the cream and the eye cream are scented, but free of parabens, dyes, phenoxyethanol, mineral oil and benzophenone. Both contain ceramide, shea butter, vegetable oils and niacinamide for moisturizing and brightening the complexion, as well as skin-friendly fatty alcohols as stabilizers.
Keep in mind that Galactomyces does not treat acne and can even worsen fungal acne. As with all other products, first run a patch test before fully including it in your treatment regimen.
Using this kit
After cleaning, spray the face with the aura mist of the starting treatment. Soak the cotton pad with the starter treatment essence and wipe it over the face. Massage the start-up treatment eye cream over the eye area and end your treatment by applying the start-up treatment cream to the entire face. Use the Essential Mask Sheet for the starting treatment for additional nutrition.
Since the essence has a very fluid texture that feels like a toner, I sometimes skip toner and apply the essence with my bare hands right after cleaning to avoid wasting product. The smell is quite similar to that of alcohol, but there is no alcohol in it. Maybe it just smells like ferment or yeast? Since I had sensitive and acne-prone skin, I was a little put off by the smell at first, but I soon got used to it. The essence is absorbed quickly and does not sit on the skin.
The eye cream has a refined and light formula that sinks into my dry skin almost immediately. The cream is a little less easy to spread and a little sticky, but a little goes a long way. Therefore, do not use more than one coin-sized amount each time. Both the essence and the eye cream have a delicate floral fragrance, but are not as strong as that of the Rose Edition.
There was no improvement overnight, but I felt my skin improve over the course of two weeks. Perhaps the biggest change was the sebum level in my skin. I used to have a greasy T-zone and a dry chin, but with the Starting Treatment Kit I woke up with evenly moist skin. I also noticed slight improvements in skin tone, smoothness and resilience. Whiteheads still bother me occasionally, but instead of flaring, expanding and passing for days, they now sit on the surface and usually shrink the next day.
The kit does its job slowly but surely. If you use it twice a day, it will take about a month. This is the right time to test a skin care product as our skin renews itself every 28 days. Don't give up after the first few days – be patient and tell us how it went after a month!