One of Korea’s best-kept beauty secrets is the use of essence in a daily skincare routine.
If you’ve heard all about the lightweight formula of the essence and what it can do for your complexion, you’ve already probably wondered what the best Korean skin essence to use is.
What does essence do in skincare?
An essence is a lightweight, water-based skincare product that’s designed to go on before your regular moisturizer. The main goal of essence is to hydrate but it also protects the skin and improves it, depending on the specific product you purchase.
The addition of a quality essence to your daily routine will impact how the rest of your skincare products perform. To help you find the perfect fit, we’ve compiled the ultimate Korean essence review with some of the best products that our beauty team is obsessed with.
Our Top Picks for Best Korean Essence
The best Korean skincare brands all have an essence in their roster, but knowing which one is worth investing in can be a challenge.
To make matters easier, we’ve found the best essence Korean brands have to offer, and a little more about why they’ve made out list.
Missha’s Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence is a lightweight and highly concentrated formula that features double fermented Artemisia Annua Extract as its key ingredient.
The 5.07fl. oz bottle has been proven to moisturize and hydrate as well as brighten and soothe the skin, so it’s one beauty product that can do it all.
The best Korean essence skin care on the market today comes from Missha with their Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment.
The star of this formula is the Artemisia Annua Extract that’s been double fermented to give you the purest and highly concentrated dose of goodness your skin could ask for, as well as natural antifungal and antibacterial properties.
The Time Revolution Essence is a multi-faceted product so it’s not just for dry complexions or to give you some moisture before applying your daily moisturizer.
Using this essence, you’ll brighten skin, soothe irritation, balance your complexion, and get a huge boost of hydration, enabling the rest of your daily products to work even better. For the ultimate in Korean essences, the Artemisia Treatment is the way to go.
- Scent: Natural
- Skin type: All
- Size: 5.07fl. oz
- This Korean essence for face has lots of benefits including hydration, brightening, and smoothing.
- The best Korean essence for dry skin as it doesn’t leave a feeling of tightness or dehydration behind.
- The fermented Artemisia is also antibacterial and antifungal to keep your skin in perfect condition.
- Has a natural scent that can hardly be noticed with no overpowering synthetic aromas.
- As one of the more expensive essences on the market, you’ll need to be careful with how much of this product you use, as it can be costly to replace all the time.
- Users with excess sebum will need to be careful using this as it’s not the best Korean essence for oily skin.
Runner Up: Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence
Neogen Dermalogy’s Real Ferment Micro Essence is a moisturizing and brightening essence that can be implemented into your daily routine. Coming in a 5.04fl oz bottle and featuring 93% fermented ingredients, it’s a simple way to achieve the honey skin look that everyone wants.
Neogen has developed another popular Korean essence for face with their Real Ferment Micro Essence. With a pH level of ~5, fermented Bifida lysate and fermented saccharomyces filtrate, it will give you an instant shot of moisture and make your skin appear plumper and more youthful.
This is the best Korean anti-aging essence because it features several antioxidants and ingredients that allow your cells to communicate with each other. Not only will it give you the moisture and hydration that essences are known for, but help to prevent the signs of aging if you use it regularly.
The addition of birch juice and rice extract assists with glowing skin and gives you an illuminating look from the inside, and considering it’s a lower price, it goes on smoothly and absorbs easily.
However, as a formula that can be slightly drying for some, it’s best left behind for people with dry skin, but others will reap the benefits.
- Scent: None
- Skin type: All
- Size: 5.04fl. oz
- One of the best essence options if your goal is to create a honey skin complexion for yourself.
- This essence goes on smoothly and your skin will absorb it immediately.
- A well-priced alternative for essence that proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to get highly rated skincare.
- High levels of antioxidants assist with signs of aging and brightening the skin.
- There’s no fragrance to this essence, not even a natural one, which means no lingering aromas.
- Neogen recommends using their serum with this to get the best results so the price will increase a bit if you do.
- Can be slightly drying for people who already have dry skin, so seek out an alternative.
Alternative: I’m From’s Mugwort Essence
I’m From has developed their Mugwort Essence as a refreshing way to moisturize your skin each day, using 100% mugwort extract.
The 5.64fl oz bottle features no artificial colors or fragrances, alcohol, sulfates, mineral oils, or anything else nasty, and lets the wonder of the mugwort herb work its magic instead.
I’m From’s Mugwort Essence is another favorite find and an essence that hydrates, soothes, and protects against the signs of aging. As one of the costliest options for Korean essences, this might be out of some people’s budgets, but for those who can afford it, the difference will amaze you.
It’s a great choice for staying young as well, as it boosts collagen production and protects against all of the damaging elements that make you age prematurely.
This is the best Korean essence for acne prone skin as mugwort actively cleanses pores and has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce symptoms.
If you don’t mind spending a little more for the benefits of this renowned skincare herb, the I’m From Mugwort Essence will be worth it.
- Scent: Natural
- Skin type: All
- Size: 5.64fl. oz
- A great option for people with acne as the herb reduces inflammation and can ease redness on your face.
- Uses highly concentrated mugwort extract for intense results, so nothing is watered down.
- Natural ingredients are gentle on your face and it’s a must for sensitive skin types.
- Has loads of benefits for people wanting anti-aging properties in their essence as well.
- An expensive option that might not be possible for all user’s budgets.
- This essence is worth it for people who have acne prone or sensitive skin, so others might be able to find a cheaper alternative to suit normal skin types.
Alternative: Sioris My First Essener
Sioris My First Essener is a two for one product that combines toner and essence for easy application.
With 14 natural ingredients in each 3.38fl. oz bottle, including damask rose flower, green tea extract, and mugwort leaf extract, it’s designed to even out your skin tone, boost moisture, and prepare your skin for the day.
Sioris My First Essener is a simple and natural essence toner combination designed for first time users but with results that would make a serious skincare expert joyful.
In this formula, you’ll find no sulfates, parabens, alcohol, or animal products and it features 14 different natural ingredients that’ll get to work on your skin. As an added bonus, it’s cruelty free and gentle on humans as well, giving you the peace of mind you want when choosing skincare products.
This is the best Korean essence for hyperpigmentation thanks to the presence of green tea and mugwort extracts, both known for evening out skin tone and brightening complexions.
Other powerful ingredients like polyglutamic acid help to revitalize the skin while the damask rose flower soothes and minimizes the appearance of pores.
- Scent: N/A
- Skin type: All
- Size: 3.38fl oz
- You’ll get a noticeably evened out skin tone and reduced hyperpigmentation and dark spots when you use this for a few weeks.
- This is a gentle option good for first time users or those who don’t want anything harsh in their skincare products.
- There’s nothing nasty in here like alcohol or parabens, and it’s cruelty-free, so you can feel good about choosing Sioris.
- Users found that their pores were visibly smaller after a few weeks of applying this essence.
- This is an expensive option when you look at the price per fluid ounce, so not in everyone’s budget.
- Because this is meant to be a toner and essence in one, some users found that it could be drying at times, and is not recommended for dry skin.
Alternative: Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Essence Water
Ginseng Essence Water by Beauty of Joseon is an essence that can do it all, including regulating oil production, adding moisture, and preventing damage and signs of aging.
The 5fl. Oz bottle of essence is lightweight and features key ingredients like ginseng root water, niacinamide, and adenosine, to target all skin types and troubles.
Beauty of Joseon has developed their Ginseng Essence Water as a way to target the most common skincare complaints, including dryness, oiliness, signs of aging.
The most prominent ingredient is ginseng root water which has loads of antioxidants and reduces inflammation, so it can get your complexion back into good shape and fast.
There are loads of great ingredients here, and nothing nasty, including adenosine and niacinamide. Users with dry skin will get an instant moisture boost and those who have a problem with oil will find this regulates it, but if you’re someone with acne prone skin, you may want to avoid it.
The Ginseng Essence Water is affordable and great for most skin types, going above and beyond what most standard essences do.
- Scent: N/A
- Skin type: All
- Size: 5fl. oz
- Only good ingredients can be found in this essence, and no alcohol, sulfates, parabens, or bad oils.
- When you look at the cost of this essence for its bottle size, it works out to be one of the most affordable options.
- This essence is especially helpful for people with oily skin as it works to regulate oil production, making a noticeable difference after a few uses.
- A must-have for people wanting anti-aging-specific products, including in their essences.
- People with exceptionally dry skin found their complexion drank this up immediately and it added moisture after just one application.
- It’s not as highly concentrated as some other essences and you might need more to get results.
- Some people noted their acne got worse after a few weeks of this, so you’ll have to be careful if you notice signs of breakouts.
Best Korean Essence FAQs
Essence isn’t one of the most globally well-known components of a skincare routine, but after seeing the results, it should be.
If you’re still learning the basics of what essence is all about and how it fits into your facial care, read on as we answer some FAQs that can help.
Do Koreans Use Essence?
Essence is a common part of any Korean’s skincare routine and is usually applied after cleansing and toning the skin. Most people use essence either morning or night with just as effective results, as long as you’re choosing one that suits your skin type and ultimate skincare goals.
Can I Use Essence Without Toner?
Yes, you can use essence without using toner first, although the most common approach is to apply both.
When the weather is colder and your skin starts to feel dehydrated, you might feel more comfortable getting rid of the toner and only using essence to avoid any unwanted dryness.
Can You Use 2 Essences?
It is possible to use two different essences in your skincare routine because of the naturally lightweight texture of these products.
If you’re planning on combining essences, make sure the products you’ve chosen are compatible with each other and your skin type, otherwise the results won’t be as effective.
Is Essence Good For Oily Skin?
There are many essences and other skincare products formulated for people with oily skin, so there’s no need to miss out just because of issues with excess sebum.
If you do plan on using essence with an oily complexion, give it a few weeks to test the product and if you notice a greasy residue or other signs of oil, switch to another product.
Lightweight Yet Effective
An essence added to your skincare routine can give you a lightweight but highly concentrated boost of everything your complexion needs. With our recommendations, you’ll be able to get your hands on only the best essences that the Korean skincare market has to offer.