Just The Essentials: How One Product Transformed My Lockdown Skin

By Carlie Fowler 

When it comes to skincare I’m pretty low maintenance, a minimalist if you will. Some call it lazy, I like to think of it as selective maintenance. My daily regime consists of a cleanser, serum and night cream. I never use a toner, I stopped using eye cream 6 months ago and I’ve yet to meet an exfoliator I’m willing to commit to. My foray into sheet masks was brief as the cold jolt of application was too much for my delicate lady sensibilities.

Like many, I found lockdown to be, in a word, brutal. Being indoors for such long stretches of time felt somewhat alien, and on the rare occasions I did go out, social distancing felt completely surreal. My skin also suffered, with irregular breakouts and a lack of lustre. So, with more time at home on my hands, I decided to dive deep into my skincare routine and trial various regimes I usually don’t have the time or space for. It was also a great way to reconnect and re-establish a different rhythm with my self care and beauty routine.

While the products I was using prior to isolation worked reasonably well, I was ready for a change. My skin was in pretty good condition, but it had largely lost its lustre and no amount of BB creams and makeup was going to change that. Plus, I wanted to try and get my 20-something skin back on my 30-something face – the eternal quest.

  • In Essence

    Early on during self-isolation, I was sent a bottle of Jurlique Activating Water Essence. While it may sound vaguely like a Zoolander commercial, hear me out. Essences are staples of Japanese and Korean beauty cabinets because they tick every box you want in a skincare product – hydration, a natural glow and the magical ability to make you look airbrushed in-person. So, sold on those lofty promises, I decided to give it a go.

  • 1

    What Exactly Are Essences And How Do They Affect The Skin? 

    Often called ‘miracle water’ (praise the beauty gods!), essences generally have the watery texture of a toner and the targeted benefits of a serum. They are filled with humectants, which bind water to itself, and are designed to be both hydrating and fast-absorbing to maximise the benefits of your moisturiser. They also help protect your skin from free-radical damage and pollution, which as we know can lead to dullness, dryness, fine lines and nightmares.

    Jurlique’s Activating Water Essence is like a little gift from heaven. It fast became my ritual at the end of the day to remove my make-up and massage a few drops into my skin with my fingertips. After applying it a few times with cotton pads, as per the instructions, I found that when I used my hands it emulsified and I could actually feel it hydrating and activating my skin.

    After only a couple of weeks, I was convinced that an essence has been the missing step in my skincare routine for some time. And now after a month, I’m calling it a game-changer. The fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead have eased and gone is the dry and irritated feeling I’d started to become accustomed to. My skin is plumper, smoother and more radiant than I can remember.

    I thought I was going to come out of lockdown looking like the ghost of beauty editors past, but people keep commenting on how fresh and vibrant my skin looks, and that’s always a pretty good litmus test. Activating Water Essence is like a holiday glow without having actually been anywhere, though next time I’d like a holiday as well, please.

    You can find it here.