Emulsion or Serum/Essence?

As I mentioned before here, skincare regime is very important, and in order to maintain a youthful radiant complexion, we must never be lazy.

However, with so many different types of skincare products: different names, brands and so on, what exactly should we look for before purchasing them? Especially when it comes to same purpose but confusing terms like: Emulsion, serum, essence, it is vital to know their function/nature of each product before deciding.


It is basically a light-weight, non-sticky, water-based basic moisturizer. It has the ability to retain hydration level and prevent moisture loss from our skin surface. It is very beneficial for people with oily skin, as it is water base, it does not cause pore clogging issues.


Serum and essences come in mainlytransparent (some however do come in milky color) liquid type forms, and are quick to dry and leave no residue. They are used to TARGET DIFFERENT SKIN PROBLEMS such as anti-aging, whitening, and to PROVIDE NUTRIENTS, not to mention hydration to skin. Thus, after applying serum/essence, you still have to apply moisturizer. Do note that if your serum is a moisturizing serum/essence, you may skip the moisturizer step since it contains moisturizing properties already.

So, which one should I choose?

For this, you might have to ask yourself exactly what products are you looking for?

– If you just purely looking for moisturizing purpose, and you have clear and problem-free complexion, emulsion is good enough.

– If you are in your advance age, let’s say 30 years old and above, emulsion may not be enough. This is due to its larger molecules as compared to serum/essence, it can only penetrate into the first layer of our skin, thus having the ability to retain hydration and prevent moisture loss ONLY. It is greatly recommended to use serum/essence, as these products’ molecules are much smaller, enabling penetration to reach to the third layer of our skin, providing direct nutrients to our skin.

– If you are looking for whitening, anti-aging, firming  products etc, serum and essence are great choices for you. Just remember to apply your usual moisturizer after the serum/essence, as usually these spot-on treatments do not contain or do not contain enough hydrating properties to do its job. It is advisable to use these serum/essence in the night before you go to bed, thus allowing the nutrients to take its effect overnight while you sleep.

So now, with these information in mind, you should be able to start on your shopping.




5 thoughts on “Emulsion or Serum/Essence?

  1. im 20 M, and im wondering whether you would recommend the following steps for a winter skin regime :

    1) cleanse and tone
    2) serum
    3) emulsion
    4) moisturizer

    of would a serum and moisturizer itself be enough???

  2. Hello!

    For winter regime, you can follow in this way:
    1) Cleanse and Tone (A must!)
    2) Moisturizer (Best to use cream base type; during summer or any warmer period, you may use lotion/water base type).
    3) Facial scrub (Scrub your face 1-2 times weekly to clear away dry and dead skins)
    4) Mask (After scrubbing, you MUST use a mask. Usual moisturizer may not be concentrated enough).

    Hope the above information helps! =D

  3. oh! i love your entry.. but i wonder if this routine is right “cleanse->toner->serum->essence-> moisturizer. I’m 25 yrs. old. so i’m interested on anti-aging, whitening effects of the products.

  4. Hello,

    Your routine is right!
    However, some people apply moisturizer nefore serum and essence, which is fine as well.
    Most important is that you tone your skin after cleansing, as this will balance back the PH value of your skin. This will ensure better absorption of moisturizer.

    PH value is affected during cleansing, thus you will need to balance back with toner. =)

    Thank you!

    —The Beauty Phase

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