Essence is the seventh episode of the second season of Two Sentence Horror Stories, which aired on February 2, 2021.
I always admired her looks.
And then I found out who she ate to get them.
Mina is seen waxing at work by a coworker, who reports it to Jessica. Jessica discerns that Mina is homeless and prompts moves to fire her, but Kora the owner swoops in and saves Mina's job, reprimanding Jessica politely. Mina is provided on-premises housing with room-mate Tran, who learns from Mina that she was saving up for a deposit on a house when she was discovered waxing at work. Tran herself wants to open her own salon where workers are treated fairly, and hearing this, Mina amends that she wants to be like Kora.
The first night in her dorm with Tran, Mina has a dream of a massive, festering scab on her stomach, but she soon awakens. At work Tran, who Mina is shadowing per Jessica's direction, notes that skin problems are common in workers due to the chemicals. Tran also notes that the workers are pit against each other to foster greater competition. The next day, Allie, another coworker, is suspiciously missing. Tran writes this off, saying that "VIP girls work themselves into sickness all the time". At Mina's asking, Tran explains that the "VIP treatment" (marked with an "E") have ingredients that are salon secrets.
They must really hate paying us.— Tran
That night Mina is seen dealing with a purulent new boil on her face, with Tran banging on the door to be let in. When Mina finally emerges, Tran collapses to the ground. She's put up in bed, sick, with the maid having already cleared out her cubby, presumably a result of being fired. Tran isn't surprised, saying that VIP girls burnout in a year or two anyway, which leads them to suspect the VIP treatment is making them sick. Tran wants to report this, but soon collapses in her illness.
Mina goes on the hunt for evidence, and finds Kora, now clearly in ill-health, appearing like an aged crown with opaque eyes. She brings out a box with a strange golden light inside it. From the box she pulls out a dry substance in a pouch, going into the VIP treatment product. She then pulls out a glass jar of liquid and meat, which she begins eating grotesquely, until she sees the snap of a camera — Mina's phone — and then drops the jar onto the floor, getting organs everywhere.
Not at all perturbed, Kora approaches Mina, becoming her old youthful self gradually as the conversation continues, even as Mina's health deteriorates commensurately. She explains that "E" is for "Essence", made from a piece of the life force of each VIP treatment girl. Kora offers to make Mina rich and beautiful forever, like her, who claims to use "key organs" from girls who were "dying anyway" to preserve her own life, health, youth, beauty, and immunity against disease. Presented with the choice to send her picture or to take Kora's offer, Mina sends the picture, and collapses.
Kora, now completely revivified, visits Tran the next day. Tran is also healthy, thanks to Kora giving her something to heal her as well. Kora offers to rehire Tran with a 15% raise, which she reluctantly agrees to. However, when Kora leaves, Tran checks her phone, and realizes the truth. Time cuts forward to Tran herself running the salon, using the same VIP treatment — now extracted from Kora herself, who has been reduced to a craven, unhealthy old woman kept in the back by her own workers.