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Why You Should Skip Toner and Use Essence Instead

The term ‘essence’ shouldn’t be new to you, because we briefly mentioned it last year when we revealed Korean skincare secrets. But it has come to our attention that some of you still haven’t tried it, and for that, we shame you!


While essence is similar to a toner, they are not created equal. Toners tend to take away- they’re designed to be cleansing, sometimes even stripping the skin with alcohol.

Essence, however, gives back to the skin. It hydrates with a humectant, almost instantly leaving skin a bit plumper. And we don’t know about you, but the dry, chilly winter-weather is already doing enough stripping of our skin, so ditching toners in favor of essence’s hydration is pretty much a no-brainer.

But wait!, there’s more! On top of just being moisturizing, essence works on a cellular level to optimize your skin’s natural cell turnover rate, targeting fine lines, wrinkles, and dull or uneven skin tones. So it’s tightening (without being drying), lightening, and brightening- shazam! And yes, we just said that.

Its consistency is usually between that of a toner and a serum, and it’s recommended that you press essence into your face, not drag it across, which tugs at your skin. Some women even put their essence into a spray bottle to avoid wasting any on a cotton pad, or potentially spilling it all over your bathroom sink when pouring it into your hand.

The most popular essence in the US is SK-II. It’s been around long before essences became popular in the states (actress Cate Blanchett is their spokesperson).  It comes with a hefty price tag, but not only does it have a dupe (Missha’s Time Revolution Essence), other US companies finally caught on to the magic of essence, and have saturated the market with choices. Here are a few…

6 Essences for Every Budget


SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence, $105

Missha – Time Revolution Essence, $45

Shiseido – Eudermine Revitalizing Essence, $56

Algenist – Hydrating Essence Toner, $25

Ken Gen Do – Oriental Plants Essence, $85

L’Occitane – ‘Immortelle’ Brightening Essence, $70

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