The best facial essences you can buy
- Essence is a key part of the famed K-beauty skin-care regimen.
- It hydrates the skin and amps up the performance of the other products in your routine.
- The Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence uses fermented yeast extract to soften and prep the skin for follow-up treatments like serum and moisturizer.
My skin-care routine is already about a million steps long, so I need to be able to understand exactly how a product fits into the line-up in order to get excited about using it. That said, I can tell you that facial essence is definitely worth the extra effort. If you've ever seen me in real life and wondered why I look pleasantly damp but not sweaty, even in the winter, the answer is essence.
Originating as part of the traditional Korean skin-care routine, facial essences have become a sensation Stateside with the growing influx of K-beauty brands at Western retailers. Ever picked up a bottle of watery liquid at Sephora and wondered how, exactly, it would benefit your skin? You're definitely not alone.
According to The Klog, essence is in a skin-care class - shelf? - all its own. It's not toner, though the textures can be similar. Toner is more for resetting the skin's pH after cleansing, as The Klog writer Ben Neily explains, while essence is meant to moisturize and get the skin ready to absorb the products you apply afterward. "Good essences are filled with ingredients that hydrate, nourish, and brighten the skin," Neily writes.
I apply them as directed - after toner but before any serum, moisturizer, oil, or spot treatment. The order goes like this: cleanse, tone, apply essence. Though most essences are very fluid, I use my hands to massage them into my skin to get the most out of the formula. Then I pat the excess onto my arms, neck, and hands to make sure I'm not wasting a drop.
Here are the best facial essences you can buy in 2019:
- Best facial essence overall: Missha First Treatment Essence
- Best luxury facial essence: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
- Best snail facial essence: Cosrx Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence
- Best rose facial essence: Pixi Rose Caviar Essence
- Best facial essence for dry skin: Laneige Water Bank Essence
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