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Review: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

It’s no secret that the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence was initially marketed as a SK-II Facial Treatment Essence dupe. But Missha’s own version has so much going on for itself, I don’t think it needs to hide behind the original. In fact, here is why I think that the Missha essence is the far better deal in comparison.

All about fermented yeast extract

What do both the Missha and SK-II essences have in common? Fermented yeast extract!

Fermented yeast extract can be found and won in various ways, and herein lies one of the differences between SK-II and Missha.

SK-II claims its own particular strain of fermented yeast extract was discovered by its researchers while looking at the process of brewing sake. It has since patented its particular fermented yeast extract strain under the name “Pitera.”

Missha, on the other hand, uses a Saccharomyces ferment filtrate won during the production of beer. [Source.]

I guess sake sounds a little more refined than beer. However, it’s still widely assumed that both kinds of fermented yeast strains bring about the same benefits to the table. According to both brands in question, those supposedly are improved wound healing and tissue-repair as well as protective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.

According to Paula’s Choice, yeast has indeed been found to be an effective antioxidant and stimulate wound healing. Theories also abound regarding improved absorption due to its fermented state. However, the exact functions of yeast as a skin care ingredient are still unclear and most findings up to this point are based mainly on speculation.

Missha vs. SK-II

Now here is why I believe the Missha essence to be a better deal.

The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence contains “Pitera,” but no one really knows if it is any good or at least better than other strains of yeast extract or not. What’s more, however, is that the “Pitera” is all there is to it. It’s in the essence at 90%. The rest are common humectants, preservatives and a pH-balancer. Here’s the full list:

Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate (= “Pitera”), Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid.

Normally, I would find short and simple ingredients lists commendable. But read on.

The Missha essence, in contrast, contains “only” 80% fermented yeast extract, but also Licorice root extract, Niacinamide, Chamomile, something they call “DN-Aid, made from Cassia-Alata Extract,” and many other goodies. So tons of anti-aging and protective antioxidants in form of plant extracts! Again, the full list:

Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (80%), Propanediol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra ( Licorice Root Extract), Niacinamide, Polyquaternium-51, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Raffinose, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis, Chamomile Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Tromethamine, Water, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lactic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.

But here’s the deal. The Missha essence cost me about €30/150 ml in South Korea. The same amount of the SK-II essence sells for around €120. That’s a lot for a single antioxidant.

Using the Missha essence

The instructions say to spill some of the Missha essence into your hollowed out palms, then pat it on, or to use a cotton pad. But I prefer to decant the liquid into a Muji spray bottle, spritz it on, then drum it in with my fingers. More economical this way, no drop gets lost.

MUJI PET pump spray bottle

The Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence in a MUJI PET pump spray bottle

The very first time I used it, I got surprisingly good results immediately. I was in Taipei at the time, and applied the Essence before bed. The next day, my skin seemed noticeably clearer, a few pores that had been clogged were suddenly unclogged, and a pimple that was just in the making had died down immediately.

Ecstatic, I continued to use it. Morning and night every day first. Now, every morning after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence swatch

A blob of the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence: clear as water

The essence is clear as water, with only a light yellow-ish tint and a faint, musty smell to it. On the skin, the liquid is a tad sticky, but overall, it applies nicely and sinks in fast without problems.

However, whatever happened on the first day failed to repeat itself afterwards. It does other things instead, though.

Most notably, the essence has a clearly calming effect. It’s soothing and comforting when my skin is irritated and brings down redness when there are spots of any kind. It appeases even especially angry pimples and although it might not clear them up, it also doesn’t make them turn worse.

The essence manages to add a light extra layer of hydration on top of my skin without breaking it out, clogging or overloading it. For my oily skin, I might even be able to use this on my oily combination skin without additional moisturizer when it’s summer. It definitely feels great for the skin, but after a few weeks, it also did something.

Since using the essence, my nasolabial fold lines have surprisingly softened and now don’t stand out as starkly as before. Judging from private pictures from before and after, my skin also looks comparably younger, healthier and more radiant overall.


Would I re-purchase then?

Definitely yes!

For anyone who is concerned about signs of aging and who is looking for an effective moisture boosting essence, the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence is a stellar deal – especially compared to SK-II. And I wasn’t even actually looking for an anti-aging product!

I have very few and even fewer deep lines to speak of. And yet, when the bicycle repairman recently assumed I was a student, I was delighted to be taken as even younger than normally. I concluded then that I’ll keep the essence in my routine!

Any experiences with fermented yeast extracts as an active skin care ingredient to share yourself?

2015-11-27 Update

I recently re-purchased the essence after it has been reformulated. The essence is now sold as Missha Time Revolution The First Essence Intensive, and replaces the original permanently. You can find more infos about the changes and comparisons between the old and new formula here and here. The new ingredients list is now as follows:

Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Polyquarternium-51, Ulmus Davidiana Extract, Betaine, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Extract, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Trehalose, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolysed Corn Starch, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Raffinose, Tromethamine, Acetic Acid, Lactic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexapeptide-9, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate.

Objectively speaking, the old formulation was a bit better. But while it is unfortunate they switched the ingredients around, I really cannot tell a difference just from using. My skin is still happy with the essence, and it still brings about the same effects. So if you were worried about the changes, I do not think you need be. Most likely because the essence’s most important ingredient, fermented yeast extract, is still there unchanged after all.

2016-01-07 Update

It’s now been more than seven months since I started using the essence. So far, I have almost used up three bottles with 150ml each. I loved what the essence did for my skin right in the beginning. But now as I see its accumulative effects, I am even more excited!

My skin recently has remarkably improved. It is completely clear now, which is the result of many different things combined, yes. But it’s also glowing. It’s healthy looking, feels young, and old acne scars have lightened. My skin now has a crystal clear quality, turned from oily to normal and is perfectly behaved just in general.


Recommended all over again and again!


  1. Charlie P says

    HI, have you tried any of their other products with the essence – like night creams etc?


    • The only other product from the line I’ve used is the ampoule which I have never stuck to for longer than a few days.


  2. Jackie says

    Oh my gosh, thank you so much for all the different updates throughout the months, really makes a difference when it comes to reviews and this was just what I was looking for !

    Thank you thank you !


    • V. says

      Sure thing, Belle! It’s not heavy at all, will not clog pores, and the antioxidants it contains are beneficial for all skin types completely regardless of age!


  3. Kimuchi says

    My friend just brought back me my first bottle of this from Korea and I’m so excited to try this. Thank you for all the updates!


  4. Nurfadhilah A says

    hi, thank you so much for your reviews and whatsmore abt the updates! you’re da bomb!! hehe. and why not you blog about yr updated skin care routine? i’m sure a lot of yr readers wanna see your glowing looks ;-)


  5. Thank you for updating! I know that they recently have a 3rd generation of this formula, now called Missha Time Revolution The First Essence Intensive Moist. I was wondering if you will be purchasing it and trying it. If you do try it, please let me know what you think! Thanks!


  6. Faya Kholishotin Shofiyati says

    Is there any purging phase when you use it? Or breakouts first?


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