What is an essence? Elementary, my dear
Newsflash: When it comes to saving your skin, essences are well, of the essence.
But wait, what in Miss Gorgeous’s name is an essence, anyway? In the bewildering beauty world we live in today, slapping on multiple serums and salves (not to mention boosters and pre-serums!) is par for the course, really – a luminous light-year away from the quaint old days when the only vaguely “exotic” elixir we had to tussle with was a toner …
Which leads us quite neatly to what essences most emphatically are not – they’re not your average toner. An easy way of wrapping your head around the concept is to think of toners as the last cleansing component of your skincare ritual. “While toners rids your skin of any residual gunk, essences should be regarded as targeted treatments,” says makeup maestro Dollei Seah.
Oh, and here’s a top tip that should please the penny-pinching budget barbies out there: Skipping cotton pads provides you more bang for your buck. “Using cotton to swipe on your watery essence on is such a waste, really,” laments Dollei. “I recommend warming up a few drops in your cupped palms, then pressing it into your freshly cleansed face.” Hands still damp? Spread the wealth and rub any excess essence into the nook of your elbows.
Intrigued but not sure where to start? Easy, no skin off your nose. Here’s a terrific trio of essential essences, for your perusal and purchasing consideration, please:
Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Essence, $43
This blue-bottled baby quenches parched skin like no other, at least in my beauty books. How does it work? There’s a ton of K-Tech behind this bubbly new K-Beauty treat, but it all “boils” down to carbonic acid and aqua amassed from an alpine aquifer.
The fizzling of this effervescent essence, you see, is the result of chemical lovechild of water and carbon dioxide, the marriage of which gives birth to carbonic acid and the familiar fizz of a chilled can of soda pop.
It’s not all spectacle for spectacle’s sake, either: Innisfree says the bubbling action drives moisturising minerals into your pores for a deep clean, with the “micro-massage” amping up blood circulation for beautifully rosy skin.
It’s fantastically fun, too: I love the pleasantly prickly tingle as the bubbles crackle and pop, and it really does afford me a noticeably brighter visage, even when I’ve been pulling all-nighters in the office!
Cosme Decorte AQ Meliority Makeup Essence 01 Makeup Base, $145
This plush potion is such an incredible investment. Why? You’re “essentially” getting an essence and makeup primer in one, for starters. And because this is Cosme Decorte we’re talking about, expect all the thoughtful touches emblematic of the quietly elegant J-Beauty brand: Plumping peptides, revitalising rice bran extract and a splash of hydrating white birch water.
Big beauty bonus: The perfectly respectable SPF 20/PA++ rating means that cubicle-dwelling folks should be able to skip sunscreen if they like. (Just remember to top up before venturing out into our searing streets!)
The satiny serum-like consistency makes for supremely comfortable wear in sweltering Singapore, and the universally flattering flush is fabulous on bare skin as a as a brightening base; on good skin days, this essence alone should suffice.
Need a tad more coverage? Easy: Tap tiny dots on your brow bone, cheeks and chin under your conventional foundie to lend light to specific focal points on your face, particularly on the highest plane of your cheekbones. I’ve found that this V-shaped contour lends my visage a sun-kissed smoulder – very fetching, very flirty, very natural. Will repurchase this in a heartbeat!
Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Oil in Essence, $145
As obsessed over oils as I am? Good, then Shu Uemura’s sensational new Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Oil in Essence should be right up your beauty alley.
This exquisite essence-oil hybrid comes chock-full with a carefully calibrated blend of eight botanical oils designed to calm any number of cosmetic ailments – with the bonus of being skin-tinglingly sensuous to the touch, too, like liquid cashmere caressing your face.
Toss in skin-softening geranium oil and plumping pro-xylane and you’ve got yourself one fancy facial treatment that lends itself well to any number of inventive beauty hacks. Try mixing this under your tinted sunscreen; the antioxidants in this essence means that you’ll get a double dose of free radical-fighting goodness. (The divine, dewy finish doesn’t hurt, too.)
You may also consider elevating your classic red lip with a holographic overlay of glistening Oil in Essence. Simply use a stiff angled brush to dab on a drop in the centre of your lips for a lustrous lacquered finish.
Or use it “neat “as is on bare skin for an restorative overnight treatment. One essence, multiple functions, three words: Grab it, guys. And pronto, too.
Want more? Check out why I’m crazy over this cleansing oil, which brightens and polishes my skin like no other on the market.