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Japan and Korea are absolute queens of the skincare world—but which one does it better?

By Savvy Tokyo

Sushi, bubble tea, anime, K-pop. It’s no secret that Japan and Korea have become wildly popular in recent years for a number of cute, over-the-top, and somewhat bizarre trends (have you heard of tapioca ramen?) But while trends will come and go, one category that both countries never fail to deliver in is skincare. Japan and Korea produce some of the world’s best beauty products and we’re just over here desperately trying to grab the last bottle on the shelf—but which one are you reaching for?

Round 1: Facial Treatment Essences


First things first: what exactly is a facial essence? Almost identical in appearance to toner, its a clear liquid that’s applied directly to your face after cleansing. While toners primarily absorb excess dirt quickly and tighten up pores, a facial essence contains high levels of active ingredients that simultaneously hydrates your skin and preps it for any serums or moisturizers you want to lather on.

J-beauty: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

One of the most trustworthy and best-selling products in Japan, SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is renowned for its patented key ingredient, Pitera. Also known as galactomyces ferment filtrate (that’s a mouthful), Pitera claims its concentrated blend of 50 micronutrients holds powerful anti-aging properties and can produce visible results in as little as 14 days.

Price: ¥15,425 (230ml)

K-beauty: Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence

Missha’s best selling essence formula has been revamped to be even more concentrated in its key ingredient: a fermented yeast extract produced from a Himalayan purple barley. This vital ingredient allows for rapid absorption to moisturize, brighten, even skin tone, and increase collagen levels to produce that ever-fleeting youthful look.

Price: ¥2,230 (130ml)

Savvy’s Pick: Missha wins this one hands down. Both contain similar ingredients to produce a comparable result, but Missha offers a facial essence that doesn’t burn a hole into our pockets.

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Is this article written by a Korean ?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Korean double jaw surgery actually does make a square face look young and tapered as opposed to just makeup shading everywhere else. Not sure if Japan has, but korea most popular for.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Business is not which is better, it is to each his or her own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lots of Cosmetic companies though they really are all superficial. An American Company however takes a different approach, using Stem cell based technology to repair your body from the inside out. Check them out...


1 ( +1 / -0 )

An American Company however takes a different approach, 

Same type of crap and marketing, but in different language and currency.

Japanese women often have large blemishes on their upper cheeks from sun damage.

Some. Melasma is thought to be related to hormones (due to gender, age, pregnancy, taking the pill/not taking it, medications, DNA ) . You can buy all the cosmetics and vitamins... It's more efficient to invest in a hat.

Business is not which is better, 

It's about the less dangerous. The SK-II got a number of scandals, with massive recalls.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why is this article saying bubble tea is japanese. it's from taiwan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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