Let me briefly take you all on my skincare journey.
About two years ago, my skin was popping. It was smooth like butter, glowing like the sun, and never was a blemish in sight. Dry skin who? I never knew her. And that was all thanks to my holy grail moisturizer (I swear that stuff was magical). It’s like from the moment I started using it, my skin had completely transformed.
That is, until it was discontinued. Sniffles, RIP Shea Moisture’s Green Coconut & Activated Charcoal Moisturizing Jelly Cream w/White Tea.
After that, I was on the hunt for a moisturizer that could live up to what I once used. I came across one product that seemed promising and had favorable reviews. Featuring honey and SPF, I just knew my skin would be moisturized and protected.
Two weeks later, let’s just say the bumps, blackheads, and dry patches I broke out in spoke for itself. At that point, my skin not only needed moisture but DIRE repair.
One day while scrolling through the products on Nolaskinsentials’ website, I came across a product that I was vaguely familiar with: an essence. Curious to see if it would live up to its claims (because bay-bay my skin needed all the help it could get), I took the plunge and bought it.
All dramatics aside, my skin c. 2018 had been resurrected.
Before I gush over how an essence COMPLETELY changed my life, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of this skincare category to see if you too should add this to your routine!
What is Essence?
An essence is a lightweight skincare product designed to hydrate your skin. Depending on the brand, essences can range anywhere from having a watery to a more lightweight-gel consistency. They’re formulated to be applied after your toner and before your serum.
Deriving from the Korean beauty industry, essences are slowly making their way into the skincare routines of the Western beauty world for the right reasons. They’re chock full of beneficial active ingredients. Since the product is lower in molecular weight, these ingredients are allowed to penetrate deeply into the skin and help your following skincare products to be better absorbed.
Isn’t this like a serum?
The similar look and feel between essences and serums across different brands can understandably make it seem like they are one and the same. The main function of most essences is to hydrate dehydrated skin, as opposed to most serum’s promises of moisturizing the skin.
The terms dry and dehydrated are often used interchangeably when describing the skin, but there is a difference. Dry skin is a skin type where the body does not produce enough natural oils, while dehydrated skin is a skin condition in which the skin cells lack water.
Indicators of dry skin include roughness and itchiness, whereas dehydrated skin will show signs of growing sensitivity, dullness, and increased fine lines. Any skin type can experience dehydration.
Hydrating products, in this case, essences, work to absorb moisture from the air and infuse your cells with water to improve your skin’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients. Moisturizing products, in this instance, serums, work to trap and lock in the moisture to build your skin’s natural protective barrier, preventing any water loss.
My Experience After Using an Essence
The essence that I took a chance on is Nolaskinsentials’ Barrier Boosting Kiwi Essence ($22.55). Containing kiwi extract, rose castile, and hibiscus, it promises to repair your skin’s natural moisture barrier by nourishing your skin and locking in hydration.
At the time, my skin looked considerably dull, so I figured it could use some hydration. And due to the irritation that I developed from using the prior moisturizer, I realized that my moisture barrier had been damaged and was in desperate need of repair.
The skin’s moisture barrier, interchangeably referred to as the skin barrier, keeps harmful external elements out while locking in moisture. However, damaging factors like washing with hot water, using irritating skincare products, or over-exfoliating your skin can deteriorate your moisture barrier. As these factors persist over time, the skin barrier will get weaker, causing the skin to lose water and dry out.
With that being said, one of the most significant ways to repair the skin’s moisture barrier is by increasing your hydration levels. This includes increasing your water intake and, in this case, using hydrating skincare products.
For a month now, I’ve been faithfully applying my essence morning and night. It’s a lightweight gel that gives a cooling sensation when I use it. And it smells ah-maz-zing! Ever since incorporating it into my routine, my skin has felt much more hydrated and moisturized. The essence was also successful in eliminating the dry patches and dullness that I had.
And for those bumps and blackheads, POOF! Within the first three days of usage, the blemishes had healed entirely to my surprise, and did not leave behind any scarring. My skin has been more radiant ever since!
Are essences really necessary?
Unlike cleansers and moisturizers, which are vital in every skincare routine, deciding to add an essence is up to your skin’s needs and what you want to target. If you feel like your skin is dehydrated and see the signs indicating so, buying an essence can be something useful to consider.
As with maintaining healthy lifestyle habits, investing in quality skincare products that target your skin’s needs is essential for achieving healthy and smooth skin!