FEMMENORDIC .COM

Hailing from Japan, the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence has long been crowned as the "iconic essence for Crystal Clear Skin", but does its less expensive Korean cousin—MISSHA The First Essence—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!

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Missha First Treatment Essence vs SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Beyond the obvious similarities 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 MISSHA The First Essence 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 that SK-II sells one of its essences every 2 seconds and MISSHA has sold over 11 million of theirs with a staggering repurchase rate.

The magic behind their success revolves around yeast fermentation (yes, you read that right). Fermented yeast is packed with micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and organic acids to condition the skin's natural functions. More importantly, though, it closely resembles your skin's Natural Moisturizing Factors meaning that skin welcomes it in for fast absorption (unlike thicker formulas such as serums and creams).

There are hundreds of different yeast strains to choose from, but SK-II settled on Galactomyces (which they have more glamorously named "PITERA"), whereas MISSHA uses two strains: Saccharomyces and Bifida. Though this is the first major difference between the two, any claim that one ferment is better than the other would be purely anecdotal—and we don't do that around here.

The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence contains more than 90% PITERA, whereas the MISSHA The First Essence contains a concentration of 80% of its yeast ferment filtrate.

The remaining 10% of SK-II's ingredient list is fairly lean, including only Butylene Glycol (conditioning), Pentylene Glycol (humectant), Water (solvent), Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Methylparaben (preservative) and Sorbic Acid (preservative). Clearly PITERA is the only active ingredient in SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence, and the inclusion of parabens is always cause for some concern.

The remaining 20% of MISSHA's ingredient list, however, is much more exciting. Among other conditioners and preservatives, it includes Niacinamide, Glycerin, Ceramides, Lactic Acid, and Sodium PCA—all of which boast glorious additional skin-nourishing benefits.

The biggest difference of all, though, is price. The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is in the order of six times more expensive than MISSHA's The First Essence per fluid ounce.

Summary

Both essences boast impeccable reviews and extremely loyal cult-followings, but ultimately it really is a no-brainer. Considering ingredients alone, we actually think The First Essence by MISSHA 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 6 times cheaper than that!

The First Essence by MISSHA, 14 days to transform the strength of your skin in a single step.

The First Essence by MISSHA

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

14 days to transform the strength of your skin in a single step.

What makes it special? Highly concentrated rejuvenating essence combines basic skin care with anti-aging and whitening benefits for a dramatic improvement in skin's overall health and appearance. Fermented yeast extract soothes, smoothens and balances, leading to firmer and more supple skin with renewed vitality.

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

Stay up to date with our posts

We are on a mission to help you discover the secrets to achieving the ultimate, healthy, glowing radiance that French women are envied the world over for.

With over 10+ years of experience in skincare, you can rest assured that our curation is accurate, fact-checked and most importantly: we will only ever recommend products that truly work.

Click here to subscribe

Related articles

La Mer vs SK-II 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

Shiseido vs SK-II 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

Estee Lauder vs SK-II 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

Read more

Aquaphor vs Vaseline 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

Ole Henriksen vs Drunk Elephant 2022 (The Definitive Guide)