What is a facial essence and do you need it in your routine?

Okay, so it feels like we’re writing about why you need to add something to your skincare routine every week. But know that it’s because we discover something great and we love sharing it with you. This week, it’s a facial essence and all the amazing things it can do for your skin.

Originally deriving from the infamous 10-step Korean beauty routine, this lightweight, hydrating liquid is a pretty good third step – after toner, before serums – to add to our own routines as well.

But how is it different to toner, you ask? Good question. A toner is designed to remove the last traces of dirt, grime and makeup after cleansing, but often contains alcohol so it can be drying. The essence comes in to save the day, often with more active ingredients to target problem areas, therefore penetrating deeper into the skin. It basically acts as a primer for all those good ingredients from the serum and moisturiser you’ll apply after.

Also, the trick is to put a few drops on the palm of your hands and pat it into your face. Don’t waste your precious essence drops on cotton rounds.

So do you need an essence in your routine? This writer votes yes. Especially if your skin leans towards being drier – which let’s be honest is all of us in this blistering cold winter – and also if you’ve got problem areas like uneven or dull skin.

We’ve put together a list of our tried and tested ones for you to check out below.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence


It’s a common fact that this one is the holy grail of essences. It’s the facial essence that started it all for facial essences in the Western world. And for good reason as well. Featuring over 90% Pitera, their own exclusive magic ingredient, the SK-II varietal leaves the skin feeling supple and hydrated. It also works to balance the skin’s pH levels so oily and dry areas are properly moisturised.

Shop here (or in-store at David Jones Adelaide Central Plaza and Myer Adelaide)

Origins Original Skin Essence with Dual Ferment Complex


Okay, but can we talk about this little quiet achiever natural beauty brand that is becoming a fast favourite of ours? Their gel moisturiser, their charcoalĀ mask and now this little essence that could are topping our list. This lotion is weightless, oil-free and all about lifting your skin’s radiance and smoothing it out.

Shop here (or in-store at Mecca Maxima Burnside Village or Westfield Marion)

Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence


Kombucha for your face? How on-trend. All jokes aside, this miracle worker pumps your skin with antioxidants from the fermented sweet black tea and also doubles as a defense against pollution. Both great factors in fighting off those pesky pre-mature signs of aging.

Shop here.

Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Essence Treatment


This one has been designed for hydration and to fight of signs of aging. FeaturingĀ Iris Florentina Root Extract which is known for its nourishing and anti-aging benefits, it’ll leave the skin looking visibly brighter. Not to mention the active LHA which will stimulate the skin’s natural exfoliation process, leaving the skin smoother.

Shop here (or in-store at David Jones Adelaide Central Plaza and Myer Adelaide)

Homepage image via Amanda Mabel Photography.




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