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  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2023 | Missha, COSRX and More 1
  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2023 | Missha, COSRX and More 2
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  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2023 | Missha, COSRX and More 4
  • 10 Best Korean Essence UK 2023 | Missha, COSRX and More 5

10 Best Korean Essence UK 2023 | 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. 

Last updated 07/02/2023
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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

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

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

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.

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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.
Popularity
Products
Image
Price
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Missha

Time Revolution Essence

Missha  Time Revolution Essence  1枚目

£31.00

High Mid

Revive and Brighten Skin With This Cult-Favourite Essence

2

COSRX

Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel 1枚目

£14.22

Low Mid

Get an Instant Glow With Snail Mucin

3

SECRET KEY

Starting Treatment Essence

SECRET KEY  Starting Treatment Essence  1枚目

£17.80

Low Mid

Achieve Radiant Skin and Diminish Wrinkles

4

SKINFOOD

Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence

SKINFOOD  Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence 1枚目

£34.00

High Mid

Enhance Your Skin's Texture With the Power of Honey

5

Neogen

Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium

Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium 1枚目

£24.91

Mid

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

6

Benton

Fermentation Essence

Benton  Fermentation Essence 1枚目

£16.43

Low Mid

Illuminate Dullness With Fermented Ingredients

7

I'M From

Mugwort Essence

I'M From Mugwort Essence 1枚目

£27.31

High Mid

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

8

Missha

Essence Sun Milk SPF50+

Missha  Essence Sun Milk SPF50+ 1枚目

£25.03

Mid

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

9

Primera

Miracle Seed Essence

Primera Miracle Seed Essence 1枚目

£32.00

High Mid

Purify Skin With Lotus Seed, Sugar Fluid and Vitamin Complex

10

Benton

Snail Bee High Content Essence

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence 1枚目

£15.45

Low Mid

With Snail and Bee Venom to Enhance Elasticity and Heal Damage

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Missha Time Revolution Essence

Time Revolution Essence  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£31.00
High Mid
Reference price
£31.00
High Mid

Revive and Brighten Skin With This Cult-Favourite Essence

There is a good reason why Missha's Time Revolution toner is renowned in the K-Beauty world. It has the power to improve the appearance of wrinkles and the elasticity of your skin thanks to the inclusion of yeast extract and niacinamide. 


Other key ingredients such as pearl reef and rice extract also have exfoliating properties which will help leave your skin looking clear and smooth. As soon as you apply this product, your skin will feel instantly hydrated. Using this will make your skin constantly look energised and youthful, and what's not to like about that?

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No.2

COSRXAdvanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel

Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel Image 1
Source:boots.com
Reference price
£14.22
Low Mid
Reference price
£14.22
Low Mid

Get an Instant Glow With Snail Mucin

Snail mucin is a well-loved K-beauty ingredient because it has the ability to protect skin from moisture loss as well as give it an instant glow. COSRX's Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence has become a fan-favourite simply because as soon as you apply it, you'll notice how your skin feels refreshed and has a natural glow to it.


With a formula containing 96.3% snail secretion filtrate, it shields from dryness and signs of ageing by repairing the skin's moisture levels. Despite the fact this essence is not vegan, it is worth noting the snail mucin is obtained in a way that is safe and environmentally friendly. 

No.3

SECRET KEY Starting Treatment Essence

Starting Treatment Essence  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£17.80
Low Mid
Reference price
£17.80
Low Mid

Achieve Radiant Skin and Diminish Wrinkles

This multipurpose essence will provide effective care for your skin in seven different ways: moisturising, tightening, brightening, soothing, providing antioxidants, improving the appearance of wrinkles and texture. 


The secret to achieving these amazing benefits? It's the inclusion of galactomyces ferment filtrate in addition to a variety of vital vitamins. Highly recommended for those who are looking to try an essence for the first time!

No.4

SKINFOOD Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence

Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£34.00
High Mid
Reference price
£34.00
High Mid

Enhance Your Skin's Texture With the Power of Honey

Combining the powers of honey and black bee propolis extract, this essence is designed to fade dark spots in addition to reducing acne. The inclusion of royal jelly extract also helps to create a firm barrier on your skin, resulting in long-lasting moisture. 


SKINFOOD prides itself on making products full of nutrients and this essence definitely lives up to expectations. As soon as you apply it to your face, you'll immediately notice how hydrated and glowy your skin looks.

No.5

NeogenReal Ferment Micro Essence Premium

Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£24.91
Mid
Reference price
£24.91
Mid

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

From one of K-Beauty's longest-running brands comes this essence formulated with natural fermented ingredients which work to protect your natural skin cells. Some of these nourishing ingredients include Bifida ferment lysate and rice ferment filtrate. 


Additionally, this essence will help to increase skin elasticity and moisture as well as provide antioxidant benefits. It is also fragrance-free and would work on a variety of skin types. If you want your skin to look like it has a natural glow, then use this!

No.6

Benton Fermentation Essence

Fermentation Essence Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£16.43
Low Mid
Reference price
£16.43
Low Mid

Illuminate Dullness With Fermented Ingredients

Revitalise your skin with the power of fermented ingredients, galactomyces and bifida ferment lysate. Using this will result in your skin looking firmer and feeling nourished and less dry. It is a great option if you are concerned about wrinkles


Since this essence is water-based it will not leave your skin feeling and looking overly oily. Given that it is free from artificial colouring and alcohol means it is also a great choice for those wanting to avoid any potential skin irritants.

No.7

I'M FromMugwort Essence

Mugwort Essence Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£27.31
High Mid
Reference price
£27.31
High Mid

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

Soothe irritated skin with this essence formulated with one main ingredient; mugwort extract. This ingredient is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and has a unique scent to it. After using this, your skin will be left feeling comfortable and calm


Notably, it would work wonders on those with sensitive skin and also be ideal to use in the summer season as it can help relieve heat rash. You know that this will be a gentle product since it is free from artificial fragrances, colours and parabens. To top off all of this, this essence is vegan and cruelty-free.

No.8

Missha Essence Sun Milk SPF50+

Essence Sun Milk SPF50+ Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£25.03
Mid
Reference price
£25.03
Mid

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

Putting on SPF every day is a must if you want to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful. This lightweight essence will not only protect your skin with the power of SPF50+ but will also hydrate and cool it. After applying, your skin will instantly feel silky smooth and soft. 


The blend of sweet apricot, louts and chrysanthemum flowers give this essence a nice floral scent whilst the inclusion of aloe vera and green tea extract help to reduce redness. Most importantly, this sunscreen-essence does not feel greasy and won't leave an obvious white cast.

No.9

PrimeraMiracle Seed Essence

Miracle Seed Essence Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£32.00
High Mid
Reference price
£32.00
High Mid

Purify Skin With Lotus Seed, Sugar Fluid and Vitamin Complex

Eco-friendly skincare brand Primera has created this miracle essence that will purify your skin as well as reduce visible pores. The main ingredients consist of lotus seed activator, sugar fluid and vitamin complex, all of which will deeply moisture as well as protect your skin. 


The overall effect is that your skin will look plump, dewy and radiant. By using this, any serums or creams you use later on in your routine will absorb much faster. For the best results, it is recommended that you apply this product both day and night

No.10

BentonSnail Bee High Content Essence

Snail Bee High Content Essence Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£15.45
Low Mid
Reference price
£15.45
Low Mid

With Snail and Bee Venom to Enhance Elasticity and Heal Damage

Relieve skin from stress and protect it from pollution with this essence made with some of the best ingredients K-Beauty has to offer: snail secretion filtrate and bee venom. Together, these two ingredients enhance the skin's elasticity whilst helping heal damaged skin. 


Moreover, this essence contains niacinamide, aloe vera leaf juice and adenosine, which address a number of other skin needs including wrinkle care, irritation and blemishes. Although suitable for all skin types, the inclusion of animal-derived ingredients means that it is not suitable for vegans. 

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. 

Written and researched by Jane Pipkin

Top 5 Korean Essence

No. 1: Missha Time Revolution Essence

No. 2: COSRXAdvanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence Gel

No. 3: SECRET KEY Starting Treatment Essence

No. 4: SKINFOOD Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence

No. 5: NeogenReal Ferment Micro Essence Premium

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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