Are They Dupes?: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence VS Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence

by beautifulwithbrains
missha time revolution first treatment essence dupe for SK-II Facial Treatment essence

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 better penetrate their skin.

I wouldn’t say they are a must, but, if you wanted to add one to your skincare routine, which one should you choose? I narrowed it down to two…

Word on the street is that Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence is a dupe for the outrageously expensive SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. How do they compare?

What Ingredients Do These Essences Have In Common?


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 (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.

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence uses two different types of yeast: Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate (The extract used to brew beer) and Bifida Ferment Lysate (it helps regulate the bacterial flora in your GI tract).

Bifida Ferment Lysate is my fave of the two. Research shows it’s a multitasker that soothes inflammation, reduces redness, and increases “skin resistance against physical and chemical aggression“.

That makes it a good option for sensitive skin that needs the extra TLC.

Related: What’s The Deal With Probiotics In Skincare – Do They Really Work?

Want more dupes? Subscribe to the newsletter below and receive the “Skincare Dupes” cheatsheet with all my fave dupes:

What Else Is In These Essences?

In SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, not much. They’re literally charging you $99.00 for some yeast…

Misha Time Revolution First Time Essence is way cheaper and has one more ingredient that goes the extra mile. Here’s what I’m talking about:


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:

Awesome, right? Missha lists it in fourth place on the ingredient list, while SK-II doesn’t use it at all. This alone makes Missha the clear winner of the two.

Related: How Niacianamide Can Treat Any Skincare Woe

What’s The Texture Like?

They’re both very lightweight and sink in instantly. This one is a tie.

What’s The Packaging Like?

They both come in see-through bottles with a grey cap. Sleek and practical.

How To Use Them

Morning and night, after cleansing/exfoliation but before serums.

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence all the way! SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is way overpriced for what it does…


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($99.00-$299.00, depending on size): Available at Dermstore and Sephora

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence ($52.00): Available at Sokoglam and Yes Style

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 if you’re looking for an essence with probiotics, Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence is the right winner.

What are your thoughts on Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence being a dupe for SK-II Facial Treatment Essence? Share them in the comments below.

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Ingredients

Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Water, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Niacinamide, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-51, 1,2-Hexanediol, Adenosine, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Ingredients

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate*, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid. *PITERA™



ita December 18, 2016 - 3:14 pm

Hi Gio,

I’ve tried SK II (2 bottles 230 ml) such no high improve for my skin (senitive skin, acne prone, combination).
Thank you gIo.


Gio December 18, 2016 - 4:36 pm

Ita, I’d go with Missha. It has the most effective formula imo. SK-II is very overrated, sorry it didn’t do anything for you.

ita December 18, 2016 - 4:38 pm

Gio, could you advice me your regime routine skincare ?
i love your web. it really helpful for me. Stay Pretty Gio.
Thank you.

Gio December 18, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Ita, I’ve written about my skincare routine here:

Thanks so much. Glad to hear it helps you. 🙂

Ann March 8, 2017 - 6:48 pm

I have very sensitive, oily skin. The reviews all claimed SKII helps balance the oil production and while it’s made my pores significantly smaller, I’m not all that impressed with SKII either. I will say, I’ve used this for 2 months now, and not even halfway done with the bottle so it does go a long way. But I’m going to try Missha as soon as I’m done with this bottle.

Gio March 9, 2017 - 6:16 pm

Ann, it’s not very impressive, is it? I like Missha a lot more and I’m sure you will too. Let me know how you’re getting on with it.

Esther March 21, 2017 - 10:56 am

Hi gio,,, what about secret key treatment essence?? Is it good??

Gio April 6, 2017 - 8:21 pm

Esther, hi. Yes, that’s a good essence. I like that, like Misha’s, it has plenty of niacinamide.

Isabel April 20, 2017 - 6:20 am

Hello! I’ve heard that SKII products are not recommended for young adults (lets say 20-23) due to the strong ingredients that may make the skin more immune (sorry I’m not sure what other word to use!) to other skincare products, which will result in a reliance on SKII products. Is this true? And if it is, will the Missha one be more suitable for young adults then? Thank you! 🙂

Gio April 21, 2017 - 7:53 pm

Isabel, I don’t think that’s true at all. SKII is rather unremarkable anyway. What to use depends on your skin type and what your skin needs. Is it oily or dry? Do you have acne or wrinkles? Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s a matter of finding a product that suits your needs and is in your budget. 🙂

ellen October 9, 2017 - 3:17 am

For aging skin with sagging and wrinkles which skin care products do you like .I did today purchase SK11 but after reading your reviews I may return it for the Missha product.
Thank You

Gio October 14, 2017 - 10:35 am

Ellen, among this two the Missha is the better pick. But what sagging and wrinkled skin needs the most is retinol. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule has both retinol and yeast extract. The amount of retinol is small so I recommend you start with it and switch to a higher concentration in a few months. Retinol can be irritating so to avoid any problems, you want to start small and upgrade later on.

Ana November 30, 2017 - 10:37 pm

Hi! What is an ampoule? Thank you ?

Gio December 3, 2017 - 6:35 pm

Ana, an ampoule is a more concentrated version of a serum. It has an even higher concentration of active ingredients.

kiki January 29, 2018 - 1:25 pm

Hi can u suggest a dupe of the SK-II Facial Treatment Milk as I need a moisturizer for my oil skin 🙂

Gio February 2, 2018 - 4:07 pm

Kiki, unfortunately I don’t know a dupe for this product but you can check out my fave moisturisers for oily skin here:

Nancy April 4, 2018 - 4:44 am

Any idea what’s the percentage of Pitera in Missha? Also Missha has alot more ingredients than SK-II tho, not the same :S

Gio April 8, 2018 - 11:34 am

Nope, they’re not exact dupes, as I’ve mentioned in my conclusions. But usually it’s the 5 ingredients of a product that determine how well it works. So if you can find two products with the same top 5 ingredients, chances are they’ll give you very similar results.

I don’t know the exact percentage but it’s at the top of the list so it should be a big dose.

otterina July 29, 2018 - 8:53 am

ive used both products, but I also found the research from misshas ingredients a bit more convincing. this post was very informative, and reassuring! thank you for this non biased and accurate post!!!!!

Gio August 5, 2018 - 10:41 am

Otterina, my pleasure. Glad you enjoyed it!

Mandi September 27, 2018 - 12:14 pm

Hi Gio
So glad I found this! Any thoughts on the $24 bottle of Misshas essence on amazon? Is it a watered down version? Thank u so much!


Gio October 3, 2018 - 12:20 pm

Mandi, can you send me a link, please? But as a rule, I’m always wary of buying skincare on Amazon. There are many legit sellers there but also plenty of fakes and it’s hard to tell the difference. Even if it’s more expensive, it’s always better to buy from an approved reseller.

Erin October 19, 2018 - 5:09 pm

I tried a sample of SKII (wasnt impressed.) I used a bottle of MiSSHA Time Revolution Moist ( was ok.) I am currently using Scinic FTE ( Im loving this product. Gives me a GLOW, & is most affordable…I got it on Amazon.) <3

Gio October 20, 2018 - 6:56 pm

Erin, glad you’ve found another dupe that is cheaper and works better for you. Thanks for sharing.

margcl May 3, 2019 - 3:33 pm

Ok, first of all, SKII is a Japanese brand, not Korean…

Gio June 4, 2019 - 9:10 pm

Margcl, where did I say otherwise? I’ve said these products are popular in Korea.

Christel July 1, 2019 - 12:02 pm

Is the concentration of HA and Niacinamide in Missha high enough to replace them as separate booster serums?

Gio July 6, 2019 - 2:39 pm

Christel, for most people it is. But if your skin is dry/dehydrated, you may need a separate booster with more forms of hyaluronic acid.

Alexandra July 22, 2019 - 2:13 am

Hi Gio! My skin is sensitive and reacts negatively to niacinamide. What essence would you recommend in my case? Thank you!

Gio August 8, 2019 - 6:37 pm

Alexandra, the SK-II essence.

Comments are closed.