Essence, Toner, Serum

Essence vs Serum vs Toner : Is there really a difference?

There seems to always be a new step in the skincare routine. First it was just a 3 step process, then it slowly evolved to bring in more…and then more…and now we are at a 10 step routine! It can cause you to feel overwhelmed or confused because you don't exactly know the rest of the steps, their necessity or how they affect the skin. But don't you worry CocoFam, we are here to tell you exactly this! For all those of you who are spending their time scratching their heads as to what each product means, read on, and you will be an expert by the end of it!


Lets first tackle this, as you must have heard “Use your toner” over and over again. And we know that toners come right after you are done with your cleanser.

Toners are what you use to restore your skin’s pH balance. It is also helpful in removing any impurities or dust left behind on your skin that might have been missed by your cleanser. They have other added ingredients that help your skin in different ways. But most of all, toners help your skin absorb the rest of the products in the routine. Simply put: these form the base of your skincare!

What is the easiest way to recognize your toner?

It comes in a larger bottle than the other two and they have a thin, watery consistency. It evaporates quickly into your skin!

What type of ingredients goes into your toner?

A Toner usually has water along with essential oils, plant extracts, and other active ingredients that exfoliate and hydrate your skin.

How do you use toner?

You need to put some toner onto a cotton pad, and rub it all over your face!

(For a fun experiment, look at the cotton pad once done, the grime and dust on it will give you a reminder as to why a toner is needed!)

What are some of our favorite Toners?

We love the Minimal Pore Clear Toner by Tirtir. It works wonders at removing excess oil and makeup. It also contains Water Mint, which makes our skin feel cool and refreshed after using. It really is a godsend after a long day!

We are also fans of the Coconut Water Hibiscus and Rosehip Toner by Solved Skincare! It revitalizes, tones, hydrates, and softens all skin types. It also reduces blemishes, redness, and pigmentation. Additionally, you can use it throughout the day to refresh your skin, or spray it across your face to set the makeup!


Typically, after your toner, when your face feels cleansed and hydrated, you need to move onto an essence. People usually use “Toner” and “Essence” as interchangeable phrases - especially as an essence can look like a toner, and is usually applied like a toner. However, Essences are closer in formulation to a Serum than it is to the toner. An essence can be called as the love child of a toner and a serum!

Its job is to continue prepping your skin for the next step, while aiding in the regenerative process of your skin. Regeneration of your skin is the process by which your skin loses the top layer of dead skin, and fresh, new skin takes its place instead. If you are having dull skin, or if you feel less radiant, then that might be because your skin’s renewal is happening at a slower pace. And it is here that essences help you get the skin you need.

What is the easiest way to recognize your Essence?

It comes in a smaller bottle than the toner, but larger than your serum. It has a watery texture, but is thicker than the toner.

What type of ingredients go into your Essence?

An essence primarily contains water with other active ingredients that help brighten your skin by improving the skin cell turnover, while also helping your skin retain moisture.

How do you use an Essence?

Step 1: Take one pump of the essence onto your palms.

Step 2: Start applying it near your chin, and slowly moving upwards in a circular motion.

It is watery and does evaporate quickly, but give it a few minutes before you move onto the next step!

What are some of our favourite Essences?

We are so excited to bring to you an essence - The Jin Jung Sung Moisturizing Essence. This has20 natural ingredients and 7 different typos of Hyaluronic acid to intensely moisturize your skin. This has been ranked as one of the top 10 Essences for Sensitive skin in 2022! It soothes and calms the skin while pumping it up with nourishment from deep within!

We also love the amazing NotSeeBack line of essences - each of them targeting different skincare issues. If your skin’s issues changes by the day, week or month, you need the NotSeeBack line to target the concerns based on what your skin feels that day.


Serums are usually a gel-like formula that is jam packed with powerful ingredients to treat specific skin problems. They are heavier than Essences and Toners primarily because they contain concentrated and potent active ingredients! They are topical supplements for your skin, that are supercharged with higher concentrations of active ingredients, vitamins, minerals etc.

What is the easiest way to recognize your Serum?

It comes in a smaller bottle - usually with droppers or pumps. It can come in a watery or a gel like texture, but is more viscous than Toners or an Essence.

What type of ingredients go into your Serum?

Serums usually have a variety of ingredient combinations - usually based on what skin concern is being targeted. There are Serums that target signs of aging, that Stimulate cell growth, that help in intensive hydration of the skin - the possibilities are endless!

How do you use an Essence?

Step 1: Take one pump of the Serum onto your palms.

Step 2: Apply evenly all over your face. Pat your skin gently for better absorption.

What are some of our favourite Serums?

We love the Numbuzin Line of Serums that attack a wide variety of skin concerns. Just lift a number up based on the skincare issue you are looking to tackle. They are made with the best of ingredients and shower your skin with a LOT of love and nourishment.Also add to your skincare routine the Mude True Eyelash Serum to pamper your eyelashes and the Bonbon Nail Serum to strengthen your nails!


Cleansing products aren't toners. A toner and an essence might sound interchangeable, but they aren’t. Essence isn't a Serum. They’re all different parts of a skincare routine that all aim to make your skin feel and look better. When you know what your skin type is, and what you are hoping to achieve with your skincare routine, all you need to do, is to understand the different steps.

As a new skincare routine enthusiast, dropping into the world of routines (and the innumerable guides available in the vast internet), the various phrases will seem confusing. Hopefully, now that you have gone through this article, you have a better understanding of what each of these products are