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Hailing from Japan, the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence has long been crowned as the "iconic essence for Crystal Clear Skin", but does its slightly less expensive Franco-American cousin—La Mer The Treatment Lotion—give it a run for its money?

Well, that's what we're going to find out today as we compare the two skin-transforming essences side-by-side. Enjoy!

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La Mer Treatment Lotion vs SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Beyond the obvious similarities and differences between the product names, choice of packaging, and bottles, we're going to have to dive straight into their formulas to start seeing any differences of note.

Comparison

Both the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and La Mer The Treatment Lotion claim to improve moisture levels, soothe irritation, soften and smooth texture, reduce appearance of dark spots and fine lines, enhance radiance, even skin tone, and the list goes on. They truly are made out to be the essences to end all essences, which actually isn't as far-fetched as it might initially sound considering their cult-status.

The magic behind their success revolves around fermentation (yes, you read that right). In particular, SK-II's formula contains fermented yeast (which they have more glamorously named "PITERA"), whereas La Mer's contains various fermented marine ingredients such as sea kelp ("The Miracle Broth") as well as fermented yeast ("The Revival Ferment").

Ferments are packed with micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and organic acids to condition the skin's natural functions. More importantly, though, they closely resemble your skin's Natural Moisturizing Factors meaning that skin welcomes it in for fast absorption (unlike thicker formulas such as serums and creams).

The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence contains more than 90% PITERA, with the remaining 10% of the ingredient list being fairly lean, including only Butylene Glycol (conditioning), Pentylene Glycol (humectant), Water (solvent), Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Methylparaben (preservative) and Sorbic Acid (preservative) for a grand total of 7 ingredients.

La Mer's The Treatment Lotion, on the other hand, boasts a jaw-droppingly long ingredients list (totalling 70 ingredients—10 times more than SK-II's!) that is absolutely filled to the brim with with various botanical extracts and ferments as well as other goodies such as Glycerin (moisturizing), Niacin (antioxidant), Caffeine (anti-inflammatory), Trehalose (moisturizing), and Urea (mild exfoliant). It's not clear what the concentrations of the various ferments are, but what is clear is that this formula offers far more bang for your buck than SK-II's.

The biggest difference of all, though, is price. The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is in the order of twice as expensive as La Mer's The Treatment Lotion per fluid ounce.

Summary

Both essences boast impeccable reviews and extremely loyal cult-followings, but ultimately we believe that it's a no-brainer. Considering ingredients alone, we actually think The Treatment Lotion by La Mer comes out on top even if it was sold for the same price as its SK-II counterpart. Luckily for our purses, though, it's around half the price!

The Treatment Lotion by La Mer, jumpstart your regime with hydration and energy.

The Treatment Lotion by La Mer

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Jumpstart your regime with hydration and energy.

What makes it special? This next-generation watery lotion powered by cell-recharging Miracle Broth™ delivers a rush of liquid energy to jumpstart your regimen. Your essential first step after cleansing, its Active Liquid Hydrogel texture cushions on contact and penetrates rapidly to deliver energy and sustained all-day hydration to optimize skin for the full benefits of every treatment that follows.

Which skin types? All skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Facial Treatment Essence by SK-II, the iconic essence for Crystal Clear Skin, loved by millions of women around the world.

Facial Treatment Essence by SK-II

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The iconic essence for Crystal Clear Skin, loved by millions of women around the world.

What makes it special? Whatever your skin type/concern, SK-II's PITERA Essence helps you achieve your best skin ever—Crystal Clear Skin. It is the ONE almighty product you need to moisturize, soften and smoothen texture, reduce appearance of dark spots and fine lines due to dryness, enhance radiance, even skin tone, and... the list goes on.

Which skin types? All skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

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