• 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2022 | Missha, COSRX and More 1
  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2022 | Missha, COSRX and More 2
  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2022 | Missha, COSRX and More 3
  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2022 | Missha, COSRX and More 4
  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2022 | Missha, COSRX and More 5

10 Best Korean Essence UK 2022 | Missha, COSRX and More

Known as 'miracle water' in the Asian skincare world, essences are used to hydrate, protect and give your skin a natural glow. Additionally, they ensure that other products properly absorb into your skin. Anyone with any skin type can use one, though it is worth noting that every essence is formulated differently and address various concerns as well as brightening up the skin. 


Whether you are looking for an essence to combat hyperpigmentation, protect your skin from sun damage or one with anti-ageing properties, we have researched the best options in the UK which can be purchased on Amazon and Boots. We've included the most popular and affordable K-beauty brands including Missha, COSRX and Benton. 

This Article's Contributors

mybest Editing Team
  • Last updated: 22-08-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose Korean Essence in the UK

Key Points to Consider

  1. Pick an Essence With Ingredients Like Glycerin, Vitamins And Plant Extracts 
  2. Choose Between Liquid, Gel or Cream Formulas Based on Your Skin Type 
  3. Look For Essences That Are Vegan and Cruelty-Free if Preferred 

1. Seek Out Active Ingredients Like Glycerin, Vitamins and Plant Extracts That Hydrate as Well as Address Other Skin Needs

1. Seek Out Active Ingredients Like Glycerin, Vitamins and Plant Extracts That Hydrate as Well as Address Other Skin Needs

Essences are full of active ingredients that both hydrate and address other skin concerns. For example, using an essence can also reduce the signs of ageing, soothe irritation and increase cell turnover which will make your skin look smoother and healthier. The key ingredients to look out for include: 


  • Glycerin: A humectant that hydrates, smoothens and tightens the skin. Since it is mainly used to help lock in moisture, this is an ingredient you should look out for if you have dry skin. 

  • Hyaluronic Acid: A glycosaminoglycan that has a myriad of benefits for the skin including anti-ageing, moisturising and wound healing. Using this ingredient will ultimately improve your skin's appearance and will work wonders on any skin type. 

  • Plant Extracts: These natural antioxidants are also rich in vitamins which all help to protect the skin. Some of the most commonly used in Korean essences include aloe vera, pine bark and chamomile extract. 

  • Vitamins: Serve a variety of purposes in skincare including treating fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and dryness. Vitamins you should look out for in particular include E, C, A, D, B and F. 

  • Minerals: Help to keep pH levels balanced as well as encourage cell production. Some of the best minerals include zinc and copper.


Make sure to add a toner first! This will ensure that your skin's pH level is balanced, free of impurities and ready for the rest of your routine.

2. Opt Between Liquid, Gel or Cream Essence Depending on Your Skin Type

2. Opt Between Liquid, Gel or Cream Essence Depending on Your Skin Type

Although the majority of essences come in liquid form and have a watery feel to them, a few do have more of a gel or cream consistency. Owing to their lightweight texture, liquid-based essences will absorb into your skin a lot quicker. This makes them ideal if you are wanting to layer other products afterwards. 


An essence with a gel-like consistency works best when applied to a particular area since it is more concentrated. They are the better option for those with oily skin types as they are less likely to cause breakouts. Cream formulas are not that common but there are a few that come in this form because they include additional properties like SPF. 


Looking for more K-beauty? Finish off your routine with a sheet mask.

3. Check Whether the Product Contains Animal-Derived Ingredients and Is Cruelty-Free if Preferred

3. Check Whether the Product Contains Animal-Derived Ingredients and Is Cruelty-Free if Preferred

Although animal testing was banned in South Korea in 2016, many brands still sell in physical shops in China and so must test on animals by Chinese law. They also do not use the same vegan or cruelty-free certifications found on other international products and are known for their use of animal-derived ingredients. If you are looking to avoid these, some of the most common to look out for are: 


  • Snail Mucin: A popular ingredient in K-beauty products because of its ability to improve skin texture, hyperpigmentation and scars. While it won't be vegan, it is worth noting for others that brands such as COSRX make an active effort to ensure that the snail mucin is extracted in natural way that doesn't harm the animal.

  • Bee Venom: Another ingredient with various skin benefits, bee venom can help increase collagen and elasticity in the skin. Similar to snail mucin, extracting venom can be done in a way that does not harm the bees. 

  • Bee Propolis: Combining tree sap and beeswax, this substance can heal wounds and has other anti-inflammatory properties. 

  • Royal Jelly: Used in skincare because it is full of nutrients, royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that can boost collagen production as well as heal skin in general. It is best to stay away from this ingredient if you are wanting a cruelty-free product. 

If you are someone who wants to avoid these types of products completely, there are still many Korean brands that produce vegan and cruelty-free lines and state this on their official website or packaging. Ultimately, it is best to do some research into the product before purchasing just to be certain.

Compare the Best Korean Essences

  1. Missha - Time Revolution Essence for £31.00
  2. Cosrx - Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power for £14.22 
  3. SECRET KEY - Starting Treatment Essence for £17.80 
  4. SKINFOOD - Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence for £34.00 
  5. Neogen - Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium for £24.91

For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of Korean essences available and understand how our ranking was determined.


This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.

Image
1
Missha  Time Revolution Essence  1

Missha

2
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel 1

COSRX

3
SECRET KEY  Starting Treatment Essence  1

SECRET KEY

4
SKINFOOD  Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence 1

SKINFOOD

5
Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium 1

Neogen

6
Benton  Fermentation Essence 1

Benton

7
I'M From Mugwort Essence 1

I'M From

8
Missha  Essence Sun Milk SPF50+ 1

Missha

9
Primera Miracle Seed Essence 1

Primera

10
Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence 1

Benton

Name

Time Revolution Essence

Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel

Starting Treatment Essence

Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence

Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium

Fermentation Essence

Mugwort Essence

Essence Sun Milk SPF50+

Miracle Seed Essence

Snail Bee High Content Essence

Features

Revive and Brighten Skin With This Cult-Favourite Essence

Get an Instant Glow With Snail Mucin

Achieve Radiant Skin and Diminish Wrinkles

Enhance Your Skin's Texture With the Power of Honey

A Fast-Absorbing Essence to Make Skin Look Bright and Youthful

Illuminate Dullness With Fermented Ingredients

Restore, Calm and Comfort Skin With Plenty of Minerals and Vitamins

An 2-in-1 Essence That Also Protects Your Skin From the Sun

Purify Skin With Lotus Seed, Sugar Fluid and Vitamin Complex

With Snail and Bee Venom to Enhance Elasticity and Heal Damage

Price£31.00£14.22£17.80£34.00£24.91£16.43£27.31£25.03£32.00£15.45
BenefitsHydratingHydrating Moisturizing, tightening, brightening, anti-ageing, soothingHydratingHydrating, moisturising, anti-ageing Anti-ageing SoothingMoisturisingSoothing, hydration, brightening Hydrating
Best ForAll skin types Moisturising All skin types All skin typesAll skin typesAll skin types, dry skinAll skin typesNormal, dry, combination skin types Normal, dry, oily, combination skin typesAll skin types (especially dry skin)
Key Ingredients Yeast ferment extract, 1,2-hexanediol, niacinamideSnail secretion filtrate, betaine, butylene glycolGalactomyces, vitamin B1, B2, niacin, folic acidBlack bee propolis extract, royal jelly extract, black honeyBifida germent lysate, saccharomyces ferment filtrate, betula alba juice, rice germent filtrateGalactomyces ferment filtrate, bifida ferment lysate, sodium hyaluronateArtemisia princeps extractFlower extracts, sun milk, thanaka extractLotus seed activator, sugar fluid, vitamin complexSnail secretion extract, bee venom
Formulation LiquidLiquidLiquidMilk LiquidLiquidLiquidCreamLiquid Liquid/gel
Vegan NoNoNoNoNoYesYesNoYesNo
Cruelty-FreeNoNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYesNo
Link

10 Best Korean Toners in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.

1

Missha Time Revolution Essence

£31.00

BenefitsHydrating
Best ForAll skin types
Key Ingredients Yeast ferment extract, 1,2-hexanediol, niacinamide
Formulation Liquid
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeNo
2

COSRXAdvanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel

£14.22

BenefitsHydrating
Best ForMoisturising
Key Ingredients Snail secretion filtrate, betaine, butylene glycol
Formulation Liquid
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeNo
3

SECRET KEY Starting Treatment Essence

£17.80

BenefitsMoisturizing, tightening, brightening, anti-ageing, soothing
Best ForAll skin types
Key Ingredients Galactomyces, vitamin B1, B2, niacin, folic acid
Formulation Liquid
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeNo
5

NeogenReal Ferment Micro Essence Premium

£24.91

BenefitsHydrating, moisturising, anti-ageing
Best ForAll skin types
Key Ingredients Bifida germent lysate, saccharomyces ferment filtrate, betula alba juice, rice germent filtrate
Formulation Liquid
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeYes
4

SKINFOOD Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence

£34.00

BenefitsHydrating
Best ForAll skin types
Key Ingredients Black bee propolis extract, royal jelly extract, black honey
Formulation Milk
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeNo
6

Benton Fermentation Essence

£16.43

BenefitsAnti-ageing
Best ForAll skin types, dry skin
Key Ingredients Galactomyces ferment filtrate, bifida ferment lysate, sodium hyaluronate
Formulation Liquid
Vegan Yes
Cruelty-FreeYes
7

I'M FromMugwort Essence

£27.31

BenefitsSoothing
Best ForAll skin types
Key Ingredients Artemisia princeps extract
Formulation Liquid
Vegan Yes
Cruelty-FreeYes
8

Missha Essence Sun Milk SPF50+

£25.03

BenefitsMoisturising
Best ForNormal, dry, combination skin types
Key Ingredients Flower extracts, sun milk, thanaka extract
Formulation Cream
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeNo
9

PrimeraMiracle Seed Essence

£32.00

BenefitsSoothing, hydration, brightening
Best ForNormal, dry, oily, combination skin types
Key Ingredients Lotus seed activator, sugar fluid, vitamin complex
Formulation Liquid
Vegan Yes
Cruelty-FreeYes
10

BentonSnail Bee High Content Essence

£15.45

BenefitsHydrating
Best ForAll skin types (especially dry skin)
Key Ingredients Snail secretion extract, bee venom
Formulation Liquid/gel
Vegan No
Cruelty-FreeNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Essence and Can I Use It Every Day?

Originating from Korea, essences are a skincare product that aims to hydrate, protect and brighten the skin whilst also acting as a primer for your serum and moisturiser. Typically gentle and full of nourishing ingredients, they can be used both morning and night as part of your daily routine. 

Should I Use Essence or Serum First?

You should apply essence after cleansing and toning and before serum, moisturiser and SPF. A tip to remember when ordering your routine is that products should be layered from lightest to heaviest. Still, it's best to check the instructions to ensure you are using the product as the brand recommends. 

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Written and researched by Jane Pipkin

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