What's the Difference: Toner, Essence, Serum, and Ampoule

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Admit it, skincare routine especially the popular 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine  can be pretty overwhelming. With confusing products like toner, essence, serum, and ampoule, it really had us scratching our head in the past, figuring out what's the right skincare routine order.

These products may seem like the same thing, but in reality, they each have different functions in your skincare routine.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through each of the products, discussing what they do and how they can improve your skin — so keep on reading! 

Toner

Toner. People either swear by it, or they think it's totally useless. 

But really, toner balances the skin's pH and keeps your skin from becoming too dry or oily. The science behind this is it helps neutralize any shifts that can throw off the skin’s optimal pH normal ranges of 4.5-6.2. 

Aside from balancing the skin's pH, it also acts as an effective double cleanser. Usually, on some skincare routine especially on places like the Philippines (where pollutants are not totally stranger), it whisks away deep-seated dirt and makeup residue you may have missed with your cleanser. Due to its watery consistency, it unclogs pores as well and seals any open ones. 

Toners can also soothe redness, exfoliate dead skin cells and provide hydration. 

HOW TO USE: Saturate a cotton pad with contents and gently swipe it all over your face.

WHEN TO APPLY THEM: After cleansing and removing makeup 

OUR TOP PICKS: 

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

Here's a review from one of its users:

Pam, Oily: 

"When I thought I would never use a product other than one of CosRx’s, I came across Pyunkangyul. A brand that simplifies the ingredients of all of their products to focus on the effectiveness rather than on the unnecessary fragrances and chemicals? I would want to try that. I did my research and found out that the essence toner was it’s best seller so I decided to give it a try. Months later, I am happy I made that choice! My skin loved it, as well as some other products from Pyunkangyul. ❤️''

Jumiso Yes I Am Toner AHA 5% 150ml

Let's take a look at what one of our customers said about this product.

Maricar M., Oily: 

''Having to find a toner that suits my oily/combination skin is quite a challenge. I’ve been looking around for a while and gladly found this product through one of my fave beauty vlogger, Ms Toni Sia. I was always hesitant to try something new because my skin is sensitive and breaks out easily. But, this toner luckily suits my skin well. I always look for a product within my budget range and this product is an exception though. But, It is always worth to the try something that works. I would recommend this product to everyone! Hope this works on your skin too.~'

Essence 

Korean beauty is seriously a gift that keeps on giving. Case in point: Essence. 

For some, the essence is their secret on achieving that enviable Korean glow or ‘chok-chok’ skin.

Different from the balancing power of toner, essence mainly focuses on providing hydration to the skin. 

It uses active ingredients and antioxidants that charge directly into the skin and bring out the glow from within. 

And yes, while you can get this from a moisturizer, you can expect tenfold moisturizing power from essence. 

This leveled-up hydration game from essence is perfect for a Filipina skincare routine. 

HOW TO USE: After cleansing and toning, pour adequate pump into clean hands. Gently massage and pat for maximum absorption.

WHEN TO APPLY THEM: After cleansing and toning 

OUR TOP PICKS:

COSRX Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence

Here's a testimony from one of our customers. 

Dani, Combination: 

"This essence glides well on my skin. I had doubts at first but when I consistently use this as part of my everyday morning routine for a month, it resulted in a healthier looking skin and glowing complexion. And now, I am using this for a year and a half! My face looks more plump. Also, to my surprise, it helps fade my acne marks as well. I normally use this with CosRx Pimple Acne Pads and Galactomyces Serum.''

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

Here's a 5-star review from one of its users. 

Aubrey P., Combination: 

''A miracle worker. Really love this product so far, I didn’t write my review until I have tried it and see if there are any results after a month or so. And now I could really say this product does its job really well. I use this on my night routine and everytime I wake up my skin looks brighter and healthier, it also helped with my dark spots and scarring. Will definitely stay loyal to this product.''

Serum

Blame the weather, sweaty commute, overcrowded office, whatever it maybe — we can't be really hydrated enough without the help of some skincare magic. Aside from toner and essence, you can always count on a serum to do wonders on your face.

Gel-like in formula, serum is loaded with powerful ingredients to treat specific skin problems like wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and dullness. 

Serum is slightly heavier than essence and toner, but ideally, it's absorbent to skin. 

Usually, it contains Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid and AHAs. These active ingredients have higher transferability to the skin as it is burst to skin upon contact and go deeper into pores to repair signs of fatigue at a cellular level. 

HOW TO USE: Take a few drops and pat gently all over your face. Allow it a few minutes to penetrate to the skin before proceeding to your routine. Apply around 2-4 times a week. 

WHEN TO APPLY THEM: After toning and before moisturizing 

OUR TOP PICKS: 

Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum 

Here's a helpful testimony from one of our customers. 

Bea, Combination: 

''Second time to purchase since this product worked perfectly for me. It really helped in preventing breakouts, controlling oil and keeping my skin soft. This really worked wonders to my face! Best paired with Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask! I highly recommend! :)''

Jumiso All day Vitamin Brightening & Balancing Facial Serum

Here's a 5-star review from one of its users.

Anon., Oily: 

"I waited for 2 weeks until I get to see how my face would react and make sure the serum's magic would show and indeed, it was not in vain. I have oily skin especially on my face that it feels like it has its own oil storage underneath. I totally can see the effect it has in my first day of using it. Within 3 days, I noticed how my face becomes brighter. The serum is light, spreads easilly then you van go for 2-3 drops than directed. After 2 weeks, I'm happy so far with the result. My face is not that oily compared with before usage anymore. My skin is looking fresh the entire day."

BONUS TIP: Can I use essence and serum together? 

You can use both essence and serum in your skincare routine. As serum is slightly heavier than essence, it might be irritating to people who are not particularly keen on this kind of texture, while doable to others who can do with a little weighty veil. 

Ampoule

We’re still waiting for someone to discover the real thing, but for now, the closest we can get from the mythical Fountain of Youth is ampoule. 

A miracle worker on the rise, ampoule features higher active ingredients (compared to other skincare products) and treats skin issues ranging from dryness to sensitivity. It normally utilizes botanical extracts, skincare acids, and minerals.

Formulated in a thick, gel consistency, ampoule is considered to be a more concentrated version of serum and more moisturizing power at that note. 

Housed in chic, handy vials with droppers, it's easy to use as a prep for your Friday night, weekend recharge or any skin crisis. 

HOW TO USE: Gently massage onto skin and pat for better absorption. Apply around 1-2 times a week. 

WHEN TO APPLY THEM: After cleansing and toning, but before moisturizing

OUR TOP PICKS: 

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule

Here's a 5-star review from one of its users. 

Rochelle, Combination: 

''Experienced this with other products of the line using the trial pack that came with the special packaging of my 200ml essence toner and with the moisture cream. This was the last step and sealed in all that skin care moisturizing goodness. Woke up with visibly reduced pore size (though pores did not disappear naman of course) compared to when i did not use it. Just love this entire line! Can not wait to buy the full-sized version.''

Mizon Real Vitamin C Ampoule 30ml

Let's hear it straight from one of our customers.

Merichel P., Combination:

''Lessens the dark spots from my pimple marks :) I am still trying to achieve the pimple mark free face. Since it is still a week of using it, it is great! Works well. This is my first use of ampoule.''

 

BONUS TIP: Still having trouble figuring out what to apply first?

For any questions like essence or serum first as well as serum or ampoule first,  we have an additional trivia for you. 

If you're in doubt, always apply from lightest consistency going to the thicker ones. Here's a quick skincare routine order we recommend according to the product's consistency: toner > essence > serum > ampoule.  

OVER TO YOU! 

Toner, essence, serum, and ampoule may sound similar in their impacts on skin and even overlaps their functions, but it's really important to recognize their differences so you can make an effective skincare routine suitable to your skin type

So if you’re ready to add these products to spice up your collection, you can get yours here in Go Bloom & Glow. Enjoy free shipping nationwide for orders ₱1,999 and above.

Do you have a go-to toner, essence, serum, or ampoule? Let us know in the comment section below!

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