Ten of the best essences

The beauty industry’s obsession with skincare can largely be credited to countries such as South Korea and Japan, and their meticulous approach to formulations. One such innovation is the essence. It’s something I swear by and yet, a few years ago, thought exactly what you are probably thinking right now: “What is this? And why on earth would I add something else to my already onerous skincare routine?” Let me explain. An essence (also called a lotion or, as in the case of Shiseido, a softener) is essentially a moisturiser except it has a very watery consistency and it penetrates and hydrates the skin at a deeper level. Many essences also incorporate other benefits such as brightening and texture refining. The best way to use it is post cleansing/toner/liquid exfoliator. Simply pat it into the skin with your hands. (I wouldn’t bother using cotton pads.) It’s great on all skins: drier skin will welcome the intense shot of hydration; oily skins will be more balanced – and everyone will discover a glow they never had. My favourite benefit, however, is that an essence also “primes” the skin, meaning any products you layer on top will work more effectively. So, yes, it is yet another step, but it is a worthy investment and your skin will thank you, and Asia, for it.

  1. Bioeffect EGF Essence £72, bioeffect.co.uk
  2. Estée Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion with Sakura Ferment £79, boots.com
  3. La Mer The Treatment Lotion £82, spacenk.com
  4. Dior Prestige La Lotion Essence de Rose £72, dior.com
  5. Shiseido Treatment Softener £50, shiseido.co.uk
  6. Guerlain Abeille Royale Lotion £55, guerlain.com
  7. Fresh Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence £59, fresh.com
  8. Forlled Refining Lotion £84, forlleduk.com
  9. Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence £39.50, selfridges.com
  10. COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence £23.99, boots.com