Where to Start with Korean Skin Care: Essences

If you’re going to start integrating Korean skin care products into your routine, I recommend starting with one of the following categories: cleansers, essences, or masks. These are some of the most unique and impactful products that the Korean market offers, and they are available in a delightful array. Here are some of the most beloved/well-reviewed, and my favorites.

Essences are really the cornerstone and defining characteristic of a Korean skin care regimen. They’re typically highly concentrated with active ingredients that are wide ranging and unique, and generally a bit off the beaten path from what we’re used to seeing at the cosmetics counter, e.g. snail slime, bee venom, fermented yeast, or bamboo sap. One thing to note is that the name “Essence” is generally generally used, and many products under that category should be used in different ways, so be sure to check descriptions and reviews.

missha time revolution first treatment essence benton benton snail bee high content essence

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence $45

This essence is chocked full of fermented yeast extract, which helps to improve skin texture and elasticity, and I’ve found that it really reduces the visibility of redspots and blemishes. It’s applied like a toner (immediately after cleansing) and comes in a big bottle that goes a long way. I use it in the morning and at night and love the dewy base it provides for the rest of my routine.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence $15

This essence has more of a watery-gel consistency and is one of the first products I started using that got me hooked on Korean skin care. It has snail slime and bee venom in it does wonders towards smoothing the overall texture and eveness of your skin by promoting cell turnover. It’s a very solid, very affordable product and a great way to dip your toe into a bigger regimen without breaking the bank. I use this AM and PM after my toners.

What skin care concerns are you looking to address through a new routine?

Discover Korean cleansers and masks to add to your routine.