Essences aren’t new in the skincare world, but it wasn’t until recently more brands added them to their repertoire. An essence is a concentrated formula that targets wrinkles, fine lines, and dull skin. Most essences contain an active ingredient that promotes cell turnover. Eventually, the daily use of essences in your routine will lead to smoother and brighter skin. However, don’t be fooled by the promises that essences are somehow anti-aging powerhouses. I think of them as your skin’s multivitamin. Who Should Use this Essence Here’s the good thing about this product, because it’s almost entirely snail mucin filtrate, everyone should use it. But, you know I don’t believe in that “best for all skin types” stuff brands like to promote. To me, this product is a classic staple on everyone’s skincare routine, but those who need it have:
Anti-wrinkle face serums
Get rid of redness on face
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2 of my favorite asian skincare products
Skincare products vary a lot around the world, and Asian skincare has gained a reputation for being some of the best products around. I started incorporating some Asian skincare into my routine a few years ago, and now I can’t go without it! Here are two of my favorites. For reference, my skin is fair and acne prone, and my main concerns are healing texture and hyperpigmentation from acne. The first one is thePURITO - Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+ . I discovered this sunscreen after @whatsonvisface recommended it multiple times on instagram. I also saw a lot of people recommending it on the skincareaddiction subreddit. This sunscreen is typically around $15-$16 for 2oz, which is an excellent price. The SPF is great too: 50+! Here’s what I love about it and why I’ve repurchased it multiple times: ￼The texture is lightweight and sinks in easily ￼It has zero white cast ￼NO SUNSCREEN SMELL! No smell at all since this is unscented! ￼In addition to high SPF, it contains soothing ingredients like centella and niacinamide that are great for my acne prone skin ￼It layers well over other products and under makeup This checks all the boxes for me. It protects my skin, plays well with all my other products, and fits within my budget. This is the sunscreen I recommend to EVERYONE. The second product is a bit newer to me—I’ve been using the COSRX - Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence for about a month now. I got it because I was looking for a cheaper essence than May Coop’s raw sauce, and I had seen multiple skincare influencers recommend it. It’s 96% snail mucin, and it also has hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture. I bought it on Amazon for $15 for 3.38oz. Here’s why I love it: ￼The texture is like a thick essence, but not sticky like I feared ￼No scent ￼It feels incredibly soothing and moisturizing ￼It’s made a noticeable difference in my redness and hyperpigmentation due to acne ￼It helps my acne heal faster ￼It doesn’t pill This essence does everything I want it to do: it adds another layer of moisture and helps with acne and the marks left behind. It’s also very affordable—much more affordable than the essence I was using before! I use this in both my morning and night routines and it’s been working great for me. I plan to repurchase this and I would recommend it to anyone. #CheriePartner
Favourite acne scarring fading products?
2 years ago I had successes with COSRX - Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence and The Ordinary - Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% to fade mild acne scarring. More recently this year I had a bad breakout (see my profile for pictures) which left me with a lot of scarring, more than I’ve ever had in my life 🥺 so now I’m looking for something a bit stronger. I have tried PAULA'S CHOICE - Resist C15 Super Booster before my breakout, but I believe this was one of the causes of my breakouts so I’m hesitant to try this again, at least until my skin barrier is fuller recovered. The Ordinary - Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% works well with my skin but I feel results are slow. Maybe I’m impatient 😅 I have not tried Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Treatment Essence, DRUNK ELEPHANT - C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serumor SUNDAY RILEY - C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil yet due to the nature and stability of vitamin C, I’d like to try 1 product at a time. Have you tried these products? Let me know what results you’ve gotten with these products! Or feel free to share any products not listed here that worked for your skin!
Cosrx galactomyces tone balancing essence!
Cosrx “whitening” Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing essence has been a staple in my skincare routines for about 2 years now (and I’ve only gone through TWO bottles)! This essence is very unique, in my opinion, with its ability to brighten and even the skin tone while banishing redness. This product claims to brighten and even out the tone of dull, tired, skin with 95% galactomyces ferment filtrate. It also has hyaluronic acid and pantheons to boost moisture levels and plump the skin. The key ingredients in this gem are galactomyces ferment filtrate, niacinamide, and adenosine which are what is featured in the insta-famous SK-II essence. This is a perfect lightweight jelly texture that absorbs into the skin quickly. It does not tingle, feel irritating, or anything like that, maybe slightly cooling. My skin definitely drinks it up in the morning, and it banishes all redness right away leaving my skin bouncy. I do feel like this significantly helps even the tone but also lighten any acne scarring or PIH I may be struggling with. I think this essence would be great for any skin type that is in need of extra hydration and an even skin tone. I think this works well even with sensitive skin to banish redness. Cosrx suggests that you apply after cleansing and toning with about 2-3 pumps for your entire face. I like to smooth it in and then pat in to finish. I find it helps the following products in my routine to absorb better, as well. This product is free of any fragrance, alcohol, or any other irriatants. I typically purchase this product from Amazon for $19.50 per 100ml/3.38 fl oz. I find the price incredibly reasonable for how long this product will last, and the great results it delivers. I highly recommend this product.COSRX - Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
COSRX-Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
Vitamin C for Acne Prone Skin!
If you’re familiar with my content you know I’m a big fan of the Volition Strawberry-C Serum. It’s a great vitamin C serum that is fungal-acne safe and I’ve found doesn’t exacerbate existing breakouts and helps to minimize the appearance of acne scars. Vitamin C serums are great for acne prone skin because it helps to brighten and even out the complexion. This serum is powered by vitamin-C derived from strawberries and is targeted at normal, dry, combination and oily skin types looking to combat enlarged and clogged pores, dryness, dullness and uneven texture. What makes this product such a standout to me is its consistency and it’s ability to work well alongside literally any other product I layer it up with. I find with acne-prone skin, it’s easy to overwhelm the skin with product and lead to more bumps and texture. With this serum, the viscous but very spreadable pink serum glides over the skin and sinks in immediately, ready for the next products to be layered on top. I’ve been using this serum for a little under a year now and I have a back up ready to go when I run out! I decided to try this serum because I was interested in the brand Volition first of all, and second of all because I was intrigued by the use of strawberries in this formula. I’m really appreciating how brands are branching out from oranges to find other ingredients to derive vitamin C from. This formula includes both strawberry fruit and strawberry seed extract to brighten dull skin, unclog pores and remove excess oil. I definitely feel like this does what it says it does by the way it feels on my skin both after application and throughout a day’s wear. Other standout ingredients include Kakadu plum to reduce the appearance of redness that may be from PIH or from active breakouts, as well as reinforcing skin’s luminosity. Of course it also includes hyaluronic acid, a staple ingredient to plump up skin. While a lot of formulas containing hyaluronic acid seem to overwhelm my skin (particularly in the humid months, as hyaluronic acid extracts moisture and gives it to the skin), I find this formula has hit the perfect sweet spot of plumping and moisturizing without going into overdrive. The ingredients list is also super clean which of course I appreciate. It’s got Cucumber water, radish root extract, the strawberry derivates discussed, sodium hyaluronate, and ascorbic acid as the first few ingredients and there’s not much else to it! I really love this serum. It’s not the most potent vitamin C serum I’ve tried by any means, but it does gently and effectively combat redness and control oil while keeping my skin moisturized and clear of impurities. I’d recommend this to anyone with acne prone skin fighting minor discoloration or with fungal acne seeking a serum that won’t feed the malessezia on the skin. It’s not cheap, $42 for 1 oz, but it lasts a very long time and I’m not even halfway through this bottle. If you seriously struggle with dark spots I’d suggest looking elsewhere for a stronger vitamin C, but if you’re looking for maintenance this is a great option. It spreads out like a dream and works wonderfully with every product I’ve used in combination with it (and there have been many!) 5/5 from me for my particular skin needs (combination, acne prone, dehydrated)!
VOLITION-Strawberry-C Brightening Serum
The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is the kind of product I can’t be without, because my skin will look worse after a few days. Azelaic acid is also the most underrated ingredient out there. At least in my opinion. It’s an active that brightens the skin, helps with spots and inflammation, helps with redness and can even help with skin texture (that one will take time though). Unlike other acids, azelaic acid is suitable for sensitive skin: It will even help with rosacea (Skinoren and other 20% formulations are a common rosacea treatment, prescription only though). Let’s talk personal experience: My skin didn’t get brighter, I use loads of vitamin C though, so my skin was “bright” to begin with. It might help you with that, who knows! Then why do I love it so much? Azelaic acid was the one product that finally got rid of those annoying small bumps on my chin and cheeks that never quite turned into pimples but also never quite disappeared. Azelaic acid also makes my skin look so much calmer and less red. I ran out of it once and three days later my skin was bumpy and red again. Apart from plumping serums, no other product has such an immediate effect on my skin! Warning: it’s super silicone-y. I know that many people avoid silicones. I was actually one of them for years. Guess what changed that? Yup, also azelaic acid. I was super scared of silicone blocking my pores and giving me more bumps, so I completely avoided it. After using a few The Ordinary products, I really wanted to try azelaic acid though, it sounded so promising. After lots of back and forth I finally did. When my pores didn’t get blocked and my skin didn’t break out I slowly introduced other silicone-containing products and realised that I don’t react to any of them. Thanks azelaic acid!
The Ordinary-Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
A few regulars in my rotation lately. The missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Mist is the mist form of the classic essence. It's so incredibly gentle and dispenses such a fine mist. I find this so hydrating and calming when my eczema/perioral dermatitis are acting up. I've literally sprayed this straight into my eyes (I'm clumsy) and if anything it felt soothing. Bought this myself and will buy it again. The tula aqua infusion power liquid is a hydrating serum that includes hyaluronic acid as well as probiotics. I just love how well it hydrates and absorbs into my skin without feeling thick or sticky. I've been using the bioclarity clarifying masque frequently lately, but just the tiniest dollop on my chin instead of all over my face. The clay and tea tree oil in this super smooth detoxifying mask seem to calm inflammation and itchiness from the dermatitis on my chin whenever it chances to act up. Bumps look more flattened the day after using and it gets rid of redness. This is one of my favorite clay masks lately!
TULA SKINCARE-Aqua Infusion Power Liquid
N e w b i e theinkeylist Retinol Serum Retinol seems to be the only thing that can keep my acne at bay. Skin has been wild lately without it and I've just introduced this serum into my routine. This particular serum is 1% stable retinol and 0.5% granactive retinoid with Squalane for hydration and nourishment. My thoughts on the serum, it's a lightweight formula that absorbs quickly, doesn't leave any stickiness, oiliness and doesn't leave my skin feeling dry. I get no irritation from using this and it's really helped speed up the process of bringing my cystic/nodule pimples to a head. For those who aren't sure what retinol/retinoids do, here's a brief summary 👇🏻 Retinoids and Retinol are derivatives of vitamin A and have been proven to boost collagen production thus reducing fine lines and wrinkles, speeds up cell turnover helping battle hyperpigmentation, soothing inflammation, rosacea and keeps acne at bay.
THE inkey LIST-Retinol Anti-Aging Serum
Krave Great Barrier Relief This is a thicker serum so if you have oily skin I think you could probably wear it alone as a moisturizer, I have combination skin but I am always battling dehydration so I layer this after other serums before my moisturizer. This serum works wonders for me. When I started testing this out I was having one of the worst breakouts I have had in months. I simplified my routine and added this in. My breakouts started healing quicker than usual, my skin felt less irritated and my redness reduced immensely. I also noticed that the marks left behind by those blemishes were less red and seemed to fade upon continued use. I am blown away by this serum and at $28 this is something I always want to have on hand.
Krave-Great Barrier Relief
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