Toner, Essence, Serum and Ampoule: What's the difference?


With so many new skin care products being created today, it is almost difficult to distinguish one from the other. It’s tempting to just buy every variant as to not miss a step on your ever-changing regime. Worry not because we’re letting you in on the differences between these products to help you figure out which one you need the most.



Most people choose to skip toners, thinking these products won’t do any good for their skin and it’s just some a watery liquid that you pat on the face. But really, toner is the bridge between the cleansing and moisturizing steps. Aside from aiding in cleansing and hydrating, toners restore your skin’s pH balance thereby making sure that you can reap the goodness of products you will use next. There are also various types of toners made specifically for different skin types and concerns, so to help you choose, here are our top picks:

Skin 1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica PHA Toner - a mild exfoliating toner for all skin types!

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner - for intense hydration of dry skin

Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner - for extra calming of sensitive, irritated combo skin

Isntree Clear Skin BHA Toner - for gentle exfoliation of oily, acne-prone skin


Essence is at the heart of every Korean’s skincare routine-it’s actually the secret (well, not anymore!) on achieving that Korean glow or ‘chok-chok’ skin. Due to its greatness, what started as a trend in Korea is now making its way West, you’ll see almost every Western brand with their own lines of essences. Essence feels like water, but is charged with active ingredients and extracts that moisturizes the skin from deep within. Think moisturizer, but more beyond the surface. It brings out the glow from within and makes your face visibly brighter. Use this after cleansing and toning for best results.

For beating this country’s humidity while also having something to protect your skin from all the pollution, we recommend you use Instree Green Tea Fresh Emulsion as it’s rich in antioxidants and contains supplements to strengthen your skin’s barrier. If you’re wondering if you can substitute it for a thick cream moisturizer, you most definitely can especially in the mornings when you only need a light touch.


Serum & Ampoule

Serums are super packed with nutrients that address specific concerns and provide a variety of benefits, that’s why it’s best to consistently keep them in your skin routine. The ampoule, on the other hand, is more packed and concentrated than a serum. They are like a booster that comes in handy even on days that you need that immediate skin reviving. It is recommended to squeeze this step in between the toner and the essence for that extra glow. So when you need an extra kick to further target a skin concern, these supercharged products filled with active ingredients should be your friend. Two great addition in your routine would be the Isntree C-Niacin Toning Ampoule for combatting dullness and uneven skin texture, or the Ettang Galactomyces-Centella Asiatica Ampoule for turning that no blemishes-bright complexion dreams a reality.

Tip: Always seal in all the products you’ve used with a moisturizer, especially one that is lightweight, hydrating and perfect for our year-round humid climate-just exactly like this Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Gel Cream.


The key here is to put first whichever has the lightest consistency going to the thicker ones. And now that you know the difference, you’re ready to pick one and determine your HG. Find about it on our shop!