At first glance, facial essences look similar to toner. Yes, they are watery, but they contain different ingredients and have different effects on skin. Facial essences are formulated with powerful actives and moisturizing ingredients. Unlike your average toner or micellar water, which are used to clean and clarify the skin, essences are highly concentrated floral water, botanical, and natural oil blends. Think of them as a facial serum in liquid form.