Review | COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner.

All ferment, no niacinamide.


COSRX are a brand that have been on my radar a little bit for a while now. They’re really exciting because they’ve brought out a few acid products that seem to be effective (right percentage and pH).  I got a few samples in a recent RoseRoseShop package, so I thought I’d look at their range a bit further, that’s when I saw their Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner and noticed the ingredient list had no niacinamide! ermagah, I just had to buy it.





Mineral Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, Panthenol, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract , Ethyl Hexanediol.

2010_AAD_3_Effects of GFF-1

Fermented ingredients boast all sorts of promises like, brightening, evening out skin tone, controlling cell turnover and oiliness all things that are important to me. I’ve been on the look out for a good fermented product, but unfortunately for me they all seem to include niacinamide which is a total deal breaker. I’ve read:

Niacinamide should not be applied at the same time of day as any acid (L-ascorbic, AHAs, BHAs) below pH 4 because it can render L-ascorbic acid inactive and/ or convert to niacin causing flushing in susceptible individuals.

Super sucky for me as I use acids all the time to keep my skin under control! No matter how I use it (acids at night, product with niacinamide in the morning, or vice versa) my skin does not tolerate niacinamide. It’s really frustrating! I get these horrible papules (don’t Google image this) forming around my temples and horrible bumpy, scaly skin. Your Milage May Vary (YMMV) and you might be able to mix the acids and niacinamide with spacing it out. I know that I personally cannot. Until now I thought my only hope was Innisfree’s Soybean Essence, but it costs so much and there are no samples that I’ve just resigned myself to never trying a fermented product.

Till this!

The Packaging.


How I use it.


The instructions say to use a cotton pad soaked in the toner, but I found that even with Muji cotton pads that normally just suspend the product, the toner just seemed to get lost in the fibres because as you can see from the image above the mist is so fine. So what I do now is to spritz my face six times then cup my hands and spritz some more then pat it into my skin.

My Experience.

After a few weeks of use, I can say for me 10% is not enough to really experience all the benefits that fermented products promise offer. It’s been really frustrating for me to watch my mother use her Mizon Skin Power Original First Essence and to see her skin just transform and glow while my toner has just been okay. I think there’s a reason that the other brands have percentages of over 90% in their fermented products!

That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy this product but it feels more like a hydrating toner that has beneficial ingredients than anything else. I do find that when I use it my skin is a lot less oiler when I use it, and my skin stays oil free for longer throughout the day even when layered with all sorts of things like makeup. I also feel like my skin texture has improved, but that’s about where it ends.

I think COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner is great value for money, really hydrating and has helped the overall texture of my skin but it is not a wonder product for me at all. If you want to try a fermented product, you’re going to have to get something with a really high percentage. If you want a hydrating product, check your stash for a toner you can repurpose. I personally won’t repurchase this product as it has a pH of 6-7 which is almost the same as water.

If you know of any high percentage fermented products that have no niacinamide let me know, because I’m totally in the market for one!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the post and lovely product recommendation. 🙂


  2. Matthew says:

    Secret Key’s ¨Starting Treatment Essence¨ has 90% galactomyces filtrate, and it doesn’t have niacinamide. I’ve been using it for a little less than a week, and I can already feel and see a difference!


    1. adoredee says:

      Thanks so much Matthew! I’ll have a look at this!


  3. moi sanom says:

    Maybe a serum would be a good option as well?


    1. adoredee says:

      A Serum or a toner is most preferable. I know there are some creams, but honestly I’d rather get my actives in liquid form.


  4. Andy says:

    If you’re still looking, there’s this spreadsheet that a reddit user made:
    If that link doesn’t work, here’s the comment on reddit:

    There’s a couple that don’t have niacinimide on this list.


    1. adoredee says:

      I’m no longer currently looking, but thank you for this list, it is really helpful! I had no idea someone had put this together!


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