Guerisson 9 Complex Essence

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.

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The Essence

This product comes in a heavy glass bottle with a wide spout that takes some getting used to.

Collage 2015-04-015
The consistency of this essence is soup-like but absorbs quickly, leaving a bit of a shine.

Collage 2015-04-14 14_29_19

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.

Collage 2015-04-14 14_24_40

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:

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.

Other Ingredients

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.

Texture 5/5
Effectiveness 5/5
Fragrance 3/5
Price* 4/5
Repurchase? Yes

*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!

15 thoughts on “Guerisson 9 Complex Essence

  1. moi sanom says:

    I have ordered this somewhen last year when it just came out from gmarket but the order got cancelled and I never repurchased. I am glad that it seems to work as well as it sounds so I guess I gotta get it this time!


  2. theoverloadedcart says:

    Ahh! I am currently patch testing the Guerisson 9 Complex Cream, but have been hemming and hawing over whether I should get the essence…your review is not doing good things for my wallet 😦 Have you tried the cream yet? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the 9 Complex doesn’t break me out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • V. Rex says:

      I’ve used the sungwon maeux cream (which is supposed to be similar) and since getting my hands on that I haven’t been using the essence at all. They’re actually pretty similar to what they do for my skin, with the cream being more occlusive than the essence. IMO, if the cream works for you, skip the essence!

      Liked by 1 person

    • V. Rex says:

      I recommend following the thin-to-thick rule when using this. For me, this is the thickness of a serum or emulsion, so I would use in one of those steps. It’s definitely thicker than a toner.


  3. Keerthii says:

    I have a lot of respect for your analytical no nonsense style of writing and your insightful honest reviews – its admirable that nothing is swept under the rug . I dont want to come across as holier than thou and I know this aint a trendy top either but when we have plenty of vegan cruelty free options that can accomplish our beauty goals do we really need to dehumanize our animals for snail secretions, bee venom,bird’s nest, horse oil, pig collagen , cow donkey milk etc etc ?? We as women know what it feels like to be stripped of our identity and objectified as mere pieces of meat to be consumed , lets not subject our precious animals to the same exploitation .


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