What are the Differences between Essence and Serum for Skin?

What are the Differences between Essence and Serum for Skin

The three basic steps in a skincare routine involves CTM, that is cleansing, toning and moisturizing. However, if you want to give this normal routine a boost, adding essence or serum could be a great idea. Both these skincare products work wonders and can give surprising results.

Are You Wondering How Essence and Serum Work?

This article will give you detailed information about essence and serum, how they work and how to use them for maximum benefits. Also, we will compare essence vs serum on different aspects to help you understand them better.

Difference Between Essence and Serum



Essence is a skincare product that is lightweight and watery. It is enriched with certain active ingredients that make it highly effective for skin health. These ingredients (1) also address different skin issues (2), ensuring clear, glowing, and radiating skin.

The basic function of an essence is to hydrate the skin and enrich it with nutrients. It is applied after cleansing and toning. So, once you add essence to your skincare routine, it becomes CTEM instead of CTM.

Essence comes in different formulations; therefore, picking the one that suits your skin needs is essential. For instance, if you have dry skin, pick the essence that contains hydrating ingredients. Likewise, those with oily skin should choose the one with ingredients that control sebum.



Serum (3) is a skincare product that contains a high concentration of active ingredients. They are made to target specific skin conditions such as aging skin, uneven texture, dark spots, etc.

Like essence, the consistency of the serum is also thin. It is lightweight and absorbs fast; thus, it is suitable for people with oily and acne-prone skin. The serum is also applied before moisturizing the skin in the CTM routine. So, once you include it in your regime, it becomes CTSM, instead of CTM.

Often people use serums as a replacement of moisturizer because it is enriched in skin hydrating ingredients. Also, being light and thin, it penetrates easily and deeper into the skin, making it highly effective in getting radiant and glowing.

Below is the table that will help you understand the difference between essence and serum in more detail-

ConsistencyGenerally more watery and lightweight.Thicker and more concentrated.
PurposeProvides hydration and prepares skin for subsequent skincare products.Targets specific skin concerns such as aging, acne, or dullness.
IngredientsOften contains active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or botanical extracts.Contains higher concentrations of active ingredients such as vitamins, peptides, or antioxidants.
AbsorptionAbsorbs quickly into the skin.May take longer to absorb due to thicker consistency.
ApplicationApplied after cleansing and toning, before serum or moisturizer.Applied after cleansing and toning, before moisturizer.
BenefitsEnhances skin’s hydration and boosts the effectiveness of other skincare products.Targets specific skin issues and provides intensive treatment.
Frequency of UseCan be used daily, both morning and evening.Typically used once or twice daily, depending on the product and skin type.
Skin TypeSuitable for all skin types, especially beneficial for dry or dehydrated skin.Suitable for all skin types, with formulations available for various concerns such as oily, acne-prone, or aging skin.
TextureLightweight and often feels like water.Thicker, may have a silky or gel-like texture.
CostGenerally more affordable compared to serums.May be more expensive due to higher concentrations of active ingredients.

Essence Vs Serum- When and How to Use

Due to skin hydrating properties, essence could be a great addition to a dry skincare routine. It can be applied once or twice a day, depending on the skin’s dryness. However, it is essential to know the correct order of application.

Likewise, you can apply two different serums every day. For instance, you can use a serum with Vitamin C in the morning that safeguards your skin from harmful sun rays and apply the serum with hyaluronic acid at night to rejuvenate and prepare for the next day.

The correct order of their application is applying essence after cleaning and toning, followed by serum and moisturizer. Since essence is thin and lightweight as compared to serum, it shold be applied before serum for better penetration.

Here are the steps involved-

  • Cleanse the skin with a cleaner suitable for your skin type.
  • Apply a layer of toner to clear the residues and balance the pH
  • Pour a few drops of essence on the palm and apply it over the face with fingers, cotton ball or pad. Apply evenly and tap gently.
  • Let it sit and absorb for a few minutes.
  • Take a few drops of serum and massage it gently on the face in a circular motion.
  • Let it absorb on the skin before applying moisturizer.

Once you start the skincare routine that involves cleansing and toning, followed by the application of essence, serum, and moisturizer, the skin will improve surprisingly. You will experience glowing and radiating skin after their regular use.


Now that we have provided detailed information about essence vs. serum, it will help you understand their major differences and the correct sequence of their application.

You can find plenty of skincare brands promising quality essences and serum. Make sure you buy them according to your skin type. Also, while picking serum, ensure that it addresses the skin concern you have. For instance, for mature skin, pick the serum with anti-aging benefits. Likewise, check if it has vitamin C and if the skin has hyperpigmentation or spots and blemishes.

The use of the right skincare products and in the right sequence will help you achieve maximum benefits.

Image Source : canva

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