Emulsion vs Essence vs Serum: What's the Difference?

Emulsion vs Essence vs Serum: What's the Difference?

Cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, sunscreen. That is the mantra that skincare enthusiasts hold close to their hearts. But the skincare market is full of products that don't seem to fit into that. From ampoules to emulsions and essences, looking through the millions of products from a thousand and one different brands can be daunting.

Emulsions, essences, and serums actually fit into the middle section of your routine, between the toner and the moisturiser. These products are usually packed with active ingredients which are tailored to help give your skin its specific needs. This article will explain the differences between these three common product types. 

What is Essence? 

The facial essence is the lightest of the three, and is considered essential in K-beauty routines. This lightweight product penetrates deep into the skin. It hydrates from within, softens your skin, and prepares it for the next steps of your skincare routine. It typically has a watery to gel-like texture and soaks right into the skin. The key is to gently pat this onto your face instead of rubbing it in. The warmth and gentle pressure from your hands will boost your skin's circulation for better absorption! 

Our recommended essence: Bioeffect EGF Essence

The Bioeffect EGF Essence is a perfectly lightweight and hydrating essence, with the added benefit of the Epidermal Growth Factors, which should help stimulate cell growth, proliferation and healing. It will leave your skin feeling healthy, soft, plump and prepped for the next stages of your skincare routine!

What is Serum?

The serum is the next heaviest, and the product that we might be more familiar with in terms of its pervasiveness in the typical skincare regimen. These are silky, oil-like and thin. These are super-concentrated formulas with key active ingredients that are meant to target specific issues for your face

Needless to say, there are an endless number of serums you could try; anti-aging, brightening, wrinkle-busting, hydrating, you name it! These are potent and powerful, so you do need to take into consideration the concentration of the ingredients you're using in your serums. These take a bit of experimentation to figure out what works for you and your skin's needs, but when you do, this step will absolutely change your life! 

Our recommended serum: Darphin Hydraskin Intensive Hydra Serum

Try the Darphin Hydraskin Intensive Hydrating Serum. Like it says on the tin, this particular product is intensively and deeply hydrating, with a pomegranate extract that penetrates right into the skin to help repair and reinvigorate the surface skin cells. 

What is Emulsion?

Lastly, we have emulsions. Thicker than serums but with a less concentrated formula, emulsions add hydration and moisture, while also nourishing your skin with active ingredients for soothing, anti-oxidising, or more, depending on your individual needs. In Singapore, this product can sometimes step in to replace moisturiser in your skincare routine, especially if you have oily or combination-type skin. 

The super moisturising ingredients create a protective barrier to lock in all that hydration and the benefits of the active ingredients from serums and essences. You can also use this as a kind of spot treatment, for when you feel like your skin needs a bit of a pick-me-up, like after a long flight. 

Our recommended emulsion: Lancome Clarifique Watery Emulsion

The Lancome Clarifique Watery Emulsion is a brightening emulsion with French beech bud, which encourages your skin's natural renewal process. The active ingredients, together with the relatively lighter weight texture, are perfect for our humid weather, leaving you with radiant and even-toned skin! 

How Do I Incorporate Them Into My Skincare Routine? 

The golden rule with skincare products is to apply them from the lightest to the thickest, for better absorption. In general, after your toner, you would use essences, serums and then emulsions, followed by your moisturiser for maximum hydration through the night. For a morning routine, try replacing moisturiser with an emulsion, and don't forget your sunscreen! Depending on your needs, you can always skip out on any one of these steps — the key is to experiment, listen to your skin, and be patient with finding what works for you.

Wondering where to buy these skincare products in Singapore? Start building your perfectly personalised skincare routine by exploring Novela's wide range of skincare products at our online shop now! 

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