What creates the perfect skincare routine? Are it the products, applying technique, the science put into it, the time you put it into, the dollars spend? I have established that there are really no right answers to any of the questions ensuing from what would create the perfect skincare routine. What I think the real question should be is, are you completely settled and comfortably in your current skincare routine, or do you have a wandering eye and lust for adventure to constantly try new products?
By now you are probably already familiar with what role a facial toner plays in your skincare routine – it deep cleans pores and pulls leftover dirt out our makeup removers could leave behind, balances the skin’s pH balance, clears excess sebum (oil), etc. And depending on what type of toner you choose to cater to your skin, the often underestimated skincare step can also brighten, clear up, provide anti-aging benefits and so much more. Toners are typically formulated with alcohol as its top ingredient which makes it quite the powerful product especially for those who have slightly more sensitive skin. If you want to reap the benefits from an actual toner but without the harsh aftermath of the alcohol infusion, there is quite a superior alternative that has been part of the coveted Asian skincare routine for decades and that is Essence. Essence is a softer version of a toner, it looks and almost literally feels like water but should be so much more highly regarded than your traditional H20.
Fret not people whose skin can tolerate regular toners, you can use an essence as well and in fact is a step you should start incorporating after cleansing and before moisturizing. Didn’t think you could add anymore steps to your daily agenda? You will definitely want to after I explain what an essence really is and how much more greatly it can improve your complexion.
What some may not know yet is that cleansing, using a mask, exfoliation, peel treatments, etc., can strip your skin from the essential moisture and oils it needs to keep it properly hydrated, promote youthful appearance, boost cell production, etc. Essence will restore that moisture in your skin after it endured any of the aforementioned with a lineup of astringent ingredients that will leave your face feeling quite replenished and ready for the next step in your routine with a quick-drying effect. Some even come with anti-aging complexes of their own. In short, in certain areas an essence is the complete opposite of a toner, but equally as necessary as it is highly effective.
The best way to use an essence and truly gain the level of effect you want it to work on is by putting a few drops in your hand, rub both hands together to disperse the product and directly apply it to the skin patting it in as gently as possible. Don’t use it on a cotton pad or ball because it retains a lot of the product by soaking up the excess, you want every little bit of this.
My current favorite is the Algenist Hydrating Essence Toner. I use it after my cleansing steps that includes a peel and right before I apply serum. At first I didn’t quite understand the concept of an essence because it kind of reminded me of a facial spray which at first just appeared like flavored water to me. Then I started incorporating the essence it almost felt like that ahhhhh sigh of relief for the skin after I perform my peel, masks, exfoliation and microdermabrasion treatments throughout the week, I didn’t know how much moisture my skin lost during those processes until I started using the essence and it instantly delivered on ultimate hydration. Heaven!
Shiseido – Eudermine Revitalizing Essence;
SK-II – Facial Treatment Essence;
Tata Harper – Hydrating Floral Essence;
Boscia – Cool Blue Hydration Essence;
Algenist – Hydrating Essence Toner;
Koh Gen Do – Oriental Plants Essence;