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Skincare Essentials: What Sets Essence, Toner, and Serum Apart

December 10, 2023
Skincare Essentials: What Sets Essence, Toner, and Serum Apart

Ready to level up your skincare routine from the basic cleanser and moisturizer combo? With so many products and formulations on the market, finding your own holy grail picks can feel like an uphill battle (trust us, we’ve been there!).

Testing out various creams, tinctures, lotions and potions can make your skincare routine feel a little bit like wizardry, but thankfully there isn’t any magic involved in decoding the differences between skincare products!

Since lots of people get confused between essences, toners, and serums, we’ve decided to make a little cheat sheet for you below.

Tone Up the Volume

Gone are the days when toners were only for those with oily skin. While toners were initially popularised as a type of astringent to keep breakouts at bay, they’re actually an important step in between cleansing and moisturising

Toners are beneficial for clearing away any impurities and build-up that your cleanser might not have taken care of. 

In the past, most toners contained high concentrations of alcohol, resulting in their tendency to cause dryness and disrupt the skin barrier. To address this, today’s skincare brands are now formulating toners with soothing properties, along with ingredients designed to enhance brightness and combat signs of ageing.

Those with more oily or acne-prone skin should opt for formulations containing salicylic acid or witch hazel, whereas those dealing with dry skin can benefit from a toner enriched with hyaluronic acid. If you have sensitive skin consider opting for toners with mild ingredients such as aloe vera. 

Toners are also formulated to be slightly more acidic, which balances your skin’s pH levels after cleansing. That said, your toner is absolutely not a substitute for cleansing! 

As with all skin products, it’s important to do a patch test before adding a new toner into your daily routine.

Starting With Serums 

The simple truth about serums is that they deliver a highly concentrated dose of powerful ingredients meant to target specific skin concerns. You can find serums that address problems such as dullness, oil production, wrinkles, and the like. 

When it comes to using a serum, it is recommended that you use them after applying an essence and before moisturising. Compared to toners and essences, serums tend to have a thicker liquid gel-like consistency. In the same way that toners aren’t a substitute for cleansers, serums aren’t a substitute for moisturisers. Make sure to follow up with a moisturiser to lock it all in!

Another thing to keep in mind when incorporating serums into your skincare routine is the specific active ingredient they contain. 

For example, retinol has been gaining popularity as a multitasking active that can improve your skin tone, reduce wrinkles and address pigmentation. However, retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, which means these serums should only be used at night. 

Since serums are formulated to be extremely potent, piling them on may end up irritating your skin. For beginners, stick with one serum and make sure to do a spot test before application.

Essential Essences

The term ‘essence’ implies a specific ingredient, right? So…what makes essences different from serums?

Texture-wise, essences tend to be more watery and thus absorb into the skin even easier than serums do. They are formulated with a high concentration of active ingredients primarily aimed at hydrating, protecting and boosting the overall health of the skin.

In your skincare regimen, essences should be applied after cleansing and toning but before applying a serum or moisturiser. Applying essences before a serum and moisturiser helps to enhance product absorption, thanks to their lightweight formulations. This, in turn, contributes to the overall effectiveness of your skincare routine.

Provide your skin with the gentle attention it deserves with Super Collagen Moisture Dew, our fermented collagen treatment essence is designed to nuture and restore a damaged skin microbiome. It promotes microbiome health, delivers intense hydration, enhances skin texture, and rejuvenates, while effectively addressing redness and reinforcing the skin’s natural defences.

Our treatment essence is made with a concentrated dose of lactobacillus/hydrolyzed collagen ferment filtrate extract. Inspired by Japanese skincare methods, we ferment our collagen with the help of a probiotic, lactobacillus, resulting in smaller compounds that are easier for your skin to soak up.

Super Collagen Moisture Dew also contains free amino acids and peptides, which work to boost skin resilience. With continued use, your skin becomes softer, bouncier and healthier!

The good news is that Super Collagen Moisture Dew is suitable for all skin types. Our lightweight essence is recommended to be used twice a day, morning and night: after toning, simply add a few drops of essence to your palm and then pat it gently all over your face before proceeding with your serum and moisturiser for a double dewy glow.

Super Collagen Moisture Dew
Super Collagen Moisture Dew

Toners, Essences, and Serums: A Summary 

Here is your skincare routine rundown after incorporating all three products we’ve just discussed: 

Step 1: Cleanser

Step 2: Toner 

Step 3: Essence

Step 4: Serum

Step 5: Moisturiser

Finding products that fit into this routine can help you make informed skincare decisions and keep your skin looking—and feeling!—healthy. 

If you’re still in the market for a supercharged essence or want to see the benefits of fermented skincare, look no further.


Our Super Collagen Moisture Dew is made in Japan using modernised Japanese skincare techniques and features sustainably sourced ingredients for the benefit of the environment.

Learn more about Par Kie’s Super Collagen Moisture Dew and get yourself a bottle today!