If you're asking yourself (and we're pretty sure you are) what the heck a booster even is, let us enlighten you. The original booster concept came from, where else, Korean beauty. "A skin booster is considered a more powerful, effective toner that allows the rest of your skin care products to absorb better, which enhances the effectiveness of your routine," explains Charlotte Cho, K-beauty expert and founder of SoKo Glam. Their textures are very lightweight and watery, she notes, and generally prime the skin for the rest of your routine. However they can also be used alone to create a brighter, more hydrated visage.
When boosters made their way Stateside, many Western brands embraced them and quickly started developing their own versions. However the core concept morphed from toner to a type of potent treatment serum that could be mixed in with your existing moisturizer to create an ultra-effective product. But, like their Korean forefathers, most of these can also be used on their own. That's the beauty of the booster — it can be both more (adding extra benefits to your lotions and potions) or less (taking the place of your toner, serum and treatment).
Keep clicking to discover the best of the boosters bunch.
Image via Imaxtree
Make P:rem Radiance Peeling Booster, $34
A true Korean booster, this watery re-texturizer uses lactobionic acid to pull off the amazing feat of gentle exfoliation and hydration. Resurfacing your skin whilst simultaneously soothing it preps your complexion to absorb all the goodness that the products that follow provide.
Part of the sensitive-skin brand's new water boost line, this skin hydrator offers rapid and long-lasting hydration in a flash. It features a plant-derived moisturizing ingredient called pentavitin, which, according to dermatologist Debra Luftman, MD, has the unique ability to actually soak into the skin and stay there. "What's cool about this ingredient is that it doesn't rinse off with water like other moisturizers might," she says. "[Pentavitin] will lock itself in and turn over with the regular skin cycle as opposed to rinsing."
Like the Korean boosters, this can be used in multiple ways. Apply it before your moisturizer so it acts as a primer, wear it alone as a lightweight hydrator, or mix it into your usual moisturizer for a double dose of hydration. Dr. Luftman says this works best with hyaluronic acid-based creams but can really be used with anything.
Straight from Japan, this new booster comes in a serum texture, but like those liquid K-beauty ones before it, it also preps the skin for superior absorption of the products that follow. Jojoba seed oil, squalane and soybeans are what give it its skin-softening and moisturizing benefits.
The colorful beads in this anti-aging booster do more than just look nifty -- add a few drops to your daily moisturizer or serum and mix to break them open and release the ultra-powerful, wrinkle-fighting co-enzyme Q10 encapsulated within. Suspended in a mixture of red algae, camellia Japonica oil and an oat kernel and hyaluronic acid blend, it's the anti-aging punch your skin needs to stay smooth and protected against fine lines and wrinkles.