This is one of the first things I’ve bought since I started
marathoning watching Get it Beauty. The show is a bit ridiculous, but as a 25 year old who is urgently trying to learn how to adult makeup, it’s very useful. It’s also a great way to discover new products that are popular in Korea!
GIB didn’t actually feature this exact product on their show. Instead, Lee Ha-nui raved about the Guerissan 9 Complex Cream. Since I live in LA and summer has basically started, this essence seemed like a more climate-appropriate way to incorporate horse oil into my routine. After a month of using this, I’m already planning to pick up the cream in my next haul because horse oil is AWESOME.
This product comes in a heavy glass bottle with a wide spout that takes some getting used to.
I couldn’t find an English ingredient list anywhere, so I translated the packaging. If anyone is looking to ruin their version, I’m convinced reading tiny black print on orange packaging is a really great way to do so. The two ingredients I’m not 100% are translated correctly are milk lipids and fragrance (the Hangul translates into “spice”). Either way, cosdna analysis is here and irritants and acne triggers are indicated below.
Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Mineral Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Betaine, Polyglutamic Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Arginine, Glyceryl Stearate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Mentha Rotundifolia (Apple Mint) Leaf Extract, Sage Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Leaf Extract, Monarda Didyma (Bergamot) Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Beta-Glucan, Horsefat, Theanine, Milk Lipids (?), Glutathione, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Dipotassium Glycyrrizate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Astaxanthin, Octyldodecanol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ceramide 3, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol
About Horse Fat
The star ingredient is horse fat, but it actually occurs pretty far down the list. I do not have any hangups around using horse products, as most Americans seem to do. I also am all for using animal fats in skincare products. If you think about it, it seems weirder to put plant oils on our faces, no? Physiologically, we are much more similar to horses than an Argania spinosa nut.
Guerisson gets their horse fat from Germany. There is some speculation on the internet that horse fat is extracted from the horse’s mane without hurting the horse (in a similar manner to how lanolin is extracted from sheep I guess). I could not confirm one way or the other, but that seems highly unlikely. Horse is commonly used as food in Asia, Europe, and Canady, and horse fat is likely a byproduct of horse meat production.
Most of the readily available information on horse oil comes from companies that make products that include it. The general claims seem to be:
- horse oil is high in unsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acids and linoleic acids that cannot be produced in the body (confirmed here)
- the oil composition of horse oil is similar to oil produced by human skin, making it highly permeable
- used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat eczema and acne
- improves blood circulation
I am mostly interested in the high permeability of the horse oil. I have a pretty robust lineup of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide containing products, but have a lot of difficulty finding oil based products I like.
I was surprised to see this that in addition to horse fat, this essence contains a wide range of extracts. To satisfy my own curiosity, I made a quick rundown of each one and its purported benefits:
- galactomyces ferment filtrate – aka Pitera, the star ingredient in SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Has antioxidant effects, refines skin texture, and increases brightness.
- aloe leaf water – anti-inflammatory, promotes healing
- Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract – cooling and brightening
- Mentha Rotundifolia (Apple Mint) Leaf Extract – couldn’t find anything on this one… probably similar / same to peppermint
- Sage Leaf Extract – antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent
- Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract – strengthens the capillaries and helps to slow the effects of ageing on skin
- Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract – promotes healing and reduces scarringg
- Rosa Centifolia (Cabbage Rose) Flower Extract – possesses skin toning and tightening properties. Ren has an entire range of cleansers with Rosa Centifolia as the star ingredient.
- Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract – has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-bacterial properties
- Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Leaf Extract – thought to possess healing and anti-inflammatory properties
- Monarda Didyma (Bergamot) Leaf Extract – astringent and deodorizing
There are a few things you need understand about my skin to appreciate why I think horse oil is so great. The first is that I have chronically dry skin. If you take a blotting sheet to my face in the morning, it would barely pick up anything. The second is that I hate the feeling of oil sitting on my face. I’ve tried half a dozen face oils, including argan, rice bran, coconut, sea buckthorn, and jojoba, and all of them inevitably ended up as body oils (random shout-out to sea buckthorn oil– it makes a fantastic body oil). Horse oil is different. The first night I applied this essence, I applied way too much. The next morning, I woke up without any tightness. In fact, my face was moist and although it was visibly covered with what looked like a thin coat of oil, the oil did not feel greasy or foreign. For a second, I thought that maybe my oil glands were actually functioning properly, before remembering that I had slathered on horse oil the night before. Remember all those claims about horse oil being highly permeable and being similar to human oil? I believe them.
Amazingness of horse oil aside, this essence does have its flaws. The scent, while very faint, smells a bit like deodorant. I suspect the scent may be due to all the mentha extracts. Fragrance bothers me way more than most people, so it might not bother other people at all. I like to go pretty heavy handed with this stuff, so I only use this at night because it does leave my face a little shiny (but not greasy). In the morning I wake up with soft and MOIST skin. Also, I haven’t tried it yet (because I have too many sheet masks on hand that I need to work through), but I feel like this essence would be perfect for DIY sheet masks.
Final Thoughts: Snails, imma let you finish but horse oil is one of my favorite ingredients of all time! Seriously, if you have dry skin, treat yourself to some horse fat.
*The retail price for this essence is pretty high, but RRS, where I purchased mine, has it on sale for 73% off and it looks like koreadepart also has it heavily discounted so definitely shop around!