[Review] Sofina iP Base Care Essence

Sofina is a huge name in Japan, China and Taiwan, but for some reason, less popular in the rest of Asia. Being one of their long-standing bestsellers that consistently scored No.1 ranking in Japan magazines and beauty counters, I got myself a bottle of Sofina iP Base Care Essence for around USD40 in Don Don Donki Japan last year, and have been trying it for a couple of weeks now.

Sofina iP Base Care Essence, or otherwise known as Sofina iP Dodai Essence, is a revolutionary skin care product that dispenses high density micro-carbonated foam consisting of 20 million 1/100mm diameter microbubbles with size much smaller than our skin pores, to instantly penetrate the deepest skin layers to delivery oxygen and nutrients to the skin. As a base serum, it enhances your skin ability to absorb all skincare products thereafter, by supercharging skin cells and blood vessels for improved blood circulation and self-regeneration. Full list of ingredients can be found here:

Water, DPG, Dimethicone, Carbon Dioxide, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Propanediol, PEG-32, Lauryl Methacrylate/​Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Nicotinamide, PEG-3 Dimethicone, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, KOH, Potassium Phosphate, EDTA 2Na, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl Parahydroxybenzoate, Parfum

You could do a back of the hand test to see the effects of enhanced blood circulation. Simply dispense some foam onto your skin for 90 seconds, and watch it turn a light blush red! This is similar to the effect of how our skin flushes after 10 minutes of exercise and gets the red blood cells up to the skin surface and improve absorption.

Sofina iP Base Essence Dodai Before and after tester skin swatch 90seconds
From left to right: On application, and after 90 seconds, a red blush patch could be seen.

The correct sequence to using the Sofina iP Base Care Essence is right after washing your face, even before applying your toner. The foam is contained in an aerosol can, so hold the container upright without shaking, and pump a 3-cm dollop onto your hand without breaking the foam apart. Next, dab an equal amount of the foam onto your cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, gently smoothing it over your entire face and lightly tapping to let it absorb for 1-2 minutes.

You will feel the foam fizzle off into a light serum, leaving a moisturized, slightly sticky layer on your skin with a cooling sensation. Once set, simply follow up with your toner, serum and moisturiser as usual. A tip here- to prevent removing the serum that just set, pat in your toner instead of swiping it across, and pair it with complimentary moisturising toners/essences to maximize the effects.

Many reviewers mentioned that you can follow up with your regular skincare regime- I say that is definitely not true. While I do notice a higher absorption rate for all my skincare products after application, the results were not as obvious with just a clarifying toner, as compared to adding on a moisturising or hydrating toner/essence. It might be because Sofina has originally intended this serum to be a base to the Sofina Moisturing Lotion, which I regard as more of a hydrating essence than a regular toner. The two products I have in comparison here are Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner as well as Fresh’s Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, and you can see how vastly the boost effects differs! The skin had a higher suppleness and glow when paired with an essence.

Sofina iP Base Care Essence Before and After application skin swatch
Before and after application of Sofina iP Base serum with toner (left) and essence (right)

Another tip here is to make sure to use the correct 3-cm amount, which Sofina has helpfully imprinted on the can itself. I have tried using lesser or more on my face and the results were always lackluster.

We all know how skincare products lose their potency when you use it overtime.While the Sofina iP base essence takes quite a fair bit of time to get used to as an additional step in your skincare regime, it is still a pretty interesting product to test out if you feel like you are looking for a quick boost on your current products!

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