While cleansers and serums tend to get top billing in your skin-care routine, other steps can offer a lot in the quest for your healthiest, glowing skin. Essence toners, our latest routine obsession, makes a big difference in the look and feel of your complexion.
Instead of debating the merits of toner vs. essence, an essence toner is a hybrid of the two that offers the best of both worlds. Never met one before? Good news: You’re in for a skin-softening, active-packed treat. Here, what you need to know.
Toner vs. Essence
First, it helps to have some context: You might already be familiar with face toner, which in the western world is typically used after cleansing to sweep away any gunk and debris, rebalance skin’s pH, and, in some cases, lightly exfoliate skin. The best way to think about toner, though, is as the first liquid leave-on treatment in your routine. If you properly cleanse skin (we can’t wax poetic about the benefits of a double cleanse enough), you won’t need a harsh, astringent toner. Look for a toner that targets your skin concerns, whether that be offering hydration for dry skin or pore refining benefits for congested, blemish-prone skin. Our Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner actually targets both of these concerns in a gentle formula, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Essences, meanwhile, have long been a mainstay in K-beauty and serve as the thirst-quenchers of your routine. They’re basically Big Gulps of moisture, and work double-time to hydrate your skin while also prepping it. In doing so, they can make the rest of your regimen do its job more effectively. “Skin needs humectants, [which draw moisture into the skin], and nutrients,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “You can find these in an essence.” On top of that, they also tend to be more treatment-focused, offering active ingredients to brighten and firm skin. Texturally speaking, essences seem a whole lot like toner in that they’re slightly watery and less viscous than a serum, and they both help prep the skin for the rest of your routine.
What are essence toners?
Really, it shouldn’t be a matter of toner vs. essence, since they have some complementary perks. While many traditional toners — including our fan-fave Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner — contain exfoliating acids to balance skin and clear pores, essences are all about hydration.
Essence toners offer the best of both, effectively pairing their benefits into a single, super-potent step. That’s why the Cloudberry Bright Essence Toner offers all of the skin-loving moisture you’d expect — along with powerful antioxidants and brightening ingredients.
The formula’s star ingredient, cloudberry, is a superfruit that thrives in harsh arctic environments; resilient and potent, it’s packed with antioxidants and fatty acids to deliver protective, brightening, hydrating, and skin-strengthening benefits (whew!). “Cloudberry is a natural source of vitamins C and E and fatty acids, and is a good, calming ingredient — so it’s perfect in essence,” says King. The triple-threat active defends damage from environmental factors that cause visible signs of skin aging, aids in hydration, and fortifies the skin barrier to prevent moisture from escaping — all while enhancing your complexion’s overall radiance.
Alongside cloudberry is CoQ10, a hardworking antioxidant that supports collagen production while brightening and hydrating the skin. It can actually protect other antioxidants, like vitamin C, effectively maxing out your skin’s protection against environmental aggressors like UV exposure and pollution. Since CoQ10 plays so well with other ingredients, it can actually help boost the efficacy of the rest of your routine, making your products work harder for you in the most gentle way possible.
Also in the mix is fermented rice water, which soothes and softens; oat and collagen amino acids, which further boost collagen production and enhance barrier strength; and glycerin, the beauty world’s favorite no-frills hydrator. Together, they work with cloudberry and CoQ10 to leave skin hydrated and soft.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Cloudberry Bright Essence Toner, being an essence, also helps to enhance the penetration of whatever active ingredients you apply on top of it, ensuring that the rest of your routine works to its maximum potential. Use it twice a day as a “serum booster,” and know that you’re getting the absolute most out of every single thing you’re putting on your face.
Read more about essences and toners:
Sorry, we couldn’t find any posts. Please try a different search.