You may have come across reviews of different facial essences with ferment extracts.

As a key component of the classic 10-Step Korean skincare routine, a first-treatment facial essence is usually applied before any other skincare to moisturize, plump, and provide a variety of skin-loving benefits.

But as you can imagine, not all essences are created equal. I decided to give NeoGen’s Real Ferment Micro Essence a try, as I’m truly fond of some of their other products, like their SPF products and serums.

In this article, I’ll give you a detailed NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence review and will introduce you to the following:

  • Everything about the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence;
  • How to use it for best results;
  • Who it’s for and who it’s not for;
  • And what are some good dupes in case you can’t find it in shops.

What is the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence?

I’ve seen a lot of people comparing the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence to a smart power juice for your skin, and I totally agree.

This essence offers deep hydration and brightens the skin. It provides immediate moisturizing effects, leaves the skin looking plump, and prevents premature aging.

It’s fragrance-free and made with naturally fermented ingredients that I’ll look at in the following sections.

To be honest, one of the reasons I decided to try this product is because of the reviews I read, which stated that it literally gives you “honey skin”. After giving it a try, I can say this is definitely true.

If you have healthy skin, just imagine the next level of glow. This is exactly what honey skin is. It’s the dewy, glowy, healthy complexion that we see models have on social media.

Now, you may wonder what’s the difference between an essence and a toner in the first place. In a nutshell, today there isn’t any. A lot of people believe that essences and toners are fundamentally different. And this was true in the past when toners were far more stripping for the skin and were mostly created to cleanse the face. Today, toners have evolved dramatically. They’re now created with features beyond cleansing. They restore the lost moisture after the face cleansing step and give it powerful ingredients that bring positive change.

Apart from that, a lot of toners, especially Korean choices, use active ingredients in higher concentrations. In Korea, there are different product categories, like toners, essences, and ampules. However, their functions are the same. The only difference is that the essence is a bit thicker in consistency, while toners resemble water.

I wanted to make this note because I came across the product as the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro toner at times, proving that “essence” and “toner” are often used interchangeably.

NeoGen essence ingredients and highlights

The ingredient list

NeoGen Essence ingredients

Let’s look under the cap of the NeoGen essence. What is it that makes this product so special?

Here’s the full ingredient list of the essence:

Bifida Ferment Lysate, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake), Aspergillus Ferment, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Water, Betaine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trehalose, Lactobacillus, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Trideceth-10, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tropolone, Allantoin, Butylene Glycol, Coptis Japonica Extract, Arginine, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Niacinamide, Dextrin, Glycine, Serine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Leucine, Alanine, Lysine, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Threonine, Valine, Isoleucine, Phenoxyethanol, Histidine, Methionine, Cysteine

There are a lot of skin-soothing and moisturizing ingredients in the formula, like Sodium Hyaluronate. As with any other similar article I’ve offered, let’s dig down into the Real Ferment Micro Essence review with a look into the key ingredients more closely:

  • Bifida Ferment Lysate – Boosts elasticity, and skin tone and offers intense hydration. I love seeing this ingredient in products and I aim to have at least one product on rotation that has it. It protects the skin from UV damage and helps heal the skin barrier function.
  • Betula Alba Juice – The essence contains 17% Betula Alba Juice or birch juice, which makes this essence intensely hydrating and moisturizing. This ingredient substitutes water in a lot of Korean products and is another one of my favorites.
  • Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate – Another elasticity-boosting agent, which also moisturizes the skin and soothes irritation.
  • Aspergillus Ferment – Reduces wrinkles, offers skin-brightening properties, and hydrates your skin.
  • Rice Ferment Filtrate – Also known as Sake, the product comes with a 9% concentration. It’s a great antioxidant that offers skin-brightening and moisturizing properties.

We can see that ferment extracts are at the top of the ingredients list meaning they are in the highest concentration in the formula. This means that all the benefits associated with these ingredients are heightened and your skin can enjoy them at max.

Other goodies on the list are niacinamide which brightens your entire complexion and helps with sebum production and pore size.

We also have arginine and adenosine to help soothe the skin and give it a nice anti-inflammatory effect.

All in all, the product is super rich in skin-loving stuff and your face will only thank you for it.

Product highlights

Without a doubt, the ferment extracts are the highlights of this product.

Perhaps one of the most important things you should know is that the product contains more than 93% naturally fermented ingredients!

This is vital for the performance of the essence as fermentation creates amino acids, vitamins, and other antioxidants that are invaluable for the skin.

The pH of the essence is around 5 which is ideal for our skin.

It’s fragrance-free and essential oil-free.

Packaging, amount of product, and how long it lasts

When going into a NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence review, I can’t leave out things like packaging, the amount you get, and the durability of the product.

The essence comes in a thick glass bottle with a nice opalescent shine on the top half. It’s very substantial and shouts “expensive” even though it’s not.

The bottle amounts to 5 oz or 150 ml of product. It lasted me for more than three months with consistent use twice a day. The truth is that you don’t need a lot of it to get the results you’re looking for. Besides, the price point for what you get is outstanding.

How to use the NeoGen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro essence?

Wondering how to use the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence for the best results? Here are my tips.

I’d recommend pouring a small amount into your palm and then spreading it on your freshly cleaned face and neck evenly. Although a lot of people suggest using cotton pads, I personally stay away from them when using this essence as they can soak up a lot of product that I want on my face, not in the bin.

When it comes to routine, I apply it right after cleansing my face. This allows me to restore some of the lost moisture and add another level of hydration. Moreover, this means that there are no roadblocks to the ingredients in the essence penetrating deeply into my skin.

This step in my skincare routine also enables me to prepare the skin for the serums that I apply after.

You can use it in any routine, I personally apply it in the AM and PM every single day.

Texture and experience

The next detail I’d like to go over in my NeoGen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Essence review is the texture.

It’s extremely lightweight and super watery.

When I apply it to my skin it literally runs on my skin like water would. The texture is great for oily and combo skins as it’s fast-absorbing and doesn’t leave behind any traces.

The product is entirely colorless. Although it’s also fragrance-free, it does have a slight scent of mushrooms, which is a consequence of the fermented ingredients in the formula. I don’t find the scent to be too strong and pungent, and I actually like it as it feels more nature-y.

The essence is 100% non-irritating, and cools and soothes the skin as soon as it touches your face.

You can use it for both the face and the neck, where a single pout in the palm is enough.

To be honest, I’m simply in love with the experience – it’s incredibly easy to use, layers well with other skincare products, doesn’t pill, and is amazing for hydrating the skin without being heavy.

NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence vs Serum

What about the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence vs Serum debate?

If you ask me, I definitely prefer the essence over the serum.

This is mostly because I have the habit of using other active serums such as vitamin C in the morning and retinol or salicylic acid in the evening.

By opting for the essence, I can diversify my routine with more potent serums in my morning and evening skincare routines.

Don’t get me wrong – the serum is also wonderful. For me, it’s just a matter of personal choice of other products.

Plus, the choice also comes down to skin type. A lot of people with oily or combo skins, me included, tend to prefer the essence because of the thin texture. On the other hand, dry skin types can find more value in the serum as the essence may not feel like enough.

Who is this for

Honestly? Everyone!

The essence can offer hydrating, anti-aging, and plumping effects for everyone, regardless of age, skin type, or skin conditions. The formula is amazing and light, easy to use, and effective.

Who is this not for

It’s very difficult to pinpoint a customer segment that won’t enjoy and see the benefits of this essence. Put otherwise, I can’t say that there are people who won’t like this unless maybe they’re among the types that need specific texture and fragrance properties to feel that the skincare product is working.

As I shared above, this product is very watery in consistence. This may make some people feel that the essence isn’t really doing anything for them, while in reality, it’s super good for the skin.

I personally had this experience when I first tried it. I didn’t notice how much my skin loved it until I ran out of the product and didn’t repurchase it. Only then did I feel how superior my moisture has been with the essence, how soft my skin felt before, and how quickly it healed.

And then I bought it again and haven’t been without it ever since. I’m now on my fourth bottle and have a stash of two more, waiting their turn.

Does it live up to its claims?

Overall, yes, I confirm that the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence does live up to its claims.

It does everything it promises to – hydrates well and supports the skin in quickly repairing its damaged barrier.

I’m always interested in what others have to say about a skincare product and never offer only one side of the coin. But when researching the topic after personally testing it, I noticed that the majority of users are truly obsessed with this essence as well.

NeoGen Essence before and after

To make this review complete, let me tell you about the NeoGen Essence’s before and after effects.

I already shared that I use this essence daily, both in the morning and in the evening. After starting to use the product, my skin feels much more hydrated and I can definitely see an internal glow and visible skin health.

In addition, it feels like my whole skincare routine is simplified because this product is potent enough to allow me to exclude some other serums and actives from my regimen. For example, it contains niacinamide, which means that I can instantly remove niacinamide-based serums from my routine. It’s hydrating and moisturizing enough, so any additional hydrating serum is quickly rendered unnecessary.

This not only offers advantages for my skin but also optimizes my spending on skincare.

Price & availability

I shouldn’t neglect the price point when sharing my NeoGen Essence review.

The product sells for around $38 for the 8oz bottle, which may seem a bit pricey for some users. However, once you find out how much product you get and how little you need to use, you’ll agree that this isn’t something to stress over at all.

The essence is available in multiple stores online and offline. I’ve included some useful links for you. I personally tend to buy it from YesStyle or Stylevana as I also purchase a lot of other Korean skincare such as SPF, serums, and more, and both of these stores have awesome deals often.

NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence is Available он Yes Style, Stylevana and Amazon


I was well aware of NeoGen as a brand before I tried the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence.

But it was, in fact, my search for a budget-friendly alternative to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence that brought me to this specific essence. I was searching for a more affordable dupe and that’s how I discovered NeoGen’s alternative.

So, in a way, a suitable dupe for the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. This dupe is also very lightweight and offers even more powerful benefits. However, it was much more expensive.

Apart from this product, there are other replacements, like the Missha Time Revolution The First Essence (also contains the Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate ingredient that offers elasticity and hydrates and other fermented ingredients) and the Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence (another powerful essence with fermented ingredients in its formula).

Frequently asked questions

Lastly, I’d like to shortly answer some of the most popular questions related to the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence.

What does the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence do?

Wrapping up from everything I’ve shared above, the essence moisturizes, brightens, and plumps the skin. It’s effective for stopping premature aging, gives you a nice dewy, and glowy look, and boosts the overall complexion of the skin.

Is NeoGen a good brand?

With zero doubts in mind – yes, NeoGen is a well-known and popularly used brand in the Korean skincare space. They’re notorious for their soothing formulas and effective treatments. This is undoubtedly one of the most reputable brands that you can count on for different skincare needs.

Have you used the NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Essence yourself? Or perhaps you’ve tried some of the dupes mentioned in this article?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Share your stories and experiences with me and my readers by using the comments section below! I’m always excited to hear a different point of view.