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.
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