Ex­quis­ite essences

Friday - - Beauty -

What are they? You’d be for­given for think­ing that essences were just fancier look­ing-and-sound­ing ton­ers. How­ever, there is more to this prod­uct type, which has its ori­gins in Korea.

Whereas ton­ers are packed with fairly as­trin­gent in­gre­di­ents to give skin a fi­nal deep clean, slightly ex­fo­li­ate and prep for mois­turiser, essences con­tain noth­ing of the sort. They are far more gen­tle and tend to be filled with hyaluronic acid – the mois­ture maker for your skin – glyc­erin, and nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents that sink deeper into the skin. But they are not cleansers ei­ther. They are de­signed to be used post-cleans­ing to re­bal­ance the skin if it’s been stripped away of oils – but they’re most def­i­nitely not serums.

‘An essence has a lighter weight than a serum. They are de­signed to give an ex­tra mi­cro-light layer of mois­ture to the skin, but they’re not to be wiped off like a sec­ond cleanser,’ says fa­cial­ist Su-Man. ‘Philo­soph­i­cally, the word “essence” sug­gests a sin­gle fo­cus with no in­ter­fer­ence from any­thing else,’ she adds, ‘which is very much part of an Asian at­ti­tude to life... that’s the best way to think of them.’ Who are they best for? In truth, any­one and any skin type can use an essence, it just de­pends if you have time for it in your morn­ing and evening ablu­tions. Korean women use them as part of their 10-step – yes, 10-step – skin­care regime. How­ever, this is for good rea­son as they tend to have a much thin­ner skin bar­rier than other eth­nic­i­ties and are there­fore more prone to de­hy­drated skin.

Essences are a great way of get­ting mois­ture in with­out over-load­ing the skin and this is not only down to their wa­tery tex­ture but the ap­pli­ca­tion method. ‘The best way to ap­ply an essence is to pat it into the skin, start­ing from the chin and work­ing up,’ says Dr Na­dine Pern­odet, Estée Lauder’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of skin bi­ol­ogy, global re­search and de­vel­op­ment. Ap­plied post cleans­ing,

‘Philo­soph­i­cally, the word “ESSENCE” sug­gests a sin­gle fo­cus with no IN­TER­FER­ENCE from any­thing else, which is very much part of an Asian at­ti­tude to life... that’s the best way to THINK of them’


post-ton­ing (if you do that) and pre-serum and pre-mois­turiser, it all comes down to time and ef­fort.


La Mer Ge­nais­sance The Serum Essence, Dh2,370 With that price tag you’d ex­pect some­thing spe­cial with this, and you get it. It con­tains La Mer’s Crys­tal Mir­a­cle Broth – a slow-crafted, pure con­cen­tra­tion of ma­rine al­gae unique to the brand – which ac­cel­er­ates the skin’s nat­u­ral renewal process and also helps re­fine pores. NYDG Skin­care Lu­miniz­ing Essence, Dh350 Cre­ated by a group of New York der­ma­tol­o­gists, this con­tains pro­bi­otics that help calm the skin and re­duce red­ness. Tata Harper Hy­drat­ing Flo­ral Essence, Dh390 Love the idea of an essence but don’t have time to pat it on be­tween other prod­ucts? Look for this cult beauty spray in­stead. It is made to be used in the same slot as a reg­u­lar essence but can also be used through­out the day to give the skin a boost of hyaluronic acid.

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