The Right Way to Use Essence in Your Skincare Regimen

The Right Way to Use Essence in Your Skincare Regimen

For those who do not know what essence is, think of it the same way as a face primer. The only difference is that essence is applied to the skin and preps the skin for the effect of a moisturizer. Essence improves the absorbency of a moisturizer, and it’s no surprise that it also contains a concentrated amount of active ingredients. Essence also has a consistency similar to body creams except that they’re lighter. 

If this is your first time hearing about skin essence, this guide lays out a clear path you can use in adding them to your skincare routine for maximum results. We also went the extra miles to outline the right way to combine them and precautions to take while doing so.

What Is Essence?

Essence is a moisture-based beauty product that packs a lot of active ingredients that improves skin health. Essence can act as a primer, but in best practice, it clears the skin of the after-effect of toner and cleanser. What this means is that essence adds extra moisture to the skin, thereby improving absorbency.

Essence has been mistaken for serum and toner by a lot of women. The consistency of essence lies somewhere in between. It isn’t as thick as a serum, and neither is it as heavy as a toner, but it acts as the missing link between both products. While a serum aims to repair and a toner balances the PH level, essence helps to lock in extra moisture.

One of the biggest benefits of essence is that it makes it easy for the skin to absorb other products. That means any product that comes after essence is applied is easily absorbed into the innermost layers of the skin. This way, essence enhances the effect of products like serum and moisturizer.

Aside from improving skin absorbency, essence also acts as a protective barrier, improves skin health, and at the same time stimulates the epidermis. The effect of essence is on a cellular level.

There are other active ingredients contained in essence that provides antioxidant properties. These antioxidant properties were found to aid in anti-aging – removing fine lines and also preventing acne in acne-prone skin.

What Makes Up Essence?

Essence contains active ingredients. Two of the usual suspects are humectants and emollients. Starting with humectants, what they do is to attract moisture and trap it into the skin. There are different types of humectants, but the most popular ones found in essence is Hyaluronic acid – an element that glues water to the skin cells, and another is glycerin. This substance helps water penetrate to the innermost layer of the skin.

Emollients, on the other hand, help with hydration. This way, they prevent water loss through evaporation. The most common type of emollients found in essence includes lanolin, shea butter, cocoa, and squalane oil.

Essence also contains additional ingredients such as botanical extracts, which packs several antioxidant properties and yeast fermentation, which helps against harsh UV rays. There is also space for minerals and vitamins.

You can see that essence holds a lot of nutrients and hence, should be your secret weapon in your skincare arsenal. However, adding essence to your skincare routine isn’t a simple process; certain precautions need to be observed. We will bring you more details on that as you continue reading below.

How to Incorporate Essence into Your Skincare Routine?

If you’re thinking of incorporating essence into your skincare regimen, there’s a “no-fail” approach recommended by dermatologists, and it follows this sequence.

Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a cleanser. Foaming cleanser for oily skin and creamy for dry skin.

Step 2: Gently apply your toner all over your skin with the tip of your finger or cotton pad if you prefer the latter.

Step 3: Introduce your essence at this stage. You can pat the product all over your skin. Don’t drag it as you do with a moisturizer.

Step 4: At this point, you can introduce a treatment option – either a serum, exfoliator, mask, or prescription med.

Step 5: Apply a moisturizer all over your body. If you use eye cream, you can also apply it at this stage.

The key to incorporating essence into your skincare routine is to start with a light product before proceeding to the heavier ones. This way, the skin absorbs the lighter ingredients quickly. The addition of essence, meanwhile, will improve absorbency.

Also, adding essence after the cleanser helps restore the moisture stripped away during the cleansing process. Cleansers usually leave the skin dry and a bit dehydrated.

Are There Any Precautions to Exercise When Using Essence?

Just like serums, essence is specific. This means they’re formulated for a specific purpose. There is essence for anti-aging, skin brightening, firming, and toning. For instance, essence that contains Vitamin A provides anti-acne and anti-aging benefits, while those that contain Vitamin C help with skin lightening.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting – you can’t have two products carrying out the same function when you use essence. This means if you already have a Vitamin A serum, you can’t use a Vitamin A essence. Or, if you’re using a skin brightening exfoliant, you can’t use a brightening essence at the same time. 

Care needs to be taken when you combine essence with other products with equally active ingredients. Overdose of these ingredients can cause skin irritation, redness, burning sensation, or acne outbreak. 

Also, it’s better to stay away from essence that contains alcohol. Rather than adding moisture to the skin, they can end up stripping the skin of its natural oil, thereby causing dryness. There are little downsides to using essence, but you need to stick to the “rule of one” to get the result you want.

How to Choose the Right Essence for Your Skin Type?

Most women are scared of going for essence because they’re unsure of its suitability to their skin type. Well, if you have excessively dry skin, essence should be a natural addition for you. It will deliver the deep hydration your skin is lacking, and you will never experience that dryness again.

However, if your skin is oily but dehydrated, essence will give you a lift. It’s difficult to tell when oily skin is dehydrated. The best way to tell is if your skin feels greasy in such a way that it feels like the oil is refusing to go inside and sits on top instead. 

Is Essence the Same as Toner?

When you’re picking up your first bottle of essence, you might find yourself confusing it for a toner. The packaging and texture of toner and essence are similar, but they perform different functions in your skincare routine.

Toners were originally alcohol-based, but their alcohol content has been minimized over the last few years. The function of a toner is to enhance the work of a cleanser. While most cleansers provide surface cleansing, toners provide deep cleansing.

Toners are formulated to balance the skin’s PH level and, in some cases, will tighten the pores. All this leads to an even complexion. While essence works for every skin type, toners are formulated for those with oily skin, especially acne-prone. Essence always comes after toner and not vice versa.

How Serums Differ from Essence?

With both products in your routine, you do want to know how they differ or compare. Both products are similar interns of their composition. They both contain a concentrated form of active ingredients. Much concentrated than the quantity found in moisturizers. However, their roles in your skincare routine are different. They can’t act as a substitute for one another.

While essence helps with absorbency and moisturization, serums are formulated to address specific issues such as acne, wrinkles, dark spot, or brightening. Also, serum leaves the skin dehydrated; hence it should be followed with a moisturizer.

When both ingredients are present in your skincare routine, you need to avoid multi formulation as it causes an overdose. This means, both the serum and the essence can’t be formulated for the same purpose. Your serum can be for whitening while your essence helps with anti-aging. They can’t be both for anti-aging. The serum always comes after the essence since it has a thick consistency.


Essence is the latest trend in the beauty world. Just like toners, they are accepted by only a small percentage of women. Notwithstanding, they pack a lot of ingredients that will be beneficial to the skin. 

The general rule of thumb is to introduce your essence after cleansing and toning. Ideally, your essence should be introduced after light ingredients and not thick ones like moisturizers. This is because it preps the skin for better absorption of heavier products. There are several essence in the market right now, and it’s difficult to pick. However, you will be fine if you avoid those that are alcohol-based. We hope this article will guide on the proper ways of using essence in your skincare journey.

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