essence vs serum vs ampoule

Essence vs. Serum vs. Ampoule: What’s Best for My Skin?

The Korean 10-step skincare regimen may be the most interesting skincare routine by far. Some products are well-known to us like cleansers, toners, and moisturizers. But other products and skincare kits can leave us in confusion — particularly essences, serums, and ampoules. Let’s read more to find out their differences, and determine if using more skincare products is better, or less is more.

Serum vs. Ampoules vs. Essence: What Are Their Differences?

Before we dig deeper into which is better for your skin, let’s know what each skincare product does. 

The serum is a well-known product in the skincare routine applied after cleanser and toner. It contains active ingredients and is more concentrated. It is considered a skin treatment for skin problems such as dark spots, wrinkles, active pimples, and the like. The most famous serums include those having niacinamide. Niacinamide benefits those who experience acne. Some serums contain green tea as their active ingredient to brighten skin.

Essences, the “epicenter” or “heart” of Korean skincare, are always in Koreans’ skincare kits. They hydrate your skin from within. It is used following the toners. Some essences have green tea antioxidant extracts that brighten your face while hydrating it.

An ampoule is said to have a higher concentration than serum, but it has a similar consistency to a serum. Ampoules are another interesting formulation by Koreans, but this can only be used for a short time. Try thinking of ampoules as “booster shots” or “super serums.” For instance, if you want to boost niacinamide benefits in combating acne, ampoules can help a lot.

Serum vs. Ampoules vs. Essence: How To Use


Let’s start first with serums. Serums come in smaller bottles than toners. They also come in droppers so you can control how much product you need. After toning, add a few drops or one pump to your palm. Apply the serum evenly to your face. Some serums feel thick or thin, but they’re both normal either way as long they do their work.


Ampoules come in a vial or small dropper bottles. With that, use ampoules when it’s only needed. Apply ampoules after cleansing and toning. Ampoules have a higher concentration and are extremely potent. They contain peptides, vitamins, minerals, and other active ingredients. Do not use ampoules as a replacement for serums.


To achieve a more hydrated skin, use essences after cleansing and toning. Take one pump on your palm and gently apply the product starting from the chin up to the other parts of the face. Make sure to add a bit of pressure when applying the essence. It is ideal to do a circular motion when applying it to your face. 

Final Thoughts

Essence, serums and ampoules — these skincare products may get overwhelming for you because they may look similar and perform similarly. But don’t fuss yourself about using all of them because every skin reacts differently to each product. You can curate your skincare regime depending on your skin type. Always experiment until you find the best skincare routine for you.

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