When it comes to skincare, the options out there are limitless. It comes as no surprise that in this (more than $130 billion) industry, the market expands by the day—maybe the minute. But it’s not just about choosing a brand that works for you, it’s also about knowing what products to use, and why.
Because we are inundated with products, it can be hard to understand our individual needs. Especially when some of these products are nuanced and marketed well. We forget what some things do for us, but we know we need it … don’t we? Is a mist a luxury, or a necessary step? Are essences and toners the same thing? What is an elixir? Is that like, a serum?
We set out to answer these questions for you, and for us. We are invested in skincare not just for the novelty of it, but for real results. We stand by what we offer in the Poosh shop, because we use it. While not everything is for everyone, our skin is ever-changing, and we need different things at different times based on climate, stress, hormones, diet, aging, and more. Here’s the breakdown of a few of our favorite products.
We’re only human. We can’t perfectly cleanse the skin on the entire face, every time. And, when we do really get in there and scrub out those pores with a double or triple cleanse, we can strip the skin, or even throw off its protective acid mantle (pH) with a drying cleanser or aggressive scrubbing.
Toners are excellent at swiping off that last remaining bit of dirt, oil, SPF, or makeup we might have missed, as well as any residual cleanser. Toners also help to bring balance back to our skin’s pH, making sure that we don’t exacerbate any issues with our active products to follow, and to prep the skin for optimal, healthy absorbency. They are best used with a cotton ball, or our favorite reusable bamboo rounds for a more sustainable option to remove every last bit of makeup.
This herbal water is excellent for blemish-prone skin. While it’s technically a mist and is great for hydration any time, any day (morning before skincare, midday for a refresher, or nightly before skincare), the frankincense makes this an excellent toner.
This product is delivered in mist form but makes for a perfect toner. Rose and neroli water are the base, but botanical extracts help to hydrate, reduce excess sebum, dissolve impurities, and prep the skin like a toner should.
Nothing feels quite as refreshing as a light mist scented with natural florals to give the skin a feeling of being quenched, nourished, and loved. But is it a feeling we’re after, or results? Luckily, mists definitely serve a purpose.
Most of us are more familiar with floral waters. The classic rose water is a longtime favorite, but there are other nutrient-dense blooms out there, like jasmine and hibiscus water, that make incredible facial mists. But face mists are more than just fancy water that smells like flowers. They are soothing, balancing, and nourishing.
For those days we feel we need a deeper cleanse, we’ll first cleanse, then use a toner, and follow with a mist to bring back a little more moisture. If we feel we don’t need as much cleansing, we can actually skip the swipe of a toner and go straight for a mist post-cleanse. It helps to balance the skin’s pH after cleansing, calming and prepping the skin for the rest of our skincare ritual.
This mist definitely multitasks. It plumps with HA, while hibiscus hydrates and promotes cell turnover for fewer breakouts and smoother skin.
Soothing, nourishing, and hydrating, this mist is the perfect way to bring balance back to stressed skin. With a combination of aloe vera water and jojoba oil, it works overtime to refresh and moisturize.
We can thank K Beauty for bringing us essences. These hybrid-like products really are an amalgamation—a mix between a toner and a serum. They are hydrating and light, while still nourishing, and do great work at prepping the skin for the rest of our skincare.
The reason they are different than serums and toners, or that we can’t replace them by simply using a toner and serum, is their low molecular weight. They can have nourishing properties like a serum, but penetrate the dermis deeper and more quickly, which is why they are best used after cleansing, and after a toner and mist, but before heavier serums and moisturizers. They help support the absorption of our other products while creating a hydrating layer that we seal in with our heavier products.
This super-hydrating essence feels lightweight but packs a nutrient punch. Aloe, willow bark, green tea, and echinacea are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its botanical load. This kind of essence is not only great for supporting hydration, but it keeps breakouts and inflammation at bay and sets an even tone for the rest of your routine.
Because this is a micellar product, this essence operates a bit differently. Micellar water is made of micelles, which are tiny orbs of cleansing oil, suspended in a soft water or botanical base. They are excellent at attracting dirt and makeup, pulling them from the pores. This cleansing essence would be great for use on its own, or after another cleanser for a hydrating and multitasking second cleanse.
Elixirs are a hybrid, usually a combination of botanical oils of choice that have active purposes for specific needs like deep moisture, preventing fine lines, or delivering vitamins and minerals. They are usually combined with other actives and extracts like ceramides or hyaluronic acid for a potent delivery that feels a little more watery than a face oil, but more rich and emollient than an essence.
The finish before it sinks in resembles a facial oil. Elixirs are best used as the last step in your skincare, as oil molecules are larger and will prevent other products from absorbing into the skin barrier. They are best for those with dehydrated or irritated skin in need of some deep moisture and soothing action.
This elixir is a hybrid of a toner and an essence, which could save your time in your routine without losing any of the effective qualities of two products. It works to plump, hydrate, and restore balance in the skin for even tone and bouncy, dewy radiance.
Allantoin is a non-irritating ingredient (found in plants and our bodies) that helps soothe, repair, and protect the skin by accelerating cell turnover. Use it on its own or paired with your go-to exfoliant, retinol, or acid to help calm your skin.
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.