Skip to main content

Essence vs Serum: What is Essence in Skin Care?

Essence vs Serum:  What is Essence in Skin Care? - Franz Skincare USA

In this article :

There was a time when skincare was simply limited to cleansing and moisturising, but those days are long gone. With the fusion of international skin trends becoming global(particularly the wave of Korean skincare), there are more skincare products in the market than ever before.

More products can lead to more confusion, but learning about these revolutionary items can help you make better choices regarding your skin. Skin serums and essences both have their perks. You choose what works on you depending on their ingredients and your skin type. In terms of consistency and functions, serums and essences are quite different.

What Is an Essence for the Skin?

Essences are a water-based skincare product. They are decked with skin-feeding vitamins, minerals, peptides, antioxidants, etc. Essences are primarily used to hydrate, nourish, and protect your skin. They boost skin health and make your skin youthful and increase its elasticity.

How to Use an Essence?

Essences often come as the third, fourth, or fifth step of your skincare routine. People often have a two or three-step cleansing ritual, including removal of makeup, exfoliation, and normal cleansing. Cleansing is followed by toning, which preps the skin for the next steps.

Once your skin is ready for nourishment, you can apply the essence to your skin. This watery fluid is applied to the clean skin directly, where it acts like skin food.

What are the Skin Care Benefits of an Essence?

The main purpose of an essence is to hydrate skin. After rigorous cleaning, the essence can restore moisture into your skin and increase its capacity to absorb other products.

By using an essence you provide better protection for the barrier of the skin. It softens the skin and rebalances the skin’s natural pH levels. Moreover, your skin will have better elasticity and feel firmer.

What are the Common Ingredients of an Essence?

What are the Common Ingredients of an Essence?

  • Water is the base of all essences and nothing works better than water to provide immediate moisture to the skin.
  • Glycerin is a humectant, which means it is a great agent for retaining moisture to the skin. This mixed with water and other watery ingredients helps keep moisture locked in your skin. 
  • Plant extracts are often used in moisturizing essences to offer a touch of natural components that are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Plant-based ingredients each have numerous benefits. For example, if it has something like an orange extract since oranges are decked with vitamin C, it can help lighten and brighten the complexion.
  • Some ingredients are derived from fermented yeast, which helps provide a layer of peptides and/or amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of cells and peptides are made of strings of amino acids, both of which help encourage skin regeneration. These protein derivatives smoothen out wrinkles and give a silken feel to your skin, making it more youthful.
  • Sometimes the essence might be enriched with vitamins and minerals without any mention of plant-based ingredients. They also have different kinds of lipids including oils and waxes to add a protective layer to the skin barrier. They can safeguard the skin against exposure to sunlight, pollution, wind, etc.

What Is a Serum for the Skin?

You can call serums a type of essence, but serums are often much thicker than essences. Unlike essence, serums don’t always have to be water-based, it can also be oil-based. What makes serums different is that they often have a purpose.

You use a certain serum because you have a certain condition to attend to. For example, your skin is dry and prone to peeling. So you use a peeling serum, to help fix the problem. You can use it all over your skin or only on the target area, depending on what works for you.

Serums have a concentrated amount of the active ingredient you need for whatever issue you are trying to attend to. Let’s say your skin needs collagen, so you might use a serum that has a concentrated solution of retinol, which encourages collagen production of the skin.

How to Use a Serum?

You use serum around the fifth or sixth step of your skincare regime. After toning and applying your essence, you use the serum. You don’t need to apply a lot of serum and often, only 2 to 5 drops are sufficient. You may use the serum all over your face or only on the problem area.

What are the Differences Between an Essence and Serum?

As mentioned before, there are a handful of differences between an essence and a serum. Here are some main differences:

Order of Application

Essences are applied first, right after toning. They provide light and immediate hydration to the skin and make the skin more susceptible to other products.

After you apply your essence, you can use your serum. Your essence can aid your serum and make your skin more accepting of it. Serums hit a specific problem and are applied to the skin before the moisturizer and sunscreen.

Texture and Concentration

Essences are light and watery and sometimes can come in the form of a spray. Serums are concentrated and often are thicker than essences, as they can be oil-based as well.

Skin Type Affinity

Essences are light and get absorbed into the skin immediately. The serum does skin into the skin, but you will know that you have put something on your skin. So, essences blend in faster and better than most serums, especially those serums that are oil-based.


Both essences and serums can help your skin, but they are not the same. You apply essences before serums. They help you keep your skin hydrated and make it more accepting of other products, while serums are used for a specific purpose. You can use both or either, but which type of each you will use will depend on your needs and skin type.