Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence (Rose Edition) – Review

In my post on favourite mists, I said that if I bother myself with a cotton pad, it’s either for acids or essences. Specifically, I meant fermented essences. I find fermented essences, usually referred to as FTE (First Treatment Essence), very beneficial for my skin. They boost hydration and give the ‘essence glow’ if you know what I mean. What are essences, you may ask? Well for me they are sort of a toner, sort of a serum. There are various types, there are lotion-type ones, and there are thicker ones similar to French serums from Darphin or Clarins. Both the lotion and the serum version are very concentrated in ingredients and usually contain some a type of a ferment.

The most popular one is, of course, SK-II First Treatment Essence, but its price tag is not for everyone. I’ve tried it and liked it, but it’s definitely not an everyday purchase for me. I’ve also liked Missha’s essences, the original one and the second reformulation. However, I find it quite annoying that they keep reformulating the product. They come up with a completely new product which leaves us dubious whether we will like it as much as the previous version or not. This is why I’ve decided to try something entirely new, and I’ve bought the Secret Key’s Starting Treatment Essence. Basically the same thing as FTE, just different wording. 

I picked the Secret Key STE Rose Edition, simply because it had been discounted and the ingredients are quite similar to the regular version. 


This essence, contains the same type of yeast as the famous SK-II’s essence, galactomyces ferment filtrate. As the concentration in SK-II’s essence is 90%, this one contains 94% of the yeast. It also has niacinamide and glycerine which are both great ingredients. There’s nothing that personally concerns me about this product. There are some plant extracts, but I do not find them irritating at all. Actually, rose extracts are used in products to calm the skin. Pure rose water is one of my favourite toners.

How’s the essence itself? Well, I am nearly at the bottom of the bottle, and I must say that I am impressed. I definitely notice a difference when I use the essence and when I don’t. It really boosts the moisture levels in my skin. I can feel it and see it. I can’t say that it brightened my face much, though it’s one of the claims. However, it delivers on the ‘essence glow’ that I am after. My face is always glowing after using it, and I can’t attribute it to any other product in my routine. It’s just the magic of essence. Honestly, this essence would be great for any skin type, even very sensitive skins. It’s hydrating, calming and won’t irritate you for sure. Obviously, people who can’t use ferments (yes, there are such people) shouldn’t use it. Before you ask, yes, you can use a vitamin C serum after this, despite the niacinamide in the product. These two vitamins are perfectly fine to mix, but some people may experience flushing. I usually don’t get it, but everyone’s different. 

Overall, this essence is a pretty good product. I am satisfied with it, and I am willing to repurchase it. It hydrates my skin and gives ‘the glow’. I can’t say it has a brightening effect on me. The only issue that I have with the product is that the results don’t last too long, compared to Missha’s or SK-II’s essences. A couple of days after I’d stop using this essence, it seemed like all of the effects were no longer visible. Perhaps my skin got needier in time, who knows? Anyway, if you are new in the essence game or want to try a new product; this is a great and affordable choice.

INCI: Galactomyces ferment filtrate, Dipropylene glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerine, Citrus Grandis Seed Extract, Acorus Gramineus Root/Stem Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water. (

The Secret Key Starting Essence Rose Edition is available from [aff].

3 responses to “Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence (Rose Edition) – Review”

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