Add the essence of K-Beauty to your skincare
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Add the essence of K-Beauty to your skincare

Innisfree Fermented Soybean Firming Energy Essence is rich in antioxidants

Add the essence of K-Beauty to your skincare

Facial essence is a crucial player in the K-beauty game. Facial essences, not to be confused with toners, prepare the skin before applying serums and moisturizers. They usually contain chemicals that are relaxing, moisturizing, and brightening, and they're made with a low molecular weight for optimal absorption. Sure, it's an extra step, but if you want your skin to seem bouncy, dewy, and Instagram-worthy, a light layer of essence will help.

Here are some K-beauty essences for your face!

Best Overall: Laneige Water Bank Hydro Essence


For dry skin, this lotion is a magical product. It's made out of green mineral water, an extract made from vegetables, including kale, watercress, and beets. It swiftly absorbs into the skin, leaving it feeling fresh, plump, and comfortable. We named it best overall because the water-light texture and quick absorption make it suitable for all skin types (from parched to oily).

Best Budget: Blithe Vital Treatment Essence

Credit: Skin Library

Seed extracts such as baobab, evening primrose, and rosehip are used in this light essence to help revive weary, dry, or dull skin. The solution also contains niacinamide, which can help to brighten your complexion over time.

Best for Dull or Tired Skin: Innisfree Fermented Soybean Firming Energy Essence

Credit: Innisfree

Innisfree products are always a 10/10 in our book, but this essence is excellent. This antioxidant-rich solution, which contains fermented soybean extract from Jeju Island in South Korea, will brighten and firm your skin. It contains oat kernel extract, which helps to soothe and calm the skin.

Best for Hydration: Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence


Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide that occurs naturally in the human body. It protects our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes by cushioning and lubricating them. It works as a moisture binder in skincare, which binds to the water in the cells (while also drawing and holding water from the air), plumping them up.

Best for Uneven Skin Tone: Neogen Real Ferment Micro-Essence

Credit: Soko Glam

Because of the high concentration of fermented substances and natural brighteners such as rice ferment, this option is a K-beauty icon. It's pretty thick, but it's well worth the time spent patting it into the skin. Surprisingly, water isn't listed among the ingredients, making the already attractive pricing even more appealing.

Best Mist Option: Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Essence Mist

Credit: Ippune

This travel-friendly essence mist is milky and moisturizing. It also works as a primer or setting spray. Ingredients like licorice water and root extracts, hydrating bamboo water, and centella asiatica leaf water are calming and hydrating (sensitive skin, rejoice). On hot summer days, please keep it in the fridge for a quick refreshing.