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Toner Vs Essence Vs Serums – When And How Do You Use Them?

Toner Vs Essence Vs Serums – When And How Do You Use Them?

You know how it is - you're in a skincare rut and you can't seem to find the perfect product for your skin type. But then one day, everything clicks into place, and suddenly all those products that were previously useless are suddenly great! Well that's how I felt when I found my current holy-grail skincare routine: toners!

What Is a Toner?

A toner is used to prep skin before applying a serum. Toning removes excess oil and dirt from the skin, which can prevent your serum from being absorbed properly. It also helps balance the pH of your skin so that it's not too acidic or too alkaline (basic).

How to Use a Toner?

Toner is a toner that's meant to be used after cleansing. You can use this product on your face, or you can mix it with your moisturizer and apply it to dry skin.

Toner helps get rid of excess oil, dirt and makeup residue from the day before so that your face is clean and ready for the next step—a serum!

What Is an Essence?

An essence is a light moisturizing treatment that moisturizes, softens and strengthens the skin. They're used to treat dry skin, sensitive skin or acne prone skin.

Essences contain a blend of oils, botanicals and other ingredients that are designed to penetrate deeply into the layers of your epidermis (the outermost layer) and work together with other products on your face—like serums—to help improve its appearance."

How to use an Essence?

Essence is a facial mist that you can use daily. It's important to note that essences are not the same thing as toners, although many people mistakenly think so. Toner is made from natural ingredients like glycerin, water and alcohol; it cleanses the surface of your skin without stripping away its moisture or leaving it feeling dryer than before. Essence is made from plant extracts like aloe vera and cucumber extract—these ingredients help restore balance to your complexion by calming redness while also moisturizing deeply-complexed areas such as oily skin types (like mine).

To apply an essence:

  • Cleanse your face with warm water first before applying any type of toner or serum; this will allow all impurities on your face slip right off with ease! Then gently pat dry with a towel until all traces of moisture have disappeared completely – don't wring out excess water either because this could cause irritation later on down during application time!

Why use an essence when you already have a serum?

If you're thinking about using an essence, it's important to understand that there are three different types of product. Serums and toners are designed to be used before essences, but not vice versa.

Essences were originally formulated for facial care products like cleansers and moisturizers, but they can also be used as part of your skin care routine in lieu of serum or toner. In fact, many people use essences daily on top of their serums (or even before!). Here’s why:

  • An essence is a liquid formulation made up of oil-based ingredients that help nourish the skin while providing hydration at the same time.*

  • Serums contain higher concentrations than essences do so they provide more benefits overall.*

What is a Serum?

A serum is a liquid that is applied to the skin. Serums are used to target specific skin concerns and can be used before or after moisturizer, in the morning or at night. They can also be used with toners for added hydration.

How to use a Serum?

Serums are a good way to target specific areas of the face, such as around the eyes or mouth. They can also work well when you want to target specific areas of your body like elbows and knees.

You apply serum with a cotton pad (or other applicator) after cleansing in order to get better penetration into skin. Once applied, leave it on for about 30 minutes before gently removing it with warm water. It will take some time for all of its benefits to be absorbed into your pores; this is why we recommend leaving serums on while you sleep!

What is the right order of application?

For most people, the order of application is as follows:

  • Essences are applied first. They contain active ingredients that will help to nourish and hydrate your skin. A good example of an essence is SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence (FTE).

  • Serums follow after essences and add additional benefits to your skincare routine. A good example of a serum would be Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads which are packed full with vitamins C & E to brighten dull skin while also helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by promoting collagen production in the epidermis.*

When it comes to toners, essences and serums, you can’t go wrong with any of the right product for your skin type. The order of application will vary depending on where you want to target.

When it comes to toners, essences and serums, you can’t go wrong with any of the right product for your skin type. The order of application will vary depending on where you want to target.

Toner: Tones down skin and prepares it for moisturizer or serum application. You can use this product both morning and night. It's an excellent way to remove any excess oil from your face without stripping away moisture (which is why we love it so much!).

Essence: A concentrated form of serum that works best when applied directly onto the face twice per day—once in the morning after cleansing then again at night before going to bed (or just whenever). If you have dry skin like me then I recommend using an essence over my other products instead because they don't clog pores as much as serums do!

Serum: Is typically made up primarily out of hyaluronic acid which provides intense hydration while also smoothing fine lines around my eyes area which tends towards being more obvious since I age faster than others due partly due hormones but mostly due genetics; so if anyone has been following me closely enough knows how much stuff happens around those areas! :)


The right product for your skin type is the key to getting that glow look. If you have oily skin, try an oil-free toner. If dry skin is your thing, a hydrating serum will be perfect for your needs. Of course, there are other options out there and each person will have their own preferences but these are some of my favorite products at any price point!

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