Wanna take your skincare game to a whole new level? We spotlight the best facial essences that ought to be your skincare ammo of choice!
The quest for perfect skin seems never-ending, but hey, we aren’t about to stop trying. Staring at the mounting pile of skincare products we’ve accumulated, we realised that the all-holy essence is one of the most underrated skincare steps. And even if you’re KonMari-ing the heck out of your skincare products, we recommend holding onto to your facial essence for dear life. Here’s why it should be an important part of your skincare routine…
Essences are light, oil-free liquids used as the step before moisturiser. It usually has a watery or gel-like consistency and is known to be easily absorbed into the skin. What makes it so special? Well, it’s full of active ingredients that will get you your best skin ever. What’s more, facial essences prime the skin to effectively absorb all the benefits of the serum and moisturiser that you ought to slather on right after.
Got oily skin? Drop the moisturiser from your skincare routine and jump on the essence wagon. Try using an essence and chances are, going oil-free will help de-slick your skin while keeping it moisturised. On the other hand, if you have dry or combination skin, alcohol-free essences might work better to prevent your skin from losing its moisture.
Whatever your skin type, a good facial essence can go a long way and ought to be a staple in your skincare regimen. Not sure which one to go for? We rounded up some cult favourites and deep dived into the star ingredients that make them so powerful.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
Star ingredient: Pitera
This one’s an ultimate favourite that’s raved about by the masses – if you haven’t heard about the miraculous Pitera, you might have been living under a rock. This iconic ingredient has been the heart of all SK-II’s products for over three decades now, and for a good reason: it contains over 50 micro-nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino and organic acids to nourish the skin. Nothing but the best, amirite?
Pitera was discovered when SK-II scientists saw that aged sake brewers had soft, youthful-looking hands even when their faces were wrinkled. Surprise, surprise, this by-product of yeast fermentation packs a pretty huge punch. And thanks to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence which contains over 90% of Pitera, we now can have the benefits of this “Miracle Water” right at home. (Check out our review of this signature essence from SK-II here!)
Endorsed by celebrities all over the world (most recently, Chloe Grace Moretz), this facial essence does everything from controlling spots and reducing wrinkles to smoothening skin texture and increasing firmness and luminosity. No wonder so many people swear by it for crystal clear skin!
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, $289 for 230 ml, available at multiple locations including SK-II counters & Sephora stores.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-In-Lotion
Star ingredient: Caviar
Turns out caviar can de-age your skin. Not by eating it, of course, but by using caviar-infused skincare. La Prairie derives this special ingredient from sustainably-farmed sturgeon fish for nutrients and antioxidants that slow down the ageing process with a touch of omega-three fatty acids that give you a healthy glow.
Fine line prevention? Check. Stopping wrinkles from sinking deeper? Check. A little goes a long way with the La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-In-Lotion, which firms and tightens the skin and over time, reduces the size of pores and the appearance of textured skin.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-In-Lotion, $410 for 250ml, available at multiple locations including Robinsons and online
Philosophy Brighten My Day All-Over Skin-Perfecting Brightening Essence
Star ingredient: Algae and daisy extract
Our day was brightened, alright. This essence promises a glow that’s all-natural, and not from smacking on a face full of highlighter. Don’t get us wrong, we love our makeup, but we also love waking up to beautifully luminous skin.
Key ingredients in Philosophy’s All-Over Skin-Perfecting Brightening Essence include algae extract and daisy extract, which helps reduce the appearance of dark spots, diminish pore size, and even out skin tone – we’re so gonna smear this on to undo years of skin troubles…
And now for the highlight (pun fully intended): this concoction’s special mix of ingredients is known to improve the skin’s ability to reflect light, which is why you’ll get a gorgeous radiance from putting this on every morning. A completely natural highlight? Yes, please.
Philosophy Brighten My Day All-Over Skin-Perfecting Brightening Essence, $90 for 30ml, available at multiple locations including Sephora and online
Hera Cell Essence
Star ingredient: Cell-Bio Fluid Sync 2.0
That’s one helluva scientific-sounding name, but don’t let that put you off – stick around and we’ll decipher this for you. The Cell-Bio Fluid Sync 2.0 is a cocktail of eight skin cell activators (up from five in the original version) that help to boost skin health.
With consistent use of the Hera Cell Essence, fans report clearer and more hydrated skin, less buildup of dead skin cells, and even smoother makeup application! Pro tip: the brand recommends using this before applying any other skincare product (yes, this precedes your toner) as it improves absorption of everything else that you put on after it.
This formula is made to mimic the natural body fluids that deliver nutrients to your skin and thus penetrates easily to hydrate and plump up the skin cells. Perfectly hydrated skin, here we come!
Hera Cell Essence, available at Takashimaya and Ion Orchard
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence
Star ingredient: Black Tea Kombucha
Now, living in the city means plenty of shopping, access to Hollywood blockbusters, international art exhibitions… and a crazy amount of pollution. That’s where kombucha comes in. The Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence is famed for being rich in vitamins and organic acids that fend off impurities that are ever-present in city living.
Also part of the concoction is mandarin peel extract (which evens out your skin tone – goodbye, pigmentation!), hyaluronic acid, and kigelia africana fruit extract (basically a miracle berry with the hidden power to improve your skin texture). Who can say no to that?
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, $108 for 150ml, available at multiple locations including Sephora and online
Genaissance De La Mer The Serum Essence
Star ingredient: Crystal Miracle Broth
This potent essence was born after a scientist at the Max Huber Research Labs discovered crystals forming in a beaker of Miracle Broth. Yes, the Miracle Broth – the signature component in the well-loved Creme de La Mer.
It’s a blend of skin-nourishing ingredients including sea kelp, magnesium, iron, Vitamins C, E and B12, oils of citrus, eucalyptus and a whole lot more that we won’t ramble on about. The point is, the brand has taken this mix up a notch to create the age-defying Crystal Miracle Broth.
Bio-fermented in small batches, this unique concoction is what makes the Genaissance De La Mer The Serum Essence so powerful. It draws on the healing powers of the sea to accelerate the skin renewal process, for radiant and smooth skin.
Genaissance De La Mer The Serum Essence, $1020 for 30 ml, available at multiple locations including Tangs and online
This post is in partnership with SK-II.