Hydrating toners, lotions, and essences are by far my favorite skin care product. I have all sorts—mists to use in between each skin care step, lightweight essences I like to pack on with multiple layers, and the thicker consistency hydrating toners that deliver a 1-2 extreme hydration punch. My newest acquisition? The Kosé Medicated Sekkisei Lotion.
What Is It
As a bit of background, Kosé is a Japanese brand that has been around for over two decades. Their name is inspired by the Chinese character for “snow,” which represents the “beauty, brightness and purity” of the winter weather staple. Kosé’s products are all about the brightening (or “whitening” as it’s called in East and Southeast Asia). Each of the brand’s products are formulated with a blend of centuries-old traditional Asian extracts and modern scientifically-backed research designed to fade discoloration, hydrate, and replenish the skin’s moisture barrier, and significantly brighten to reveal that snow-like finish.
In Japanese beauty, the word “lotion” does not mean what it does in the United States. A J-beauty lotion is actually a liquid hydrating toner that does the work of a traditional creamy lotion—it hydrates and moisturizes. Most Japanese lotions have a thicker-than-water or slightly milky texture, and this lotion follows that path. Its texture is slightly more viscous than water, so it’s perfect for layering underneath all of your other skin care products in your routine.
Oh, and don’t be alarmed by the whole “medicated” thing in the name—the medicated part refers to the fact that it’s made with a blend of Asian herbal extracts that provide the skin with nutrients, which equals healthy, hydrated, and super glowy skin. Some of the extracts include coix seed, which softens and brightens; rose myrtle and angelica hydrates; melothria moisturizes; and ophiopogon tuber is a notable Chinese herbal extract that is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It also contains two different types of oleic acid derivatives that work to soften and soothe dry, irritated skin.
A Japanese lotion is actually a liquid hydrating toner with a thicker-than-water or slightly milky texture that is perfect for layering.
How to Use It
I started using the Kosé Medicated Sekkisei Lotion right before my fibroid removal surgery, and within a couple of days, I could definitely notice the brightening, plumping effects. Even though my main focus after surgery was healing, of course, I also didn’t want to let my skin go to the wayside. Thankfully, with this lotion, I didn’t have to deal with dull, sad skin at all. Despite the fact that I had a very intense, nearly 3-hour surgery, I went home the same day and was able to do my little bedside skin care routine as soon as I awoke from the anesthesia. And truly, my skin looked pretty flawless—I honestly think this toner is responsible for a big chunk of that. I’ve continued to use it throughout my recovery process, and my skin has remained bright and luminous.
Kosé Medicated Sekkisei Lotion is designed to be used both day and night after cleansing. Since I’ve started testing it, I’ve used it both day and night after I cleanse my face, and I follow up with multiple applications (I’m a big fan of the 7-layer toner method for the ultimate hydration bomb). I personally like to use my hands—I pour a bit of the lotion into my palms and press them gently into my skin, taking care to use my fingers afterwards to gently pat it in. Then, I follow up with my serum of choice.
My only caveat is that it does have a pretty strong scent initially that dissipates once it’s absorbed into your skin. A majority of my skin care is unfragranced (not on purpose, it just ended up that way), so it did catch me a bit off guard when I first started testing it. Kosé describes the scent as “a mild and soothing modern floral scent with base notes of rose, jasmine, and a hint of gentle chamomile.” My skin doesn’t have an issue with fragrance, nor does it bother me to use, but if you’re avoiding fragrance for whatever reason, it’s definitely something to keep in mind. As always, patch test your products before you start using them!