Face Essence vs Serum vs Toner : What’s The Difference?

Face Essence vs Serum vs Toner : What’s The Difference?

Authored by : Shreya Dalela
  • 14 January 2024
  • 7 mins read

If you are a Korean beauty fan, then you might have already heard about the popular skincare product called "Face Essence." A face essence is a nourishing liquid that has become an essential part of the daily skin care regimen for millions of people worldwide.

Today, it’s a part of many skincare regimens, and there are Ayurvedic formulations like Kumkumadi Bi-Phase Essence that provide all the benefits of a face essence.

Formulated with potent nourishing and hydrating ingredients, a skin essence is just the product you need for restoring hydration and balance. In this article, let's discuss what a face essence is, how it is different from the serums and toners, how it benefits your skin, and why it is an essential part of your daily skincare routine.

In this article, let's discuss what a face essence is, how it is different from the serum and toners, how it benefits your skin, and why it is an essential part of your daily skincare routine.

What Is Face Essence?

Originating from the K-beauty industry, a face essence essentially works as a primer for your moisturizer while giving your skin a lot of extra benefits. A facial essence, not to be confused with a toner or a serum, has a lower molecular weight and works to penetrate deeper into the skin than a regular moisturizer. 

This nourishing liquid combines multiple elements of a skincare routine in just one step. Along with hydrating and re-balancing your skin, it also uses highly concentrated levels of active ingredients to penetrate deeper into your skin barrier. The extra hydration that it gives your skin preps the skin to better absorb all the goodness of the following products, even more so than usual.

Plainly speaking, a face essence is predominantly used to boost the benefits of other skincare products that you use on your skin. Therefore, if you want to obtain a super hydrated, dewy skin, you should include a moisturizing essence in your skincare arsenal.

Essence Vs. Toner - What Is The Difference?

Unlike the face essence, toner is basically an alcohol-based skincare product; it is applied right after cleansing to provide your skin with a deeper cleanse. A good toner also helps tighten pores, create a smoother complexion, and balance skin tone. 

In addition, a toner works best for oily and acne-prone skin, while a face essence is beneficial and appropriate for all skin types.

When you look at the bottle of face essence, you might definitely think - Is it just a toner? However, while a facial essence looks like a toner, they both perform two different functions on your skin.

Essence Vs. Serum - What Is The Difference?

Generally, face serum is much thicker and denser than a face essence. This means it works to penetrate even deeper into your skin. The primary role of serum is to help specific issues like acne, discoloration, aging, etc. Moreover, it also needs to be applied before a moisturizer to lock it into the skin thoroughly.

Though both serum and essence contain high levels of active ingredients, they evidently have different roles in a complete skincare routine.

Which Is The Best Natural Face Essence?

There are a host of face essences available in the market, but not all do the job well. If you are looking for the best skin essence that is natural, guilty-free, and doesn't do any kind of harm to your skin, the we recommend you the best natural face essence available in the market - Kama Ayurveda's Kumkumadi Brightening Bi-phase Essence

Kama Ayurveda's Kumkumadi Brightening Bi-phase Essence

The Kumkumadi Brightening Bi-phase Essence is a unique skin essence packed with potent ingredients to hydrate, illuminate and leave your skin with an instant natural glow. 

Kumkumadi oil, one of the primary ingredients of the essence, is an ayurvedic formulation that contains potent herbs to brighten dull skin and enhance radiance.

Pure Kashmiri Saffron in this lightweight skin essence gives your skin a dewy, golden look. The Liquorice helps in brightening and removing excess melanin from your skin. The Aloe Vera leaf juice, with its abundance of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, will help soothe and heal your skin. All the excellent properties of the plant-based emollients will smooth out the skin texture while lending a subtle sheen. 


  1. The Kumkumadi brightening bi-phase skin essence from Kama Ayurveda helps lock the moisture and impart a natural glow to your skin.
  2. Vitamin E, one of the most potent antioxidants, in the face essence, helps hydrate and strengthen the skin's natural barrier.
  3. Kama Ayurveda's skin essence is lightweight and doesn't leave any sticky residue. It makes the product easy to apply.

How To Use:

Shake well before spritzing onto the face and neck after cleansing and toning the skin. Gently pat on the skin. Later apply sunscreen, night cream, or moisturizer. You can also use it on the go whenever needed.

What Does A Facial Essence Do?

A facial essence primarily helps better absorb additional products like a serum or moisturizer you apply to your skin. As it treats your skin on a cellular level, you will see more results from your essence than any other product you use. With regular usage, your skin becomes smoother and brighter. It will definitely not turn back time but will revitalize your skin to look more youthful.

In addition to providing the necessary hydration, a face essence can also help in - 

  1. Protecting skin barrier
  2. Boosting the health of your skin
  3. Rehydrating the skin cells
  4. Balancing skin's pH
  5. Smoothening and softening the skin epidermis.

A recent study investigated the impact of a 12-week treatment of serum and essence on skin. In the study, the participants were asked to apply essence and serum twice daily. After 12 weeks, the researchers found improvements in hydration, firmness, lift, and elasticity. Depending on the other active ingredients in essence, they also found additional benefits like anti-acne and anti-aging. 

In a study conducted in 2015, the researchers found that most plant-based skincare products are rich in antioxidants that help exhibit both UV protection and anti-aging benefits. These benefits are most likely to be found in essences that contain plant-based formulations.

When and How To Use A Face Essence?

A face essence should be spritzed after cleansing and toning and before applying serum or moisturizer.

If you want to include essence to your skincare regimen, you should try the following simple routine.

Step 1: Rinse your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. You can use Kama Ayurveda's Kumkumadi Brightening Cleansing Oil.

Step 2: Next, apply the toner. To apply, you can use either a cotton pad or just your fingers. Try Kama Ayurveda's pure Rose/ Vetiver/ Lavender water.

Step 3: Spritz 4 to 5 squirts of the Kama Ayurveda's Kumkumadi Brightening Bi-phase Skin Essence onto your face and neck. Do not rub or massage the product in the skin. Just a few gentle pats will do the trick.

Step 4:  If you are using a serum, apply it right before your moisturizer. You can use Kama Ayurveda’s Urjasara Hydrating And Replenishing Oil as a face serum. Apply a nourishing natural day cream and follow with a sunscreen like Kama Ayurveda's Natural Sun Protection before stepping out.

Remember, you will always have to apply skin products from light (toner) to heavy (moisturizer). This way, your skin absorbs each product separately. Adding a face essence to this arsenal will help boost skin absorption even more. 

FAQs About Face Essence

Q1: How does Face Essence differ from Serum and Toner?

A: Face essence is lighter than a serum and more concentrated than a toner. Essences hydrate and aid in skin repair and cell turnover, while serums target specific skin concerns like wrinkles or dark spots. Toners primarily cleanse and balance the skin's pH.

Q2: How do I apply Face Essence?

A: After cleansing and toning, apply a small amount of essence to your face and neck. Gently pat the product into the skin using your fingertips to aid absorption.

Q3: Can Face Essence be used on all skin types?

A: Yes, face essences are generally suitable for all skin types. However, it's important to choose an essence that caters to your specific skin concerns, such as oiliness, dryness, or sensitivity.

Q4: When should I use Face Essence in my skincare routine?

A: Use face essence after cleansing and toning, and before applying serum and moisturizer. It is typically used both in the morning and evening skincare routines.

Q5: Are there any side effects of using Face Essence?

A: Face essences are generally safe, but as with any skincare product, they can cause reactions in people with sensitive skin or allergies. Always patch test a new product before applying it to your face.

Q6: How long does it take to see results from using Face Essence?

A: Results can vary, but generally, you might start to see improvements in skin hydration and texture within a few weeks of regular use.

Q7: Can Face Essence replace my moisturizer?

A: No, face essence is not a replacement for moisturizer. It is an additional step in the skincare routine that adds extra hydration and prepares the skin for moisturizer.

Q8: Is Face Essence necessary in a skincare routine?

A: While not essential, face essence can be a beneficial addition to a skincare routine, especially for those looking to boost hydration and overall skin health.

Q9:  Can I use Face Essence instead of Serum?

A:Essences are lightweight and primarily designed to hydrate and prepare the skin for subsequent products. Serums, on the other hand, are more concentrated and targeted for specific skin concerns like aging, pigmentation, or acne. While you can use an essence for added hydration, it should not be considered a complete replacement for a serum, especially if you have specific skin issues you're addressing. For the best results, using both in your routine – essence first, followed by serum – is recommended.

About the Author
Shreya Dalela
Shreya Dalela

Shreya Dalela is a certified Yoga instructor and a professional dancer trained at The Danceworx. She’s passionate about Ayurveda and holistic living with over 6 years of experience in doing extensive research and content creation in the domain.

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