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11 Best Korean Essences for Oily, Dry, and Anti Aging Skin 2024

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Looking for the best Korean essence?

I tested more than 42+ different Korean skincare products… just to find the best essence for my oily, dry, and sensitive skin.

After spending hours… and more hours on testing products, I created a list of the 11 best Korean essences for every skin type.

Don’t make the same mistake as I did by spending $530+ on skincare products that will never work anyway.

Before you start: In the last few years, I learned that it’s critical to take action immediately. Don’t procrastinate… especially when it comes down to your own health/skincare.

I always tell myself this: “You’re one step away from buying the skincare product that’ll change your life

Enough about me.

Let’s get started

Our Pick
COSRX Snail Mucin 96% Power Essence
COSRX Snail Mucin 96% Power Essence
  • Formulated with 96.3% Snail Secretion Filtrate
  • Lightweight
  • Dermatologist tested
Best Budget
PYUNKANG YUL Facial Essence
PYUNKANG YUL Facial Essence
  • Natural Ingredients
  • Contains hydroxyethyl cellulose
  • Most effective
Best Premium
Missha Time Revolution Essence
Missha Time Revolution Essence
  • Perfect for dry skin
  • Very affordable
  • Contains yeast extracts

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Best Korean Essences

Here are the 11 best Korean essences of 2024

1. Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

  • Best: overall
  • Size: 100 ml
  • Price $$

If you’re looking for the best Korean essence of all time, this is it.

Look no further. I tested more than 40+ different Korean skincare products for all different kinds of skin types, and none of them worked. Using this essence will massively improve your skin overnight, all within a few days.

Normally, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks before you see any results. However, if you really want to speed up the process, then this is the essence you should go for.

Not only does it have snail essence, which has many scientifically-backed studies, it also works for all skin types.

The only downside is the… you’ve probably guessed it.

The pricing.

Yes, it’s quite expensive compared to other brands. However, for me personally, there’s no better product out there that protects the skin barrier as good as this one.

Even if you can barely afford this, this is the essence that you must-have. Never deal with dry, irritated, or red skin again.

Get this now and take action immediately. Don’t wait too long as I did, it’ll only slow down the process.

Read full review

2. Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

  • Best for: oily skin
  • Size: 200 ml
  • Price: $$

The Pyunkang Yul Essence is by far the best essence for oily skin. It contains natural ingredients like ATO Cream. [1]

This study shows Moisturizers should be selected based on proven clinical effectiveness” and that’s exactly what I did. I tried all the different products in this list just to find the best one.

And I can say definitely say that this essence will improve your skin overnight.

It might take a few weeks before you start seeing any improvements. The most important step is to keep using it for at least 3 months. That’s when the big improvements will be seen.

A normal Korean beauty regimen takes months and sometimes years before it starts working. It’s a slow grind, but eventually, it’ll pay off.

One step at a time. Do this every single day, and before you know it this toner will be a life-changing product. What I really like about this toner is that it contains hydroxyethyl cellulose.

Hydroxyethylcellulose is an ingredient that has been proven to work for oily skin.

Give it a go, chances are, you’ll be surprised by the results.

3. Time Revolution The First Essence

  • Best for: dry skin
  • Size: 150 ml
  • Price: $

Considering the other Korean toners out there, this one is by far the best for dry skin. It really helps the skin nourish and hydrate itself.

And that’s really important because as we age, our skin starts to lose its ability to do that. You might not notice it while you’re still young.

However, everyone has the same problem. That’s why I always tell people to start using Korean skincare today unless you want to delay your own problems, but that’s totally up to you.

Achieving glowing skin with this toner is very doable within a few weeks, and for some people, it’ll only take a few days. The toner contains cica yeast ferment, which is backed by many expert studies.

These studies show that cica yeast ferment can help improve the overall condition of your skin and prevent any potential problems in the future. [2]

And the best part? This toner doesn’t require any cotton pads.

Your hands. That’s all you need.

Unlike many other toners out there, that do require cotton pads this one doesn’t.

It’ll probably save you about 10/mo, which adds up over the years. So, if you are serious about improving your dry skin, then this is the toner you should use.

4. Snail Bee High Content Essence

  • Best for: anti aging
  • Size: 60 ml
  • Price: $$$

This essence is ideal for people that are looking to prevent aging. I’ve been using this essence for about 3 months now, and I can definitely say that it has been a massive improvement.

Not only does my skin texture look healthier, but my skin elasticity is also much better.

If you’re not familiar with skin elasticity, it basically means that your skin can “bounce back” after being stretched.

Doing this will give your skin a healthier look and it doesn’t make your skin look dull. Even if you’re just going to use this once a week, you’ll see huge improvements.

It’s cruelty-free and contains niacinamide, which is a proven anti-aging ingredient.

There are many studies that show niacinamide can help improve wrinkles, fine lines, and lifeless skin. [3]

So, if you haven’t been using this already. You are missing out big time!

Don’t make the same mistake as I did, by buying 10+ different products that’ll never work.

Give this essence a try, chances are, you’ll never go back.

5. I’m from Mugwort Essence

  • Best for: acne-prone skin
  • Size: 30 ml
  • Price: $

This is by far the best Korean essence for acne-prone skin.

Especially if you’ve been dealing with acne-prone skin, this is the skin care product you must try. It gives your skin the nutrients to heal itself.

Ingredients like mugwort extract.

Mugwort Extract is Chinese medicine, which is proven to help with acne-prone skin. It’s often used to treat people with severe health conditions such as acne. [4]

The scent is a bit strong in my opinion. However, if you’re serious about taking care of your skin in the long term, then this is a no-brainer.

Expect to see results within a few weeks, and most importantly. Don’t forget to stay consistent, otherwise, you’ll have to use it for months until you see any results.

Using this does require a cotton pad. However, it’s almost the same cost if you buy one of the essences listed above.

Give it a go, chances are you won’t regret it.

PRO TIP: Use a proper amount and let it absorb into the face for at least 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water, doing this will prevent your skin from over-drying.

6. Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence

  • Best for: brightening
  • Size: 100 ml
  • Price: $$$

This Korean essence is a bit more on the expensive side. But it’s by far the best essence for brightening the skin.

I’ve been testing many different Korean essences over the last few months, and this one works surprisingly well for brightening the skin.

At first, I was a bit hesitant but decided to give this one a try.

I heard many great things about it, and I’m glad I decided to try it out.

Within a few weeks, I noticed that my skin got a lot brighter. This is because of the highly concentrated ingredients such as galactomyces ferment filtrate.

If you’re looking to brighten the skin fast, then this is the one you should go for.

However, if you aren’t too worried about pale/bright skin, then I personally think that this one isn’t worth the price.

Give it a try, and see if it works for you. There are thousands of people using this on a daily basis. And even though it’s a bit more expensive, it’s worth every penny for most people.

Most importantly is that you take action and don’t sit around all day… browsing through Social Media.

Don’t be lazy, 80% of your look is the face.

7. Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Essence

  • Best for: pores and sensitive skin
  • Size: 150 ml
  • Price: $$$

This Korean essence might not be for everyone.

Therefore, I only recommend using this if you have pores and extremely sensitive skin.

It’s made for that purpose, so don’t use this if you don’t fall into that category.

Using this on a daily basis will help with your pores and sensitive skin problems for sure.

It’s packed with tons of healthy ingredients like Betula Alba Juice, which is known to hydrate the skin very well. [5]

The only thing I don’t like about this Korean essence is that it’s quite expensive.

And by expensive… I mean it’s one of the most expensive Korean essences on the market. However, I do think that it’s worth the price for people who have pores and want to get rid of them fast.

Using this does improve overall skin health, which could be a life-changer for most people. At first, when you open this essence the scent will explode in your face.

That’s how strong it is.

It’s not bad smelling… but it’s rather strong.

So, give this a try if you want to get rid of pores fast.

8. Hyaluronic Acid Water Essence

  • Best for: glass skin
  • Size: 50 ml
  • Price: $$

Want to achieve glass skin fast?

Well, as you might know already… most Korean beauty products out there don’t work.

Luckily, this one does.

How?! This essence contains a low irritation formula that boosts your skin up to 5x.

Just kidding. That would be unrealistic.

However, using this does smoothen the skin quite fast. When I started using this, I noticed that my skin got a lot better throughout the month.

Especially during the winter, my skin tends to get very dry. Sometimes my skin even gets very rough and irritated.

However, using this essence really helped my skin a lot.

It contains hyaluronic acid, which is known to attract moisture from the air and hold it in the skin. Give it a try and use it for at least 3 to 5 weeks.

That’s when you’ll notice the biggest difference.

What I don’t like about this essence is that it doesn’t work for every skin type. If you have oily skin, then I would highly recommend you go for another essence.

Especially if your skin tone is on the darker side.

9. Phyto Niacin Whitening Essence

  • Best for: combination skin
  • Size: 50 ml
  • Price: $$

This Korean essence is by far the best for combination skin.

It works for all skin types including rough skin, dull skin, and even mature skin.

Normally, people tend to forget about this essence because it’s not as popular as the other ones. However, it really does work very well and it’s a great product to add to your Korean skincare routine.

Even if your skincare routine is already complete, this will greatly strengthen the skin within a few months.

Sadly, it does not contain green tea extract. But, it does have niacinamide and other beneficial ingredients that make this a great choice for combination skin. [6]

This is the essence that I was using back in the days when my skin was very dry and damaged.

If you’re looking for an essence that works for combination skin and heals the skin fast.

Get this one.

FUN FACT: Plastic Surgery is cheaper in South Korea than in most other countries.

10. Benton Fermentation Essence

  • Best for: hyperpigmentation
  • Size: 50 ml
  • Price: $$$

This Korean essence is by far the best one for hyperpigmentation.

It helps the skin calm down from all the damage that was done by the sun.

This essence contains lemon extracts, which are backed by many scientific studies. Using this will improve both the texture and the overall tone of your skin. [7]

I have been using this for about 3 weeks now and I can already see a difference in the overall pigmentation of my skin.

If you’re looking for an essence that helps with hyperpigmentation, this is it.

The only downside is that this essence is more expensive than the other ones. But it does work very well.

As you know already, most K-beauty products on the market never seem to work for foreigners.

Luckily, this one does and surprisingly it also works for oily and combination skin.

At the end of the day, most importantly is that you take action and do something to improve your skin.

Give this a try, and you won’t regret it.

11. Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence Mini

  • Best for: dry sensitive skin & travel
  • Size: 20 ml
  • Price: $

This Korean essence is best for dry and sensitive skin. It’s very small and great for traveling.

It contains a very low percentage of AHA (8%), which is why it’s great for people with dry and sensitive skin. If you have an uneven skin tone, this also helps with that.

Even if you never used Korean beauty products before, this one will work.

It’ll hydrate skin like no other product on the market and it’s very affordable.

The only downside is that this essence is not available in full size (50 ml).

But, if you’re looking for a small and affordable essence that works well for dry and sensitive skin, then this is it.

Thousands of people use this essence on a daily basis. Give it a go, and see the results yourself.

You’ll be surprised how good this essence is.

Buyer’s Guide: Best Korean Essence

This is the only buyer’s guide you need when buying Korean Essence.

What is the purpose of a Korean Essence?

The purpose of a Korean Essence is to hydrate and nourish the skin. They are usually water-based and help your skin to absorb other skincare products better.

These could be:

  • Toners
  • Serums
  • Sheet masks

By using a Korean essence you basically enhance all the other products that you’re using.

Are Korean Essences worth it?

Yes, Korean essences are definitely worth it. If you’re looking for an affordable and great way to improve your skin, then Korean essences are the way to go.

They usually come in small sizes, so they’re great for traveling. And, most importantly, they work very well.

For every skin type, there’s a different Korean essence. So, make sure to pick the right one for your skin type.

Is a Korean Essence the same as a Korean Toner?

No, a Korean Essence is not the same as a Korean Toner. Toners are usually used to remove any product residue left on the skin after cleansing. Essences, on the other hand, are used to hydrate and nourish the skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How often should you use a Korean essence?

A Korean essence should be used 2-3 times a week. However, if you have a very dry skin type, then you might need to use it more often.

Q. Can you use Korean essences twice a day?

Yes, you can use a Korean essence twice a day. However, it’s best to start off with using it once a day and then work your way up.

Q. Should you use a serum or essence first?

Serums should be used before essences. Serums are usually more concentrated and they contain a higher percentage of active ingredients. By using a serum first, you allow the essence to work better.


All in all, Korean essences are definitely worth it. The best one is Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. Unlike many other essences on the market, this one actually works.

It’s great for all skin types and it helps with hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and much more. Give it a try, and you won’t regret it.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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