A standard skincare routine probably includes cleansing, toning, serum and moisturiser - but what if I told you that sandwiching another product in there can make a huge difference? I'm talking about adding an essence to your skincare routine.

I like to think of essences as like a serum/toner hybrid and I believe they originate or were popularised in Korea (but I'm not 100% sure). I apply an essence after toning, but before eye cream and serum. Here are some of my favourites:
This is my saviour when my skin is a bit hormonal. It contains Vitamin E which my skin loves - it's the ingredient I give my skin the most when it's irritated, it's so soothing. This essence - as the name would suggest - is particularly aimed at calming redness. I find it very effective, I'd say redness in my face whether it's caused by a spot, hormones or irritation, is all least 80% gone after using it for two days. 

My very, very favourite essence has to be Omoroessence by Omorovicza. The smell is honestly what has my heart the most - it's like fresh sea air. I know that sounds odd, but it really reminds me of that! It's enriched with Hungarian Thermal Water (the famous ingredient in all of Omorovicza's products) and humectant (stops moisture escaping from your skin) amino acids. As well as rhamnose polysaccharide, which stops bacteria accumulating on the skin. I find it very refreshing and very hydrating. The whole glass bottle packaging and beautiful scent makes this product feel very luxurious, so - in my opinion - worth the high price tag. 

I've got a mini travel size version of this essence that I've been trying out lately. I was really drawn to it containing glycolic acid to gently exfoliate. It's fairly high up on the ingredients list meaning it makes up a decent % of the formula (i.e it's not just thrown in so they can use it as a marketing claim)  so I use it every other day, over a hydrating toner rather than over an acid toner. It definitely does make my skin look a little brighter immediately after use - and I like to use acids very consistently. 
Pixi's essence is definitely the prettiest in my collection! It's literally petals suspended in liquid - how cool is that?! It contains flower oils so it's got an almost oily feel to it rather than just runny liquid, but without being greasy or anything. I like this as it's pure hydration; it's simple - like all of Pixi's skincare I've tried, it's not trying to be all singing and dancing. It hydrates; it won't make you look 10 years younger, and it won't increase collagen production exponentially. But it cocoons your skin in a sweetly fragranced and light textured essence. 

My pick with the highest price tag: I chose this one up because I was attracted, again, by the glycolic acid (it's seemingly in a higher % than in the Caudalie counterpart). The others I've mentioned are more watery, but this one is a little more milky, with a much silkier texture - but is still very light weight. This resembles more of a serum than a toner. It's much richer in this sense and so feels more comforting on particularly dry skin. I definitely feel like it improves skin texture and the evenness of skin tone after a short period of use, as well as obviously feels immediately soft and soothing. 
In short, I highly recommend you incorporate an essence into your routine, it's a small extra step but makes such a big difference. If you have the budget, splurge on the Murad essence (especially if you need gentle exfoliation) or the Omoressence (if dehydration is your main concern). On the slightly less luxurious end of the spectrum, I'd suggest Caudalie for exfoliation; Pixi for hydration and Dermalogica for soothing/calming irritated skin.

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Have you used an essence before - what's your favourite?

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^I have received this product in PR at some point, but the particular one I'm talking about was purchased with my own money. 

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