Essence is considered the heart and soul of any K-beauty skin regimen, but for me, this is not just because essences hydrate and brighten the complexion, but because the step serves as an act of self-care and self-love.
One of the first skin care steps that stood out to me when I was initially introduced to Korean beauty was essence. This K-beauty staple that goes on right after your toner but one step before applying serum, doesn’t just do hydrating and brightening wonders to the skin, but it also speaks to the self-care that goes into having a Korean beauty routine.
The gentle process of applying essence by gently patting it into my skin in repeated motions is what really made me start to appreciate not just this particular step in the routine, but K-beauty overall.
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Taking the time to nourish my skin and gently treat it at a slow and calm pace has become almost therapeutic for me. It gives me an opportunity to admire and appreciate my skin, while being grateful for every inch of my body. Because I normally apply essence at night — when I make the time for it because…a girl can get lazy right before bed! — I use it as part of my meditation time. While I apply essence I thank the universe for my health, for my body, and for all my blessings. It has started to become such a good practice in both self-care and self-love.
K-beauty is beyond just vanity if you really think about it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, of course, but I see it as an act of radical feminist self-care, which is what’s made me appreciate K-beauty even more. As a Latina woman, I grew up seeing the women in my family put others — family and men especially — before themselves. As I got older I realized how toxic that messaging is and learned to understand the importance of boundaries and carving out time for self-care, even if it’s as simple as doing a few steps for my skin in the morning and in the evening because sometimes that’s really all the time I have.
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These days I’m really appreciating the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence ($21). It contains 96% of snail secretion filtrate which might freak you out at first, but trust me when I say it does amazing things for your skin, including intensely hydrating and repairing.
If you haven’t jumped on the essence bandwagon yet, I highly recommend you do. If not for your skin — in the name of self-care!