Cleanser, toner, essence, serum, moisturiser, eye cream… slow down! So what is the difference between a toner, essence and serum? The most important step in Korean Skin Care is what is called the essence. It has a light texture and moisturizes the skin. Depending on the ingredients and essence, it can accelerate cell renewal. The essence is always refreshing and ensures a radiant and smooth complexion. A dream that every woman wants, not just Koreans.


Let’s talk about toners. Toners as we have them in the Western Society. After you cleanse your face, the consumer is being told by the industry, you are suppose to use a toner. A step that is common in western skin care regimens. Once upon a time, during a conversation with a dermatologist, she told me that toners were invented because soap used to be so harsh that it would raise the pH of your skin to unhealthy levels. Brands then emerged with the idea to introduce a toner claiming it can then bring the skin’s surface pH back to normal. Have you ever seen actually scientific results from brands showing tests how it balanced the pH after the usage of their toner and by how much? Today, that’s not really an issue anymore with all the gentle face cleansers we have. Everyone heavily promoting the use of gentle, non-drying and non-stripping cleansers as the awareness grows around the skin microbiome. Now most toners seem unnecessary but the idea of it being required still remains. Why? Unless you simply like to add another step – fine. But from a skin care perspective, a skin need perspective – there isn’t a need. Most toners contain flower waters and then a list of essential oils and preservatives. How can this balance the skin pH?

The easiest way to recognise a toner? They’re generally very watery, 90% consist of water and come in larger bottles.


OK, so your face is cleansed. Technically this is when you  could use an essence, but I’m going to keep you in suspense… just a tiny bit longer to talk about serums, which is a category I LOVE. I love serums. I’m addicted. I have serum rituals, I enjoy exploring new serums, come up with new ideas…. I LOVE creating serums although my favourite serum is our Glow Serum – not being bias here ;)

Generally, a serum contains a few key active ingredients to address specific issues like brightening, dark spots, wrinkles, blemishes, etc. The actives are usually more concentrated than what you’ll find in, say, a moisturising cream. Serums  are of a lighter consistency than a cream and sink very quickly into the skin.

Aura Essence


So, what the hell is an essence or Essence Toner then?

In a nutshell, Essence is a modern serum. Serum used to be greasier, thicker in consistency, while packed with actives. Essences used to be a Korean phenomena. It has lightweight texture but it is as concentrated as a serum. Essence is an English word that was used in the Korean language as the treatment. And people understood it then as the essential step in the skincare routine. They are lighter formulation and thinner than serums but still very mighty. They have a texture between a toner – but not as watery – and a serum. Hence, Essences are able to penetrate the skin quickly. They provide the skin with hydration and evening out the skin tone to bring back the skin’s glow. Another advantage of essences: they prepare the skin after the cleansing step to transport other actives better into the skin. That is why professionals tend to see them as an intermediate step in skin care.

The difference to a serum is therefore only very small and easily be named as serum as well.

How to use an Essence

Apply with your fingertips after cleansing and apply either the Glow Serum, a Face Oil or Day Cream. This depends on your skin’s need. And if you need support, please feel free to contact us. It is essential to pay attention to the individual skin needs: In the case of oily combination skin, an essence in combination with a serum can replace day care in summer, for example. In the case of very sensitive skin, it is better to feel your way slowly towards the next intermediate step – otherwise there is a risk of the skin being over-fed with unsightly pimples and redness.


Clear as an essence now? :)

For oily skin you can use our Aura Hydration Essence and Everyday Glow Serum and it shall be effective for your skin. If you are tending to have drier skin, you can combine Aura Hydration Essence with our Everyday Face Oil and ideally mix the Everyday Face Oil with our Everyday Day Cream. We love adding a few drops of our Everyday Face Oil into our Everyday Day Cream. If you having dehydrating skin or blemish prone skin and generally feel your skin is dull and experiencing a lack of glow – use Aura Hydrating Essence and the Everyday Glow Serum to even out your skin tone followed by our Everyday Face Oil.

Any questions, please let us know.