Skincare is big business. No matter our age or complexion related woes, we’re all searching for that wonder product that’s going to help us look our best. It’s no longer enough just to cleanse, tone and moisturise your way to great skin – now we have to add exfoliators, masques, serums, eye creams and lotions into the mix just to maintain our healthy looking skin for longer. If that wasn’t enough, then there’s a new trend exploding that could have you scratching your head and wondering if we really need to add another step to an already complex regime? But the new boom of essences, spritzes and boosting serums isn’t going away any time soon – because there really is something in it. For years we’ve been happily applying our moisturisers and serums on a daily basis and hoping for the best, not fully understanding if they’re actually providing any tangible benefit. However, this new range of products contains ingredients that boost the performance of your existing products while ensuring your complexion glows almost instantly.

We’re all pretty familiar with the benefit and texture of both serums and moisturisers, but what exactly are these essences, boosters and sprays that we’re being told are the new thing in skincare? Used traditionally in Korea between the cleanse/tone and serum/moisturiser stages, essences or boosting products are thinner in texture and contain a relatively concentrated mix of ‘active’ ingredients that help to enhance the performance of other products. It may be that your moisturiser needs a little help delving deep into the layers of the skin, or your that your body needs a more effective way of clinging onto ingredients; it could also be that your skin needs a little targeted care or a refresh before you apply your makeup. There’s so much to choose from and they’re really rather addictive, proving that western women are becoming more accustomed to the Korean ‘ten step regime’ that serves them so well. (Don’t worry – nobody expects you to start ten steps every morning!)

Elizabeth Arden’s new Superstart Skin Renewal serum (£45.00) is designed to help restore the healthy look of skin’s surface layer, fortifying its natural ability to repair and renew. It enhances the performance of both your serum and moisturiser, thanks to its ability to prep the skin and inject it with goodness – almost like a welcoming party for the next steps in your routine! Kiehls have invested years of scientific research to get their Iris Extract Treatment Essence (£36.00) just right; enriched with Iris Florentina Extract, the formula helps to prep skin to receive the skincare regimen that follows while creating a great base for makeup. It’s also clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines, thanks to the inclusion of hydroxy acid, making it an easy step that leaves skin looking and feeling great.

Deciem’s new Hylamide Booster series (£18.00) includes three serums which enhance the performance of skincare products by delivering their innovative and effective ingredients deep down into the skin’s surface. Containing hyaluronic acid in a broken down form to hydrate the skin from within, a keto-sugar that reacts within the skin to produce a natural golden tone within two days, and an advanced binding agent to optimize the performance of active ingredients delivered after it’s applied, this is one serious addition to your routine. Lightweight, effective and easy to use, it’s an investment you’ll be pleased to make.

In addition, La Roche-Posay’s cult SeroZinc spray (£8.50) is specifically designed to target key signs of oily, blemish-prone skin and leave a mattified finish. Just spritz it over your face pre-skincare to help reduce the appearance of pores and keep your makeup looking fresher for longer. Pixi’s Hydrating Milky Mist (£18.00) contains a blend of black oat, provitamin A, hyluronic and linoleic acid to make this a rejuvenator to be reckoned with. It provides the perfect first layer of moisture before serums or makeup, plus can offer a little boost afterwards too; I love applying this straight from the shower so I don’t get that ‘tight’ feeling as I dry. SK-II’s Mid-Day Essence (£51.00) is one of Cate Blanchett’s favourites for a reason; the lightweight mist penetrates skin and makeup to enhance skin’s anti-oxidizing function, while helping to reduce fine lines and hydrating skin for up to four hours. Spritz it on before, during or after makeup application for a dewy finish and glowing complexion.

Although these products aren’t going to be right for everyone and definitely add another layer to an already time consuming routine, they do genuinely add benefit and help skin to glow. I’ve been using all these different products for a number of weeks and my complexion is looking pretty good – if I say so myself. I was rather sceptical to begin with, but a little extra step really has paid dividends and left my skin looking better for longer; I don’t seem to get that frustrating ‘4pm slip’ or arrive at the end of the day looking cakey. My makeup sits better, the texture of my skin has improved and I feel like the fine lines around my eyes have somewhat reduced since using a handful of these goodies almost daily. It’s hard to see the benefit immediately, but if you want to invest in your skin today for the benefit of an improved complexion tomorrow, get thee to Boots now.

What do you think of this new trend and the new portfolio of products popping up on our high streets?

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  1. Abigail Alice
    September 3, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    I'd love to try the SeroZInc as I have blemish prone skin. I also adore La Roche Posay's other products.

  2. Pam Scalfi
    September 3, 2015 / 4:36 pm

    La Roche posay is probably the only brand I would consider using given I know they are quality products. I guess I am always on the safe side with new brands :pPam xo/ Pam Scalfiā™„

  3. Lauren Powers
    September 3, 2015 / 10:20 pm

    Which would you say works best for you? I have quite dry skin and need all the help I can get with skincare, so these would be a great investment for me!Lauren

    • Hayley Carr
      September 7, 2015 / 12:02 pm

      They all work in different ways, but if you're after hydration maybe the Hylaronic boosters.

  4. Sara Fleming
    September 4, 2015 / 9:08 am

    I'd be lost without my Serozinc spray!Sara – She Who Is Short

  5. Xazzee
    September 4, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    Interesting, while I knew of this step (who didn't :)) I feel a lot more educated now. I do have a question though. I like to use oils, do I still apply the essence first? Stupid question, probably. But sometimes I don't think the staff at the counters are informed about news from other than their own brand.

    • Hayley Carr
      September 7, 2015 / 12:01 pm

      Yep the essence goes first – it enhances the performance of other things, so apply your oil after. They should mix pretty well together.

  6. Rebecca McMahon
    September 6, 2015 / 3:56 pm

    Have you tried the TimeBomb Complexion Cocktails? They're really worth a try.

    • Hayley Carr
      September 7, 2015 / 12:00 pm

      Yeah I have – I wrote about them a year or so ago I think. Ahead of the trend they were!

  7. 2catsinjapan
    September 10, 2015 / 9:49 am

    Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that.There are 2 distinct types of essences: first treatment essences, and "normal" essences.First treatment essences, as the name suggests, should go on your face first, right after cleansing.But even here it's not so simple.In Japan, toners (here called "lotions") are formulated differently than their Korean equivalents. So in Japan, first we cleanse, then tone, then treat with the first treatment essence.In Korea, it's cleanse, then first treatment, then toner, and everything else."Normal" essence always goes after the toning part in both countries. But that also depends on the consistency of the product. Usually, it's "apply from the lightest to the thickest".Japanese and Taiwanese essences are lighter, from very watery types to bit thicker in consistency. I've reviewed the Ageversal Essence by Dr Wu (Taiwanese brand of dermo-cosmetics) which is a good example of what I'm talking about.But Korean essences tend to be a lot heavier in texture, almost like what in Japan would be classed as "emulsion" (a.k.a. light moisturizer). A-True (brand of tea based skincare) essences are like that.So depending on the origin of your Asian product, it needs to go in a different place in your skincare routine. And of course, to make it even more frustrating, in both countries there are exceptions to this rule.

  8. Emily Kristina
    January 22, 2016 / 6:32 am

    Great post.Thanks for sharing.I think Adding a best anti aging serum by Dermology to your daily routine in your 20s will help stave off fine lines & wrinkles down the road.Also,It boosts cell growth & collagen production, which improves our tone of even non-wrinkled skin.

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