Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: What's the difference between Toner, Essence, Ampoule, Serum, and Lotion?

What's the difference between Toner, Essence, Ampoule, Serum, and Lotion?

What's the difference between Toner, Essence, Ampoule, Serum, and Lotion?

Whether you're into skincare fads or not, there's a good chance you've heard about 'X-Step Face Care Routine' from a variety of skincare brands. Yes.. we have one too. Check out our Rovectin-6 Routine if you haven't yet!

However today, rather than the steps - we’re focusing on the difference between Toner, Essence, Ampoule, Serum and Lotion. At some point, they kinda converge into one big thing, so to maximize your skincare products AND time – let’s dive right in!

*If you’re a visual learner, we’ve prepared the infographic below to help you “see” it.



First up – toner. It's the first thing you apply after cleansing your face. Toner helps  exfoliate and smoothen your skin to aid in better application and more effective absorption of the remaining skincare products. Essentially, toner sets the stage for the rest of the products to shine. Aside from gently removing anything left behind by the cleanser, most toners contain antioxidants and minerals to hydrate your skin after the cleanse. Using a cotton pad, apply toner in a gentle circular motion and your skin will handle the rest. If you’re more of a hands-on person, you can use your hands as well, just make sure they don’t drip away! Toners are easy to distinguish because they're usually watery, clear and come in a larger bottle.



Now that your face is cleansed and toned, it's time to for an “essence.” If you’ve been around skincare for a while, this term is thrown around a lot. Essence quickly sealed its place as a must-have in every basic routine. Essences still have a lightweight watery texture, but it tends to be heavier than the toner. After cleansing and toning, your pores are ready for more nutrients and hydration. Toners do a great job of clearing your face, but it’s often insufficient hydration. That’s where essence steps in to help replenish loss moisture after cleansing. Active ingredients in essences also jumpstart cell regeneration to help you get supple and refined skin for that glowing no make-up look. Similar to the toner, essences are clear and come in medium to large bottles. You can still use cotton pads to apply, but we say: save the cotton pads, gently pat the essence unto your skin directly for maximization.



Let’s talk about the texture first – it’s viscous, soft and soothing. Ampoule’s viscosity is usually between an essence and a serum (which we will discuss next). Ampoules tend to come in small exquisite looking bottles and most times with a dropper for ease of application (some brands have interesting looking ones, but most look like a magic potion). As the size would suggest, a few drops of an ampoule packs a mighty punch! Ampoules contain concentrated active ingredients and formula to target skin troubles such as blemishes, dark spots, acne and breakouts. For ampoule, you can choose to spread it all across your face or concentrate on trouble areas of your skin.  

Here’s the thing about ampoules – you can apply this before or after essence. The effectiveness of the ampoule does not necessarily change according to the order you use it. Sequence of application can depend on what you want your ampoule to focus on. If you’re experiencing flare ups or your skin decides to go on a rampage – using it before your essence is an effective way to tackle troubled areas head on. However, if you’re incorporating an ampoule as part of your regular routine, applying after essence is not an issue at all. In terms of frequency, do pay attention to how your skin react to ampoules because of its high concentration of active ingredients. Some brands advise easing your skin into it or applying it 2 to 3 times a week instead of a daily routine. BUT.. if you’re looking for an ampoule that’s just as powerful yet gentle enough to be used daily (even day and night), look no further, we’ve got just the thing for you – check out our LHA Blemish Ampoule below at “What does Rovectin offer?”



Ah, serums – just the sound of it is already so alluring. You’re probably most familiar with this term. Almost all major skincare brands have a serum in their line of products. Same with ampoules, serums come in small packaging but a few drops or pumps will do the magic. Depending on the ingredients, serums may have a color which is a major contrast to toner and essence. Ampoules can have a faint hue too, but it’s the luscious and heavy texture that’s a dead giveaway for serums. Serums contain concentrated nutrients to provide a boost to tackle skincare concerns and effectively brighten tired, dull looking skin. It is also an excellent source of extra moisture. Due to its specialized functions and active ingredients, serums are pricier. The good news is, a little can go a long way with serums. With higher viscosity than essence and ampoule, serums are applied last, but before the lotion stage in a skincare regimen.



Lotion offers a layer of protection and additional moisture. Applying lotion is essential in helping your skin retain moisture through thick and thin. This is what smoothens your skin, leaving your face feeling silky and ready for makeup. Texture wise, lotions have a creamy and airy texture. A good lotion shouldn’t leave your skin feeling sticky or clogged. More and more lotions these days are developed to be super moisturizing but also feel super light and breathable. Lotions come in larger bottles or tubes and usually have a color. Within lotions, there is a wide variety, so make sure to know what works best with your skin. Remember, your skin is a living organ and can change according to seasons. You might need a thicker, denser lotion for the dry season and perhaps a lighter one for hotter humid days.


Knowing your skin and finding the sweet spot is indeed a journey, but to embark on this journey, you’re gonna need some solid, basic knowledge! So there you have it – at least now you know how to spot the difference between toner, essence, ampoule, serum and lotion!


What does Rovectin offer?

As with everything, we don’t have all the answers but we do have some incredible products to jumpstart your skincare journey.


2-in-1 Toner/Essence

Yes, we combined the best of both worlds – instead of it being a two-step regimen, we’ve conveniently packed it into one with our Activating Treatment Lotion. I know I know…the name is confusing and after all that education, it’s kind of ironic (joke’s on us).

There was a time where a category called “softener” or “treatment lotion” emerged in the skincare world. Some brands still call this type of 2-in-1 toner/essence product as a “softener”. We chose to call it a “treatment lotion” – unaware of the repercussions of having a confusing name, but here we are.

Regardless of its confusing name or identity – it is undeniable that our Activating Treatment Lotion is a game-changing holy grail item. Packed with 7 different types of hyaluronic acid to provide deep and we mean deeeeep moisturization, caffeine to depuff and firm, enzymes to exfoliate, panthenol to reduce inflammation and niacinamide to brighten your skin. And we saved you a step by combining toner and essence (you’re welcome).


Ampoule fit for Daily Use

No more confusing names! Introducing our LHA Blemish Ampoule. Remember the part about easing into ampoules and possibly using it 2 to 3 times a week? You can forget that part with our ampoule. Why? Because it’s 100% vegan and meant to even work for our friends with extra sensitive skin. We truly packed it with only the essential ingredients to lower the risk of an allergic reaction or it being too harsh. Another key to our ampoule’s success is LHA – Lipo Hydroxy Acid (stay tuned for more education on this one). This product is part of our ROVECTIN CLEAN Collection focused on minimal and eco-friendly skincare regimen.


Luscious Serum

Looking for something to boost your current skincare routine? As discussed, a serum offers an excellent boost of nutrients and moisture to a basic regimen. Our Aqua Activating Serum provides long-lasting hydration, reduces appearance of fine lines and improves uneven skin tone. This serum is jampacked with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to give your skin a radiant glow.


Different Types of Lotions

Our skin goes through seasons and quite frankly, sometimes has a mind of its own. We offer a variety of moisturizers for all your different needs. Check them all out here!


All Rovectin products are dermatologist tested, cruelty-free, paraben-free, contains no artificial colors, artificial fragrance, mineral oil, steroids, or any other potentially harmful ingredient. We can say all we want, but you experiencing Rovectin is the best way to see it for yourself!

Read more

Inspired by You and Nature: Winter Season Fruits and Vegetables
Activating Treatment Lotion

Inspired by You and Nature: Winter Season Fruits and Vegetables

At Rovectin, we’re not only interested in the largest organ of your body (your skin) but we care about you in its entirety – what makes you happy or sad, nervous or excited, but most importantly, w...

Read more
Inspired by You and Nature: Flowers and Plants

Inspired by You and Nature: Flowers and Plants

When you explore various brands of clean beauty, be sure to pay attention to the natural ingredients used. We all have the right to know what we put on our face, don’t we? So here, we’ve round up t...

Read more