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

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:

Ingredient Analysis

Yeast To Strengthen The Skin’s Protective Barrier

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.

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

Niacinamide, A Skincare Do-It-All

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:

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. 😉

Related: How Niacianamide Can Treat Any Skincare Woe

Humectants To Hydrate Skin

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.

Related: What The Heck Are Humectants And Why Should You Use Them?

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 ($99.00-$299.00, depending on size): available at Dermstore, Nordstrom and Sephora

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence ($49.00):available at Sokoglam and Yes Style

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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.

What are your thoughts on Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence being a dupe for SK-II Facial Treatment Essence?

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Ingredients: Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (Pitera), Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Ingredients: Saccharomyces ferment Filtrate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Polyquaternium -51, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Betaine, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Pirper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Beta vulgaris (Beet) Root extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Trehalose, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Clycerin, Raffinose, Tromethamine, Acetic Acid, Lactic Acid, 1, 2 – Hexanediol, Caprytyl Glycol, Hexapeptide – 9 Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate.

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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.


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