Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

Skincare Smackdown: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence vs. Missha First Treatment Essence

A couple of years ago, I was commiserating with a lifelong friend over the high price tag on SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence. We had just learned about this expensive, yeast-powered, anti-aging liquid, even though it’s been in existence since SK-II introduced it in Japan way back in 1980.  The story SK-II tells is that scientists at a sake brewery in Japan noticed that the elderly workers still had extraordinarily soft and youthful-looking hands despite their wrinkled faces. They concluded that it must be because of the constant contact their hands had with the sake fermentation process.  They did some research and were able to isolate the “miracle” ingredient, named “Pitera” by SK-II. Pitera is the primary ingredient featured in SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which is said to contain 90% of the ingredient. A 150mL bottle of SK-II Essence will cost you a whopping $155, which is why my friend and I were so put out.

I decided I would try to find a suitable dupe for the SK-II essence. This is how I discovered Missha’s First Treatment Essence, a similar product that sells for $53 for a 150 mL bottle, about a third of the cost of the SK-II version. The active yeast ferment ingredient in the Missha version isn’t Pitera (SK-II has the patent and exclusive rights to that one). Instead, the Missha essence uses “Fissione,” a beer brewing byproduct from the Saccharomyces family, the same family Pitera belongs to.

I didn’t purchase Missha’s Treatment Essence right away. In fact, it wasn’t until January of this year that I finally took the plunge. Around the same time I purchased a small bottle of SK-II First Treatment Essence so I could compare the two. I wanted to know whether or not these products were the miracles people said they were.  I also wanted to find out if there was really a difference between the two. So began my essence experiment.

Also included in sake is another substance. Which affects potency. Tadalafil drugs name of this substance.



I wanted to use each product for 28 consecutive days before drawing my final conclusions. It takes 28 days for all the cells in your face to renew themselves. Obviously your skin is constantly renewing itself, but the 28-day thing simply means that if you look in the mirror now, and then look in the mirror again in 28 days, you would be looking at skin comprised of entirely new cells (this is the reason most skincare products say you need to use them for at least 4 weeks before gauging their efficacy). I began my experiment with the SK-II Essence, but the small bottle I purchased only lasted about 20 days, so my product timing isn’t as exact as I’d hoped it would be.

SKII Facial Treatment Essence vs. Missha First Treatment Essence


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

The ingredients list for the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is pretty short. It contains:

Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate(90%), Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Aqua (Water/ Eau), Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid

The first thing I did was run the ingredients list though COSDNA to see if there were any potential irritants. Butylene Glycol, which is classified a solvent moisturizer, came back with a 1 for acne potential, which is more than 0 but still extremely low in terms of breakout potential.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

This is just the small “trial” bottle. The full size 150 ML glass bottle is much more luxurious looking.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is in the toner category in terms of product type. It’s an Asian toner meant for moisturizing, as opposed to a Western toner, which are usually astringent. In the short product description on SK-II’s website, it says this product’s benefits include texture refinement, firmness, wrinkle resilience, and spots control.  The essence is meant to be applied just after cleansing, but before moisturizing. The consistency of the SK-II essence is very watery, and it smells very faintly of yeast. It’s not overpowering by any stretch of the imagination.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

As you can see, the consistency of the product is very water-like.

You have a couple of options for application – you can swipe it over your face with a cotton pad, or gently pat it into your skin with your hands. I opted to use my hands because cotton pads tend to waste product.

In my three weeks of using SK-II, I didn’t notice any major visible changes in my skin. The essence didn’t irritate me at all, and it did provide a scant amount of extra moisture, but nothing groundbreaking. At some point during the last week of my SK-II trial, I got one of the biggest breakouts I’ve had in months (zits, ahoy!).  I don’t believe the breakout was caused by the SK-II Essence. I’d tested an exfoliating product in the days leading up to the breakout that I suspect was the source of my spots. The SK-II didn’t make it any worse, but it also didn’t make it any better. If one of the product claims wasn’t “spots control,” I’d have given it a pass, but for something that claimed to help with spots and skin texture, I was mildly disappointed with how ineffective it was. I wasn’t surprised though – according to COSDNA, none of the ingredients in the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence are designed to help with that sort of thing. The ingredients are mostly moisturizers with an antioxidant, a solvent, and a few preservatives to keep it fresh.

My impression of SK-II’s Treatment Essence is that if it has any benefits, they are more preventative than active. In other words, it’s not going to turn back the clock, but it might make it tick a little slower. There is some scientific data  (see resources at the end of this post) to support the idea that the yeast ferment ingredient does stimulate wound healing, which could help slow the aging process, but thankfully, I don’t age all that much in 3 weeks. In the short term, SK-II’s main benefit was that it provided a very light extra layer of moisture.

A lot of people swear by this product, giving it the nickname “miracle water.”  Perhaps those folks have been using it longer, or maybe my skin is just responding differently to it. I would love to talk to someone who has been using it for a while and loves it, and find out what difference it’s making for them and how long it took for them to see it. I’ve read some reviews for it on a few blogs from people who love it, but there wasn’t a lot of concrete information about what, exactly, it was doing for their skin.

Skin & Tonics Rating:

Performance: 2/5 – I didn’t see any of the brightening, anti-aging, or spot treatment benefits this product claims, but it is pleasant to use and the extra, non-greasy moisture is nice
Quality: 4/5 – It contains 90% of its active ingredient and not a lot of fillers.  My tiny bottle packaging wasn’t much to look at, but the full-sized glass bottles are sturdy and beautiful.
Value: 2/5 – $155 for 150 mL of product is really expensive. It’s a fun luxury product, but for the price, I expect more exciting results.

Overall: 2.5/5


Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence

Missha’s ingredient list is considerably longer, containing:

Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (80%), Propanediol,Glycyrrhiza Glabra ( Licorice Root Extract ), Niacinamide, Polyquaternium-51, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Raffinose, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis, Chamomile Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Tromethamine, Water, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol

Missha First Treatment Essence

When I first saw the longer list, my initial reaction was, “uh-oh.”  Sometimes a longer ingredient list can mean more potential for irritants. However, once I took a closer look, I liked the ingredients I saw. In addition to the yeast ferment ingredient, Missha’s First Treatment Essence contained some of my favorite skincare actives, including:

Licorice Root – anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, brightening
Niacinamide – cell communicating ingredient that enhances barrier function, increases ceramide levels, and lightens hyperpigmentation, anti-inflammatory
Chamomile– antiseptic, anti-inflammatory
Lecithin – moisturizer and essential fatty acid, can penetrate the epidermis well so it makes a great carrier
Lactic Acid – acts as a skin softener in smaller amounts, acts as a brightener and exfoliator in larger amounts

I ran the entire ingredients list through COSDNA, and found nothing alarming. Chamomile came back with a ranking of 2 in terms of acne potential, which is still very low.

Like the SK-II Essence, Missha First Treatment Essence is in the Asian toner category and has a very watery consistency. I applied it with my hands just after cleansing.  Also similar to the SK-II Essence was the very faint smell of yeast. The description for this product on the Missha website says that Time Revolution First Treatment Essence “hydrates, restores, rejuvenates, and gives you a glowing complexion.”

Missha First Treatment Essence Product Map

The pamphlet in the Missha Essence box has a handy product map to show you what order to use the products in. This shows that the Fist Treatment Essence should be used immediately after your double cleansing steps.

When I switched from the SK-II to the Missha Essence, I was in the midst of the breakout I mentioned earlier.  I was afraid that switching products might make it worse, but I carried on in the name of science. To my surprise, the handful of zits that had been lingering on my face all week disappeared within days. I don’t know if the Missha First Essence Treatment was responsible for that – nothing else in my routine had changed at that point, but it could have just been great timing.

One thing I can confirm is that the Missha Treatment Essence dramatically reduced the redness I get in my cheeks from my retinoid usage. I’d grown accustomed to seeing my red retinoid cheeks in the morning, even when my skin still had plenty of moisture. Argan oil helps with the redness a little, but doesn’t get rid of it completely. I was a bit taken aback when I woke up a few days into my Missha First Essence experiment and saw that the redness was almost entirely gone. I strongly suspect that the anti-inflammatory ingredients it contains – the niacinamide, licorice extract, and chamomile – are to thank for this unexpected but welcome result. In addition to calming my redness, Missha First Treatment Essence also provided that extra bit of hydration I was getting from the SK-II Treatment Essence. At the end of the 28 days, my face looked brighter, more even-toned.

In terms of anti-aging, this product is like the SK-II Essence in the sense that it’s preventative but doesn’t treat current lines or wrinkles. It hasn’t turned back time, but then, nothing really does (except retinol and acid peels).  I’m excited to see the long-term advantages of this product, but more than that, I’m happy that the Missha First Essence Treatment has some nice short-term benefits going for it. The redness reduction is a HUGE bonus for me. I’d be interested to know how this product helps redness caused by rosacea. It should work in theory, since some of the ingredients it contains (licorice and niacinamide) are often used in other products designed to combat rosacea and acne induced redness.

Overall, I’m very happy with Missha’s First Treatment Essence. I’ve already purchased a backup bottle so I won’t run out!

Skin & Tonics Rating:

Performance: 4/5 – It didn’t “erase” any wrinkles, but it did brighten, reduce redness, and add a bit of hydration to my skin.
Quality: 5/5 – Lots of great skincare actives, but nothing too harsh or irritating.
Value: 5/5 – $53 might sound expensive out of context, but given that it’s competing with a $155 product, it’s a pretty great price. The glass bottle packaging is also very beautiful and sturdy.

Overall: 4.5/5



I’d been coveting the SK-II Treatment Essence for so long that a little part of me was afraid I was about to get hooked on a crazy expensive product. But the Missha First Treatment Essence was the winner here by a long shot – there’s no competition when it comes to the redness reduction Missha offers. Plus, there’s that whole mystery of whether or not the Missha Essence was responsible for clearing up my weird breakout.  One can hope, right?

SKII Facial Treatment Essence vs. Missha First Treatment Essence

Missha is the clear winner of this smackdown!

The SK-II brand does have a great reputation and a lot of brand loyalists. I wasn’t wowed by their treatment essence, but I’m still interested in trying their other products in the future.


If you’re interested in reading more about the actual studies done on yeast ferment and its effects on skin hydration and wound healing, here are the couple of studies I could find:

Peptides From Live Yeast Derivative Stimulate Wound Healing
Stimulation of Epidermal Hyaluronan by Yeast Ferment

Where to Buy

You can find Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence on their website. Right now through the end of March, they have a special going on where you’ll receive a free, full-size bottle of the First Treatment Essence with any $50 purchase. Their BB creams are all 30% off right now too, so this would be a good time to pick up some BB creams and score a $53 free thing.  They’re also giving away additional gifts with purchases of $60, $100, and $200. The $60 gift is a set of 5 Pure Source sheet masks ($10 value), the $100 gift is a full-sized bottle of their Snowflake Essence Booster ($48 value), and the $200 gift is a full- sized Time Revolution Night Repair set ($66 value).

The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is available on the SK-II US website.


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60 comments onSkincare Smackdown: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence vs. Missha First Treatment Essence

  1. Wow I was thinking of having the first essence on my bday wishlist! It sounds great ^^

  2. I tried a sample of the skin revolution and I really effing liked it. I should get more, and I was also thinking maaaaaybe getting the SK-II because I figured I might be able to get a deal on it somewhere if I keep looking but I think I’ll ignore that one. I’d rather get something I know I’ll like ^_^ You did such a good job on your review, it reminded me what I liked about the TR formula.

    • Kerry

      Thank you! I’m pumped that you found it helpful. If you still want to try the SK-II, I bought my tiny bottle for $17 on It’s a REALLY small bottle – like something you’d get in a travel or deluxe sample kit. But it was worth it just to satisfy my curiosity. I ordered a bunch of MBD masks to make the shipping cost worthwhile.

      Which Time Revolution products have you tried and liked? Besides this one, I’ve tried the Night Repair Ampoule and the Night Repair Serum. I really like the ampoule (I plan on reviewing that in the next couple of weeks). I’m on the fence about the serum right now, but I am definitely curious about the rest of the TR line.

      • Thanks for this great review! Maybe you should give the SK-II another chance! I bought two mini bottles from Sasa because they’re easy to travel with and realized they were fake!! I’ve been a long time user of FTE so I’m familiar with the consistency.

        I’ve put the time revolution on hold but maybe I’ll start using it to save $$!

        • Kerry

          Hey Sharisa! Thanks for the tip! Maybe I’ll give the SK-II another chance. Do you have any pointers for spotting fake SK-II? Is the consistency the only way to spot the difference?

      • I’ve tried the SK-11 product line to the tune of $800.
        It had a nice texture and was moisturizing. I saw no improvement in fine lines.
        I am currently using Dior ONE Essential skin boosting serum. I am seeing , after 2 weeks an improvement in skin textures and fines lines. For $80 is well worth it. I am going to try the other products in this line.

        • Kerry

          Thank you, Dianna! You know, you are the first person I’ve heard from who has actually used the whole SK-II line. Thanks for sharing your experience. I haven’t tried the Dior ONE Essential Serum yet, but I’ve just added it to my ever-growing shopping list. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this in depth review! I just got a bottle of the Missha First Treatment Essence, and I’m really excited to use it now.

  4. wow. I was contemplating in getting either one and wasn’t sure. but after reading your review i think i would give Missha a try first.

  5. Grate blog, it’s really fun to read it! I’m waiting for my SK II essence from sassa now… and still don’t know if it was good choice… – after reading Ure review I feel even less confident about it, but I just had to give it a try:) I’m just too much curious and I have to check up on this magic by myself;)

    • Kerry

      I would love to know how the SKII works out for you! Just because I didn’t have good luck with it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience. It has such a huge following – it must be working for a lot of people! 🙂

      • After a year I may say that I totally felt in love with SK-II Essence! Now I’m using up 4
        rth bottle of it and waiting for another…:) I’ve just ordered also Misshas one- I really hope it can do the same:) For me most important and spectacular in SK-II Essence was the effect producer don’t mentioning at all (or maybe I missed it), which is calming my supersensitive and prone to rosacea skin. The difference is so clear- before skin on my face was always red because of various stimulus: temperature change, winter/summer, eating/drinking, cleansing…everything… name it and it was making my skin red… I always had been asking myself- why, the hell, skin on my face can’t be such color like on my neck? And guess what: now it is:) For me it worked better than metronidazol, azelaic acid and IPL together, so it’s a big thing:D

        • Joyce

          Sugarninjas–so glad you posted this–I have Roseacea, too and nothing seems to help; I’ve ordered a small bottle of SK-II Essence and now can’t wait to try it. How long did it take to help your Roseacea? Do you use it twice a day? Any other tips? I have had the Missha FTE for about two weeks now and it hasn’t really helped my Roseacea; maybe I haven’t been using it long enough. I have been using it at night and using Shiseido Eudermine in the morning. Maybe, I should try just the FTE by itself…

        • hey, i’ve been using sk II essence for awhile now but it’s to pricy 🙁 but i LOVE it to bits!!
          As a person who’ve also used sk II, i REALLY NEED you to let me know hows missha for u?
          im desperate for a cheaper alternative but i need it to work like SK II!

          Fyi, my main love for SK II is that it made my skin really clear and radiant. Also, i have pigmentations and acne scars that are lightened by SK II effectively.

          Thanks!!! <3

  6. Hi,

    Comparing the Missha first treatment essence with Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence, which one is better in your opinion?

    TIA 🙂

  7. Have you tried Missha’s First Treatment Essence MIST? It’s on sale for $21 for 120 ML. Is a mist just less concentrated than an essence? The ingredients look very similar but I can’t find much info/many reviews on the mist online.

    • Kerry

      I haven’t Tessa! But I’ve definitely wondered about it. I’ll definitely pick it up at some point – maybe this summer!

  8. Hi Kerry, i’ve been looking for a review for Missha Time Revolution, thanks God for your site.
    I have tried SK II few months ago but my skin break outs so I stopped using the product and I’m considering of buying Missha and the Night repair. Now, I would really consider busying the product since I saw in store that there’s 40% off.

    Are you still using the product? Thanks a lot!

    • Kerry

      Hi Eirene! I’m not using it at the moment, but I still love the product and recommend it often. I’m constantly testing new lines to review for this blog (and my own curiosity), and because I have so many products, it is very, very rare that I actually purchase something more than once, even if I like it. The Missha First Treatment Essence is one of the few products I’ve repurchased multiple times – I always have a backup bottle on hand for when I feel like going back to it. I think you should definitely give it a shot!

  9. Kerry – do you use this morning and night? Do you think that the niacinamide in this would interfere with a vitamin c serum worn during the daytime?


    • Kerry

      It’s certainly possible, but easily avoidable. If you wait a few minutes between the essence and the C serum, you shouldn’t have any issues. 🙂

      • Scarlet

        Hey I’ve been looking non-stop for info on if I can use a Vitamin C cream or serum after the Missha time rev. essence and Ampoule, will it have any adverse effects if I were to use them together?

        • Kerry

          Hey Scarlet! I haven’t had any issues using them with a Vitamin C serum. When I do, I use the serum first and wait about 10 minutes before applying everything else – it gives the Ascorbic acid in the Vitamin C serum to do it’s work without messing with the pH too much.

  10. Hi Kerry! I love your website and your skincare reviews are concise and very informative! Your site is the whole reason why my skincare routine has now changed from the western type to the asian skin routine– works wonders to my skin! I have now re-vamped my skincare products to what you have reviewed and I am trying to get quality but cost-efficient products. So far I have delved into the Benton skincare line and their steam cream & essence are amazing! I also tried the Missha Time revolution line.. I do have a question, do you prefer the Missha First Treatment Essence or should i purchase the Aloe BHA toner from Benton? Are they completely separate in what they do? I also currently use the OST vitamin C and I heard that the Aloe toner helps tone down the stickiness of it… my current routine is double cleansing with coconut oil and cerave, Pixi glow tonic (an aloe and glycolic toner), Missha 1st TX, the benton line, OST in the morning and missha night repair with retinol & Nia 24 skin strengthening complex. I’m open to suggestions 🙂

  11. Sharon

    Hi Kerry, thank you for the comprehensive review and I’m so glad for the CosDNA link!

    After coveting SK-II facial treatment essence for a long time, I bought it and then discovered I am allergic to something in it–I developed red blotches and teeny tiny whiteheads (my skin is usually normal, clear, and a bit oily in the T zone and eye area). Another product that I’ve had this reaction is Algenist concentrated restructuring serum. This week I’ve been using the Missha first treatment essence, and my skin reaction is milder–my face has red blotches and tingles a bit when I put it on, and I only get the tiny whiteheads if I put on tons and tons of it.

    I was wondering if you have an idea if it is ingredients claimed to “restructure” that I am allergic to, or something else in the product list? I’ve looked at the CosDNA list for all 3 products and there isn’t a bunch of overlap that I can tell. I plan to use the Missha essence for another week or so for a longer test, but likely the bottle will be given to a friend.

    • Sharon

      I remembered one more item I am allergic to: IOPE bio essence. I was so allergic to this and had to wash it off within a few minutes of putting it on… Maybe I’m allergic to fermented skincare, which is a bummer 🙁

      • Melissa

        Hi Sharon,

        Have you ever checked to see if you might be allergic to Penicillin? My sister and I both had a bad reaction to su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick and their Waterful Emulsion and i’m also experiencing a little irritation from this product as well (we’re both allergic to Penicillin). I didn’t know why my skin was breaking out (figured I might be allergic to fermented skincare as well) since I read such good reviews on these products until I started clicking around and read (not exactly how true this might be but it does make sense about the irritation) that there’s penicillin in products that contain fermented ingredients.Kerry, if you’re reading this comment would you know which sites I should look at to verify the validity of this claim? I tried typing “Penicillin in skincare products” into google search but nothing came up…

    • Shona

      Did you ever try the algenist cream? I’m wondering if I am reacting to it….I have red blotches on my cheeks…I only use the time revolution essence at night (vitamin c serum in the day).
      Thanks !

      • sharon

        I haven’t tried the Algenist cream, sorry. I pinpointed my allergy to propylene glycol, which I’m now avoiding. I would look up the ingredients among your skincare and see if there are any patterns. Good luck!

  12. Just to make sure I wont use this with my vitamin C serum. Im thinking of using The First Treatment Essence after a snail essence or ampoule. Do you think it will have adverse effects? Looking forward to your reply 🙂

  13. […] I learned that many consider the Missha version to be a dupe of the SK-II…and some even prefer the performance of the less expensive […]

  14. Jennifer

    Hi there. Really loving your blog. I have really learned a lot. This product came highly recommended as some light moisture for a very oily skin. I am, however, confused where it would fit in my regimen. I just ordered the mizon bha/aha toner. Would this replace it or fit somewhere else in my regimen.

  15. Amy

    Hi, I was wondering what the PH of Missha essence? And also, would I use the missha essence as a toner after cleansing? If using OST vit C and Paula’s choice 2% BHA liquid, do I first use the missha essence then the OST then paula’s choice then wait for 20 min then the rest of my skincare?

    • Eva_w

      I would love your opinion on this Kerry! Amy, I’ll contribute my opinion. the Missha Essence ph is between 5.5 and 6. I would use the OST Vit C first because its ph is prob between 3 and 3.5. Wait 10 mins, then use Paula’s Choice BHA which has a ph of 3.2-3.6. Wait 30 minutes, then use the Missha Essence and the rest of your skincare.

      • Joyce

        Amy and Eva–go to the top of this page and click on GUIDES and you will see “FEATURED:
        My Skin Care Routine Part 1: Morning.” Kerry goes through her whole morning routine and STEP 4: Hydrating Toner is when you would apply Missha FTE or any other hydrating toner.

        She also has her Evening Skin Care Routine posted, which is very informative, too!

  16. Eva

    Hi.. Would you recommend to use this essence before or after Paula’s bha 2% & aha 8 %?

  17. Meghan

    Hi Kerry,

    I’ve just discovered your blog recently and as a fellow skincare junkie, I really love it!

    I’ve been using the SK II Facial Treatment Essence for a month now and I fall into the camp that believes it’s miracle water. More than anything it improves the texture of my skin. After a bad allergic reaction to antibiotics, my skin was rough with acne scarring. The SK II product smoothed over the bumps and left my skin feeling soft and supple. I’ve also noticed small improvements in the size of my pores.

    In the past, I have used Nature Republic’s The First essence. It is also considered a “dupe” of the SK II. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any differences in my skin.

    Your review really makes me want to try the Missha essence! I’d love to get the same benefits and save some extra money.

  18. Lynn

    Hi, thanks for the review! I was wondering how long can a bottle last for Missha? I was thinking of buying it but I just ordered an Innisfree green tea balancing skin toner.. =P

  19. mia steidell

    What do you recommend for very dull dry face? Also as a antiaging products, peels , masks etc as a daily/weekly routine?

  20. Denise

    I discovered your site about two months ago and I’ve really appreciated your thorough review of products. After reading glowing reviews of the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence in a few places, I decided to buy it. Unfortunately, I’m extremely allergic to it. I put it on at night after washing my face and then applying the Biologique Recherche serum and moisturizer. The Missha Essence was the only new thing I added to my routine, which has been the same since October. Anyway, I noticed my eyes were a bit itchy when I went to bed, but it was when I woke up that I had hives all over my eyes, as well as small zits and blackheads all over my face. It was awful! I just wanted to post this somewhere to warn others who *may* be very sensitive to products, since I haven’t really seen anything online about other allergic reactions. If you have any idea of what ingredient may have contributed, I’d love to know. Too bad, because I really was hoping to integrate this into my skincare routine.

    • Rachel

      I don’t know if you are still around but it was probably the yeast. I had a similar terrible reaction and brought the bottle to my dermatologist who informed me that some people just can’t tolerate it as a topical application. Of course it could be something else, that is the “wonderful” thing about skin reactions! Best of luck.

  21. […] note, in doing research for this article I came across another blog’s review of SK-II Essence which I thought was quite good. This blogger compared SK-II essence to a similar […]

  22. simsim


    Thanks so much for this review. I just purchased the Missha First Treatment Essence, I was wondering do you think its important to use other products in their line along with the Essence to get good results or can I mix and match cleansers and moisturizers from different brands?

  23. Hey there Kerry,

    First of all, I love your blog! Thank you for all your in-depth reviews and the additional scientific infos on ingredients.

    I’ve browsed your blog extensively before my trip to Asia last month. It gave insight into a number of products from South Korea I was interested in, and although this post is already two years old, your comparison between SK-II and Missha was particularly helpful.

    Personally, I decided on the Missha essence, and am truly happy with it! I have not written a review about it, but will do so very soon. I have a friend, however, who’s been using SK-II for a while. She was the reason I looked into those kind of essences in the first place. Now I also want to interview her about the experiences she’s had with SK-II.

    Since you write you’re interested in that as well, I thought you’d like to pose a few questions on the topic. I can write them down and ask her about them once I do the Q&A. You might have a few questions in store I would not have thought of.

    So do let me know 🙂 And keep up the hard work!


  24. Hi! As a fellow blogger, I’m always interested in finding and trying new products. When I went to NY fashion week this past February I was given a bunch of SK-II products to try out. I loved the “toner” as it gave me a little glow but nothing drastic. Now that I’m getting more into skin care, I’m really looking into more products. I found your review/experiment really helpful and now want to try the Missha line! Would love to collab on something if you’re down. Xo Nic

  25. Susie

    First of all, thank you for your amazing website. I really appreciate all of the work you put into each of your reviews, and they have been a tremendous help to me as I’ve embarked on a more comprehensive AB skin care routine. I rarely comment on people’s posts, but I feel compelled to after buying and trying out the Missha FTE on the basis of this review.

    I have atopic dermatitis (eczema) on my face that can be just awful but is managed very well by my prescription ointment (Protopic). What I haven’t been able to get rid of is several blotchy red marks that appear immediately after I shower/wash my face (no matter how gentle I am, the temperature of the water, etc.) and fade after about 20-30 minutes. They don’t bother me that much, because they aren’t visible most of the time, but I’ve been searching for something that can minimize them, as they suggest to me that I have some degree of uncontrolled inflammation.

    Two or three days after incorporating the Missha FTE into my routine, those little suckers are practically gone. I cannot believe the difference I saw in my skin this morning. While it’s possible that there is something else contributing to this welcome change, the only thing that’s different about my routine has been the introduction of the Missha FTE. Hopefully, this lasts!!! Thanks again for this awesome review.

  26. Herpderp

    Cheaper products with visual change sort of scare me a bit. It’s something that’s been there since the Renaissance, one of the things I remember women used to use toxic cosmetics that gave immediate results. Although in this day and age such things hopefully don’t happen, if there are fake shiseido lotions out there that falsify ingredients, then any things possible.

  27. lavici

    hi i have used the missha first treatment for a few months and are EXTREMELY happy with it. but.. i wonder how or in what order would i use it in the future, if i wanted to start using the biologique recherche P50V. and if i use retinoid serum 0..025% 3 times per week? i have somewhat combination, well cared for fair 63 year old skin. many thanks, janine

  28. excellent review thank you ! I know what to buy once my Estee Lauder Micro Essence runs out !

  29. Winny

    How do you use missha fte and your tretinoin tratment?

  30. […] Skincare Smackdown: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence vs. Missha First Treatment Essence […]

  31. Daelynn

    I realize I’m extremely late on this blog but I’m new to the whole essence scene and was curious about the difference between the regular Missha FTE and the INTENSIVE ? I’m looking for essence that caters more to anti~aging. Can anyone help me with this ?

  32. Have you tried the Intensive version? It has replace the old one and I’ve read the results aren’t as good.

  33. […] Galactomyces ferment filtrate is sometimes known as Pitera, and is a key ingredient in a lot of the SKII products that people rave about. From what I understand, it’s a kind of fermented yeast and a lot of people reckon it’s pretty holy grail. Skin and Tonics does a good breakdown of the hype. […]

  34. Pamela

    Oddly I’ve had the opposite experience, my skin really really liked SK-II while it was pretty indifferent to the Missha Time Revolution Essence.

    I am not entirely sure if my Time Revolution Essence is okay though. I got it from Wishtrend (so should be fine) but it doesn’t smell as nice as SK-II and once stung when a bit got in my eyes.

  35. Kiki

    Just wondering if anyone has compared the Missha Essence to the Cosrx Galactomyces essence? It uses fermented ingredients as well as some other same/similar ingredients but at an even lower price point …