LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence Review and Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, November 2, 2014

LJH Cosmetics (or LeeJiHam Cosmetics) is a Korean line of skincare (and some cosmetics, like BB creams), and is a line that is fairly niche, and fairly new to me - I've never heard of the brand until now! LJH apparently stands for LeeJiHam, and is the last names of its three founders, Lee Yu-Deuk, Ji Hye-Gu, and Ham Ik-Byeong (last names are all listed first as per Korean convention), and the three founders are also all doctors, hence the billing of some of the LJC Cosmetics product ranges as "Doctor's Care". LJH Cosmetics also likes to bill itself as a "cosmeceutical", rather than a cosmetic company, so it does seem to me that the company has a lot of its marketing riding on its "doctor" credentials. You guys know I'm all about skincare that's backed by science, so this brand piqued my curiousity.

LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence: A Korean product that targets blemishes

One of the first things I tried was the LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence, because it was one of their more popular blemish products. And although I'm going to be turning 30 in a few years (time flies!), it still seems to me that my acne and pimples are still partying like it's 2004 or something. Anyway, this was the first product that caught my eye, and I thought I should review it on my blog!

LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree Essence Bottle
LJH Cosmetics was apparently founded by three doctors, and "LJH" are their last names' initials.

As usual, we start off with the ingredients list, which is always my favourite place to look, because you know, beauty science is pretty fun. After all, if the brand was started by three doctors, it should be pretty impressive ingredients-wise! So that's the perfect place to start

The Tea Tree 90 Essence is supposed to have over 90% tea tree essence, so naturally we find Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract at the top of the list. Interestingly enough this is listed Tea Tree Extract and not Tea Tree Oil, although both are derived from Melaleuca Alternifolia leaves and thus are likely to have some similar properties. Tea Tree Oil tends to have a fairly distinctive smell, but this product is fairly scentless, leading me to think that LJH Cosmetics is using something different from Tea Tree Oil in this product (perhaps one of the components of Tea Tree Oil?). I couldn't find too much about Tea Tree Extract (although there was a lot of literature on Tea Tree Oil), but from a short blurb provided by a supplier on Cosmetics.SpecialChem.com, an industry website, it seems to function primarily as an antiseptic, which makes it somewhat similar to Tea Tree Oil in that sense. That's also a good thing to have in a blemish product.

LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree Essence Ingredients
LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence ingredients: Anti-bacterial plant extracts, as well as ingredients with hydrating properties.

Other than the Tea Tree Extract, there's Cellulose Gum (a thickener or film-former), Sodium Hyaluronate and Trehalose (both humectants), and various types of plant extracts. There's Centella Asiatica Extract, Thymus Vulgaris Extract (skin-conditioning agents with some anti-bacterial properties), Hippophae Rhamnoides Extract, Tremella Fuciformis Extract (both with some sort of skin-conditioning/humectant properties), Buddleja Davidii Extract (skin-conditioning and anti-oxidant properties), Bambusa Textilis Stem Extract (skin-conditioning). The rest of the ingredients are again, various types of skin-conditioning agents and humectants, or else other functional ingredients - Biosaccharide Gum-1 also has skin-conditioning properties, and Methyl Gluceth-20, Caprylyl Glycol and Butylene Glycol have emollient and humetant properties, and 1, 2-Hexanediol is a preservative.

LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree Essence Dropper
LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence: Hygienically packaged with a dropper dispenser

The good thing about this formulation is that the plant extracts seem to variously have some sort of skin-conditioning, anti-oxidant or anti-bacterial properties, which is good, since not all plant extracts are actually good for skin, and some can be sensitizing or irritating to the skin (in particular, formulas full of volatile fragrant oils tend to make me run in the other direction, because my acne-prone skin can be pretty sensitive to some of these). We do see some of this, with the use of Citrus Grandis Seed Extract, typically used for its scent, but it's pretty far down the ingredients list, and it's probably in very small doses. It doesn't worry me, and I think unless your skin is extremely sensitive to these types of fragrant oils, it's unlikely you'll get a reaction from them. Overall, from a formulations and ingredients perspective, this is an anti-blemish product that is formulated to be mainly anti-bacterial, but also has quite a number of emollients and humectants to ensure that the skin remains hydrated in the process.

LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree Essence Swatch
LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence: A light, lotion/serum-like texture makes this feel moisturizing on skin

And indeed, my experience with the product was borne out by its formulation. I found that this had a skinfeel that was quite different from that of typical, traditional acne products, which can leave the skin feeling a bit dry after use (although to be fair, plenty of headway has been made in formulating acne products as non-drying). Instead, this felt more like one of those thin, Japanese-style lotions or serums going on, and it seemed to hydrate my skin as well. Its lotion-like consistency also meant that it It also didn't sting my skin or bite my skin like some acne products can do. I've used straight up 100% tea tree oil on my pimples before, and it stung, but this didn't. Overall, I found this to be good as a fairly mild acne product - it seemed to help my acne somewhat, and any results I had seemed to be slow and gradual, so it seems to me that this would probably be better suited to someone with milder acne than I have. But, the fact that it is hydrating means that those with sensitive skins probably can tolerate this product.

I also liked that this was in a nice stable bottle with a dropper dispenser. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know I like any form of dispenser that's more hygienic (my favourite being pump dispensers, and tubes, and my least favourite being jars, because of all that finger-dipping going on when you apply the product), and droppers are pretty hygienic in that you don't touch the product directly with your fingers. So that's good as well.

LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree Essence
LJH Cosmetics Tea Tree 90 Essence: A blemish product with anti-bacterial properties that is still hydrating

So, would I recommend this? I think that, all things considered, this is a blemish product with anti-bacterial properties, that at the same time is still formulated to remain hydrating to the skin. While I found that progress was gradual with my pretty serious acne, those with milder blemishes may see a quicker improvement, and those with dry or sensitive skins would definitely appreciate the hydrating factor. If you've tried traditional acne products (e.g. salicylic acid, etc.) and want to try something new, or if you have dry, sensitive skin but are still looking for something for pimples, then this might be a good shot.

Recommended? Formulation Packaging Ease of Use Effectiveness
Yes, as a mild blemish product 8/10 8/10 9/10 7/10
The Bottom Line: The Tea Tree 90 Essence has anti-bacterial properties while still being moisturizing to the skin, making it very useful for dry or sensitive skin looking for a blemish product.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)


  1. I think this is fine for my daughter. She is having problems with her pimples and I think this might help.

  2. Great review! I really like the format where you take a look at ingredient lists but also give notes on your experience with it. I'm very tempted. May I ask where this essence and this brand's products are available? I read the review over, but it doesn't look like you mentioned it - though that could be me being cross-eyed!

    1. @Nick: You're right, I didn't mention where you could buy this from. You can get it directly from the HKCPlaza website at hkcplaza.com (I *think* they ship internationally but I'm not sure). If you're in Singapore where I am, then there's a store that carries their products at Marina Link, called Lolita The Studio.

    2. Many thanks for the prompt reply! I will browse the website and - yes, I'm in Singers now - may pop by Lolita The Studio.

  3. This sounds super fantastic! Thanks for providing links where to buy - grabbing some now :)

  4. I've been using this for a couple of months now and this stuff is amazing. It has been a complete life changer and if you like me have sensitive, dehydrated and acne-prone (adult acne) skin you will love it! I have also tried their micellar water with tea tree extract but I found that in conjunction with the serum was a little to much for my skin. It might be fine for someone else cus I do have problems with tea tree oil in general so it could be just me. I first came across tea tree oil when I lived in Aussie abt 15 years ago and it was also at this time that my adult acne flared up. The tea tree oil was horrible for my skin at the time and I haven't purchased any products with this ingredient until now. As an extract it's a completely different thing and I have no issues what so ever! I know it can be a bit expensive but I buy mine of ebay and you can find it at ebay for as little as 130 sek, I guess that's abt 16 us dollar. With free shipping included I don't see that as pricey at all.


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