Today's toners tend to be much more gentle and more balanced. Toners have been used to restore the skins PH balance and get rid of the bits of dirt and grease your cleaner missed. Since cleansers are gentler and milder, one doesn't need to use a toner but there are so many more toners available. One can get a toner that hydrates the skin, controls oil levels, or brighten your skin. Many skin care lines design a toner to work with the cleansers and serums for better results.
On the other hand, an essence has fewer ingredients than found in a serum and they aren't as concentrated as in serums. The job of the essence is to prepare the skin for the next step and help regenerate the skin keeping the cells turning over so one looks radiant instead of dull. It is thinner than the serum and should be put on after the toner to prepare the skin for the serum.
As stated earlier, serums tend to have more ingredients that are more concentrated. A serum can do a general job or focus on brightening, anti-aging, acne, hydrate, or so many other things. The serum tends to be a bit thicker and comes in a smaller bottle with an eye dropper. As a matter of fact, the differences between essences and serums has become more blurred so they are pretty much the same thing now for many products.
Usually when looking at essences and serums, you might run into something called an ampoules which is similar to essences and serums but is described as a supercharged serum. An ampoule has higher concentrations of ingredients and are only meant to be used for a limited period of time to take care of a specific problem. If you have extremely sensitive skin, you might be better using only essences because serums do have higher concentrations of active ingredients which might irritate sensitive skin.
It has been recommended that rather than using tons of different serums, essences, ampoules, and toners, choose the one that meets your skin needs the most based on the ingredients list. Once you determine which ingredients your skin needs, then choose a product based on your skin type, and look at the texture of the product. Do you want something thin or thicker, light, or heavy? Once you've found your products, the best rule of thumb is to apply the wateriest to the thickest. Always remember, if you don't like something, you can always try another one until you find what works for you.
I admit, I use the toner, essence, serum, actually a couple of serums because one is for hydrating while the other has Vitamin C, a cream and sunscreen. Aside from the fact it feels good on my skin, I also feel as if my skin is being protected. Let me now what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.