Essences are still a bit of a weird concept in Western skincare, I think. Most of my friends don’t even know what to make of a serum – my closest friends opt for a 3-step routine of removing makeup with face wipes (shudders), some foaming cleanser, then slap some sort of moisturiser on top and call it a day (shudder intensifies).
Essences, as far as I’m aware, go on after your toner and before any serums, moisturisers, ampoules, oils, sunscreens and the like. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t. I love buying skincare items, and I am quite good at using up my skincare fully before moving on to the next overhyped item, so you’ll never see me wasting any skin care items or using them past their expiry date. So how did I like isoi’s blemish care tonic essence?
What it is
It is a clear, slightly viscous liquid, but still rather watery and runny. Be mindful of not accidentally pouring out too much in one go.
How does it apply?
You can either pour some on a cotton pad and wipe your face with it, or you could do as I do and pour some on your hand and pat it in. It absorbs relatively quickly without any greasy residue.
How does it smell?
It smells beautifully of old garden roses. An absolute delight.
How did I like it?
I actually wrote a raving review about its cousin over on Weebly if you want to check it out: isoi’s Blemish Care Serum Plus.
Here’s what I had to say about the serum back then:
It disinfects blemishes and calms them down so well. It was not harsh but moisturising and antiseptic. When I had active breakouts, it would reduce redness and brighten the skin overall. I also experienced much less acne overall.
My only gripe was that with the serum, a little did NOT go a long way, even though it was really good at calming my adult acne TF down. I was running out of it after a month of using a pump of it twice daily, and that, seriously, was a bit expensive for me when it was not that cheap to begin with (locally around KRW 32,000 per bottle, or ca USD30 for 30ml of product.
The essence, then, has a lot more product and it did take a few months to use up. It was… nice, don’t get me wrong. It moisturised a bit, and calmed my acne a little, too.
That being said, I think that the essence is like a highly diluted version of the serum. While it was nice, I did not – obviously – get the same effects that I was observing with the serum.
If you’re struggling with adult acne that needs both moisturising and disinfecting, I’d say you’re better off using the serum than the essence, even though the serum is more expensive.
The essence is still a nice product though, so if you can afford both, I’d say get both for a synergistic effect.