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This review contains PR samples° and affiliate links* Another essence/toner review? Yes, but hear me out – it’s the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence I’m reviewing, and you absolutely NEED to hear about this bi-phase, milk tea textured treasure!
I am telling you, 2021 is the year of the essence and K-beauty toners – there are just so many good ones coming out literally every week! So, I hope you will forgive me for reviewing so many of them in a row, instead of varying the skincare categories a bit more regularly. I promise, I do have a few ampoules, creams and serums lined up too, and maybe even a (trustworthy!) sunscreen or two come summer!
But for this week, the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence is our spotlight. When this fascinating cream skin style toner appeared on my Instagram feed in late 2020, I instantly knew it would be a massive hit in the K-beauty community. Dr. Ceuracle (the brand formerly known as “Leegeehaam”) released a short texture video back then to announce the product launch, and it was shared on multiple skinfluencer story feeds literally seconds later. We know a good thing when we see it! And boy is this essence a very good thing indeed – its milk and black tea texture seamlessly blends together to create a cream skin style toner/essence hybrid packed full of skin supporting goodies.
First, let’s talk about why kombucha is all the rage in K-beauty right now, and then move on to why the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence has captured many a skinfluencer’s heart lately.
Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence – So What’s the Tea on Kombucha then?
Sorry for that terrible pun in the headline, yikes! Kombucha is one of those it ingredients of 2021 – suddenly everyone is bringing out toners and essences with this fermented tea extract. Honestly, some of it is just marketing hype and a bit of a rebranding, since fermented tea products have been around for a while. Reminds me of how probiotic beauty products are now suddenly being touted as new and trendy, when probiotics and fermented ingredients have been kind of a staple in Asian beauty for many decades.
I don’t mind the kombucha hype though, because I’m rather fond of probiotics in skincare, and especially people with a damaged skin barrier can greatly benefit from those good bacteria. So, in case you don’t know what kombucha actually is, I wrote about it a while ago in this article. It is a fermented tea beverage that likely originated in China, became very popular in Korea and later in Europe via Russia, to finally take the US by storm in the 21st century thanks to the wellness industry culturally appropriating it as theirs. Not only does this fizzy cold tea brew taste delicious, it also happens to have multiple health benefits. Especially our gut loves those probiotics and ferments, plus it’s also rich in B vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to benefits for our skin, I can’t claim to have scientifically backed proof that kombucha can do similarly amazing things as it does for our gut. However, as a probiotic ingredient, fermented black tea extract should have a positive effect on our skin microbiome, the sum of all microorganisms living their best life on and in our pores (a creepy thought, I know!. Furthermore, the naturally occurring minerals and vitamins from kombucha may support a suppler appearance of the skin.
Most kombucha-themed skincare products don’t really feature kombucha – usually it’s either fermented tea extract or a combination of tea water/extract plus probiotic extracts. This is indeed the case for the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence, which contains both green tea water and extract plus saccharomyces, a fermented yeast extract used in a number of brightening first treatment essences such as the IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Treatment Conditioning.*
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence:
“Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Triethylhexanoin, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Water, 1,2-Hexanediol, Methylpropanediol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Schisandra Chinensis Fruit Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Trilaureth-4 Phosphate, Polyquaternium-51, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Butylene Glycol, Dextrin, Ceramide NP, Ethylhexylglycerin.”
As the product name already reveals, this is a certified vegan product, which also happens to be fragrance- and alcohol-free. Apart from the aforementioned “kombucha” ingredient combo, the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Essence is also rich in moisturising and softening ingredients, among them sunflower seed oil and ceramides.
Chinese magnolia vine, schisandra chinensis, is another skin care ingredient to watch, as it seems to appear on more and more ingredient lists lately. Organic skincare brand Sioris* was, I believe, one of the first ones to use this potent antioxidant deliverer, said to have additional skin-calming, redness-soothing superpowers thanks to the so-called “lignans” plant compounds present in the fruit. A number of other fruit and plant extracts such as fig fruit extract (that we already love thanks to the I’m from Fig Boosting Essence!) added here mostly provide polysaccharides, humectant sugar molecules that help keep our skin plump and juicy.
Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Essence – Milk Tea for the Skin!
As you can see in the above image, this is a bi-phase essence, which mimics the two main components of any good milk tea recipe: milk and tea, duh! Technically, the added polysaccharides also mean sugar is present in this delicious skincare recipe – but please, do not try to drink this, no matter how appealing it looks, thank you!
It was actually kind of difficult to snap pictures of the two separated phases of the Kombucha Tea Essence, since they flawlessly and seamlessly combine the moment you even lightly move the slightly frosted glass bottle. So, no need to rigorously mix or shake the essence before use, it usually only takes one or two quick mixing motions and voila, you have your ever so slightly greyish milk tea texture at the ready.
The essence doesn’t really have a fragrance, unlike e.g. the strawberry milk textured Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Treatment Toner, and it feels pretty much exactly like a cold milk tea would, watery-milky and with only minimal oiliness. Compared to the Aromatica toner, I would say this is overall a little bit less moisturising, which I actually almost prefer now that we are moving into warmer weather. I haven’t tried the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner* yet, that other super popular cream skin style toner, but from what I have read and heard others share about it, I would say the Dr. Ceuracle Kombucha Essence is less oily in feel and texture. To complete the cream skin comparison, the Kombucha Essence is noticeably more moisturising than the very lightweight, rice milk textured I’m from Rice Toner.
So, to put this into an easy to grasp hierarchy, in terms of which cream skin style toner/essence is the most moisturising (but also more oily), the list goes: Laneige Cream Skin Refiner > Aromatica Reviving Rose Infusion Treatment Toner > Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence > I’m from Rice Toner. The more moisturising a cream skin is, the better suited it is for dryer skin types, while less oily-rich toners and essences may work better if you have oily or combo skin.
Now, I have dehydrated combo skin, but I do well with most cream skin textures, both the richer ones and the very watery types. When I use the I’m from Rice Toner, however, I usually need to pair it with another, more hydrating/moisturising toner to help with my dehydration issues (and also because I am 40+ and, you know, old now). As I said, I loved the Aromatica toner in winter, it’s an amazing product, but the moment I got my hands on the Dr. Ceuracle Kombucha Tea Essence, I was hooked! Both are wonderful, but… Ah, there is just something so unique about the Kombucha Tea Essence, its super light and completely non-sticky feel, the way my skin just drinks it up the way I would an actual milk tea… It’s – delicious!
The essence feels very hydrating and moisturising, with my skin not even once breaking out from the rich ingredient list (ceramides and hyaluronic acid can sometimes be a bit much for it during that time of the month). After using this, my skin feels and looks less thirsty and I swear, it has a little bit of a happy-healthy glow. I usually apply the essence with the palm of my hands, using only a little amount as this spreads very nicely on skin.
Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence – the Bottom Line
The hype in the K-beauty community around the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Essence is justified in my eyes, as this toner/essence hybrid has not only a unique, gorgeous texture, but also a high quality ingredient list that is free from most potential skin sensitisers (always check for personal allergies and sensitivities, of course!).
This product should work well for most skin types, but especially for sensitive, dry to combo skin. It may be a bit much for oily skin, and maybe just a tad too little for very dry skin. Dehydrated skin will benefit from its humectant qualities, which are well absorbed overall compared to some of the thicker K-beauty toners.
So, where can you buy the Dr. Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence? I received my sample from UK-based Korean beauty shop Kosame Beauty*, an official reseller of Dr. Ceuracle, where the 150ml glass bottle costs 29£. You can use my affiliate code “sugarpeachesloves” to receive a 10% discount on your Kosame order. If you live outside the UK, you can also find this at Stylevana* also for roughly 33$, or at US-based K-beauty shop Ohlolly* for 38$.
Let me know in the comments: What other Korean toners and essences should I review for you? Drop your suggestions down below!
Take care guys, and stay safe – don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest K-Beauty and skincare news, and check out my other reviews, e.g. my roundup of my April 2021 beauty empties!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by a brand or shop – I am not obligated to write this blog article, was not paid for the article, and my opinions are entirely my own.
*Affiliate Links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to use the link to purchase an item. This does not raise the purchase price for you, and it helps me and my blog to grow – so, thank you for supporting me in this way!!!