Beauty Cheat Sheet: Demystify Skin Care Terms


Know what does what for better skin!


Moisturizer is a combination of oil and water that prevents skin from drying out. It usually has a creamy texture and increases the level of hydration on your skin – improving your face’s tone and texture over time.


An essential step to Korean skincare routine, an essence is a concentrated formula that targets skin imperfections. It typically contains a higher dose of active ingredient that leads to smoother and brighter texture over time.


A lot of people say that serum and essence are the same but they are not. The biggest difference lies in its formula. Compared to an essence, serum has more concentrated active ingredients and lesser fluids (water and thickener). It is also made with smaller molecules so that it can easily penetrate further into your skin — something that your ordinary moisturizer can’t do.


An emulsion is basically a lighter form of moisturizer. It is non-sticky,  water-based, and does not clog pores. Since it is lighter, an emulsion is better for people with oily or combination skin. This is typically applied after serum.



Also called skin softener, a toner is watery in texture and removes dirt and residue left by the cleanser. It is essential in keeping your skin’s pH balance. Avoid toners with high alcohol level as these dry out the skin.


The same family as essence and serum, an ampoule is a supercharged serum with highly concentrated active ingredients. It is meant to use for a short amount of time for a specific purpose only. Since it has a light texture, it penetrates the skin’s texture fast.


Face acid seems scary but it actually does a lot of things for your skin. Putting acid to your skin can miraculously resurrect dull and dry-looking skin. And no, it doesn’t sting. If you are curious, start off with glycolic acid that is safe, gentle and has proven anti-aging benefits.



First thing first, facial oil is simply an oil and is not the same as serum. The difference lies in what the two beauty items are made of. A serum mostly consists of oil, water, actives, and peptides while facial oil is simply made of oil or essential oils. It hydrates and nourishes the face with nutrients.


If you want that dewy glow despite the glaring heat, a facial mist is a must-have daily essential. Dubbed as the new toner, facial mist provides hydration when your skin feels hot midday and applying moisturizer is not possible. Most of it are also packed with nutrients to cater to your skin’s needs. Facial mist can help tone skin, set makeup, and even calm irritated skin.

Micellar water

Micellar water is made up of tiny cleansing molecules called micelles suspended in soft water. Since micelles are attracted to dirt and oil, they gently lift the impurities away without drying the skin. It also doesn’t require rinsing. Let it be known though that while micellar water can remove most of your skin’s impurities, it cannot easily remove stubborn makeup like heavy foundation and waterproof mascara. And if your face is on the oily side, you might want to stick to a regular facial cleanser.

What beauty product terms leave you scratching your head? Let us know for another roundup of skincare terms!