- According to skin-care expert and makeup artist Charlie Riddle, essence is basically a much lighter-weight serum that acts as a primer before you use anything else on your skin to help balance your skin’s pH level.
- Essences are new-ish to the US skin-care market, thanks to the rising popularity of Korean beauty brands and innovative products.
- I thought I had pretty good skin but this essence from Korean beauty brand IOPE proved me and my skin-care routine wrong.
I have a pretty involved skin-care routine. Every night, I triple-cleanse with micellar water, an oil cleanser, and a foaming cleanser. Then I follow up with toner, serum, and moisturizer, and finish with eye cream. Several times a week, I’ll use a sheet mask. Every morning, I’ll use an oil cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen; if I’m short on time, I’ll just cleanse and then use my favorite color-correcting moisturizer with SPF 30 from Dr. Jart.
“Essences are essentially primers for your skin before you use serum or moisturizer,” says skin-care expert and makeup artist Charlie Riddle. “They’re used to balance the skin’s pH after cleansing and toning. Toners can do this as well, but typically aren’t as hydrating and calming to the skin.”
Literally after just one use of the IOPE essence, my skin felt a lot smoother and softer, and looked brighter than usual.
I just pat it onto my skin with my hands after cleansing instead of using a cotton pad, which Riddle says can absorb more of the product than your skin so it’s kind of a waste. Sometimes I’ll even skip my usual toner and serum because my face is just so soft, and go right into moisturizer and sunscreen. If I feel like my skin needs more of a treatment, I’ll soak a cotton pad or compressed sheet mask with the essence and leave it on my face for five or 10 minutes.
The bottle itself has markers on the side to show you how much you’re using each time, but I just do a quick splash instead of being so precise. The two downsides of the product are that it’s not widely available online or in stores, and prices at online retailers vary greatly – Amazon is selling a bottle of the essence for $39.70, while YesStyle is at $54.90 (plus an obscenely long 21-day shipping period).
I hate the idea of another step to my skin-care routine especially in the morning when I’m already crunched for time, but my skin has really felt its smoothest and looked its brightest after using the IOPE essence, so I can live with that. I also notice a slight difference in texture and radiance on days I skip the essence, so I’m definitely stocking up on a few more bottles before I run out. Hopefully I won’t have to wait 21 days for shipping.
Note: According to a publicist from IOPE’s parent company AmorePacific, while IOPE products are available at retailers like Amazon and Walmart, Aritaum.com is the only official online seller for IOPE, including the Bio Intensive Conditioning Essence.