As the largest organ in our body, our skin needs plenty of water to maintain its youthful glow. Besides chugging eight glasses of water a day, upping the ante with our skincare to regain hydration is just what our skin needs.
With plenty of products on the market, however, skincare can be a little confusing – even for those of us who live and breathe beauty. As a beauty writer, a popular question I get is how an essence differs from a serum, and which one’s ultimately better for bumping up hydration levels.
Read on, as I’ll be answering that question and introducing you to the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence, a new glow-boosting product that may have attained holy grail status in my books.
Pssst! Read till the end to find out how you can enjoy 30% off Uriage products with free six-piece samples!
Should I use an essence or serum?
The biggest differences between an essence and a serum are their consistencies and lists of ingredients. Serums are chock-full of potent active ingredients, which can target specific skin concerns, such as pigmentation, fine lines, and skin dullness.
Essences, on the other hand, work like supercharged toners. Unlike the heavy-hitting ingredients you’ll find in serums, the ones in essences, which typically contain hyaluronic acid and glycerin, are targeted at boosting moisture. They also help to rebalance your skin’s natural pH levels after stripping it of moisture with facial cleansers and toners.
If a boost of hydration is what you’re after, you’ll see more results from an essence than any other skincare product – that’s because it treats the skin on a cellular level. In fact, there’s one essence that claims to be two times more hydrating than a serum after 24 hours: the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence.
To put this to the test, I decided to use the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence on one side of my face and a hydrating serum on the other for one whole day. Before we dive right in to the skincare showdown, let’s first get acquainted with the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence.
What makes the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence stand out
Powered by Uriage’s Thermal Water, the hydrating formula is enriched with calcium and magnesium – minerals and trace elements that reinforce the skin’s barrier for a healthier complexion.
It’s also armed with prebiotics (inulin) to keep the surface of the skin balanced and strong. What’s more, it offsets factors that can lead to redness, dryness, and a weakened barrier. Prebiotics also restore a healthy microbiome balance (i.e. the good bacteria) for optimal performance – think of them as bouncers at a club who keep all the problematic people out.
Besides its moisturising and strengthening properties, the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence is also able to brighten and plump up the skin. That’s all thanks to silk tree extract and hyaluronic acid in the formula. The former detoxifies your skin cells to smooth your complexion and boost its overall radiance, while the latter boosts hydration levels by drawing moisture to the skin.
Together, this potent cocktail of ingredients will reveal your skin’s natural radiance and glow.
Uriage Glow Up Water Essence review: First impressions
When I dispensed some of the essence on my palm, the first thing I noticed was its fresh, clean scent, which makes it such a joy to use because it smells so refreshing.
The formula is watery and lightweight, and it felt a little more viscous than most essences I’ve tried. The Uriage Glow Up Water Essence applied on my skin really nicely without leaving a sticky after-feel. In fact, the stickiness went away right after the product fully absorbed – I barely felt it sitting on my skin!
My face felt soft, supple, and hydrated, so I could follow up with a little less moisturiser than usual.
Uriage Glow Up Water Essence review: The hydration test
To find out if the essence can really replenish my dehydrated skin better than a hydrating serum can, I tried the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence on my left cheek and the serum on my right for one day. Before I applied both products, I took readings of my skin’s moisture levels on both cheeks.
Before I started the test, my left cheek clocked in at 32.1% while my right cheek was at 34% – both of which were less than ideal.
After a whopping 24 hours (that’s right, I skipped my evening skincare routine for this), the moisture level on my left cheek rose significantly to 54.8% the next morning – much higher compared to what I achieved with the serum. In fact, the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence delivered almost twice the amount of hydration as touted!
As I sleep in an air-conditioned room, this was an incredibly surprising result, as it seemed almost impossible to bump up my hydration levels in such a drying environment.
Now that I’ve clearly found a winner, I decided to try the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence for two more weeks to see what it could do for my complexion.
Uriage Glow Up Water Essence review: Results after 2 weeks
After two weeks, my complexion gained a dewy, moist sheen without the greasiness. The blotchy red patches on my temples and cheeks were less apparent, and my skin looked much calmer than before. My skin felt smoother to the touch too, and my pores appeared smaller – a benefit I wasn’t expecting at all.
What I love about the Uriage Glow Up Water Essence is that its hydration power didn’t come with a hint of greasiness, which could have caused my acne-prone skin to break out. I could use the essence on my face and take it down to my neck and chest without worrying about potential blemishes.
Halfway through the trial period, I even stuck it in the fridge so it would feel extra cooling on hot, humid days. Skincare products that carry a fragrance can often irritate my skin, but not this one. In fact, it did the exact opposite.
The Uriage Glow Up Water Essence soothed my skin and effectively amped up the hydration, so my skin not only looked more even-toned, but it also produced less oil since it was well-balanced.
I also appreciate how user-friendly the essence is – I could pour out my desired amount of essence just by tipping the bottle at an angle without creating a mess (I have butterfingers so this was made for me). Because of how hydrated it left my skin, this essence is definitely one that’s joining the permanent lineup of skincare products in my arsenal.
This article is brought to you by Uriage.