Trend Alert: Watery Lotions/ Essences/ Boosters

essences boosters post

If you read my Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion review, you may have noticed that I’m slightly obsessed with the new booster/essence trend.

Essences, booster steps, and “watery lotions” have been a huge trend in Asian beauty and skincare for a while now. It’s only been recently that they’ve started to dramatically increase in popularity throughout North America.

I think my obsession sparked when Shiseido launched their Ultimune Concentrate in 2014. This was marketed as an “skin-immunity booster” that could be used in conjunction with other serums and skincare products. While not marketed as an essence, this “concentrate” is very similar in concept.

Others have followed, such as the recently-launched Biotherm Life Plankton Essence, the Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion, and an exciting one from Elizabeth Arden that should be launching in September – each different in their own way.

Working in cosmetics and skincare, I’ve had a ton of questions recently about how they work and what they do. So what are these mysterious products?

PicMonkey Collage

Essences typically have smaller molecules, allowing them to absorb deeper into the skin. These are usually a more concentrated formula and are more effective, since they treat at the cellular level.

Essences come in a variety of formulas and textures. Depending on how concentrated they are and the texture, they can also be referred to as serums, boosters, or concentrates (like the Shiseido Ultimune!)

Tip: With watery textures, I find a lot gets wasted if you use it on a cotton pad. You can pour a little into your fingertips and apply directly to the face, or transfer to a spray bottle and mist the face! 

There’s a lot of dispute as to whether these are basically glorified toners. While some may be seen as replacing/revolutionizing the toner world, many are in fact not the same as a toner. Most toner’s usually finish the cleaning process/begin the moisturizing process. Essences and boosters, on the other hand, are actual treatment. Most are very different in formula and texture.

So when do you use these? After cleaning and toning (to ensure the skin is cleansed of dirt and impurities and thus more receptive to treatment). Depending on the texture, you may prefer to use this before or after your serum. For the Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Lotion, I personally like to use this after my serum and before my moisturizer.

Tapping/pressing these into the skin works best – try to avoid rubbing and tugging at your skin!

Have you tried any essences or boosters? What are your thoughts on them?

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