POSTED: 28 Nov 2017


Much hyped but often misunderstood. No one can blame you if you’ve already relegated face essence to the snake oil category. Before you jump to any conclusions, read our guide to the Korean beauty sensation that’s gone viral. Rumoured to be the next big thing in beauty since BB cream, this week, we’ve focused our beady eye on face essence. Find out exactly what it is, what it can do and how to integrate it into your fuss-free beauty routine.

What Is Face Essence & How Is It Different To Face Serum?

This is often where most people get confused and frustrated. Whilst face essence is lightweight like a toner and hydrating like a serum, its a completely different skincare product in its own right. At the very least, a skin toner restores the pH of your skin to normal after cleansing. Serums, on the other hand, deliver a concentrated amount of skin-boosting ingredients to your skin. Finally, moisturisers aim to hydrate and protect your skin as an absolute minimum. Each of these products can also be enhanced through the incorporation of bioactive skincare ingredients. This specifically targets skin problems and complaints. So it really begs the question what exactly is a face essence and why do I need one!

Put simply, face essence is a light water-based solution that helps hydrate your skin in order to prime it for absorbing any serums or moisturisers. Whilst cleansing and toning your skin is essential, it can quickly dry out skin and reduce its ability to fully absorb moisturiser. What facial essence does is rehydrate the skin in order to facilitate and boost its ability to absorb creams and serums. Still not entirely convinced? Think of using a moisturiser on a dry face like pouring water onto dry soil or a dry sponge. The water simply rolls off the surface of the soil or sponge and very little is absorbed. If you, however, pre-wet the soil or sponge, it will more readily absorb the water that is poured onto it. The same happens with applying serum or moisturiser after cleansing and toning. Facial essence pre-hydrates your skin in order to facilitate increased absorption of your creams and lotions.

How To Use A Face Essence

The best way to use face essence is after you’ve cleansed and toned but before you’ve applied serum (or moisturiser). Apply essence by dabbing on to your fingertips and pressing the product on to your face. Start at your chin then move upwards to the rest of the face using a gentle patting motion. Finish off with your neck and decollete.

Who Should Be Using A Facial Essence?

First of all, the skin type that will benefit the most out of using face essence is dry or dehydrated. At the moment, the products available in the UK and USA haven’t been optimised entirely for acne-prone and oily complexions so you might want to hang back for now if you fall into that category. Secondly, don’t bother with face essence if you’ve not already got a regular 3-step cleansing, toning and moisturising skincare routine. Essence needs a properly cleansed and toned face in order for it to hydrate and create a protective barrier for your skin. You also need to follow it up with an appropriate serum and/or moisturiser for an additive effect. If you don’t have a personalised basic skincare routine already, we guarantee that you’ll give up on the facial essence. Probably within a week (at most).

Choosing A Face Essence – Contenders For Best Face Essence 2017

So once you’re comfortable with your basic fuss-free skincare routine, you might be curious or excited about trying out a face essence. So where to begin? By identifying your skincare goals and concerns as always! Find a product whose focus is on hydration first and foremost. Also, consider how it will fit into the rest of your skincare routine. Avoid a face essence with too many bioactive ingredients (like Vitamin C or Retinol) if you already have these in other products. This will prevent over sensitisation of your face.

There are many products on the market right now but we massively recommend visiting SOKO GLAM before you do anything. As far as we’re concerned, this is the definitive directory if you’re looking to integrate K-beauty staples into your regime. Soko Glam was started by Charlotte Cho, who is a Californian of Korean descent. This website is a fantastic resource for Korean beauty newbies who are looking for an introduction into the magical world of K-beauty. The product search allows you to search by skincare concern(s). All products have a detailed description, reviews and links to informative posts about skincare and Korean beauty.

As winter approaches, it is even more important to do everything you can to protect and hydrate your skin from the harsh conditions. If you’re pretty good with a basic skincare routine, facial essence can help you hydrate your skin. It can also improve the absorption of serums and moisturisers. Well hydrated an moisturised skin is the foundation of looking more youthful and radiant. We don’t like fuss when it comes to beauty but we do love face essence. Give this Korean beauty staple a try for dewy-looking skin all year round. Just remember that all the usual rules apply. Introduce face essence only into a pre-established skincare routine. Give your routine time to work. Fully assess the impact it has on your skin before adding any other treatments.

What next?

This way if you’re excited about finding out more about Korean beauty regimes.

Don’t know where to start? Check out our guide to understanding your skin type and how to put together a fuss-free beauty routine.

Explore the rest of our blog for up to date beauty, culture and career tips and guides for busy women.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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