Toner vs Serum vs Essence

Toner vs Serum vs Essence

As the skincare world continues to grow and evolve, different trends gain popularity from time to time, and get hyped up by celebrities and influencers. You might think you’ve finally nailed your routine, only to come across another ‘indispensable skincare step’, finding yourself distraught and confused about what to do.

One such confusing skincare concept is that of the difference between a toner, serum and essence, which can get overwhelming and confusing and you may find yourself asking questions like “What is the difference between a toner and serum, do I need to use one or both?”, or “What exactly is essence and do I even need to use it?” Obviously you would want to know the difference between these seemingly similar products to be able to choose the best for your skin, right? But there’s such conflicting information available online, that you just can’t seem to wrap your head around these things.

If you’re one of the many who confuse this trio, here’s a guide on each one of them- what they are, their differences as well as when and how to use them. So keep on reading to make the best choice for your skin.


Toner is a water based skincare product and it should be a part of your everyday routine, morning and night. After you cleanse your face, using a toner will help the skin further by removing any leftover dirt, oil and debris while also prepping the skin for the rest of the products and steps in your skincare routine. Toners also help to tighten open and enlarged pores, creating a smoother complexion and a balanced skin tone and pH level. Often dubbed as an unnecessary part of a skincare routine, (which couldn’t be further from the truth) a toner helps to calm any post cleansing inflammation and irritation while also helping to manage excess oil production. Without a toner, your skin barrier can be damaged and may become dry and vulnerable which eventually leads to skin sensitivity as well as breakouts. 

How to choose the right toner 

There are many toners in the market and there are different types of toners as well. 

Knowing your skin type will help you choose the best suitable toner for your skin. 

People with dry skin should opt for a hydrating toner to help prep the skin for the next step in their skincare routine and give it some extra moisture boost. A toner for dry and sensitive skin must contain hydrating and nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and green tea. The Leovard Tonic has an amazing list of ingredients that help soothe any itching and inflammation, alleviate sunburn and above all have anti-aging properties. 

It also contains salicylic acid, lending it exfoliating properties, making it great for oily skin as well. Why? Because exfoliating toners are ideal for stimulating skin turnover.  Also, they help to remove the dead skin cells and brighten up the skin, while also balancing the production of excess oil. 

Toners with alcohol in them should be avoided as they can cause irritation and cause the skin to dry out, making the Leovard Tonic perfect as it is alcohol-free.


Essence has become quite popular in mainstream beauty over the last few years. While a toner helps to exfoliate using the acid, an essence is used to hydrate the skin with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. The idea of an essence comes out of Japanese and Korean skincare regimen. Many Korean women consider the essence to be the most important step in the skincare routine because it is meant to soothe skin, accelerate natural turnover and encourage a smoother, healthier complexion. Essences are formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients to help other products penetrate the skin better.

How to choose the right essence 

If you’re looking to add an essence to your skincare routine, be sure to choose one that suits your skin. For dry skin, look for a hydrating essence, for oily skin, look for an essence that contains ingredients like ginseng or fermented dextrin, which can help to control the sebum production. For best results, work the liquid onto your hands and gently tap it on your face and the neck instead of relying on a cotton pad. Use an essence before your serum to enhance the effectiveness of the next product in your routine.


A serum is formulated to nourish, protect and hydrate the skin, making it a must-have step after cleansing and before moisturizing you’re looking for dewy and youthful radiant skin. Serums are usually packed with powerful ingredients that can target specific concerns such as fine lines and dark spots. If you use a face serum that’s well suited to the type of issue you want to address, a serum can have multiple benefits such as reduced appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, a brighter skin complexion, and reduced incidence of acne breakouts. They are also great for the prevention of oxidative damage as they are packed with antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and green tea. 

How to choose the right serum

A serum is a skincare product lighter in texture than most creams and essential oils, making it work well with all skin types. If you have an oily skin type, you may opt for  one in a gel-like consistency as it won’t leave the skin feeling sticky or greasy and will instead absorb well into the skin. 

For dry and sensitive skin types, it’s important to ensure the presence of nourishing and hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and vitamin E along with soothing and calming ingredients like chamomile and lavender, all of which are found in the Leovard Serum. 


What constitutes a must-have step in a skincare routine depends entirely on the person’s skin type and particular needs, settling the debate of what is better than the other. All three products are different and have different uses, making them all unique and a great addition to anyone who’s looking to transform their dull, dry and dehydrated skin into one that looks and feel soft, luscious and glowing from within. 

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