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Friday, June 19, 2015

The Korean Skincare Essence Trend Has Hit US Drugstores

Well this is certainly exciting! A few days ago I showed you the new Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil, and today I have even more exciting news, thanks to a tip from reader @bricow on Instagram:

image source:
NEW Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water
(retail: $12.99, 4.0 oz)

The new Burt's Bees Nourishing Facial Water is now listed on the Ulta website (it is not yet available for purchase, but it should be very soon).

Keep reading if you have no idea what a Korean essence (aka: facial water) is, and why I'm so intrigued...

If you're not too familiar with Korean skincare, one of the biggest trends of the past several years has been essence (also known as beauty essence, facial essence or facial water). Essences originated in Korea, and we in the US do have access to them already, but some are quite expensive (one of the most popular essences will set you back a cool $105 for the 2.5 oz. bottle at Sephora). There are certainly more affordable Korean essences out there (there are hundreds of essences on the Korea Depart site, and even after you refine the search to "under $30" you'll still find dozens and dozens of options). But I can't think of an essence that you can easily find in US drugstores...until now, that is. (Please do correct me if I'm wrong about that!)

A facial essence is NOT a cleanser or micellar water, and it's also not a toner. You apply it AFTER both cleansing and toning. But it's not a serum or moisturizer either--think of it more like a pre-moisturizer that can help prepare you skin to better absorb your regular serums and moisturizers. Essences replenish moisture lost by cleansing/toning, so they're quite popular for those with drier skin (although I do have friends with oily skin who love essences as well). Depending on the formula, there are other things that essences can do (balance your skin's pH, promote skin cell renewal, etc. etc.).

Given everything I mentioned above, I think it makes sense that Burt's Bees would release their new facial water in the Intense Hydration line, given that essences do seem to work quite well for those with drier skin.

Here's the product info from the Ulta site:
Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water is a nutrient-infused drink for your skin that absorbs quickly to help restore lost hydration and prepare the skin for moisturization. Our hydrating formula is clinically shown to improve skin texture and balance skin's pH, giving your skin a fresh vitality. Use as part of your daily regimen for soft and smooth, healthy-feeling skin. 
How To Use: 
Soak a cotton pad and gently smooth onto your face. Use day and night, after cleansing and toning. 
Water, Glycerin, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Water, Propanediol, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sodium PCA, Fragrance*, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol *Natural Fragrance.

One thing I do find a little interesting above is that, from what I've both heard and read, essences should be applied in a very specific way. Apparently you're not supposed to swipe your face with a cotton pad, but rather sprinkle the water into your palms and then gently pat the water into your skin with your hands. Perhaps that's not a requirement with this Burt's Bees formula, but it's something to keep in mind if you purchase this. I would try it both ways to see which one's better for you.

Do you already have experience with Korean essences? If so, are they an essential step in your skincare routine? Do you think you'll give this Burt's Bees version a try? 

Thanks again @bricow, for the great tip about this being on the Ulta site. I really appreciate it!


  1. Hmm, I have no clue about essences but I use thermal water in much the same way. I spritz my face post cleansing, although usually pre toner, serum etc.

  2. Most moisturizing skin products I saw in Japan were generally applied with the patting or tapping sort of motion. It's supposed to help your skin to absorb the product and bring more circulation (i.e. natural glow!) to your skin. This technique is especially recommended with BB creams, though I tend to generally just rub it in with my fingers because I'm lazy.

  3. I like essences and patting waters, though I'll probably stick with Kbeauty ones for now because there is so much more variety. I most like to put the liquid in a spray bottle and then mist it on and gently pat it into my skin before applying facial product. You can also make your own sheet masks using essence and dry sheet masks you can buy online super cheap.

  4. Doesn't seem like anything special from the ingredients... reminds me of the Dr. Jart Dermaclear micro water sample I got in this month's Birchbox. I find mixing some glycerin with a hydrosol like chamomile hydrosol which I keep in the fridge does wonders to keep my skin hydrated all day when used before my moisturizer!

  5. I've been using Missha's First Treatment Essence for a while now and while it's not cheap at $45 a bottle, it lasts a long time and is a total dupe for SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which is $205. It has the fermented yeast in it that makes my skin so much brighter and clearer. But I'm so glad that more American companies are embracing the Korean trends and rituals. My skin has improved so much since I've been doing the Korean skincare routine. It takes me a lot longer with all the extra products and steps but the results have been worth it!

  6. I've been looking for more affordable cleansers and toners and this is something In definitely going to try! I went to cvs last night because I ran out of my Orogina facial wash and picked up the Burts Bees moisture cleanser and it was very good! I can't wait to find the oil and this essence! With all the rewards, etc... It's a great deal! Last night they had a Spend $10 on BB and receive a $2.00 EB reward.

  7. Oops, sorry. I got too excited and commented with my blog post as reference right away. Anyway, I do subscribe to the Korean skincare but I've yet to try an essence. As it is, the Korean skincare regimen has a lot of steps - both for daytime and nighttime. And weekly! But the effort does show. My skin is in its best state ever.

    I might try an essence. We'll see what happens as the seasons change.

    (Sorry about the blog link blunder, G!)


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