10 Top Korean Essences 2023 | K-beauty Essences For Glowing, Plump Skin!

by Jih Yun

Prep your skin for your skincare routine with these top Korean essences. These Korean essences are made for different skin types and concerns so you can target the right problems.

Korean essences help your skin prep for the rest of the skincare products like serums, ampoules, and moisturizers by allowing the products to penetrate deeper into your skin for best results. Other than this, these top Korean essences also improve the appearance of your skin.

Korean skincare regime is long, but you and I both know that the Koreans have the best skin quality ever. One important part of their regime is the use of an essence. You might be wondering what essence is for when you already have a moisturizer as well as a serum, right?

Top Korean Essences — Quick Summary

Top Korean EssencesBest For
Marine Mineral Plump and Glow essence by Seoul CeuticalsOily Skin
Mizon Water Volume Ex First EssenceIntense Hydration
MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Anti-ageing
Mizon – Skin Power Original First EssenceAnti-wrinkle And Skin Firming
Nella Ginseng EssenceLighten Skin tone
Missha Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence Sensitive Skin
Nature Republic Snail Solution Repairing Damaged Skin
Innisfree New Orchid Enriched EssenceAnti-ageing And Skin Strengthening
Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Essence Acne Prone Skin
COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing EssenceOily & Acne-prone Skin

Now that you know the benefits of including a Korean essence in your skincare regime, read on to discover the best Korean essences

Our Best Picks For Top Korean Essences

  1. Marine Mineral Plump and Glow essence by Seoul CeuticalsRecommended for oily skin
  2. MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment EssenceReduces the appearances of signs of aging
  3. Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Essence  – Recommended for sensitive skin

Best Korean Essences

Marine Mineral Plump and Glow essence by Seoul Ceuticals

Top Korean Essences For Oily Skin

Oily skin needs hydration too, but it has to be the skin that does not make the skin oilier or clog the pores. The Marine Mineral Plump and Glow essence by Seoul Ceuticals contains an amazing mixture of ingredients that make oily skin softer and hydrate without making your skin greasy.

I have sensitive skin and this Korean essence really helped soothe and calm my skin. I also realised that the Marine mineral plump and glow essence made my skin look brighter and feel smooth. What I particularly like about this Korean essence is that it comes in a spray bottle which makes it so easy to use. I saw noticeable change in my skin after about 3 weeks of regular use. I spritz this Korean essence once in the morning and once in the night.

Key Features:

  • Contains 98% naturally sourced ingredients
  • Safe on the skin as it does not have harsh chemicals
  • Comedogenic formula, does not clog the pores
  • Contains a blend of aloe vera, Japanese green tea extracts, cucumber extracts, tamarind extracts and grapefruit extracts
  • Balances the pH levels of the skin


  • Suitable for oily skin and sensitive skin
best korean essence

Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence

Top Korean Essences For Intense Hydration

Dry and patchy skin is no good, be it for applying your makeup or for your skin to absorb the rest of your skincare regime. The Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence has a unique concoction that hydrates your skin deeply and preps it for the next steps in your routine.

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This Korean essence is as light as water but probably just slightly thicker than water in consistency. What I love about Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence is that it absorbs into my skin pretty much as soon as I apply it. And just a little bit of the essence will cover your entire face. One bottle of this lasted me about 6 months. And I felt my skin was more moisturised just after a couple of days of applying this essence!

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Key Features:

  • Contains a blend of Snow Algae extract, Hydrosalinol, Ceramides, Moringa as the active ingredients
  • The algae extract moisturises the skin deeply
  • Hydrasinol and ceramides lock in the moisture 
  • Skin stays well hydrated all day long
  • Moringa soothes the skin and keeps away inflammation


  • Suitable for dry skin
  • Intensely hydrating formula
Mizon Water Volume Ex First Essence

MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence 

Top Korean Essences For Anti-ageing

Missha’s Time Revolution range is all about slowing down the ageing of the skin and is hugely popular as it delivers results. The First Treatment Essence has ingredients that protect your skin from damage, lighten dark spots and pigmentation, and give you whiter skin.

Since I have sensitive skin, I often have irritated skin with redness. But this Korean essence by MISSHA helped my skin with redness pretty much after using it just a couple of time. This essence has a watery consistency so it felt super light on my skin and absorbed very quickly without leaving any sticky feeling.

However, you should keep in mind that this Korean essence contains niacinamides you cannot simultaneously use skincare with retinols, AHAs/BHAs or Vitamin C. Using both together can cause irritation. So what you can do is to alternate products containing retinols, AHAs/BHAs or vitamin C with a different one whenever you use this Korean essence.

Key Features

  • Contains fermented yeast extract and green tea essence as the active ingredients
  • The yeast extract soothes the skin and fights free radical damage
  • The green tea essence lightens the colour of the skin
  • The essence softens the texture of the skin
  • Makes skin look brighter


  • Brightens and lightens the skin
  • Easy to use spray bottle
top korean essence

Mizon – Skin Power Original First Essence

Top Korean Essences For Anti-wrinkle And Skin Firming

Mizon – Skin Power Original First Essence is a one stop solution for all your skin troubles like wrinkles, sagging, toning, balancing the pH levels and even exfoliation. Added to that, it has ingredients that can boost the absorption of your moisturiser and serum into your skin.

Key Features:

  • Contains 94.5% galactomyces
  • The property of galactomyces is to increase absorption of product into skin
  • It also has antioxidant properties that fight free radical damage
  • Tightens the pores and controls sebum production
  • Smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hypoallergenic formula


  • Increases the absorption of serum by the skin
  • Makes skin smoother by tightening it 

Nella Ginseng Essence

Top Korean Essences For Lightening Skin Tone

Ginseng is something the K-beauty industry swears by. Used in many Korean skincare products, Ginseng is thought to have magical properties. Nella makes use of this in the Ginseng essence to give you amazing skin. 

Key Features:

  • Contains Bifida ferment filtrate and Panax ginseng root extract as the main ingredients
  • These ingredients repair the skin and encourage cell regeneration
  • Lighten scars and correct the tone
  • Makes the skin tone whiter
  • Contains niacinamide which brightens the skin
  • Smoothens the skin and improves the texture
  • Moisturises the skin and makes it supple


  • Gives skin a translucent and smooth finish
  • Lightens the skin tone

Missha Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence 

Top Korean Essences For Sensitive Skin

We have another top Korean essence from Missha’s Time Revolution range of skincare. This one is the Artemisia Treatment Essence which is chock full of the minerals from the oceanic regions. These are double fermented to bring out their full potential in nourishing your skin.

Key Features:

  • Contains double fermented artemisia extracts
  • These nourish the skin with plenty of minerals
  • Soothes the skin and calms it
  • Hydrates the skin
  • Gentle and mild formula
  • Non-comedogenic formula


  • Very gentle and safe on sensitive skin
  • Easy to use, in the form of a mist

Nature Republic Snail Solution 

Top Korean Essences For Repairing Damaged Skin

Nature Republic Snail Solution is perfect if you are trying to revive damaged skin. The snail mucus in it helps your skin heal quickly, fades scars and even tightens the skin for a more youthful appearance. 

Key Features:

  • Contains snail mucin as the primary ingredient
  • Snail mucin stimulates cell regeneration, thereby repairing damaged skin
  • Intensely hydrates the skin and makes it supple and plump
  • Makes skin tighter and gets rid of fine lines
  • Fades scars, blemishes and hyperpigmentation
  • Has a refreshing scent


  • A little bit goes a long way
  • Repairs skin
  • Hydrates intensely


  • Thicker in consistency than other watery essences

Innisfree New Orchid Enriched Essence 

Top Korean Essences For Anti-ageing And Skin Strengthening

With the goodness of Jeju Orchid, Innisfree brings us the New Orchid Enriched Essence to turn back time. The essence is light and fresh, and it strengthens the skin so that it does not get affected by the stressors in the environment.

Key Features:

  • Contains extracts of Jeju Orchid as the active ingredient
  • Jeju Orchid has the ability to strengthen the skin barrier
  • Skin becomes less susceptible to environmental damage
  • Slows down the ageing of the skin
  • Keeps wrinkles and fine lines away
  • Makes skin more elastic
  • Moisturises the skin


  • Mild and gentle on the skin


  • Not suitable for dry skin as it does not moisturise enough

Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Essence 

Top Korean Essences For Acne-prone Skin

Acne prone needs the hydration but in the form of something light. Innisfree’s Jeju Lava Seawater Essence does just that with its seawater. While it hydrates, it prevents the skin from breaking out and also tightens it. 

Key Features:

  • The active ingredient is lava seawater
  • It is light and hydrating
  • Keeps skin fresh and does not clog the pores
  • Keeps skin moisturised all day long
  • The essence also tightens the skin
  • Makes skin softer and smoothes out the skin tone
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  • Light and hydrating for acne prone skin

COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence

Top Korean Essences For Oily and Acne-prone Skin

The COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence is a hard working essence that not only increases the absorption of your skincare products, but also works on controlling the sebum production, brightening your skin tone and keeping it hydrated all day long. 

Key Features:

  • Contains 95.4% galactomyces as the active ingredient
  • Galactomyces increase the absorption of product into the skin
  • Contains niacinamide that brightens the skin tone
  • The essence firms the skin and tightens the pores
  • It controls sebum production
  • Reduces the occurrence of acne
  • It has a non-allergic formula that is safe on even sensitive skin


  • Hypoallergenic formula

Which is the best Korean essence?

Here are some of the best Korean essences I reviewed for different skin types. These top Korean essences improve your skin texture and you can see a visible difference with regular, and consistent use. 

The best Korean essence for oily skin is the Marine Mineral Plump and Glow essence by Seoul Ceuticals. If you’re looking for a Korean essence with anti-aging properties then the best Korean essence is the MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence. Nature Republic Snail Solution is the best Korean essence for sensitive skin type. And if you have acne-prone skin, the best Korean essence to choose is the Innisfree Jeju Lava Seawater Essence. 

How to choose the best Korean essence? 

Choose a Korean essence based on ingredients that are gentle on the skin. Ingredients like green tea extracts, aloe vera and collagen help slow down the ageing process, soften the skin, minimise pores and smoothen the skin. They protect the skin from environmental damage. Hyaluronic acid is a good ingredient that locks in moisture and keeps the skin well hydrated. 

Check for ingredients that can trigger a reaction, especially if you have sensitive skin. Stay away from essences that contain alcohol, parabens and sulphates. These can dry the skin and cause more harm than good.

Korean Essences: FAQs

Why should you use a Korean skin essence?

A Korean skin essence is the most important part of the skincare regime (and must not be skipped). It improves the skin tone and helps reap the benefits of the other products.

How is Korean essence different from serum, toner, and ampoule? 

A toner closes the pores and balances the skin’s pH levels. A serum has active ingredients and a consistency that is thicker than an essence and can have moisturizing or sebum controlling properties. Ampoules have fewer ingredients than serums, with a high concentration of just one or two active ingredients. Ampoules are used for targeting specific issues. Essence is the watery, light skin product that conditions the skin and helps it absorb the serum and the ampoule. 

How to use Korean skin essence? 

Use a Korean skin essence after your toner and before the next step in your skincare regime. Pour sufficient quantity in your palm and rub your palms together. Press your palms into your skin and gently pat. 

What is a skin essence? 

A skin essence is a light and water based skincare product. It preps the skin and helps it absorb the serum, ampoule and moisturiser better. 

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