What is Facial Essence and How is It Different from Toner and Serum?

by Hailei Kim on Mar 20, 2020

  It seems almost impossible to stay updated and follow the newest trends in K-beauty when new trends and new skincare products are being updated to the list by a blink of an eye. Within the fast-changing K-beauty industry, you would be left feeling helpless and lost if you attempt to take in all the skincare tips without knowing the basics of K-beauty skincare. Although K-beauty is most notoriously known for its 10-step skincare routine, you only have to know the four oldest tricks in the book that do not change: facial essence, toner, serum, and ampoule.  

1. Facial Essence, what about it?

Facial essence is definitely the “essence” of K-beauty (pun intended...!) while many K-beauty novices are still unfamiliar with its role in the skincare routine. Essence is commonly known to be applied after toner and before serum or ampoule in order to hydrate and regenerate the skin, preparing your skin for the next step of the skincare routine. However, it is still confusing as to what a facial essence does when the role of the toner also lies in hydrating the skin while getting the skin ready for the better absorption of serums and moisturizers. So what exactly is a facial essence? And what is the difference between toner and essence?  

2. Toner vs. Facial Essence


1) They are similar in a way...

Applying toner and facial essence both are mostly supplementary processes, working as a booster for the following steps in the skincare routine. Toner and facial essence both mainly consists of water, along with essential oils and extracts, sharing the similarities of having watery texture. Yet of course, the texture of these products can vary in viscosity with different ingredients and formulations. (for instance, the Klairs Supple Toner has a very unique texture unlike other watery toners) 

2) They are different in a way...

They seem similar but why is it categorized differently? While toner hydrates the surface of the skin, facial essence adds moisture to the skin from deep within.  - Toner is used after cleansing to remove the remaining residues from the skin that you might have missed. It also soothes your skin by gently exfoliating your skin and restoring the skin’s PH balance level. Because of its liquidy nature, toners usually come in a bottle. While you can apply the toner straight to your face if it comes in a spray bottle, it is recommended that you get a cotton pad, spray a little on the pad and rub it all over your face. (Being able to witness dust and dead skin cells removed from your skin onto the pad is the added bonus you get from using the cotton pads) - Essence also has a liquid texture but the texture is slightly more watery than toners. So rather than using a pad, it is recommended that you pour the essence onto your palm and apply it to your face and neck by gently tapping your face to help with the absorption. So, if you have oily skin or at times when skin feels sensitive and in need of simple and light skincare, try to go for face essence products.  

3. Facial Essence vs. Serum


1) How are they different?

The biggest difference between facial essence and serum is the list of ingredients. Serum is a combination of active ingredients such as vitamin C, AHA, and HCA. Due to its rich ingredients, serums can treat specific skin issues such as dryness, fine lines, dark spots that facial essence could not. Serums are also effective in hydrating the skin and adding a moisture layer to your skin because serums are traditionally a water-based skin care product. Hyaluronic acid serum exemplifies how serum can also double as a moisturizer. Although serums are traditionally water-based, oil-based serums are also starting to gain more and more popularity over the years.  

2) How to use facial essence and serum in a same routine?

If you have followed the previous skincare routine, applying toner and facial essence, the powerful ingredients in a serum can be delivered directly to your skin, initiating an immediate response. As serums have gel-like consistency and often come in a bottle with a dropper, you don’t need extra beauty tools to apply the serum to your skin. Simply pump and drop the serum onto your skin directly using the dropper. You may also gently tap your face to speed up the absorption process. 

3) A facial essence that has all the active ingredients but is lighter & fresher?



Quad Active Boosting Essence



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