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If you're not sure what facial essences are, how they work, whether they're worth your hard earned money, and how the hell they differ from the other 10 billion skin care products on the market, you are definitely not alone. The industry loves a great trend opportunity, and while essences have been an integral part of Korean beauty for Years (with very specific benefits and purposes, mind you) everything has been a bit mixed up since the product category caught fire in the US. Now every brand you can think of has their own versions, many of which contain more serum, toner, or mist than true Facial essence. So I reached out to two amazing experts – Alicia Yoon, the founder and CEO of Peach & Lily, and Charlotte Cho, a esthetician and curator behind K-Beauty retailer Soko Glam – to break it down and get back to the basics, because really, an amazing facial essence can do amazing things for the health, happiness and dew point of your skin.
"Essences are a staple for Korean beauty to keep skin healthy, glowing, and moisturized," Yoon immediately confirms. "It's an easy step to incorporate and goes really far as deep hydration can help solve a number of skin problems. As a beautician, I've seen people achieve tremendous results by incorporating an essence into their routine, like It's difficult to stay hydrated on a constant basis. However, a facial essence makes it easy to hydrate the skin from within. "
Below, both Yoon and Cho answer all of our burning questions about facial essences and share their top shopping tips. Keep scrolling!
When you search for facial essences online (or just scroll through your favorite beauty retailer) the narrative gets a little cloudy about what they are, what they do, and how they differ from other popular skin care products like toners, cleansers, mists, and serums . While essences are a Korean-born category of skin care products, almost every brand, Korean or not, has introduced its own iteration. Marketing isn't always clear, and it's hard to know whether you're investing in a real essence or simply a similar product that a brand created to jump on the trend. So I reached out to Cho and Yoon to find out what exactly essences are and how they differ from other popular skin care categories.
""In Korea, essences are considered the most important step in skin care"Cho will tell me right away."It is a Korean-born skin care category that has traditionally been used between toner and serum. It is usually designed to deeply hydrate and brighten your complexion"She notes that they can have additional benefits, such as reducing the severity of wrinkles, fine lines, and dullness.
While some facial essences are slightly thicker with a more viscous consistency, they are usually thinner and have a water-like texture. They can help rebalance your skin's pH after cleansing. Their main job, however, is to soak the skin with plenty of nourishing moisture, as opposed to toners (which tone the skin) and serums (which correct certain skin problems).
Are you ready for this According to Cho and Yoon, facial essences are the most effective product for bringing maximum moisture and TLC to your skin. Yes, other products like serums and creams definitely help with moisturizing, but the effects may not be as strong as these types of products usually have many different ingredients and / or targeted concerns or skin problems that they are designed to address. Essences, on the other hand, take precedence over hydration, which makes your skin really happy and makes your skin look stronger other Skin care products.
""You will see more results from one essence than any other product as it treats the skin at the cellular level"Explains Cho." Essences are notoriously nourishing and deeply moisturizing as the skin barrier can best protect the skin when it is adequately hydrated. "You can usually find MVP actives like hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid in the best facial essences, and Cho says many are also high in fermented ingredients as they contain probiotic-promoting probiotics to increase cell turnover and keep the skin barrier balanced and healthy. That Bottom Line: Calm, happy, plump, and glowing skin that is less likely to become inflamed or irritated or to develop fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness.
To make sure you get optimal absorption (and all of the amazing skin benefits!), Yoon recommends patting the essence of your face into the skin with your hands or a cotton ball. (We like the hand route though! Sprinkling the formula directly into the palms of your hands before gently patting it into your skin creates less waste.)
"I recommend really Pat and work in your facial essence to maximize absorption and moisturize your skin from the inside out, "says Yoon.Essences are easy to incorporate into your skin care regimen as basic hydration can improve the results of your other products. " Again, using your facial essence is the best expert-approved protocol after this Your toner (which should be used right after cleaning!) And In front your serum.
"Another way to get a large dose of essence is to apply a Korean sheet mask," added Cho. "The face essence is soaked in the hydrogel or microfiber mask, and there is usually a lot of leftover essence in the pouch that you can apply to your neck, hands, and arms!"
Pro tip: For a quick moisturizing facial at home, dab Yoon onto freshly clean and dry skin with seven (yes, seven) layers of a moisturizing essence before applying your favorite serum and moisturizer.
Because essences focus primarily on hydration and put little emphasis on harsh agents and other potentially irritating ingredients, Yoon affirms that they can be used by anyone. After all, optimal hydration is one of the most important cornerstones of healthy, naturally radiant skin. Not all facial essences are created equally, however, and quality and ingredients are very important to your optimal formula when shopping. In addition, we all have different needs for our complexion, and sensitivities vary widely. Be careful what you do and don't do for your skin and keep this in mind as you shop and do your research.
""Essences can vary widely in their formulas. So be sure to read the ingredient list for any ingredients your skin may specifically react to, including fragrances or certain types of extractsYoon warns. If you have particularly oily skin, you can still use and benefit from using facial essences! Cho recommends applying a few coats of your essence instead of heavier moisturizers or creams that could clog pores or worsen current breakouts.