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Posted by Beauty Staff


Looking for an awesome way to supercharge your skincare routine? Including a serum, essence, or ampoule to your daily regimen just might do the trick. But, what the heck are the differences between each of these treatment products and how do you find out which one is right for you? Never fear, we are here to break it down for you!

The difference between serums, essences, and ampoules and your traditional face creams is that they don't waste space on ingredients like emollients or thickeners, which allow the higher concentration of active ingredients to be the hero. Instead of trying to be an all-in-one product, these typically focus on addressing one specific skin care concern such as anti-aging, whitening, exfoliating, firming, and so on.

Serums: A serum is a light, fast-absorbing liquid used to deliver a high concentration of effective treatment ingredients and nutrients straight to your skin. There’s no funny business here; serums definitely pack a punch when it comes to addressing target issues. They are also the most recognized and most commonly used among the bunch worldwide.


Check Out: Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum 

Essences: This is where things might get a bit confusing for some. South Koreans commonly refer to their serums as essences. However, there are some key differences between the two. Essences are traditionally known to be a lighter, more "watered-down serum," so they are known to be less concentrated than typical serums. As more serums are making their way to South Korea, and essences are becoming more recognized and popular throughout the rest of the world, the lines are starting to become blurred thanks to the increasing presence of lighter serums and thicker essences. However, in the traditional sense, these two still differ in viscosity and concentration of its ingredients.

Check Out: Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence 

Ampoules: Ampoules are the heavy-weight, powerhouse of the group. An ampoule is a supercharged serum that has the highest concentration of active ingredients out of the three. Because of its potency, ampoules typically are not intended for daily use or for extended periods of use. Instead, they are to be layered on before your essence or serum to boost your routine when your skin needs some extra TLC. Some people use their ampoules once a week, a couple of days a week, or daily for a week or two at a time. It really just depends on your skin’s needs.

Check Out: Mizon Natural Seed Bal-Hyo Ampoule 

Conclusion: All three are part of the treatment family and they will all do wonders for your skin. Choosing an essence, serum, or ampoule, will depend on the treatment you’re looking for, the level of potency of the active ingredient, and the viscosity or thickness of the treatment. We recommend starting by choosing one with the right ingredients to fit your skin concerns and assess how high of a concentration your skin will actually need. Be careful, though, higher potency doesn't always mean it's better! Thickness and moisture plays a vital role in the healthiness of your skin and a light essence might work even better for you depending on your skin type and preferences.

It's also totally cool to layer them as well!  We typically recommend using a traditional essence that's on the lighter side, along with a lighter serum to deliver the most hydration to your skin without being too thick and clogging your pores. Layering is a great way to give your skin that one-two punch of rejuvenating goodness.

My Regimen Example: My personal routine includes an essence and a serum after my toner and before my moisturizer, while cycling in an ampoule only when my skin needs the extra boost, whether it be for anti-aging, whitening or firming. My current favorite daily essence and serum is: 

Check Out: TonyMoly Intense Care Galactomyces First Essence

I love this essence! First off, it's super affordable for what you're getting! It has one of the highest concentration of the galactomyces ferment filtrate at a whopping 94.5%. And, if you don't know the benefits of fermented skincare products, stay tuned and follow our blog as I'll be going over the benefits in an upcoming post in the near future. The pure yeast booster does wonders when it comes to revitalizing my skin tone and texture, bringing new life to my skin on those days where I clearly didn't get enough sleep. It provides just enough moisture that I feel comfortable layering with a serum. If you're going to be using this in conjunction with an ampoule, I would recommend using the even lighter TonyMoly Intense Care Galactomyces Lite Essence



Check Out: Mizon Skin Recharge Activating Serum

This serum has been great for my skin type in combination with my essence. With both essence and serum, this combination has allowed me to address most of my skin concerns. As I continue to age, I've noticed a significant increase in wrinkles and laugh lines (I giggle way too much). After switching to this serum, though, I've noticed a difference in my skin's smoothness and firmness, and also saw a reduction in some of the laugh lines I have around my forehead and mouth. Paired with the Galactomyces First Essence, my skin feels super hydrated, and the amino acids and minerals help strengthen, lift, and tighten my skin. I highly recommend trying this serum, depending on your skin type and needs!

That's it, folks! I hope that was informative for you! Feel free to contact us at support@hellocos.com if you have any questions. Our beauty experts would love to talk products with you!