Korean Essence – The Extra Skincare Step You Didn’t Know You Needed

You may remember last year I set myself a huge challenge not to spend more than £20 for the entire year on toiletries.  I’m pleased to announced my mission was successful!  Amazingly I had enough skincare and body products to keep me going for an entire year.  This was largely thanks to winning some products as we went along plus asking for anything I really needed for birthday gifts.

I’ve been making an effort too to use up everything I had previously won in skin care.  What good can a product do if it’s sitting on a shelf and not on your skin?  One of the stand out products I used last year was a product I won back in December 2016, Kiehl’s Iris Acitivating Essence Treatment.

essence - Skincare ingridients


What On Earth Is An Essence?

Prior to receiving my Kiehl’s essence treatment I’d never heard of an essence before.  A quick google showed me it was a step in between your toner and the rest of your skincare.  A bit more research showed me it’s a step in the now world famous Korean 10 step skincare routine.  I was still a bit confused as to what an essence did exactly, was it a serum or another type of toner?

After much head scratching I found out it’s actually a kind of serum – but not the typical type we use in the west.  An essence is essentially a watered down version of a serum, but still not quite a serum.  It’s a more light weight product that is used to add hydration to your skin after toning and to prepare your skin to best receive the next stages of your skincare (which in my case are a serum and moisturiser). 

What did it do to my skin

I’ve been using my Kiehl’s Essence now for a year, pretty much twice a day and have seen a massive improvement to my skin. Kiehl’s Essence claims to improves the appearance of fine lines, dullness, and rough texture over time as well as reduce fine lines, and activate radiance. Ive found its left my skin smoother, more hydrated and there’s also been a marginal improvement in redness on my skin over the year too.  My personal favourite thing about this product though is how radiant it leaves my skin.  I don’t think I’ve ever found a skincare product that leaves my skin as glowing as this.

Kiehl’s essence contains something called LHA (Lipo Hydroxy Acid), this is a type of very gentle exfoliant which is what leaves my skin so radiant when I use it.  The velvety formula is  quickly absorbed into the skin and doesn’t feel heavy at all.  It’s important to note when using any chemical exfoliant (even a gentle one) that you make sure you are applying a product with a SPF daily (yes even in winter!).

Kiehl's Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence

The Cost of an Extra Skin Care Step

Kiehl’s Essence is fairly expensive to purchase at £38 a bottle however, I’ve been using mine twice daily for a year and there is still a tiny bit left. Overall I think that the price is quite good for lasting such a long time. There are of course a lot more essences available at different prices if you go looking for them. Kiehl’s is a western brand and not many western brands sell essences. If you’re brave enough to venture into the world of Korean skincare though you’re spoilt for choice and there’s something for every budget.

Korean Skincare

After seeing such amazing improvements with my skin from using an extra step in my skincare routine I’m keen to explore more of the Korean skincare routine and products. As a long term Kpop lover I’m always amazed at the skin of bands like Blackpink and BTS (in Korea men all use skincare products as much as the women), who wouldn’t want skin like that?

With that in mind I’m ditching my toiletries challenge for this year and spending some of my Christmas money on Korean Skincare products . I’ll be reporting in periodically over the year with how I’m getting on and reviewing some of the products available. I’m pleased I’m currently doing Veganuary as I’m a little put off by the current Korean skincare trend of snail creams which contain real snail slime….

Have you used an Essence before in your skin care routine? I’d love to hear what you’ve used and the difference it made


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