Top Face Essences for Sensitive & Combo Skin

Imagine dabbing miracle water on your face - one that will instantly make your skin glow. Since we’re far from discovering that miracle water, we’re shifting the limelight to the skin product that actually comes close - face essences

If you’ve heard of SK-II, then you’ve heard of facial essences. This luxurious Japanese skincare brand has created one of the most iconic essences out there! But first things first - what is an essence, and should you add it to your skincare routine? Find out here.

What is a Face Essence?

When you compare essences to toners and face mists, they might seem similar at first. It’s true that there can be an overlap, but it’s generally agreed that essences are lightweight - much lighter and waterier than a serum or moisturiser. 

The New York Times calls the face essence an amalgam of serum, moisturiser, and toner. While it may not technically replace all three, a skincare essence certainly packs a punch for your skincare routine. 

What Does an Essence Do?

The overall role of a face essence is to hydrate, regenerate, and improve the skin while making it ready to absorb other moisturising and nourishing products better. Think of it as a skincare primer - the same way that you’d use a makeup primer to improve the performance of your makeup, so too does a face essence. 

Just like skincare serums, an essence can be packed with highly beneficial ingredients for the skin. Some of these star ingredients can include the classics that you know and love, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. Some essences have signature ingredients that you won’t find in other skincare products.

For example, SK-II Facial Treatment Essence features a star ingredient Pitera, which is actually a fermented ingredient that is exclusive to SK-II.

Unlike serums, essences tend to be more lightweight and watery, while still having formulas that target common skin concerns such as anti-ageing and firmness.

Benefits of a Facial Essence for Skin

How Do You Use a Face Essence? 

Facial essences can make your skin more ready for richer, heavier skin care products that are meant to deliver intense hydration. It is recommended to apply face essence after cleansing and toning, and before applying heavier skin products like serums, creams, and face gels. 

Add a few drops onto your palm and apply the essence to your face and neck. Our favourite tip is to make sure to pat your essence in until fully absorbed before moving onto the next step of your skincare routine!

Face Essence for Different Skin Types

Can face essences be suitable for all skin types? Definitely - they’re not exclusively for certain skin concerns! Here’s a round-up of the essences we recommend for specific skin types and concerns.

Best Essence for All Skin Types

The all-rounder essence that works for all skin types has to be the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. 

This is a cult-favourite product that absorbs quickly into your skin, infusing it with Pitera, their patented fermented skincare ingredient. Studies conducted by SK-II found that their unique essence improved skin firmness and luminosity over time, thanks to the unique fermented ingredient.


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is an award-winning, iconic skincare product - and for good reason. This lightweight essence is packed with Pitera™, SK-II’s trademarked skincare ingredient that’s rich in more than 50 micronutrients that nourish and benefit your skin. One bottle of this Miracle Water is sold every two seconds.


Best Essence for Combination Skin

The hunt for essences for combination skin isn’t complicated. When dealing with both oil and dryness, look for hero ingredients like green tea, and niacinamide. 

Another star ingredient is thermal water and ferments, such as in the Omorovicza Omoroessence. A combination of these two helps to keep skin hydrated while minimising the appearance of pores for refined, flawless skin.


Omorovicza Omoressence
Omorovicza Omoressence
This lightweight essence from Omorovicza contains their stair ingredient: soothing Hungarian Thermal Water. It naturally contains minerals that help to soothe and hydrate skin.


Best Essence for Dry Skin

Essences for dry skin need to deliver the right amount of hydration - this is most effectively done with ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and other hydration-boosting skincare ingredients.The Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Moisture Essence features a whole slew of them, plus antioxidants to help nurture skin from within.


Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Moisture Essence
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Moisture Essence
Quench your skin's thirst with Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Moisture Essence. This lightweight and hydrating essence is formulated with a potent blend of marine and plant actives, including Padina Pavonica and Chlorella, to deliver intense moisture and hydration to the skin. 


Best Essence for Oily Skin

When it comes to an essence for oily skin, lightweight texture and the ability to minimise pores are king. That’s why we suggest the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion. It’s similar to the original treatment essence but features some exfoliating ingredients to refine the look of pores and mattify skin.


SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Pitera
SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Pitera
Combined with Pitera™, SK-II’s signature anti-ageing skincare ingredient, the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion is the perfect gentle exfoliator for your skincare routine!


Best Essence for Normal Skin

Normal skin can benefit from an essence that boosts hydration, maintaining a healthy moisture barrier and ensuring the efficacy of the rest of your skincare routine. The Dior Capture Total Intensive Essence Lotion is formulated with one of the best skincare ingredients for this: niacinamide.


Dior Capture Totale Intensive Essence Lotion
Dior Capture Totale Intensive Essence Lotion
This lightweight, hydrating essence is the perfect first step after cleansing. Formulated with an exclusive blend of Longoza Ferments, Dior Capture Totale Intensive Essence Lotion harnesses the power of probiotic skincare ingredients to boost skin health and defy the signs of ageing.


Best Essence for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin has unique needs - it’s more prone to losing hydration through a weak moisture barrier. That’s why we’ve chosen the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Youth Restoring Essence. Ceramides work on the skin by rebuilding the moisture barrier, improving hydration and reducing sensitivity. 


Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Youth Restoring Essence
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Youth Restoring Essence
Restore balanced hydration and moisture levels with this skin barrier-friendly, hydrating essence from Elizabeth Arden. Fuelled by three different types of Ceramides plus super-powered humectants like Hyaluronic Acid and Panthenol, the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Youth Restoring Essence is the missing link you need in your skincare routine.


Best Anti-Ageing Essence

This unique skincare essence is formulated with one of the most luxurious skincare ingredients: caviar extract. What makes caviar so good for skin is a unique blend of fatty acids and vitamins that help to nurture skin, smoothing the appearance of fine lines and minimising the look of age spots on skin.


La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence In Lotion
La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence In Lotion
La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion enriches your skin with the benefits of this luxurious ingredient - it boosts hydration, neutralises free radicals, and deeply moisturises your skin for unparalleled radiance. An essence like this one is the perfect way to start your skincare routine - morning and night.


Best Essence for Dark Spots

Dark spots and hyperpigmentation can be tricky to fade - but not impossible. Supplementing your skincare routine with the right essence can help lighten the look of these pesky blemishes. 

One of our faves is this ultra-luxurious Korean essence from The History of Whoo. The Illuminating Refining Essence features Niacinamide and Ginseng Extract to lighten the look of dark spots on skin, revealing a glowing complexion.


The History Of Whoo Illuminating Refining Essence
The History Of Whoo Illuminating Refining Essence
Introducing the ultimate solution for a brighter, smoother, and more radiant complexion – The History Of Whoo Illuminating Refining Essence, now available at Beauty Affairs.


Skincare Essences: Final Points

Essences are essential - it can transform your skincare routine from basic to best. Add an essence to your routine to address skin concerns quickly, and to make products work better. For better-looking skin, don’t skip the essence - it’s one of the secrets to skin that glows.

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published