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"Glass skin," "honey skin," and "cloudless skin" are a few popular terms that come to mind when Korean beauty is the topic of discussion. These words all mean slightly different things but essentially describe #SkinGoals—because who doesn't want their skin to look like it was dropped directly from the heavens above? We're talking poreless, glowing, pearlescent, lit-from-within skin. One of the core components of extensive Korean beauty regimens, which can be anywhere from 10 to 12 steps, is layering essences.
Essences are hydrating formulas that reach your skin on its cellular level, offering soothing and hydrating benefits that give you a smooth and radiant complexion. Often described as lightweight versions of serum yet very distinct from cleansers and toners, they lock in and amp up hydration on your skin's moisture barrier. Most essences have consistencies that tread the line between water and serum, and they're full of active ingredients that prep your skin.
Ahead are the best Korean essences for that model-worthy glow you want for your face and body.
Best Overall: Botanic Farm Rice Ferment First Essence
An ancient ingredient Korean women have credited for centuries for their glowing skin is fermented rice water. It's a hydration booster. In this particular feature, it's paired with lactic acid for exfoliating properties along with peony for added circulation and licorice root extract for an overall brightening effect.
Runner-Up, Best Brightening: Benton Fermentation Essence
Your skin will appear brighter and suppler after using this essence because it's made mostly of galactomyces ferment filtrate, which is a natural brightening property. Ceramides and hyaluronic acid are also swimming around in this stuff to ensure a radiant glow.
Best for Uneven Tone: CosRx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
When you need to revamp your tired skin, reach for this guy, which is packed with 95% of galactomyces ferment filtrate, an age-old ingredient Korean women have depended on for its glow. You can also find things like hyaluronic acid and panthenol in this formula for even more moisture.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Leegeehaam Tea Tree Purifine 95 Essence
The soothing powers of tea tree are unmatched for those dealing with inflamed, sensitive, or irritable skin. This lightweight formula is made without water—it's 95% tea tree along with other nourishing ingredients to smooth and even out your skin's trouble areas.
Best Kit: Neogen Code 9 Lemon Green Caviar Essence & Tox Tightening Pack
This value pack comes with a hydrating essence full of vitamin C and exfoliating pads to improve your skin's texture. Simply pour the essence onto a pad until it fully absorbs, and slather it onto your skin. Pop these in the fridge for a refreshing cooling effect.