Although new to the Western world, skincare (or facial) essences have been a skincare staple in Asian countries, including Korea and Japan, for decades. These formulas – which tend to be clear, lightweight and liquid-y – are meant to be applied after cleansing but before moisturizing. Packed with high concentrations of high-performing and powerful ingredients, including antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and other age-fighting extracts, the purpose of an essence is to infuse an extra boost and improve the performance of your skincare regimen.
Along with treating ongoing challenges, such as aging or dryness, an essence is the perfect way to instantly customize or tweak your skincare regimen to target sudden changes in skin type or condition due to a variety of factors, including changing seasons, a sudden bout of acne or environmental stress. Simply look for the facial essence that best suits the current needs of your complexion.
Applying an essence like an expert
A facial essence is unlike any other skincare formula and demands a unique approach when it comes to application. Designed to be applied between your cleanser and moisturizer, the superlight texture of a facial essence makes it messy to apply with a cotton or sponge applicator. Instead, pat it on the face with your fingertips using between 30 and 100 pats to complete the application process. According to experts, the patting process ensures maximum absorption while stimulating circulation beneath the skin.
Also, keep in mind that you can switch out your essences in any way that meets the needs of your skin. For some, that might mean using a hydrating essence in the morning, but an anti-aging essence before bed. Others might swap essences based on season, opting for a moisturizing essence during winter, but switching to a clarifying essence during the summer. Not only does this allow you to quickly and easily customize your skincare regimen, but it also allows you to keep using your favorite formulas while effectively targeting your top skincare challenges.
Picking the perfect facial essence
Now it’s time to pick the perfect facial essence for your skincare regimen. When choosing your essence, consider the condition of your complexion (is it normal, dry, or sensitive?), along with any challenges, such as aging, acne or dullness. And remember, you can add multiple essences to your beauty arsenal to tackle multiple issues or to instantly tailor your regimen to target a particular skincare challenge. Simply read the labels and look for the ingredients that are best suited to your skin’s type and needs. To help you get started, here are our top picks.
- Quench dry skin: Murad Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence is the ideal essence for quenching a parched complexion. This lightweight, silky formula boosts the skin’s ability to lock in moisture, featuring a high-powered complex of hydrators including Mexican blue agave leaf, glycolic acid, watermelon, apple and lentil. Safe for all skin types – including delicate complexions – this is a go-to essence to effectively condition and nurture dry skin.
- Protect against damage: An added layer of defense from sun and environmental damage is a skincare essential at any age.Coola Mineral Face Tint SPF 20 Rose Essence blankets pores with an invisible layer of multi-tasking ingredients that moisturize, defend, and nurture. Ideal to apply beneath your makeup in the morning, this defender features SPF 20 and a subtle tint to conceal and perfect your complexion, along with powerful antioxidants that nourish and condition all day long.
- Condition and tone: Battle with excess oil or an uneven complexion? Astara AHA Nutrient Toning Essence is the ideal addition to your daily beauty regimen. Featuring alpha hydroxy acids to dissolve away oil and surface cells for a mild exfoliating effect, this conditioning essence will brighten and balance your complexion for more radiant, healthy skin from the inside out. Plus, this versatile formula is ideal for most complexions, including those that are acne-prone or challenged by rosacea, and can be used by both teens and adults.
- Brighten acne scars and age spots: Discolored skin due to scarring, acne, or sun damage is a challenge that’s tough to tackle with your daily skincare regimen. But SEKKISEI Clarifying Essence visibly brightens the appearance of discolored skin by polishing and refining the surface and texture of the outer layer of your complexion.
- Polish and diminish pores: Polish your way to a brighter complexion without the use of harsh exfoliating treatments.Thalgo Brightening Regulating Essence makes it easy to refine your complexion. Simply apply this essence in the morning or at night to achieve a mild but effective exfoliation of your complexion. Featuring red algae, licorice flower and salicylic acid, this powerful formula shrinks the size and appearance of pores while evening out skin tone for a gorgeous, glowing complexion that lasts.
- Restore and reverse aging: Turn back the hands of time withRodial Bee Venom 24 Carat Gold Super Essence. This top-quality essence combines luxury and performance, featuring an exclusive blend of gold bonded peptides, double strength bee venom, P-Cell technology and Cyclopeptide-5. These powerful ingredients are game-changers in the world of anti-aging skincare, resulting in a complexion that’s stronger and more resilient from the inside out.
The essence of beautiful skin
When it comes to amplifying the effects of your daily beauty regimen – without having to leave behind your favorite formulas – an essence is the perfect addition to your skincare arsenal. Whether you deal with stubborn signs of aging, dullness, dryness or excess oil, adding the right essence to your daily regimen is an instant, easy and effective way to transform the health and appearance of your complexion.