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Over in this part of the world, we’re always after the enviable glass skin that seems to be spotted on every Korean woman (or man). And if you ask any of them what their secret is, chances are they’ll probably tell you it’s the beauty essence they’re using.

While facial essence isn’t an entirely new invention, the use of beauty essence is still a rather new concept for many of us Singaporeans.

Loreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro Essence Mai Davika Cropped

Mai Davika, Thai actress and model

For one, most of us grew up with the idea of a basic skin care routine – just cleansing, toning, and moisturising. The ones that are more into skincare would add a serum to treat their specific skin concerns, be it brightening, hydrating or anti-ageing.

But mostly, many people are under the misconception that adding a facial essence in your routine will be too heavy a burden on the skin, which is far from accurate.

With the right type of formula for your skin type, beauty essence can actually boost the efficacy of your toner and serum, and deliver the dewiness you’ve been looking for in your skin.

Why is beauty essence essential in your skin care regimen?

L'oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro Essence - Woman Applying Beauty Essence With Cotton Pad

For starters, many Koreans believe the essence step matters especially if dewy, glass skin is what you’re after. Being a concentrated formula that specifically targets wrinkles and fine lines as well as dull and uneven skin tone, beauty essence’s primary function is to hydrate and brighten the skin for ultimate skin clarity.

There are currently a variety of essence consistencies in the market ranging from water and gel types to emulsion-like textures that are more viscous, and while you’ll sometimes hear people referring to facial essences as serums, they generally have a thinner consistency than the latter.

With many essences formulated with watery consistencies, it can be hard to tell the difference between a toner and essence. As a general guide, toner is the final step of cleansing to remove any remaining dirt or impurities on the surface and to prep the skin for subsequent skincare products, while essence and serum are classified as lightweight boosters to target specific skin concerns.

Facial essence typically contains an active ingredient that optimises your skin’s natural cell turnover rate – think skin regeneration – and are predominantly used to further enhance your other skincare products and make your routine a lot more effective.

During this unusual time where wearing protective face masks is compulsory by law, it’s not surprising to see your skin suffocating under the mask especially when you have to wear it throughout the day when in the workplace or out and about.

Among the problems your skin may face are breakouts, the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads, as well as unsightly dullness. A facial essence, especially one that boasts both hydrating and brightening properties, can help with these issues that your skin may be experiencing, so it only makes sense to reinforce your skin care routine with an essence because naturally, good skin trumps any makeup that you can use to hide the imperfections.

How do I use a beauty essence?

Loreal Paris Crystal Micro Essence - Usage

There are two really simple ways to apply beauty essence: you can choose either to pour the liquid directly in your palm or on a cotton pad – the latter being the recommended method of the brand.

Then, press and swipe gently the facial essence onto your skin. The swiping action also acts as physical exfoliation to remove dead skin and impurities, and accelerate skin renewal.

Here’s another tip: you can soak your cotton pad with essence and target key concern areas by leaving the pad over it for five to ten minutes – the essence-soaked cotton pad acts like quickie targeted facial mask treatment.

Will introducing a beauty essence to my routine really make a difference?

Sure, beauty products always talk the talk but if we were to be honest, not all can walk the walk. So, I decided to incorporate a beauty essence to my skin care routine to find out for myself if it really makes a difference.

Full disclosure: I’m not a regular beauty essence user; while I’ve tried it every now and then for work, I have never really incorporated it fully in my skin care routine.

For context, I have combination skin type which means my T-zone is always glowing (but not in a good way) while my U-zone has a tendency to get dry, especially if I spend too much time in air-conditioning or if I don’t moisturise enough.

I’ve been lucky enough to continue working from home, but that didn’t stop ‘maskne’ (acne/bumps caused by masks) from invading the lower half of my face whenever I have to wear a mask to head out for errands. Of late, I’ve also noticed that my skin tone looks rather dull and uneven which I chalked up to insufficient exfoliation, lack of sleep, stress, and dehydration – all of which don’t bode very well for my skin.

With my skin showing telltale signs of unhappiness, I’ve been looking for ways to help my skin look permanently as though I’m fresh off vacation – which is to say, healthy, radiant, and clear. I shared this with my editor who recommended me to try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence – she said that another teammate had previously tested it for work and raved about how it’s helped her skin look clearer and more radiant.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence review: Can it really give me crystal clear skin?

Loreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro Essence - Moodshot Closeup

The first thing that makes the L’Oréal Paris Crystal Micro-Essence stand out from other alternatives out there is that it’s not from a Korean brand. Powered by salicylic acid which is a trending skin-refining ingredient, L’Oréal Paris claims that the formula is capable of penetrating 10 layers on the skin courtesy of the brand’s micronised technology which helps to effectively brighten, even out, and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. The addition of centella asiatica helps to replenish skin moisture and inhibit dryness.

It’s recommended to use the Crystal Micro-Essence twice daily after cleansing and toning but before your serum, moisturiser, and sunscreen. Simply pour eight to 10 drops of the essence onto a cotton pad and gently press and swipe the cotton pad onto your skin across the face and neck. With twice-daily usage, L’Oréal Paris purports that the essence can give me crystal clear skin in just seven days so naturally, it got me intrigued.

Taking the Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence out of its box packaging, I immediately feel a sense of affordable luxury – its glass bottle has weight but it doesn’t feel too heavy in my hands. Thanks to its watery, light-as-air texture that feels just slightly thicker than my regular toner, I don’t experience any difficulty pouring the liquid out into a cotton pad and it gets absorbed fairly quickly by my skin without any stickiness, too.

Additionally, the formula’s lightweight consistency and fast absorption rate are likely to sit well among many urbanites, since most of us have switched our skincare preference to something that’s lighter for the skin due to the mandatory wearing of face masks in public.

While my skin doesn’t have any reaction towards fragrances in skincare, I personally do prefer something that’s lightly scented when it comes to my skincare products. With the Crystal Micro-Essence, I’m glad that it has a faint but pleasant fragrance that makes every application an enjoyable experience.

Loreal Paris Crystal Micro-Essence - Before After Results (Lynnett)

Left: My skin before using L’Oréal Paris Crystal Micro-Essence | Right: My skin after using the Crystal Micro-Essence for one week

After using it twice a day (once in the morning and another at night) for one week, I noticed that my skin tone has become more even and my T-zone now feels less oily – previously, I’d have to wipe down my face with a gentle cleansing facial wipe by midday to refresh my skin.

Loreal Paris Crystal Micro-Essence - Before After Results Closeup (Lynnett)

Top: A close up of my skin texture and pores before using the L’Oréal Paris Crystal Micro-Essence | Bottom: A close-up of my skin texture and pores after using the Crystal Micro-Essence for one week

To be fair, my skin isn’t terribly problematic to begin with but I did notice that my mild rosacea (that’s the redness on my skin on my T-zone, cheeks, and chin) is a lot more calmer now. My U-zone, which is typically drier than other areas of my face, now feels more hydrated than before with no flakiness in sight.

My skin texture, which was previously a tad rough on the cheeks, now looks slightly improved and my pores have also become less visible after using the Crystal Micro-Essence for one week. Overall, my skin feels softer and more hydrated to touch, too, even though I spend most of the time in an air-conditioned room.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence review: My verdict

Loreal Paris Crystal Micro Essence - Bottle

Even though I’ve only tried L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence for seven days, I’m quite impressed at the positive results that it’s giving my skin. Imagine how dewy my skin would look if I continue using the essence diligently – I’d be glowing but this time, in a good, healthy way!

It’s not a magical potion that can turn back the hands of time of course, but I reckon that it’ll definitely revitalise my complexion so that with continued use, I can look more youthful with radiant, porcelain-like skin.

It’s also a huge plus point that the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence comes with a very affordable price tag that gives you bang for your buck. Plus, you can find it stocked at major retailers and pharmacies so it’s extremely convenient to purchase (and repurchase!) the facial essence.

Furthermore, the use of Crystal Micro-Essence is especially relevant now when it’s mandatory for all of us to don face masks in public areas – this in turn gives rise to ‘maskne’, pore issues (enlarged pores and blackheads), and heightened skin oiliness. So, it’s heartening to know that the essence’s hero ingredient, salicylic acid can help treat and prevent these now-prevalent skin problems that are caused by protective face masks.

The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro-Essence comes in two sizes – 65ml and 130ml – and retails for S$22.90 and S$35.90 respectively. You can find it at major pharmacies such as Watsons and Guardian as well as NTUC Fairprice and online at Shopee and Lazada.

This article is brought to you by L’Oréal Paris.