REVIEW: Laneige Water Bank Essence_EX


Like with any other beauty company, Laneige have their signature products which also happen to be their bestsellers. In terms of skincare, this would be their Water Sleeping Mask, Water Bank Essence and their more recently released Lip Sleeping Mask. I’m going to complete the trio by reviewing their well established Water Bank Essence_EX.

You can find the previous 2 reviews here:

Water Bank Line

Laneige have different lines of skincare products that distinguish what skin concern they are targeting and the Water Bank Essence_EX is just one product in their Water Bank line.

Products include: 3 types of moisturisers to fit different skin types (gel cream – combination/oily, moisture cream – normal/dry, intense cream – very dry), an eye cream, face mask, mineral skin mist and this essence.

water bank 1

Laneige Water Bank Line

This line is extremely popular among young women across Asia and focuses on deep hydration and moisture for the skin. Asian women in particular have a weaker skin barrier than other ethnicities which means skin losing moisture more easily and becoming dry. Laneige have attempted to find a solution to this problem through their Water Bank products that feature Hydro-ion mineral water.

Natural Ion Mineral is extracted from the superfood quinoa. This mineral complex is small enough to restore moisture by penetrating deep into the skin and strengthening the skin barrier to protect against more moisture loss.

What is an essence:

In Asian skincare, an essence is like a serum but it is typically of a lighter consistency and has less concentrated ingredients. It is normally used after toner and before serums to add another layer of hydration.

Product Info:

water bank 2

The ‘EX’ is the most recent, upgraded version from the old ‘Water Bank Essence’.

This essence claims to awaken natural moisturising agents in the skin to give a smoother skin texture, relieve dry skin and provide moisturise for 24 hours.

In Korea I bought this for about 32,000 won equivalent to £18/$27 but I think that might have been the discounted deal price since I bought so much in the store. The original is probably closer to £22 and the cheapest place I’ve found it online is about £25 on Ebay.

All the products in the Water Bank line are identifiable through their bright blue glass packaging. It’s beautiful and luxurious looking even if it’s not the most travel friendly. This essence comes in a glass bottle with cap, containing 60ml of product dispensed through a very convenient pump. I like that the pump hole is quite small as it’s very easy to control the amount of product you need. The bottle is not fully opaque so you can see just how much product you have left.


60ml glass bottle


Cap clicks on securely so you don’t have to worry about it falling off


Push down on pump to release product. Good small nozzle to control the amount.

Ingredients list:

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Dimethicone, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Tribehenin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Tillandsia Usneoides Extract, Ceratonia Siliqua (Carob) Fruit Extract, Dimethiconol, Betaine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Carrageenan, Phenyl Trimethicone, Propylene Glycol, PCA Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Standout ingredients:

  • Hydro-ion mineral water – able to penetrate deep into the skin to restore moisture and improve the health and texture of the skin.
  • Tillandsia extract – rich in betaine, a moisturising agent that optimizes the moisture balance of the skin.
  • Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract – moisturises skin leaving it soft and supple.
  • Quinoa Extract – rich in Vitamin A, C & E and amino acids. Skin softening, hydrating, emollient properties and protects skin from damage.


I think this is a very basic product in that its main function is to provide moisture and hydration so you won’t necessarily see such obvious physical results like you might with other skincare products. (I personally haven’t seen any difference in my skin while using this). I’m already over halfway through the bottle having used it twice a day for most of the winter, and while it’s a nice product, it’s not something I would miss if I didn’t have it in my routine.


Semi-transparent bottle so you can see how much is left.


2 pumps exactly to cover my face and neck.


Thicker than most essences but still quite lightweight and watery when you spread it.


Absorbs completely in a few minutes leaving a dewy moisturised finish

I actually find this has a consistency more like a serum than an essence. It is certainly thicker than my Innisfree Green Tea Seed serum. I tend to apply from lightest to heaviest consistency so it’s used at different stages of my routine depending on what other products I’m using.

I use 2 full pumps of this to cover my entire face and neck. It smells fresh and lovely like most other Laneige products but might seem too heavily perfumed for some people. It has a milky, creamy texture that goes clear as you massage it in your skin. It spreads smoothly and leaves your face feeling soft and hydrated. While it has a fairly thin consistency, it takes a couple minutes to fully absorb, but creates a velvety-smooth moisture layer on top of your skin. It doesn’t feel thick or heavy and you only notice it when you touch your face. When you look at your skin it does have a more moist and dewy appearance.

I have an oily prone t-zone so I do have to ensure its fully absorbed before applying my final moisturiser otherwise my skin can start to feel clogged. I’m hoping to finish this by spring because it just about works for me in winter. Since I like to layer up products, I feel this is a bit too moisturising and thick for an essence and wouldn’t be suitable for the summertime. I generally prefer to apply this at night because in the morning I have less time to wait for it to absorb before I move on to my moisturiser and makeup.

I think this is suitable for all skin types as Laneige says. If you have a very minimal skincare routine, oily/combination people could definitely use this both morning and night. I think it provides enough hydration to work alone without a moisturiser over it. (I sometimes apply makeup straight on top of this). Those with dry skin would definitely also benefit from this in conjunction with other moisturising products like the Water Bank Moisture Cream. It wouldn’t be enough alone because it absorbs fairly quick and isn’t occlusive.

Overall, it’s a nice simple product if you’re looking to add moisture back into your skin. I probably won’t repurchase this only because I like my products to have more multi-functional purposes and dry skin isn’t a concern for me right now but perhaps somewhere down the line when my skin matures I may find myself more in need of the Water Bank line.


    • wantastic90
      February 5, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you

  1. February 5, 2016 / 11:33 pm

    I had a similar conclusion with the Water Bank Gel Cream EX, which is juuust slightly too thick for anything but evening routines and/or in the winter.

    And you’re right; if only it had other interesting ingredients to make it more multipurpose! I wonder if you could add, say, your own niacinamide or vitamin C to this. But at that point, you might as well get a whole different product.

    • wantastic90
      February 6, 2016 / 4:36 pm

      Yeah I’d been thinking of getting the gel cream until I read your review and tried the essence. Which is funny because I had accidentally bought the moisture cream by mistake and now I’m dreading going near it.
      Will have to gift it and bid farewell to the water bank line.

  2. September 7, 2017 / 6:28 am

    Thank you for your review, I have the same feeling about this one. Not buying it again though since I didn’t feel it did better than other products

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