A Beauty Essence That Makes Your Products Work That Much Better

Falling somewhere between a toner and a lightweight serum, essences are like no other beauty product on the market. Liquid in nature, which makes essences compatible with nearly every skin type, they act as a prep of sorts for your skin so that it can better receive the ingredients that come next in your skin care regimen.

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While it seems like essences may have popped up overnight, they’ve actually been around for a while, but only recently gained traction. A mainstay in Korean beauty routines, essences are pretty much void of filler, so the actives in them are delivered deep within the skin. And, while each one works a little differently from the next, for the most part, they work to nourish, hydrate and protect skin.

Of all the essences we’ve tried—and trust us, we’ve tested dozens—one of our favorite (although there are quite a few) essences is the Caviar in Essence Lotion from La Prairie ($240).

Like all essences, this one is so easy to use—just apply it to your skin using your fingers morning and night after cleansing, but before you put on any other products, like your serums. Considered “the first essential step of the beauty routine,” this hydrating and conditioning essence, according to the brand, is the first step where you are infusing treatment back into your skin—it’s like the missing link the ultimate beauty routine.

introducing skin caviar essence-in-lotion, our new pre-serum. the missing link in your skincare ritual.

A video posted by la prairie official account. (@laprairie) on


Light enough that it dries down in mere seconds, the Caviar in Essence Lotion goes one step further than most essences on the market in that it contains caviar water as opposed to just straight water, which helps to give skin a lifting and firming effect. The antioxidant-rich caviar water also makes pores appear smaller and more refined.

After using the essence for a few weeks straight (along with my regular skin care products), I noticed that my skin looked brighter, felt softer and that my makeup went on better. While the products I applied right after seemed to soak up into my skin immediately, I can’t say for sure that they worked double time, but based on the improvement in my skin, I am going to guess that it’s all from using an essence.