So, what the heck are essences?
They seem to have popped up out of nowhere, but apparently, the Koreans have been using them for decades. Essences are similar to serums, but they are more lightweight and hydrating.
Hydration is the key word here. The main job of an essence is to add an extra layer of hydration. The Koreans are obsessed with hydration, because they know it’s what makes their skin glow, keeps it soft and supple, and even helps the other skincare products they apply next penetrate their skin the better.
I wouldn’t say they are a must, but, if you wanted to add one to your skincare routine, which one should you choose? As it’s said that Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence is a dupe for SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, I thought we could start comparing these two:
Let’s clear up some confusion first. If you have a bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, the first ingredient may be named Saccharomicopsis Ferment Filtrate. That’s what SK-II thought Pitera was. As it turns out, Pitera actually belongs to the Galactomyces family, hence the new name on the newer bottles.
So, what does Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (Pitera) do in skincare? Good question. There is some research that claims this yeast can improve skin’s barrier function, which is essential to keep moisture in, and help skin stay hydrated. One study also claims it has antioxidant and brightening properties that can prevent wrinkles and reduce dark spots.
The problem? Research on galactomyces is really scant, so we really need more proof before hailing it as a big skincare breakthrough. It looks promising, though, so using it wouldn’t certainly do any harm.
It’s definitely more promising than saccharomyces ferment lysate, which is the extract used to brew beer, and bifida ferment lysate. This is a yeast that helps support the natural microflora in the GI tract, but there is absolutely no proof it does anything for the skin.
Ok, so Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence may have picked the wrong type of yeast (it happens, I guess), but they hit the mark with niacinamide.
If I had my own skincare line, I’d put niacinamide in almost any product (no point adding it to a cleanser) because it does so much for the skin:
- It increases moisture levels in the skin, keeping it hydrated
- It reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- It diminishes dark spots and brightens skin
- It banishes sallowness
- It treats acne
- It soothes irritations and rosacea
Awesome, right? Missha lists it in fourth place on the ingredient list, while SK-II doesn’t use it at all. I could end this post here because this alone makes Missha the clear winner of the two. But, I hope you’ll keep reading. 😉
Humectants are an underrated group of ingredients that draws water from the environment into the skin to hydrate it. SK-II has chosen butylene glycol and pentylene glycol, which aren’t bad at all.
But, Missha has opted for the superhero of humectants: sodium hyaluronate. Sodium hyaluronate can bind to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water, and works well in all weather conditions, including very humid weather. Any other humectant can’t even hope to compare with this.
What else do I need to know?
Re SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, not much. Apart from yeast and those two humectants, it contains only water and preservatives. I don’t know about you, but I feel a company that’s asking me to fork out $99+ for a concoction made up of a yeast that science say MAY work and little else is taking the piss.
Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence, on the other hand, contains niacinamide, better humectants, and some antioxidants too, so it will benefit skin A LOT more.
Where can I get them?
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is available at Sephora. $99 will get you a small 2.5 oz bottle, while $165 a 5.4 oz bottle. Bigger sizes are available, but they cost even more. This must be the most overpriced product I have ever seen in my life.
Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence is available at Sokoglam. A 5oz bottle costs “only” $49.00.
Is Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence A Dupe For SK-II Facial Treatment Essence?
Nope. They contain different ingredients, so you couldn’t call them real dupes. But, their formulas are similar enough (meaning they contain the same class of ingredients – yeast and humectants) to make Missha the best option of the two. BY FAR.
Have you ever tried these essences? If so, how did they work for you?
Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping
Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams - even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.