Serum bottle

Most people probably think of their skincare routine as consisting of three basic steps: washing, toning, and moisturizing. 

But what if you want to spice it up a little? What extra steps can you add? Let us give you a little fun lesson on toner vs essence vs serums. All three are amazing and often praised, additions to your skincare regimen, however, many rookies get confused about when and how to use them!

So today we are going to clear everything up for you! Are you ready? Let's dive in cause bestie, you deserve beautiful skin. 

What does a toner do for skin?

A toner may seem like an unnecessary step in your skincare routine, but it is actually really important. 

A treatment toner is a magical potion that can transform your skin from dull and lackluster to glowing and radiant. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But a good toner can definitely give your skin a boost. 

For one thing, a toner helps to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin. It can also help to restore the skin's pH balance, making it more resistant to bacterial growth and balancing your skin for the next steps. In addition, a toner can help to tighten large pores and refine the skin's texture.

The top types of toners

There is a world full of toners out there. Each one serves different purposes and addresses a specific skin type, so which one should you use? 

Hydrating toners

Imagine your skin is a sponge. Now imagine that that sponge is dry, and you are trying to use it to clean up a spill. Not very effective, right? That's because it needs to be wet in order to do its job properly. The same is true for your skin! When it's dry, it can't effectively absorb all the goodness from your skincare products. 

That's where hydrating toner comes in. This magical liquid helps to rehydrate the skin and prep it for the next step in your skincare routine because it contains ingredients that help to moisturize and nourish the skin, like aloe vera, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate. 

Ideal for: dry and sensitive skin

Use: every day

Hydrating Toner
 Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Hydrating Toner Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Sale price$19.00
Hydrating Toner
Hydrium Watery Toner
Hydrating Toner Hydrium Watery Toner
Sale price$9.00

Exfoliating toners

You know the basics: toners remove oil and dirt and prepare your skin for all the hydration that comes next. Well, exfoliating toners take things one step further by also containing active ingredients, like AHAs and BHAs, that help to slough away dead skin cells and unclog pores. 

Ideal for: oily and acne-prone skin

Use: unlike hydrating toners, you should use exfoliating toners 2 to 3 times a week

Precautions: don’t use it with physical and chemical exfoliants

Exfoliating Toner
Refresh ABC Daily Toner | AHA BHA Vitamin C
Exfoliating Toner Refresh Abc Daily Toner
Sale price$10.00
Exfoliating Toner
All Clean Low pH Balancing Vegan Toner | pH 5.5 Toner
Exfoliating Toner All Clean Low Ph Balancing Vegan Toner
Sale price$20.00

Treatment toners

The name may spoil its definition, but yes, just like you think, treatment toners contain active ingredients that address a specific skin concern like wrinkles and fine lines, acne, dark spots, etc. You can find clarifying treatment toners, anti-aging, and even acne-fighting ones!

Ideal for: all skin types

Use: depends on the label

Treatment Toner
AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner | Exfoliates & Clarifies Skin
Treatment Toner Aha/Bha Clarifying Treatment Toner
Sale price$20.00
Treatment Toner
COSRX Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner | Korean Beauty
Treatment Toner Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner
Sale price$10.00

When can you use a toner?

Toners can be used twice a day in both morning and evening skincare routines. 

After: the cleansing process 

What comes next: essences or moisturizer *if you don’t apply essences or serums*

How to use a toner?

  1. Cleanse your face 
  2. Soak a cotton ball or pad in the toner of your choice.
  3. Sweep the soaked cotton ball or pad over your face, avoiding the eye area.
  4. Allow the toner to dry on your skin for a few seconds before proceeding to the next step in your skincare routine.

What does essence do for skin?

Korean women (and men!) have long been lauded for their flawless complexions, and it all starts with a good skincare routine. There's something about the Korean skincare routine that just makes it so much better than anything else out there. Maybe it's the combination of delicate ingredients, or maybe it's the special steps that are taken to ensure each product's effectiveness. 

One of the most buzzworthy steps into this routine that the K-beauty industry swears by is the essence. But what are they and what do they do? Let's start with the basics: an essence is a lightweight substance with a watery texture packed with powerful active ingredients that help to improve the overall health of your skin. They are designed to be used after toning and before moisturizing, providing a boost of hydration and nutrients that the skin needs to look its best.

If you're looking to add an essence to your skincare routine, be sure to choose one that is tailored to your specific skin type. For dry skin, look for an essence that is rich in hydrating ingredients. For oily skin, look for an essence that contains ingredients like ginseng or fermenteddextrin, which can help to control sebum production. 

When can you use an essence?

Using an essence twice a day is a great way to make sure that you're getting the most out of your K-beauty routine. However, it is important to consider the instructions established on skincare products’ labels before considering adding them to your routine. 

Now, we know what you are thinking: when should I apply an essence? *because the order matters*. Essence or serum first? Here is the correct order: apply the essence after cleaning and toning your skin. Then layer on the serum. This is because essences are lighter than serums, so they should be applied first so they can be 100% absorbed why your skin

After: toning your skin 

What comes next: serums or moisturizers

How to use an essence?

  1. Cleanse your face
  2. Layer on your fave facial toner.
  3. Add a few drops of essence on a cotton pad or directly on your skin and gently tap it all over your face, avoiding the eye area.
  4. Let the essence absorb into your skin for a few minutes before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine

What does a serum do for the skin?

Any beauty junkie worth their salt knows that a good serum is essential to any skincare routine. But what exactly is a serum, and why is it so worth the hype? First of all, a serum is a skincare product that is usually much lighter in texture than creams or essential oils. They can also have a gel-like consistency, making them ideal for those with oily or acne-prone skin. 

They're also packed with powerful active ingredients that can target specific concerns like fine lines, dark spots, and uneven texture. And because they're so lightweight, they're able to penetrate the skin more deeply, delivering results that you just can't get from your regular moisturizer. In short, a good serum is the key to achieving healthy, radiant skin - and really, who doesn't want that?

Unlike moisturizers, which only lock in the skin’s moisture, serums have a higher concentration of ingredients, making them really effective. 

There is a long list of options on the market, however, the most praised serums are those with hyaluronic acid for its extra hydration and anti-aging benefits; vitamin c for hyperpigmentation and increases the skin’s regeneration process; and retinol for cell turnover and rejuvenation.

When can you use a serum?

A serum can be used twice a day in your skincare regimen. You could use the same serum every day and night or mix them. For example: apply a vitamin C serum during the morning to protect your skin from pollution and free radicals, and a hyaluronic acid or retinol serum to hydrate and get rid of aging signs by regenerating your skin. 

After: cleanser, toner, and essence

What comes next: moisturizer

How to use a serum?

  1. Cleanse, tone, and apply an essence
  2. Apply a few drops of serum to your face, using clean hands.
  3. Gently massage the serum into your skin, using circular motions. However, one of the best skincare tips many gurus swear by is to tap the serum instead of rubbing, that way your pores can get all the benefits. 
  4. Allow the serum to absorb into your skin for a few minutes before applying moisturizer or makeup.

Serum
Tea Tree Relief Serum
Serum IUNIK Tea Tree Relief Serum
Sale price$20.00
Serum
IUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum 50ml
Serum Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum
Sale price$20.00
Serum
 Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum
Serum Rose Galactomyces Synergy Serum
Sale price$20.00

The main differences

Now that you know all the basics about toners, essences, and serums, it is time to compare them so you know all the differences between them *if you didn’t find them with the definitions, of course* 

So, what is the biggest difference between all of them? Here you have all the answers to your questions

Essence vs Serum

Ah, the age-old question: what's the difference between essence vs serum? On the surface, they may seem like very similar products. Both are typically light liquids that are applied to the face after cleanser and before moisturizer. However, there are some important differences between the two. 

Essences are designed to hydrate and nourish the skin, while serums are typically used to target specific concerns such as fine lines, blemishes, or dullness, thanks to their high concentration of active ingredients. Additionally, in terms of texture, essences are usually lighter and more watery than serums, which are thicker.

Essence
Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Essence Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Sale price$21.00
Serum
iUNIK Noni Light Oil Serum
Serum Noni Light Oil Serum
Sale price$22.00

Toner vs Essence

Think of it this way: a toner is like a pair of jeans, a basic step in your regimen to get rid of dirt, oil, and dead skin. Meanwhile, an essence is like that pair of shoes that give your outfit the last touch to be oh-so-amazing because it literally gives your skin all the nourishment it needs before deeply moisturizing it. 

Their textures are quite similar, however, essences are thicker than toners. Additionally, essences are a k-beauty exclusive while toners are used in every skin care routine. 

Treatment Toner
Green Plum + AHA Bubble Toner
Treatment Toner Green Plum + Aha Bubble Toner
Sale price$18.00
Essence
Missha - Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Rx 150ml
Essence Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Rx 150ml
Sale price$52.00

Toner vs serum

Here's a quick rundown: Toners are typically applied after cleansing and before moisturizing. They help to remove any leftover dirt and makeup from your skin, and they can also help to balance your skin's pH levels. Serum, on the other hand, is a concentrated formula with powerful ingredients that is applied after cleansing and toning. It is designed to target specific skin concerns. 

 

Hydrating Toner
Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner | Firm & Restore Your Skin
Hydrating Toner Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner
Sale price$20.00
Serum
Black Snail Restore Serum 50ml
Serum Black Snail Restore Serum
Sale price$20.00

Get ready to shop

Well, that’s a knockout in this battle: essence vs toners vs serums!

Now you know everything there is to know about each skincare product and what makes them unique and awesome for your skin. 

Are you ready to add these goodies to your skincare regime? If your answer was a big “OH YES” and you can’t wait to get all of their benefits, hurry and visit Asian Beauty Essentials

You’ll find everything you need to upgrade your routine from basic to oh-so-mighty!

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