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The Lightest Lotions and Essences for Skincare Minimalists

By Renée Batchelor

Tung Pham. Styled by Tok Wei LunClockwise from top: Sulwhasoo Bloomstay Vitalizing Water, S$98; Clé de Peau Beauté Essential Refining Essence, S$130; La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular-Life Lotion, S$1,000; THREE Treatment Lotion, S$98.

When it comes to liquid skincare, the lighter the better. While many of us willingly layer on serums, creams and sunblock in the hope of attaining a beautiful complexion, it can be uncomfortable applying multiple layers in the heat and humidity. While the seven-, and even ten-step routines employed by Korean and Japanese women may seem a little excessive to minimalists, there is a strong case for the use of a softener or lotion after the cleansing step and as a pre-serum before you complete rest of your routine.

Below, these selected lotions and essences can purify and refine the skin, protect it from environmental pollution and also prepare it for the next skincare steps so your subsequent products work better.

La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular-Life Lotion

This curated selection of lotions and essences in watery textures offers the best of both worlds, combining efficacy and comfort in a bottle. Swiss brand La Prairie is known for seamlessly merging luxury ingredients and technology. Its Platinum Rare Cellular-Life Lotion is a rejuvenating and detoxifying lotion with anti-ageing properties. The lotion enhances your skin’s detoxifying mechanisms by helping the skin break down damaged proteins, improve its energy and fight external stress factors. It also works on fine lines and wrinkles and improves the skin’s elasticity, along with conditioning the skin with its easily absorbed texture.

THREE Treatment Lotion

For Japanese skincare brand THREE, the Treatment Lotion is both a softener and a toner in one. It has a slightly thicker texture, which allows it to penetrate into even dry and rough complexions, so it can soften the outermost layer while balancing and protecting the skin. The light, clean scent is just a bonus that adds an element of pleasure to your routine.

Sulwhasoo Bloomstay Vitalizing Water

Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo recently introduced a new range called Bloomstay Vitalizing targetted at younger women. The elegant three-step range consists of a water, serum and cream. The water, the next step after cleansing, contains a high concentration of the line’s key ingredients — plum blossoms and yuzu extract — to invigorate the skin and keep it supple. Sulwhasoo has also developed a technology that helps to push the formula deeper into the skin for better absorption, while dosing it with protective antioxidants.

Clé de Peau Beauté Essential Refining Essence

Finally if you want a liquid essence that straddles the line between a lotion and a serum, then Clé de Peau Beauté’s updated Essential Refining Essence is a must-try. One of the most popular products from the brand, this reportedly flies off shelves with little promotion. The bi-phase essence has now been reformulated to tackle visible pores by dissolving impurities, hydrating the skin and suppressing any oil, so the skin looks smooth, fresh and refined for longer. It also contains the brand’s illuminating complex to boost the skin’s radiance.