When it comes to putting together your skincare routine, the different options and names for the products you use can be a bit confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of skincare.
Although you’ve probably got the basics like cleansers and moisturisers down, things like toners, essences, serums and ampoules often cause confusion as many people wrongly assume that they’re basically the same thing. In reality, all four of these skincare product types have different uses and can all be used within the same routine if you want!
Here I’ll explain the differences between toner, essence, serum and ampoule.
What is Skincare Toner?
Toner is typically used as the second step in the skincare routine after cleansing. Toner helps to further clear out clogged pores, remove whiteheads and dead skin. Some cleansers will help to rebalance the skin’s pH levels, while others may contain ingredients that offer a further level of exfoliation to the skin.
Consistency of Toner
Toners tend to have a watery consistency. This can help to remove any leftover residue from cleansing. Toners should dry or evaporate from the skin quickly.
How Are Toners Used?
Toners are usually added to a cotton pad or reusable cloth and gently rubbed across the face. Normally, after using, you’ll be able to see dust, residual dirt and dead skin on the cotton pad. Toners can also come in spray bottle forms, and these can just be spritzed onto skin and wiped off.
Why Do You Need Toners in Your Skincare Routine?
Sometimes cleansers don’t clear out your pores enough or may leave residue. Toners can help to ensure that your skin is completely clean and clear before you proceed with the next steps of your routine. Toners also help to exfoliate skin, making it softer and smoother.
My Toner Recommendations
- Peach Slices Snail Rescue Blemish Busting Toner
- The Plant Base AC Clear Pure N Skin Toner
- Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Day Miracle Toner
- Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner
What is Skincare Essence?
Essence is a hydrating part of the skincare routine – helping to hydrate your inner skin to boost your glow and brighten skin. Essence is used after toner and both should be used in your routine if you’re serious about your skincare!
Consistency of Essence
Essence usually has a watery feel – mostly as the majority of essences will have water as its primary ingredient! The watery consistency allows it to sink into the skin fast and get deeper. It should disappear from your skin quickly as it gets to work hydrating your skin.
How Is Essence Used?
Essence is used after cleansing and toning. Most essences can be poured into the hand and patted onto the face.
Why Do You Need Essence in Your Skincare Routine?
Your skin loses moisture from exposure to things like sun and pollution, which can make it look older, with wrinkles, lines and a dull appearance. Essence helps to rehydrate the skin.
My Essence Recommendations
- I’m From Fig Boosting Essence
- I’m From Mugwort Essence
- COSRX Advances Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
What is Skincare Ampoule?
Ampoules are concentrated skincare products – considered to be like a boost to your skin. They contain active ingredients, and are typically used when you need to treat a specific skincare issue. Often, ampoules will only have one or two ingredients, offering you a higher concentration of a specific active ingredient that will target a skin concern.
Consistency of Ampoule
The texture of an ampoule will depend on the ingredients, but generally they will feel viscous or lightly gel-like.
How Are Ampoules Used?
Ampoules are used either before or after the essence. Ampoule usually comes in a dropper bottle, which you can drop out product into your palm and then apply onto your face. It can be spread across the whole face or patted onto any problem areas.
They don’t need to be used every day in every routine, as they can be quite intensive products. Every other day is suitable for an ampoule. If you are treating a specific skin concern, then you can stop using an ampoule or switch the another when that issue has been remedied.
Why Do You Need Ampoule in Your Skincare Routine?
Ampoules are great for dealing with specific skincare concerns, like reducing the appearance of scars, wrinkles or brightening dark spots. There are hundreds of different types based on different skincare needs – there’s definitely something for everyone!
My Ampoule Recommendations
- SKIN 1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica 100 Ampoule
- Isntree Spot Saver Mugwort Ampoule
- Real Barrier Extreme Cream Ampoule
- The Plant Base Time Stop Collagen Ampoule
What is Skincare Serum?
Serums help to treat specific problems with skin, such as wrinkles, dullness, pigmentation and lines. They can contain ingredients like AHAs and vitamin C to rejuvenate and brighten the skin.
Consistency of Serum
Serums are the heaviest out of toners, essence and ampoules. They have a slightly thicker gel-like consistency, but are still often lightweight and spreadable. Many may still even be close to a watery texture. Serums shouldn’t take too long to absorb into the skin.
How Are Serums Used?
Most serums will come in a bottle that has a dropper lid or pump. You should dispense some into your hand and then apply to your face skin.
Serums can also be used specifically on certain problem areas as a treatment, rather than applying it across your entire face if you would prefer. For example, you may wish to dab a tea tree serum onto developing spots as a spot treatment, but not cover your whole face in it.
Why Do You Need Serum in Your Skincare Routine?
Serums can give you immediate results as soon as you apply them. One of the most obvious is when you use collagen serums, which can immediately offer plumping effects, such as diminishing lines and wrinkles. If you have any skin concerns, then there is a serum that can help you reduce or resolve it!
My Serum Recommendations
- Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Serum
- iUNIK Tea Tree Relief Serum
- Purito Centella Green Level Buffet Serum
- Neogen Dermalogy Vita C Serum