A skin care essence is a hydrating pre-serums for the skin. The best Korean essence is a must-have in your beauty arsenal. That obsession has led me to discover some great and not-so-good products, but this essence delivers on its promise. A staple of the Korean beauty routine, an essence is one of those products that seems to hold the key to everything we want out of our skin-care routines—hydration, nourishment, a mythical ability to leave us looking airbrushed—but how it relates to our toners and serums is still a bit of a mystery. Put your best face forward with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Youth Essence Lotion. There is limited research, produced by Procter & Gamble (the brand behind SK-II) attesting that the Pitera yeast used in SK-II increases the production of hyaluronan – a component found in the skin’s extracellular matrix – in a synthetic skin model. It does look just like H2O, but it has a slightly slippery texture. Lancôme Hydra Zen Beauty Essence, $49 MSRP. South Korean brand Saturday Skin knows exactly how to craft an effective essence. Combination skin types need an essence that will gently hydrate dry areas of their skin while simultaneously balancing their oils. Used a sheet mask in the past year? This means other skin care ingredients can penetrate the skin more deeply. Containing 96% snail mucin, you know this is a zero-filler product, too. Chloe is a freelance beauty writer and editor whose work can be found in publications including Byrdie, Look, Refinery29, Brides, and Elle. A ferment complex in here boosts the skin’s hydration levels, especially when paired with all kinds of skin-soothing and anti-aging botanicals. And the best way to get those powerful benefits is to rub a few drops into the palms of your hand. By stimulating the body to produce more HGH, arginine may help the skin look younger. I also love that it comes in a mist pump to keep that hydration going throughout the day.”. Oh, and a little bit goes a long way. In a 10-step Korean skin care routine, essence is used after toner and before a facial serum, providing the skin with an extra layer of hydration—and ironically, the product itself is somewhat of a crossover between the two. Then, gently pat the product onto your face. ‘Some people like to apply 2-3 pumps to a cotton wool pad and sweep over the face, but this means a lot of the essence just sits in your pad, and you end up wasting quite a bit of product,' says Marinkovich. What makes LHA a superior exfoliant is that it has a lipophilic (fat-loving) nature. As you age, you produce substantially less hormones, including human growth hormone (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 1981). Place a few drops onto your hand. As the middle step between toner and serum, essence—which is also sometimes referred to as concentrate—can help prep and prime the complexion for the serums and targeted formulas you may use on a day-to-day basis. 'The active ingredients will penetrate even deeper into the skin, working to further enhance your other skincare products, making the whole thing a lot more effective,' says Marinkovich. Formulated with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and the brand’s Mineralizing Thermal Water, this refreshing formula leaves the skin looking and feeling softer and smoother. There are so many skin essences around, and it really depends on the ingredients as to which is right for you. But facial essences are one born-in-Korea trend that we’ve got less of a grasp on. Speaking of effectiveness, correct application is crucial, too – and that means ditching the cotton pads.


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