Filed Under: Skin

Essence vs. Serum: 6 Key Differences

Different skincare products have different delivery methods and therefore different abilities to benefit the skin. 

A lotion can’t provide the same support as a balm because the products are chemically different from each other. When it comes to reducing your skincare routine down to its essential steps, pay attention to the purpose of different delivery methods and choose the best skincare products for you. 

One of the best ways you can embrace skincare minimalism – something we like to call Skinimalism – in your daily routine is by realizing the differences in essences and serums. 

What Is an Essence? 

Skincare products labeled as essences contain a high concentration of water, so they provide more water-based benefits. Essences are specifically strong carriers of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant responsible for brightening the look of dark spots, smoothing the appearance of fine lines, and evening skin tone. 

Also a key player in collagen production, vitamin C has many regenerative functions in the skin, making treatment essences powerful anti-aging products. 

What Makes Furtuna Skin Essence Better Than Other Essences?

A cleanser, toner, and essence in one, Furtuna Skin’s Micellar Cleansing Essence contains our exclusive, organic olive leaf water that is 300% more potent than commercial olive leaf water in the market.

Powered by olive-rich micelles and our organic, wild-foraged Splendore Anchusa® Complex, this product balances your complexion to support the skin’s pH, tighten pores, and double cleanse residue and excess oils without any oil-stripping ingredients like alcohol. 

What Is a Serum? 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, serums are skincare products with high concentrations of oil and active ingredients. Designed to support the activation and delivery of oil-based and potent nutrients, serums are a delivery method rather than essences. Serum can help address several skin concerns at once, making it an essential skincare step for all skin types. 

What Makes Furtuna Skin Serum Better Than Other Serums? 

Furtuna Skin’s Face and Eye Serum is packed with decadent concentrations of rare botanical actives that provide a full scope of plant power. 

To ensure that skin gets complete and balanced nutrition, we created an interlocking approach that reunites olive oil and olive leaf water components through science and skincare rituals. Clinically tested for eye safety and skin benefits, our serum is rich in vitamins and minerals that can help leave your complexion glowing. 

What Is the Difference Between an Essence and a Serum?

Most skincare products are made with some combination of water and oil. The ratio of water-soluble and oil-soluble nutrients varies depending on the product’s chemical makeup, which impacts its function as a delivery method. 

Essences are powered by water, and serums are powered by oil. The difference between these skincare products comes down to the capabilities of their delivery methods. 

1. Texture 

The moment an essence or serum touches your skin, you can feel an immediate difference.  The products have different delivery methods, so they have unique chemical makeups. 

Essences rely on water to distribute their benefits, so they will be thinner than serums, which instead rely on oil. The look, feel, and function of Furtuna Skin’s Micellar Cleansing Essence and Face and Eye Serum are very different to your skin.

2. Concentration

But chemistry changes more than just the texture. The benefits of your skincare products are dependent on the concentrations of their formulations. 

Essences, which have higher concentrations of water, are better suited for hydration benefits since they can deliver more water-soluble nutrients that moisturize skin cells. However, serums, which have higher concentrations of oil, are generally better suited for structural benefits since they can deliver more oil-soluble nutrients that strengthen the skin barrier. 

3. Permeability

Permeability describes the skin’s capacity to regulate the intake and discharge of substances in or on the epidermis. 

When a substance is very permeable, the skin absorbs it easily. The opposite is true of substances with low permeability. 

Water is highly permeable compared to oil, which instead settles on top of the skin. Because of these chemical qualities, essences are smoothly absorbed into the skin, making them adept at internal support rather than pure oils. Conversely, serums best function at the skin’s surface, as they can lock in moisture by strengthening the skin’s outward barrier. 

A plus for our Face and Eye Serum is that it contains both organic olive oil and olive leaf water as a delivery system, reuniting water-soluble and oil-soluble nutrients from whole plants.

4. Ingredients

Due to the high water content in essences, they can carry higher concentrations of water-soluble ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and general peptides. Serums, which instead have high oil contents, can carry higher concentrations of oil-soluble ingredients like oleic acid and vitamin E

That said, you can still find hyaluronic acid in our Face and Eye Serum to support hydration levels in your skin. 

5. Water Content

When we talk about the water content of essences and serums, we’re not talking about regular H2O. At Furtuna Skin, we believe every skincare component is an opportunity to support your skin, so we pack our products with the best active ingredients nature offers. 

In both our Micellar Cleansing Essence and Face and Eye Serum, we replace plain water with our highly potent olive leaf water. Unique to Futuna Skin’s design, this natural moisturizer is packed with powerful phenols and antioxidants that protect, soothe, and quench skin with a layer of hydration.

6. Application

Essences and serums differ not only from each other but also from themselves. Your skin can receive vastly different benefits depending on how you apply your skincare products. 

Look at Furtuna Skin’s Micellar Cleansing Essence. When applied with your hands, the product is smooth on your skin, highlighting its cleansing benefits. But when applied using a cotton pad or bamboo cloth, the essence transforms into a high-quality exfoliator. 

With such duplicity available from the same product, pursuing skinimalism is easier than ever with Furtuna Skin products. 

Should I Use an Essence or a Serum?

The question of essence versus serum shouldn’t be an either-or situation. These products are chemically and functionally different, so one cannot substitute for the other’s benefits. When seeking to transform your skin, you must balance your skincare regimen with water-based and oil-based products. Using both essences and serums is a must. 

You should also consider the ingredients in your essence or serum, as well as where you are hoping to apply the product. Some serums contain harsh ingredients that are not safe for use around the eyes — however, our Face and Eye Serum is safe for use in the eye area, even with our high concentrations of active ingredients. 

The Bottom Line

Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Regardless of different product bases, skincare products can still be multi-functional. Like how our Micellar Cleansing Essence is a cleanser, toner, and essence in one, the benefits of a skincare product are a combination of chemistry and application methods. 

When refining your skincare routine to its essential steps, Furtuna Skin can help you draw the line between skinimalism and self-sabotage. 


The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health | PMC 

Vitamin E in Dermatology | PMC 

Antioxidants in Dermatology | PMC


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