I tried this $230 skin 'essence' that's blowing up at Sephora — these are my honest thoughts

·Shopping Writer
·5-min read

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For centuries, green tea has been regarded for its numerous health benefits, including those for the skin that are derived from antioxidant-rich catechins.

Catechins — plant-based chemicals that protect plants from environmental toxins and repair damage — and moisture enhancing amino acids make green tea a true "hero" ingredient. 

Green tea is also the most prominent ingredient in AmorePacific's Vintage Single Extract Essence, which has won a number of awards and become a bestseller at Sephora.

The Vintage Single Extract Essence contains a high level of EGCG, a type of catechin found in green tea, which improves the look of clarity, texture, and elasticity. 

This product's potency is due to the work of AmorePacific's private green tea garden, where plants are meticulously grown and handpicked at the peak of their growth to ensure superior efficacy.

Basically, the quality of the green tea in the Vintage Single Extract Essence makes it liquid gold for the skin, or at least that's what AmorePacific promotes. 

This could explain why a full-sized, five-ounce bottle of the Vintage Single Extract Essence rings in at a whopping $230. The more affordable option - the 70ml bottle - is priced at $125.

All hype aside, what do I really think of this buzzy skin toner? Read on to find out. 

AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence

The price of AmorePacific's Vintage Single Extract Essence is sure to give anyone sticker shock, but it does contain one of the most powerful polyphenols on planet earth - EGCG - which is found in pure green tea leaves.
The price of AmorePacific's Vintage Single Extract Essence is sure to give anyone sticker shock, but it does contain one of the most powerful polyphenols on planet earth - EGCG - which is found in pure green tea leaves.

SHOP IT: Sephora, $125 (70 ml) - $230 (5oz/150ml)

The details

One thing you cannot ignore about AmorePacific is the caliber of the products. Everything about the Vintage Single Extract Essence feels luxurious, right down to the heavy glass bottle its packaged in. 

Impressively, each Vintage Single Extract Essence spends 100 days in production. First, green tea leaves are naturally fermented for 50 days before they're placed in traditional Korean onggis (clay storage jars) by tea masters. 

From there, the onggis are transported to a special location in the AmorePacific green tea garden, where the leaves age for another 50 days — AmorePacific is still know as the only beauty company in the world to cultivate its own green tea ingredients.

The experience

After a week of using this product, I found it to be extremely hydrating and refreshing, particularly when my skin needed some extra moisture on dry, hot days.

These results could also be the effects of water and propanediol (a humectant and emollient that helps retain moisture and soften skin), which the product contains.   

When used in the morning, this product provided a cooling, calming start to the day and may have also helped with absorption (propanediol generally has this effect).

So, if you like to layer on serums and creams after using a toner or "essence," the Vintage Single Extract Essence offers a nice base to build on, especially considering its subtle scent. 

Though a couple of drops goes a long way when comes to moisturizing, I'm not sure I trialed the product long enough to see results in the "clarifying" category. 

If anything, the Vintage Single Extract Essence was more calming than clearing, per se. 

Not only does this award-winning essence contain a high concentration of green tea to visibly improve skin’s elasticity and tone, it's ultra thirst-quenching for the face too.
Not only does this award-winning essence contain a high concentration of green tea to visibly improve skin’s elasticity and tone, it's ultra thirst-quenching for the face too.

What customers are saying

Though green tea has been known to defend against external stressors that could lead to visible signs of skin aging, it also contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that have proven to help treat oily, acne-prone skin.

Overall, Sephora customers seem to be impressed with the Vintage Single Extract Essence's ability to tame sebum production. 

"I LOVE THIS EXTRACT! I have terribly oily skin, and in the time I've been using this I no longer have to use those blue oil blotting papers. I threw them all away!" one Sephora customer exclaimed. 

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"My skin freakin glows now. I got complimented on it the other day, and that was the first one ever in my life! For those of us with oily skin, this is a godsend."

Other customers are loving the fact that just a few drops of the Vintage Single Extract Essence seems to doo the trick, which helps justify the steep price tag. 

"I’ve been dying to try this product for so long but was always intimidated by the price point. I can confidently say that this product is 100 per cent worth the price and has rapidly become the essential step post-cleansing in my skincare routine," another Sephora customer explained. 

"The product has a shelf life of 12 months and you don’t need more than three to four drops of product after each wash, so the bottle will last a long time. In one week I had noticed improvement in my skin and this product did not break me out when added into my ongoing routine.". 

"This is one of the holy grail products for me. I’ve tried different essences (Tatcha, Fresh, SKII, Sulwashoo) but I always end up being impressed with this one. The scent is not that strong and my skin just soaks it up," said another reviewer. 

"My skin feels instantly more refreshed and tighter without being dry. Perfect as a base for my serums and moisturizer. Price is steep but this lasts me five months using it twice a day."

The verdict

I personally found the essence to be calming and refreshing — and so do Sephora customers. However, of course price is an issue, with the smallest bottle ringing in at $125. If you're unsure if an essence is up your alley, you could always experiment with something more affordable before plunging into higher-end brands.

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