Review: Nature Republic The First Essence

I love how things are always a trend in the Korean beauty world – first, it was BB cream, then it was the BB cushions. In the skincare world, you’ve now got the trend of the First essences – something that’s a nutrient-enriched version of a toner.

So far, I’ve tried the following First essences and gotten pretty decent results from them:

And well, if something’s good and not broke, don’t go fixing it – I’ll be continuing to use First essences 😀

Nature Republic The First Essence1Nature Republic The First Essence – KRW32,000



Nature Republic The First Essence2The ingredient list is in English (for once!) – Phenoxyethanol is the latest replacement for parabens, and is a preservative derived from either grapefruits, green tea, or from a lab. I’ve done some reading and some people might get an itchy reaction from this, so do monitor your usage. My skin hasn’t had any adverse reaction to this so far, thankfully. 😀


Nature Republic The First Essence3


Nature Republic The First Essence4A typical watery liquid


Nature Republic The First Essence5Immediately after it’s been absorbed


Nature Republic The First Essence6A few minutes after absorption

I say… 

  • Like all other similar First essences, this also comes in a heavy frosted glass bottle. I’m more or less resigned to this already, although I still don’t know if there’s any scientific reason for it (i.e. preserving the integrity of the product for a longer period of time). It does cramp my (shopping) style though – it means that I can’t buy more than 2 bottles at one time from Korea, cos it’ll significantly increase my shopping weight (yes, I have bought 48kg of stuff back before heh).
  • Anyhoos, the cap is the screw-on type, and the Essence is dispensed through a tiny 4mm hole across the top.
  • The liquid is watery in consistency and non-sticky.
  • It is really quickly absorbed, and leaves no residue – none of them sticky, greasy feeling.
  • It has a nice mild floral-herbal scent – herbal enough to remind you that you’re using a product with 6 herbs, but scented enough so that it doesn’t turn you off.
  • After using this for about 2-3 weeks, I actually notice that my skin is getting clearer and slightly fairer – nothing shade-changing though. It’s more of an overall improvement in my skin radiance 😀
  • It’a also made my skin slightly softer and smoother, but if I were to recommend this product, it’ll be solely based on the fact that it helps in skin tone clarity. I’m guessing this can be attributed to its 90% fermented yeast from Jeju island.
  • What’s more, it ups my moisture levels – at certain times when my skin feels particularly stripped after cleansing or when it’s particularly dry, I apply some of this and I can feel my skin being soothed by the extra moisture.
  • Application info: Apply after cleansing onto bare face. I then follow up with Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum / Hanyul Optimising Serum –> Hanyul Skin Softner –> Emulsion –> Serum –> Cream / Day Cream –> Sulwhasoo Luminature Finisher (if I’m going out)


Yes I lurve this, and I’m so glad I adopted it back from Korea 😀

23 thoughts on “Review: Nature Republic The First Essence

  1. Did you get the best results from this one, the Missha, or the Face Shop Smim? I’ve been wanting to try a “first essence” for awhile now but there are just too many choices! >_< Plus they're not exactly cheap (shipping costs alone will kill my wallet *cries*) Thanks for the detailed review!

  2. I’m currently using this too!! I have been using this for the past 2 weeks. It really does brighten up my face! I’m so obsessed with this product currently.
    The sad part is that I can’t get it where I’m from. T.T

  3. I hope you’ll also do a review from Secret Key First Essence. I heard it’s very popular in Korea. Thank you for making this review. 🙂

  4. Thanks for all the First Essence review. I have not try one and looking for one, I have combination skin. Which one would you recommend? Iope or NR or other brand? Thanks.

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  12. Hi 달자 🙂

    I’m 18 this year and I’m just wondering if this will suit my skin? Or is it targeted more towards those 20 and above? Because those first essences by IOPE, Missha etc are for woman who are in their 20s and above so I definitely can’t get those hahaha. I’m heading to Korea soon and I’m wrecking my brains on what to buy and what not to buy. I came up with a super long list and am trying to cut it down by a lot XD

    I really enjoy reading your blog by the way! Your reviews are superb, not like those half-assed reviews by so-called “beauty bloggers”. Keep up the great job! 😀

    • Hi Gillian, as compared with SK-II and the higher end brands, I’d say you can go for something that suits your skintype / more nature-based, such as Nature Republic, Innisfree, Laneige and even Kiehl’s (on my 3rd bottle of this and totally loving it). I think in terms of buying products, I’d advise going by skintype instead of age (unless it’s a specific super-rich anti-ageing product that will be too rich for young skin). Thanks for the blog love, and have tonnes of fun in Korea! Wish I could head back to do my hair too. meh!

  13. Hi 달자 😀

    I’ve been using products from those brand you’ve mentioned (except for Kiehl’s) and I absolutely love it! I have combination skin and whereas I don’t have a super oily T-zone, I have super dry cheeks that flakes if I don’t moisturise them well enough T_T But so far I seem to have found great products through some samples, and I’ve added Son&Park’s Beauty Water to my skincare routine recently and I have to say it’s great! I’m actually contemplating between Nature Republic’s The First Essence and IOPE’s Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning. I’ve read lots of raved reviews on it and it’s really tempting but I just wasn’t sure if it would work on my skin plus it’s a little not too budget-friendly for a student’s pocket XD But now that you’d advise me to go by skin type (except for the super rich creams), I might be getting the IOPE one instead, since my skin is sooooooo dull I look horrible without my BB Cushion (picked the IOPE Matt Cushion up recently and it’s my holy grail now).

    No problem! I’ll make sure I have lots of fun 😀 I saw your post on you doing your hair and tbh I’m slighttttttly tempted. Just slightly though hehe.

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