What is an essence and why do you need one in your routine?
It's safe to say that the most innovative skincare often originates from Korea. From sheet masks to snail mucin to pimple patches, if something is big in Korean skincare, it's likely to take over the rest of the world, too.
Essence is one born-in-Korea trend that is less well known outside of Korea. In Korea, though, if you ask any woman what the secret to their flawless, glass-like skin is, they will likely tell you it is an essence. But what exactly is an essence? And why would you want to use one in your skincare routine?
What is an essence and what does an essence do?
An essence is a liquid that contains a high content of active ingredients to hydrate, protect, and boost the overall health of your skin. It also optimizes your skin's natural cell turnover rate and with regular use, it will make your skin smoother and brighter.
Essences are more concentrated than a toner, but lighter than a serum. They give you the best of both worlds, hydrating and treating your skin at the same time. After cleansing and toning, an essence helps restore hydration to the skin cells. After using an essence, your skin is able to better absorb the rest of your skin care products.
And besides hydrating your skin and helping your skin absorb your other products better, essences treat your skin. They are made of concentrated formulas that specifically target wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tones. They treat the skin on a cellular level as they have a lower molecular weight than for example a moisturizer or cream. Therefore, they are able to penetrate the skin more deeply.
How to use an essence
Use your essence of choice after cleansing and toning in the morning or evening, or even better – at both times.
There are different methods to applying an essence to your face. The first way is to dispense the product onto a cotton pad or onto your hands and apply it over your face and neck. I personally do not like using a cotton pad, because a lot of essence gets soaked into your cotton pad, and you end up wasting a lot of product.
The second way, which is my favourite, is to directly dispense the toner onto your face. Make sure to not make the bottle touch your face, though! You start by dispensing a few drops of toner onto one cheek, then you gently tap it into your skin, and continue this onto your other cheek, your forehead, and your chin. This method helps your skin absorb the product, whilst not wasting any product at all.
Another way to apply your toner, which I also enjoy a lot, is to transfer your essence into a spray bottle and spray it directly onto your face. And then, of course, gently tap it into your skin to aid absorption. This method is also great to reduce any waste of product.
The best Korean essences to try now
There is an essence for every skin type and skin need you can imagine. For example, there are hydrating skin essences that are great for dehydrated skin types (which, let's be honest, is pretty much everyone during the winter months), and then there are brightening essences that brighten up tired, dull skin. There are also amazing anti-aging essences that help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, giving you a more youthful look.
If you are new to essences or if you are just looking for a new one to try out, these are some of my favourite essences that are suitable for all skin types (click the image to shop):
Neogen - Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Essence
COSRX - Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Benton - Snail Bee High Content Essence
Do you use an essence? And which one is your favourite? Comment below!