Remember the good old days when a standard skincare routine consisted of just sunscreen and moisturiser? Nowadays, all types of complex skincare lingo is thrown our way: ‘toner’, ‘serum’… Also, what even is an ‘essence’? We decode these new beauty basics
Good to Know: A toner, essence and serum (in this order) are usually applied right after skin is cleansed and exfoliated.
After cleansing and exfoliating, our skin generally lacks moisture as the essential oils that sit on its surface are washed or scrubbed away. This is where a toner comes into play. With its hydrating and soothing properties, it restores the skin’s pH balance, instantly replenishing it with much-needed moisture while removing any ‘left-over’ dirt, makeup and impurities that your cleanser may have failed to remove. Also, the more high-quality or luxe toners are often enriched with antioxidants, leaving you with a smoother, energised and well-hydrated skin. Seriously, you’ll feel your skin breathe after use.
Lead beauty ed’s pick: ENVIRON Revitalising Toner.
Junior beauty ed’s pick: ESSE Toner.
If a toner and moisturiser were to have a baby, an essence would be the result. Essences are huge in the Korean beauty industry and promise to ‘enhance your skin from inside out’. (Stylecaster.com)
These milky liquid formulas are highly concentrated, with antioxidants, vitamins, hyaluronic acid and natural extracts working together to create the perfect skin-rejuvenating cocktail. An essence basically acts as a skin prep – it forms the base layer of your moisturisers, creating a skin texture that’s more absorbent and more receptive to the other topical skin treatments applied over your face afterwards. Essences come in a variety of formulations; the most favoured are those with anti-ageing and water-retaining ingredients or extracts.
Lead beauty ed’s pick: LA MER The Treatment Lotion.
A serum basically acts as a delivery system. As Into the Gloss explains: ‘Serum … is made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients’. In terms of texture, these are lighter than face moisturisers, but this is generally a good thing as it allows higher concentrations of active ingredients to be packed into these solutions. This is why it’s recommended that a serum be applied directly before a moisturiser, so that all those antioxidant, anti-ageing molecules it contains are in close contact with your skin. Also, good serums contain ‘hydrators’ (Huffingtonpost.com), which will help your skin retain the moisture from your face cream better.
Lead beauty ed’s pick: ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Serum.