With Korean beauty and its accompanying 10-step skincare routine taking the world by storm, there has been a massive rise in interest in Korean products.
Witnessing celebrities and idols take to the stage and screens with a near-perfect, glowing, dewy, youthful skin that shines brighter than the stars makes you wonder: what exactly is their secret?
Turns out, it’s not magic, but rather an intense and thorough skincare routine that tackles every and all possible and current issues their skin may be experiencing.
It’s a mouthful; truth be told, the routine itself is lengthy and requires steadfast dedication.
However, as can be witnessed by many Koreans from global girl group BLACKPINK to rising global actor Park Seo Joon, proper skincare yields some amazing results.
In all the noise that surrounds the 10-step skincare routine, a few products may stand out for their unfamiliarity, including Korean essence.
You may be reading this article to learn exactly what Korean essence does, or you could be looking at suggestions on how to get started using the product; you could be just looking at some suggestions for the best Korean essence on the market right now.
Lucky for all of you, we’re covering all of that right here!
What exactly does Korean essence do and why should you use it?
A Korean essence is essentially a highly-concentrated treatment that employs the use of active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin to help nourish and rejuvenate the skin after it’s been thoroughly cleansed. Many people liken Korean essences to feeling like a watery serum.
Korean essences also assist in balancing out your skin’s pH levels after cleansing, thus prepping it to better absorb all subsequent treatments.
Their main benefits are to nourish and hydrate your skin, however, various Korean essences these days do that and more. To make the most of your essence product, ensure you purchase one that’s right for your skin.
To apply the essence to your face, you can drop a small amount on a facial cotton pad and gently dab and wipe it around your face. Alternatively, you can drop a small amount on your palm and dab it across your face, patting it in as you go.
Let’s now have a look at the top Korean essence products in the market right now.
1. COSRX Galaxtomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
The CORSRX Galaxtomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence is constantly topping the list of best Korean essences across multiple beauty websites and blogs, and for good reason.
It’s formulated with 95% galactomyces ferment filtrate, niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, betaine, glycerin, and allantoin, to name a few of the active ingredients in this product.
This essence is jam-packed with vitamins and antioxidants to effectively help brighten your skin tone whilst also making it soft and smooth. It’s a lightweight formula that feels non-greasy and absorbs quickly into your skin, priming it for the next part of your skincare routine
- Hydrates and brightens
- Contains popular ingredients including 95% galactomyces 95 ferment filtrate, niacinamide, glycerin, and allantoin
- Lightweight and non-greasy
2. MISSHA – Time Revolution First Treatment Essence
Missha’s Time Revolution Essence is easily one of the market’s most recognizable Korean essence products. The classic cylindrical bottle by Missha flies off the shelves in skincare stores – its popularity is almost unmatched.
Whilst relatively more expensive than other essence products, this one’s value does match its price. It contains an abundance of essential minerals and amino acids that help your skin look young and feel refreshed. It contains hexapeptide 9, a collagen booster that helps with acne scarring, vitamin B for anti-aging and hydrating, and plenty of hyaluronic and lactic acid to help with keeping your skin healthy.
It’s got a runny, liquid form, which makes it easy to pat dry on your face. It’s loved by millions of people around the world.
- Leaves skin looking bright and plump
- Formulated with ingredients for anti-aging, scarring, and hydration
- Keeps you looking youthful and refreshed
- Watery texture
3. Mizon Water Volume EX First Essence
The Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence is one of the best calming and hydration essence products in the Korean market. It is formulated with unique ingredients that work together to boost cellular activity and restore health to stressed skin.
Snow algae extract calms and hydrate your skin effectively throughout the year (even in the blistering cold!). Moringa extract also assists with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects, thus helping breakouts heal quickly and keeping them at bay.
This moisture-locking essence is the perfect way to keep prep your skin for better absorption or you can also wear it as a light moisturizer.
- Locks in moisture
- Soothes stressed skin and leaves skin feeling cool
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Note: contains alcohol
4. COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
This Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence by COSRX will guarantee you fast results – some even claim to witness their skin massively improve overnight after using it!
Snail essence has been backed up by numerous studies to have an endless amount of health benefits for the skin, including (but not limited to): anti-aging effects, anti-inflammatory effects, hydration, and dealing with pigmentation.
This particular essence does a fantastic job at providing a protective barrier for the skin once applied, so your skin can work on restoring itself to its optimum level. Dry, irritated, red skin – be gone.
- One of the most popular essence products in the market
- Improves your skin overnight
- Suitable for most skin types
- Slightly more expensive
5. Jin Jung Sung Soothing Moisture Skin Essence
This Korean essence product contains a massive 8 moisturizing ingredients, including glycerin, botanical squalene, shea butter, allantoin, and sodium hyaluronate (to name a few). All these moisturizing ingredients work together to hydrate and repair your skin, whilst locking in the moisture and restoring your pH level to its balance.
Lavender water and aloe vera soothe the skin, whilst collagen and peptides nourish the skin for younger, more supple healthy skin.
It’s got a super lightweight texture and it’s suitable for most skin types.
- Hydrates, plumps, and balances skin pH
- Free from silicone, sulfate, paraben, fragrance
- Suitable for most skin types
6. NEOGEN Real Ferment Micro Essence
This particular Ferment Micro Essence was formulated specifically for those with super sensitive skin and enlarged pores. It’s packed with a heap of super ingredients that work together to soothe and calm sensitive skin as well as target pores to tighten them.
It contains the unique ingredient Betula Alba juice, which is commonly known to provide intense hydration to dry skin and lock in moisture with a protective barrier.
Note that this essence is slightly fragranced.
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Targets pores
- Slightly more expensive than average
- Note: it is scented
7. SKINFOOD Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence
The enriched royal honey propolis essence is one of the top-rated essence products by Korean beauty bloggers. It has been especially popular with those who experience acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Bee propolis extract helps to balance, heal, and soothe irritated skin, all whilst helping with cellular growth and regeneration. It’s also been known to naturally help with decongesting clogged pores, hence why those with acne find this one particularly useful.
It contains royal jelly extract, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps with skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Combined with honey extract, which works as an anti-bacterial ingredient, it’s super effective at battling those recurring skin issues people hate to experience.
It comes with a dropper, making it super easy to dispense and apply.
- Great for those with acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- Naturally anti-inflammatory
- Decongests clogged pores
- Comes with a dropper
Read More: How Do K-pop Idols Deal With Acne – 9 Insider Tips
8. Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence
This Essence product by Hanskin is a multi-use product that essentially works to boost hydration across your skin on many levels. This product can be used as a toner, an essence, and a moisturizing lotion – all in one.
Hyaluronic acid provides moisturizer to dry skin, whilst elastin, collagen, and Zostera marina extract soften the skin and leave it feeling soft, dewy, and supple. This is the perfect all-rounder product for achieving that ultimate Korean glass-skin look.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Boosts hydration
- Balances skin pH level
9. MIZON Snail Repair Intensive Essence
MIZON’z snail repair line is no stranger to any lists containing the top Korean skincare products.
Given that snail mucin is known to provide a host of benefits to the skin, indiscriminate of the skin type or condition, it’s no wonder why people keep returning to use this popular and effective product.
It contains 88% snail mucin, making it super effective in sealing in moisture, firming the skin, and making it smoother and more supple. It also repairs damaged skin and targets scarring, all whilst working to make your skin glow.
- Hydrates and seals in moisture
- Reduces fine lines, wrinkles, and pores
- Artificial fragrance and paraben free
- Comes in a dispenser pump bottle
10. Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence
This fantastic Korean essence product feels high-end yet it doesn’t come with a high-end price tag. This Starting Treatment Essence is a seven-in-one beauty treatment that targets most major skin issues that people experience, thus making it a great all-rounder product.
It’s formulated with ingredients to moisturize and nourish, improve skin tone and clarity, soothe and calm irritation, and minimize breakouts. It also brightens up dull and lackluster skin.
It’s also a powerful product for those looking to fight the first signs of aging. It’s suitable for most skin types, including mature skin as well as those with oily skin, as it’s effective in controlling excess sebum.
- The price point is super affordable for all its benefits
- Anti-aging formula
- Moisturizing and calming formula
- Helps control excess sebum
The Korean beauty regime is no joke, and one of the first ways to differentiate your current routine to follow the Korean way of skincare is by introducing an effective essence into your daily life.
To find the best Korean essence that’s right for you, there are many things to consider, such as your skin texture, skin type, and any underlying and prominent skin issues you may have.
Korean skincare is rooted in using natural ingredients to boost your skin’s health, so one tip would be to look out for ingredients such as snail mucin, royal jelly, and bee venom. You should test it on a small part of your body before you apply it to your face to see if it causes any irritation.
We hope you found this article enlightening! With the skincare landscape moving at such a fast pace, it could get hard to stay on top of what’s the best of the best right now.
However, we’ve done the leg work for you, and we hope you find your great product from this great list of product recommendations we’ve curated.
If you’re keen to learn more about Korean skincare, make sure you also read our posts about Korean nighttime skincare routine, why Koreans look so young and how K-pop idols keep their hair healthy.