Debunking Toners, Lotions, Essences & Serums

Creating your perfect skincare regimen can be overwhelming—you walk into your local store and there’s a product for literally everything. As the skincare world continues to grow with new trends, and the West continues to adopt more Eastern remedies and traditions, essential skincare starts to get a little convoluted. While you’ve probably got your double cleanse down, we’re here to give you the lowdown on arguably the most important steps of your Japanese skincare routine: hydration. 

Toner Talk: Western vs. Eastern 

When we talk about hydration, toners aren’t usually included in the mix. The Western idea of a toner is an astringent—an alcohol-containing liquid used to remove excess oil and dirt from the skin. In other words, a third cleansing step that can be super drying. Starting off your routine with a double cleanse eliminates the need for the Western idea of a toner—and that’s where the Japanese version comes into play. These toners, a.k.a. toning lotions, are an alcohol-free liquid that is applied immediately after you cleanse. The purpose? Japanese lotions act as a gentle base layer of hydration packed with beneficial ingredients, making your skin more amenable for what’s next in your routine. Sometimes they’re referred to as toning lotions, sometimes just lotions (like our Soothing Lotion ), but what remains true either way is that they’re ultra-hydrating and an ultra-necessary step in your routine.

Divide & Conquer: Essences & Serums

Now that you’ve prepped your skin for success, you’re ready for the next step: targeted skincare. But here’s the deal. This step isn’t a necessity. Is it worth exploring? Definitely. If you’re looking to tackle or prevent issues like dryness, fine lines or dullness, then essences and serums are what you need. Both are concentrated and filled with nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins meant to target those specific skin concerns you have and prevent future ones. To put it simply, engaging in this extra step is like giving your face a mini-facial (and who doesn’t love facials?!). You can apply essences like our Platinum Silver Nanocolloid Milky Essence by patting and pressing the liquid gently into the skin for quick absorption. Serums on the other hand generally come in smaller bottles with a dropper or pump—because a little product goes along way. These bad boys, like our Super Collagen Supreme, should be gently massaged into the skin for absorption. The cool part about both of them is that they can be layered (if done correctly) to create the ultimate divide-and-conquer duo for your routine. 

The Bottom Line            

Though they have different ingredients and consistencies, toners, lotions, essences and serums all aim to enhance and hydrate our skin. Do some research and pick the ones that fit your personal skin concerns. Once you’ve pin-pointed your skin focus, you can test out different products and textures and find your holy grails. Discovering which products complement each other and layering them is the best way to get the most out of your routine. The coolest thing about a skincare regimen? You aren’t married to any one product or routine. Your rotation will always evolve depending on your skin’s needs—the most important part is how completing your routine makes you feel. If you’re happy, you’ll skin will be happy too!

By Alexandra Schultz

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