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Toner VS Essence: What’s the Difference? Should you use both?

Anyone who is familiar with the Korean skincare routine knows that essence and toner are two different steps. But, we do things a bit differently. We question and investigate – do we really need BOTH of these products? What exactly do they do? When should you use them? Let’s break it down! 

Most of us are familiar with toning. Traditionally, toning is used to remove residue from the skin that remains after cleansing and balance your skin’s pH levels. Back then, toners were laden with alcohol which promised to reduce oil, dry up acne and leave your skin squeaky clean – but they weren’t actually good for the skin. As skincare evolves with time, we are starting to see the merit of ‘less is more’ ideology. We try and cut down as many products as possible and focus on products that give maximum impact. And the most obvious question arises – do we need more cleansing, even after double cleansing? 

Toner or essence?

Essences were born out of the idea of nourishing the skin instead of stripping it. The formulation of essence is similar to that of toner. Korean skincare experts consider essence an integral part of the routine as it is meant to soothe the skin, accelerate natural cell turnover which in turn encourages a smoother, brighter, healthier complexion. Essences are not as light as toners and not as heavy as serums. They offer instantly dewy skin which is ready to absorb all the other skincare you layer on. They are packed with skin-soothing ingredients that target concerns like dullness, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles that work at a cellular level to hydrate skin from within. 

The application also differs quite a bit. While you would swipe your face with a toner soaked cotton, essences are best ‘pressed’ into the skin with your hands. 

Mon cherry intense brightening essenceWhile toners have come a long way from straight-up alcohol in a bottle, the question you should ask yourself is do I really need toner and essence, both? To answer this question, it depends on how elaborate you want your skincare routine to be – but for us, an essence will suffice for now. 

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