Serum, toner and essence- How are they different?

Have you ever felt like a toner makes no difference or essence is nothing but a fancy step in your skincare routine? We did a little reading and understood that they’re quite different. They’re built for specific purposes and it varies from person to person to pick and choose or eliminate these steps. Before you make these decisions, here are some pointers that will help you!

 1.What is a serum, toner and essence?

Let’s start with one of the most used items- Serums. Serums are powerful and highly concentrated drops of active ingredients which address a particular skin condition. Given that it has a high concentration of actives, you need to build tolerance for it and start with a patch test. If you want treatment then serum is the formulation to go for. Moving on to essence, they are also beneficial to treat your skin and moisturize. They are lighter in consistency and hence can penetrate your skin easily unlike serum which depends on the ingredients added in the serum. Essence is a good addition to the skin that needs an extra layer of care. Serum and essence differ widely from toner which is watery in consistency and preps your skin for skincare. On days when you feel like your skin is highly inflamed due to environmental stress, you need a couple of spritz of toner to soothe and hydrate your skin. Toner is like a snack that your skin needs from time to time to hydrate and maintain the oil-water balance.

 2.What’s the difference between serum, toner, and essence?

Since y’all know the broad definitions of serum, essence and toner, let’s understand how they differ on certain parameters:

  • Layering: It is pretty easy to layer toners because they contain soothing and hydrating ingredients majorly. They go on your skin right after face wash and you can then follow it up with most actives except for Retinol which cannot work on damp skin. When it comes to essence, they can be used right after toner and depending on the actives you’re using later while layering. Layering with serums is tricky since they contain a high amount of actives. You can layer most serums with a soothing essence and a moisturizer though.
  • Functions: Serums are picked according to the skin concern that you want to treat. Since they’re highly concentrated, they are used to treat, unlike essence and toner. Essence is used as an additional layer of skincare that helps to add moisture to the skin in layers for better absorption. It is also used to smoothen the skin. Toners are typically used to prep your skin and hydrate your skin right after washing the face to ensure that the lost moisture after the face wash is regained.
  • Consistency: Serums are usually lightweight but there are serums which could be thicker in consistency. Essence is usually watery and absorbs quickly in your skin. Toners are water but potent enough to hydrate your skin given the ingredients that they derive it from.

While some do look at all three to be similar, there’s a wide difference. For those with dry skin, layering becomes a blessing to nourish and those who’re just looking for skin maintenance can easily skip a few layers. To each their own!

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