Whether you’re an advocate of the Korean 10-step skin care routine or prefer to keep things simple with the classic cleanse, tone and moisturise method, you can definitely find space in your bathroom cabinet for an essence. Here’s why…
Essences, unlike toners, are designed to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin by using a high concentration of active ingredients. While toners are ideal for balancing the skin and removing any residual bacteria missed by your cleanser, essences work more like a serum. Traditionally formulated with a type of fermented ingredient to encourage the turnover of new skin cells, the latest crop of essences entering the market have been designed to target specific skin concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation and ageing, by using extracts and ingredients that not only improve the quality of the skin but prepare it for the application of serum and moisturiser.
How does it do that? While toners are designed to dry quickly on the skin, essences are richer in texture and sink in slowly, meaning your skin feels damp and hydrated for longer. By keeping the skin moist post-cleanse with an essence, the ingredients in your serum can penetrate the surface of the skin much easier and deliver their benefits more efficiently. Dry skin is less porous and flexible, meaning your skin care products have to work harder to pass through the epidermal layer, whereas slightly damp skin soaks up topical products like a sponge which is why an essence is such a clever way to enhance the results of your existing routine without having to change your core products.
When it comes to applying your essence, clean hands are the best tools. Just empty some of the essence into your palms, pat them together and gently push, press and tap the water-like liquid into freshly cleansed skin (you can use a toner first if you prefer) until it starts to sink in. While skin is still glossy, press or smooth your usual serum into the face and neck. Some essences can also be misted over the skin in the same way as a toner, but never apply an essence with a cotton pad – this will just soak up all the essence’s goodness, leaving only a small amount for your skin.
For a great all-rounder, try the Exuviance Probiotic Lysate Anti-Pollution Essence. This recent addition to the Exuviance range combines PHAs to target dullness and a specialist Probiotic Lysate that re-balances the skin’s microbiome while preventing the damaging effects of pollution and environmental stressors on the cells.
Another great option is the Murad White Brilliance Luminous Essence, which uses a blend of Porcelain Flower Extract, Red Algae and Indian Fig to gently resurface the skin in order to tackle dark spots and stubborn sun damage. A little thicker in texture than the Exuviance essence, this one feels more like a lightweight serum on the skin.
You could also try the Cliniccare X3M EGF Refresh Essence, which uses low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid to deeply hydrate the skin. Again, this one is less water-like in texture and feels more like a conditioning serum, but layers perfectly underneath a moisturiser.
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