Below is an excerpt from "The Skincare Step You're Missing Between Cleansing and Moisturizing," which originally appeared on POPSUGAR BEAUTY. Read the full story at

It's no surprise that, for decades, brands like Shiseido and SK-II have offered a moisturizing product to use after cleansing and before moisturizing—the essence (also referred to as a softener or infusion). You're probably thinking, "Why should I add yet another skin care product to my diminishing sink space?" Well, even though an essence looks just like water, it's so much more powerful than your average H2O.

Typically these essences are infused with large levels of active ingredients. The liquefied formula allows the actives to soak in quickly, preparing your skin for the next step—a serum or SPF moisturizer. Click here to shop 10 of our favorite essences.

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