Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion review

A toner by any other name is still a toner.

Sure, Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion is more hydrating and soothing than your average Western toner, but is that enough to justify the $65.00 price tag?

Let’s find out:

What’s In Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion?


Probiotics are all the rage now. This toner has its own share of good bacteria, too. Bifida Ferment Lysate, to be exact. It’s a multitasker that:

You’ve guessed it, it’s especially beneficial for sensitive and easily irritated skin.

Related: The Truth About Probiotics In Skincare: Do They Really Work?


Sodium hyaluronate its a form of hyaluronic acid that attracts and binds to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water. Plus, it works well both in high and low humidity conditions.

When skin has that much moisture, it plumps up. This alone is enough to make your fine lines look smaller – temporarily. Hydration also makes skin soft and gives the complexion a dewy glow (think Korean skin).

Related: Why You Need Hyaluronic Acid In Your Skincare Routine, No Matter Your Skin Type

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You’ll find it as Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 on the label. But it’s best known as “Botox in a jar.”

This peptide works by relaxing facial muscles so they can’t move. No movement = no wrinkles (no wrinkles caused by repeated facial movements, anyway. You’ll still get wrinkles from sun exposure).

Sounds too good to be true? It sort of is. A 2002 study (the only one I could find) shows that an “oil/water (O/W) emulsion containing 10% of the hexapeptide on healthy women volunteers reduced wrinkle depth up to 30% upon 30 days treatment”.

But… not for everyone. Argireline doesn’t diffuse through the skin well. If your skin is thick, chances are it won’t do anything for you. Only older women with thinner skin will see small results here.

P.S. This toner has way less than 10% Argireline. Even if your skin is thin, don’t expect much from it.

Related: Is Argireline An Effective Alternative To Botox?


Just slightly thicker than water, but still liquidy. You’ll need a cotton pad with this.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

Morning and evening, right after cleansing. Estee Lauder says you can apply it in two ways:

  • With a cotton pad: Gently pat saturated cotton pad all over face.
  • With your hands: Pour a few drops of the essence in hand, rub hands together, and massage them all over your face.

Either way, with a liquidy texture like this, you’re gonna waste some product.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion is so watery, it sinks into my skin immediately without leaving a greasy residue on top.

It’s definitely hydrating. The extra burst of moisture makes my skin softer, smoother, and comfortable. If you have dehydrated skin that needs all the help it can get in this department, this’ll be a welcome addition to your routine.

But, it didn’t make my skin glow. Or did anything else for that matter…

The problem with watery lotions like this is they can contain only a tiny amount of hydrating and soothing goodies. Even when they give you results, they’re minimal.

This isn’t a bad product at all. But you do get more bang for your buck when you use a serum with the same actives.

Related: Why Serums Are The Workhorses Of Skincare

Estee Lauder micro essence activating treatment lotion

Who Is This For?

It’s suitable for all skin types (including sensitive), but it’s especially suitable for dehydrated skin.

Who Is This NOT For?

Most people don’t need this. You can get the same results with cheaper products (think hyaluronic acid serums).

Related: The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums


A see-through glass bottle with a gold cap. It’s beautiful, but makes it easy to pour out too much product. It’s also not travel-friendly.

P.S. Mine is a deluxe sample size that was part of a holiday gift set. The full size is bigger, don’t worry.

Does Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion Live Up To Its Claims?

This essence-in-lotion helps strengthen the skin’s foundation to reveal its youthful, angelic glow. What does foundation mean? And nope, it doesn’t make skin glow.
Penetrates rapidly to help renew and rebalance the look of skin. It penetrates rapidly, but the rest is just marketing nonsense that means nothing.
Activates multiple natural pro-youth abilities to replenish the look of skin by replacing lost moisture. It replaces (some) lost moisture, but it can’t activate anything.

Price & Availability

$65.00/£70.00 at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom, and Sephora

Do You Need It?

Not really. You can get the same results with cheaper serums.


Dupes & Alternatives


Water\Aqua\Eau, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Peg-75, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Acetyl Glucosamine, Trehalose, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Ppg-5-Ceteth-20, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Tromethamine, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol