Can you use more than one essence at a time?
Yes, most definitely! The beautiful thing about essences is they are light and easily absorbed so it’s extremely easy to layer more than one essence at a time.
You can use more than one essence at a time; some skincare gurus use up to seven in a row!
You don’t have to go that crazy but anyone can reap the benefits of layering skincare. If you have dry skin or if you live in a dry climate and need an extra boost of moisture you can double or even triple up on your essences.
You may remember seeing the “glass skin” trend that blew up the k-beauty community a while back. This highly sought after dewy look is achieved by layering numerous essences and serums. These 6-14 step skincare routines are so moisturizing and enriching that they can leave skin resembling “glass” because your skin is getting such insane amounts of hydration.
Your skin does have its limits; if you notice your skincare mixture getting tacky or sticky that may be a sign that it has absorbed all the moisture it can. There’s no point letting extra serums/essence go to waste if your skin is already thoroughly moisturized!
You could also run into pilling if too much product is used. Pilling is the annoying phenomenon when your skincare start balling up into little clumps on your face. You can learn more about how to avoid skincare pilling here.
What is an essence?
Essences are in essence (see what I did there 😛 ) the watery cousins of serums. Don’t be fooled by their watery texture; they can really pack a punch!
These light skincare products help moisturize the skin and usually boast a high concentration of an active ingredient to address a specific skin concern.
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Can you use essence and serum together?
Essences and serums go together like peanut butter and jelly, they work wonders together!
Using an essence helps moisturize the skin and actually boosts the absorption of any skincare products applied afterward. Damp skin acts like a sponge and soaks up serums and moisturizers more effectively. The watery nature of an essence is the perfect foundation for any skincare routine.
If you’re not quite sure where to start when picking a serum, you should check out my guide on picking the perfect serum for your skin type here.
Do you apply essence before or after serum?
Yes and no. Your skincare should always be applied in order of wateriest consistency to thickest. If you apply products out of order it can result in them not being fully absorbed and getting blocked by heavier products.
Normally an essence will be waterier than a serum but I have noticed that brands are using the term serum and essence interchangeably. If an Asian skincare brand is calling something an essence it’s usually safe to say it’s going to be a light watery texture.
Now that Asian skincare is becoming mainstream stateside, marketing teams are latching onto buzzwords like “essence” and “ampoule” and seem to be slapping them onto a product to generate more revenue. But it may not actually be the texture we’re expecting after using the real deal from authentic Asian brands.
If you’re not sure what order to go with due to confusing terminology just go by touch and start with the lightest product and work your way up from there. I’ve also written a deep dive on the exact difference between essences, ampoules, and serums which you can read here.
Can you skip essence?
An essence won’t make or break your skincare routine but it’s definitely worth your time if you can manage to squeeze one in. Using an essence is a great opportunity to sneak extra moisture into your routine and also to apply active ingredients that may not be in your serum or moisturizer.
For instance, I’m currently loving the Manyo Factory Galactomy Niacin Essence which can be found on Amazon here. Galactomyces Ferment is a powerful antiaging ingredient sourced from fermented sake and is not very commonly used in moisturizers. But since I layer an essence, serum, and moisturizer, I get to reap the benefits of all three products all at once!
If you aren’t sold on the idea of an essence here’s one trick to help your serum soak in more effectively. Always apply your serum to damp skin. Ideally, starting your skincare routine off with an essence would give the perfect foundation but damp skin will also do the trick. You don’t want soaking wet skin; slightly moist is best.
Start your skincare routine with damp skin
If you start applying skincare products to bone dry skin they have a tendency to just sit on the top layer of the skin without sinking in. Moistening the skin opens things up and allows the products to penetrate deeper and work their magic more effectively.
Do you use more than one essence in your skincare routine or do you prefer to keep it simple?