Same Same, But Different? What Is A Skin Essence And How Does It Differ From A Serum?

Aayushi PareekAayushi Pareek  |  Aug 27, 2020
Same Same, But Different? What Is A Skin Essence And How Does It Differ From A Serum?


If you’re a skincare junkie, chances are that you already use a serum, essence, toner, and indulge in an elaborate routine every night. Skincare is so much fun because it’s all about layering your skin with products, hoping they work in your favour and leave you with #NoFilterRequired kinda skin!

Let’s talk about the famous Korean 10-step skincare routine for a bit. Do we really need ten different products every night? A cleanser, then a toner and a facial serum too? Also, what is a skin essence and how is it different from any type of serum?

Let’s find out!

Serum VS Essence

I bet everyone who is reading this owns at least one facial serum. And that’s because facial serums are awesome. Not only do they penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin but they also hydrate and protect our skin. So, what does an essence do?

A skin essence and a serum are kinda the same product, TBH. But, essences are more lightweight in nature, and less concentrated than a serum. And if you are someone who also thought that they are the exact same thing, you’re not alone!

Here are some MAJOR differences between the two skincare products:



Consistency And Texture

Traditionally, serums are denser and have a thicker consistency as compared to an essence. Essences are more watery in nature unlike the gel-like consistency of the serum.

Honestly, if you own both serum and essence, you’ll know the difference as soon as you run the products through your fingers and apply it on your face.


Another difference between a serum and an essence is when are they applied. Traditionally, we apply the serum after cleansing our face but before moisturising our skin. But an essence is applied after you’ve applied your toner.

So, that makes our skincare routine something like cleansing, serum, toning, essence and then moisturizing!

Their Function

Essences are a vital part of Korean beauty (probably why it’s making its way to other parts of the world too!). They are lightweight and due to their watery consistency, they are used as an added layer of hydration in our skin (yes, just like a serum).

Unlike serums, essences are far more gentle on our skin and do not have any active ingredients to address specific issues such as brightening or reduction of acne scars. In fact, serums have more active ingredients present in them, even higher than mositurizers.


If you look at the ingredient list of your facial serum, you’ll notice that it mainly contains various kinds of oils, glycerin and even glycol. Essence, on the other hand, has softer and easy on skin ingredients such as aloe vera, water and even fruit-based ingredients.

There you have it! Everything you need to know about a skin essence and how is it different from your go-to serum! We bet you’re ready to show off your newfound knowledge! Go on, spread the word!


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