A wise man once said, “moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” And you know what, folks? He was certainly on to something. Koreans will be the first to tell you so, too, as essences — highly-concentrated treatments with a water-to-serum-like consistency — happen to be the heart of their 7-step routines. This is because essences contain impressively high doses of active ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, meant to intensely nourish the skin post-cleanse and prep it for any oils, ampoules, or serums that should come after. Don’t believe the hype? Let me ask you this: Have you heard of “glass skin”? Enough said. We should all be riding the essence wave. Here, nine essences worth the hype (and price tag).

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