The Difference Between Serums, Essences And AmpoulePosted on 17/02/2020
If you’re into skincare, there’s a chance you’ve heard of the infamous Korean 10+ step face care regimen. When comparing to Western beauty, there’s bound to be some categories you’ve never heard of leaving you scratching your head – like essences and ampoules. Isn’t it just a serum or a clever marketing ploy? It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of skincare research, so thankfully we’ve done a bit to digging. Let’s get down to it.
What are serums?
A serum is used typically after your face is cleansed and toned. A serum contains key active ingredients such as Vitamin C to address specific issues like brightening, dark spots and wrinkles.
The actives are usually much more concentrated than what you would find in other products like a cleanser or moisturiser. Serums are thicker in consistency and sometimes oil-like. A little goes a long way, so you wouldn’t use too much of it. Serums come in a smaller and usually glass bottle with a dropper.
You can check out our range of serums here.
What is an essence?
A bit controversial in the Korean beauty world but an essence and a serum are almost essence-tially the same (pardon the pun). There’s a few things that make them slightly different.
Essences are more lightweight and less concentrated than serums. They were used after a toner to add another layer of hydration before you applied serums.
However, with the evolution of K beauty, we have seen serums getting more lightweight and essences are getting thicker. They both can contain high concentrations of active ingredients.
We’re finding the very words ‘essence’ and ‘serum’ becoming more marketing words now. The terms essence, serum and concentrate have become interchangeable now.
Both essence and serums have been used at the same treatment step of skincare to achieve similar results, that is, after the cleaning and toner stage.
You can check out our range of essences here.
So, this leaves us with ampoules
Ampoules are in the same category as essences and serums. An ampoule is a pocket rocket serum with a higher dosage of active ingredients. Because it’s super concentrated, you’re meant to use it for a finite period of time as a boost or when you’re having a skin crisis such as acne or need a pick-me-up for an event. It’s recommended to use them after your essence or serum.
Much like serums, ampoules usually come in smaller bottles with droppers.
You can check out our range of ampoules here.
What’s the verdict. Do I need them all?
Not necessarily. It’s important to figure out what your skin needs and choose products with ingredients that fit the bill. Don’t get too caught up in whether it’s a serum, essence or ampoule. Step aside and ignore everything on the label except the ingredients and purpose.
After you figure out the right ingredients for your skin needs, pick a texture that suits you. Try different textures to see what you like – do you need heavier or matte textures, etc. Don’t get too bogged down into what a skincare regimen should look like. Your skincare routine continually evolves.
Overall, no matter which or how many products you use, the K beauty rule-of-thumb is to apply the most ‘watery’ product first and then gradually the thickest or richest last.
What’s your fave serum, essence or ampoule? We’d love to know.
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