SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is a Japanese beauty product that has become a cult favorite skincare essence. It’s known for improving skin texture, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and providing an overall glow to your complexion.
Unfortunately, the price tag of this luxury skin care product is incredibly high and might not be a practical makeup purchase for you. Luckily, there are some great SK-II Facial Treatment Essence dupes available that offer similar results for a fraction of the price.
Before we take a look at the dupes and their ingredients and benefits, let’s discuss what makes SK-II so unique.
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SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is a best-selling essence formulated to reduce the look of fine lines due to dryness and dark spots while improving uneven skin tone for a brighter, more radiant complexion.
The story of how it was discovered is actually very interesting. Elderly brewers at a sake brewery in Japan had wrinkles on their faces but not on their hands.
SK-II scientists surmised that this must have something to do with the fact that their hands were in continual contact with yeast during the sake fermentation process.
SK-II scientists began testing over 350 types of yeast strains, and experiments were done under hundreds of fermentation conditions.
After five years of research, scientists discovered a yeast strain, which SK-II would call their miracle broth and later name PITERA, which is the core ingredient in SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.
Today, PITERA is produced with one exclusive yeast strain under SK-II’s proprietary fermentation process.
This ensures that every drop of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence contains the highest quality PITERA, which helps reduce the signs of aging and promotes a more youthful complexion.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Key Ingredients
The main ingredient in SK-II is PITERA, a trademarked ingredient that contains more than 50 micronutrients that are essential for healthy skin.
It contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic acids that help to nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
PITERA is also known as Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. It is the result of fermenting yeast from the genus Galactomyces.
This clinical study showed that moisturizers that contain Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate protect skin from dryness and environmental stress.
It also has antioxidant benefits and increases hydrating hyaluronic acid in the skin.
The essence contains over 90% PITERA, which helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and replenish the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factors, which are compounds found naturally in the skin that help maintain the skin’s water balance, improve hydration and improve skin elasticity.
What Is An Essence?
An essence is a skin care product that contains a high concentration of active ingredients in a water-based formula. Popular in Korean skincare, essences typically add hydration and nourishment to your skin.
Essences usually have a thin, watery texture and are applied after cleansing and toning but before moisturizing your skin.
Think of an essence like a mix between a toner and a serum. An essence will target specific skin concerns with concentrated ingredients.
An essence also acts like a pre-serum that helps to enhance the absorption and effectiveness of other products in your skin care routine.
How To Use SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II instructs you to pour two to three shakes of its facial essence into the palm of your hand. This equates to about the size of a quarter.
Gently press your palms together to distribute the essence across both hands.
Pat the essence into the skin of your face and neck for one minute, making sure to avoid the sensitive skin around your eye area.
The essence can be applied in both your morning and evening skincare routines. Apply after cleansing and toning but before serums, treatments, and moisturizers.
You can also use a cotton pad or ball to apply these essences like a toner, but I prefer to use my palms since you waste some product using a cotton applicator.
NOTE: These instructions apply to all of the essences in this post.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Dupes
These SK-II Facial Treatment Essence dupes contain fermented ingredients, just like SK-II, to deliver similar results but at a much lower cost.
You’ll notice most of the products below also contain Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, the active ingredient in SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, at even higher concentrations than SK-II!
Mizon Skin Power Original First Essence
Mizon Skin Power Original First Essence contains 94.5% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate that works like an essence and lotion in one to restore the skin moisture barrier, hydrate, and nourish your complexion.
The main ingredient, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, is a star ingredient for brightening, nourishment, and hydration.
The essence is LOADED with additional active ingredients to help improve the look of wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging:
- Niacinamide: Also known as Vitamin B3, niacinamide helps to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of pores while smoothing the look of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Sodium Hyaluronate: The salt form of hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that helps to hydrate and plump skin.
- Adenosine: A cell-communicating ingredient that helps improve the look of wrinkles and expression lines.
- Trehalose: A natural sugar molecule that helps lock in moisture and protect skin from stress.
- Biosaccharide Gum-1: A sugar and humectant derived from sorbitol through bacterial fermentation that helps skin to retain moisture, soothes the skin, and per the manufacturer, even has anti-aging benefits.
- Sodium PCA: A natural humectant and moisturizing ingredient that helps to draw moisture from the environment and trap it inside the skin.
- Betaine: Derived from sugar beets, betaine helps control water balance and hydration in the skin.
- Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, and Arginine: These amino acids help improve skin resilience, provide moisture, and hydrate the skin.
- Coptis Japonica Root Extract: Also known as Japanese Goldthread, this extract is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
This Korean essence is another excellent choice for dry skin in need of hydration and nourishment and is very impressive, thanks to its long list of active ingredients.
Please note that this facial essence contains essential oils.
Secret Key Facial Treatment Essence Rose Edition
Secret Key Facial Treatment Essence Rose Edition contains 94% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate and rosewater to clarify the skin while improving the look of wrinkles and fine lines.
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate replenishes tired, saggy skin and improves skin elasticity and rough skin texture. Additional active ingredients include:
- Rosewater: Helps soothe irritated skin and offers skin protective antioxidant benefits.
- Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide smoothes wrinkles and fine lines, reduces the appearance of discoloration and uneven skin tone, and improves skin texture.
- Glycerin: Moisturizes, supports a healthy skin barrier, and protects against irritation.
- Adenosine: An anti-inflammatory that can help boost collagen production for firmer skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
This Korean essence is a great dupe for SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, as it contains even more Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate than SK-II.
NOTE: If you are a fan of rose-scented products, please note there isn’t any noticeable scent in this essence.
Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence
Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence contains 92% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate plus 5% niacinamide.
This essence helps to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance, improve skin elasticity, and smooth uneven skin texture.
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is filled with vitamins, minerals, moisturizing amino acids, and enzymes that help to improve the skin’s texture and tone.
Niacinamide helps to brighten skin, reduce the appearance of pores, and inhibit melanin production, which helps to reduce dark spots and discoloration.
Although it is a bit thicker and has a higher viscosity than the other watery essences in this post, it is very lightweight and is easily absorbed by the skin. It leaves your skin very hydrated and leaves it super soft and supple.
This essence also helps control excess sebum (oil) production while whitening and brightening your skin. It’s a great choice if you have dehydrated skin or a dry skin type.
The formula is also vegan, cruelty-free, and fragrance-free.
Missha vs SK-II
Missha’s first treatment essence may not technically be a dupe for SK-II since it does not contain any Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, but it provides similar skin benefits.
Since Missha also contains a fermented yeast that targets the visible signs of aging, I’ve included it in this post for your consideration as an alternative to SK-II Facial Treatment Essence:
Missha Time Revolution The First Essence 5X
Missha Time Revolution The First Essence 5X is the latest version (5th iteration) of this cult-favorite K-Beauty essence.
This fifth generation of Missha’s first treatment essence is powered by 97% Desert Cica Yeast Ferment, which is fermented using Missha’s EXTREME FERMENT α™ Method.
This three-step fermentation process maximizes the efficacy of Desert Cica extract for hydrating, calming, and nourishing the skin.
This Fermented Cicaenzyme (Yeast) Extract is rich in antioxidant-rich flavonoids, vitamins, and amino acids that work together to improve skin barrier function, protect the skin from environmental damage, and smooth fine lines.
Another effective fermented active ingredient in the essence is bifida ferment lysate. This probiotic ingredient strengthens the skin barrier and helps reduce sensitivity.
Additional active ingredients include:
- Niacinamide (vitamin B3): Helps control sebum production, improve skin clarity, brighten dull skin, and support collagen production for a more youthful complexion.
- Ceramide NP: Provides intense moisture to dehydrated skin and helps retain hydration.
- Glycerin: A humectant that draws moisture into the skin and reduces dryness.
- Sodium PCA: A naturally-occurring component of skin, Sodium PCA improves hydration and helps skin look more supple.
- Adenosine: A compound found naturally in the body, adenosine is an anti-inflammatory and supports a healthy skin barrier.
This essence is recommended for normal, sensitive, dull, dry, and aging skin.
Cos De BAHA Galactomyces 94% Serum
Another alternative to SK-II comes in the form of a serum instead of an essence:
Cos De BAHA Galactomyces 94% Serum is a lightweight serum formulated with 94% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, the same ingredient found in SK-II at 90%.
The serum contains 2% niacinamide to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of pores. It also contains hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate to help hydrate and nourish the skin.
This Korean serum is formulated to improve the look of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, uneven skin texture, and other signs of aging.
It’s a great alternative to SK-II if you are not a fan of the thin essence texture and want the benefits of Galaxtomyces Ferment Filtrate in an easy-to-use serum without the hefty price tag of SK-II.
The essence is vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free, and sulfate-free. It’s super affordable too!
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Before You Go…
SK-II is no doubt a luxury product with a luxury price tag. But when it comes to facial essences that contain fermented ingredients and Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, in particular, there are many great alternatives to SK-II that are just as effective.
These SK-II dupes can provide very similar benefits as SK-II, as most contain even higher concentrations of Galacatomyces Ferment Filtrate than SK-II while being much more affordable.
Thanks for reading!