When you start exploring the world of Asian skincare, you're bound to run into the class of products called First Treatment Essences. As with most skincare products, there's really no standard formulation to identify them by, but by and large, they are mostly watery liquids that are slightly thicker than toners, especially toners that contain alcohol.
They're meant to prepare your skin to receive further treatment in the rest of your routine. If you're familiar with makeup primers, the products that prepare your skin to receive makeup, I would call the First Treatment Essence a sort of skincare primer. Like makeup primers, they have standalone functions, for example they can boost skin's radiance, calm redness, and add moisture back to the skin, but they will also help "grease the wheels" for all of the goodness that comes next in your routine.
How to Use: They're meant to be used after cleansing and treating your skin with actives and can be used day and/or night.
The Who's Who of First Treatment Essences
The most famous First Treatment Essence is done by SK-II ($205.00) which features a proprietary blend of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and organic acids called Pitera. It also has front and center, the star ingredient Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. In layman's terms, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is fermented yeast and water, which is siphoned off during the sake production process. After the SK-II essence made a splash in the marketplace, a host of both Western, Korean, and Japanese bum-rushed their nearest breweries to duplicate the formula.
The "Yeast Rush", yeah doesn't have the same ring to it as the "Gold Rush"
Now consumers have a ton of choices when it comes to First Treatment Essences.. from the less spendy but still premier Western brands like Estee Lauder to drugstore heroes like Burt's Bees. Korea has its fair share of dupers like mid-end brand Missha and "road shop" (read: drugstore) brands like Nature Republic. In Japan, Boscia recently joined the drunken soiree. Not to be outdone, Korea's Purebess recently took it to the next level by introducing a 100% pure yeast ferment filtrate product.
So what did I decide to buy?
I chose to be a bit prudent and try out a mid-end dupe in the Missha First Treatment Essence (Mist - since it's summer). I was also seduced by the Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence. The Missha FTE (shortened) is among the most highly regarded Korean dupes, while the Cremorlab MTE (again shortened) is just a looker in the bottle, and had a very unique ingredients profile - much different from most other First Treatment Essences out there. I wanted to have a gander and compare the two.
Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence, be still my heart
ingredients: t. e. n. mineral water, rosa centifolia flower water, butylene glycol, niacinamide, glycerin, betaine, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower water, saccharomyces ferment, peg/ppg-17/6 copolymer, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, pvm/ma decadiene crosspolymer, potassium hydroxide, adenosine, biosaccharide gum-1, aspalathus linearis extract, lilium candidum flower water, centaurea cyanus flower water, paeonia albiflora root extract, diospyros kaki leaf extract
Taken from PeachandLily.com
The Mineral Treatment Essence is a best-seller and features Cremorlab's proprietary T.E.N. thermal water as a hero ingredient. This product is great for helping with hydrating, brightening, smoothing your skin and skin texture. This product is paraben-free, artificial color-free, fragrance-free, and denatured alcohol-free. Try it out to see why it's a cult-favorite.
Missha First Treatment Essence Mist, the contender
ingredients: saccharomyces ferment filtrate, saccharomyces/panax ginseng root ferment filtrate, propanediol, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, niacinamide, bifida ferment lysate, ulmus davidiana root extract, betaine, amaranthus caudatus seed extract, piper methysticum leaf/root/stem extract, beta vulgars (beet) extract, centella asiatica Extract, portulaca oleracea extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, cornus officinaus fruit Extract, phellodendron amurense bark extract, bambusa vulgars extract, cassia alata leaf extract, hydrogenated lecithin, sodium hyaluronate, trethylehexanoin, pentylene glycol, glycerin, peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Raffinose, Polyquaternium-51, water (aqua), tromethamine, lactobacillus ferment, adenosine, Ethylhexyglycerin, acetic acid, lactic acid, 1, 2-hexanediol, phenoxyethanol
Taken from SokoGlam.com
There was such a demand for Time Revolution’s First Treatment Essence that the popular Korean beauty line from Missha has now released it in a mist form! This multi-functional mist contains fermented yeast extract that delivers vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to refresh, renew, and rejuvenate the outer layer of the skin. 120 ml or 50 ml
Glamour shots of the products in action
|cremorlab mineral treatment essence||missha first treatment essence|
The Cremorlab list is a bit lackluster to me as it leads off with water, then fragrant flower water, and then a slip agent (butylene glycol) before getting to any heavyweights. But of the beneficial ingredients, I have had excellent results before with niacinamide which is a great brightening agent and tough as nuts antioxidant. Cremorlab chose to use a different type of yeast ferment than the SK-II, the saccharomyces ferment, and I was pleased to see adenosine and biosacharride gum-1 in the list as well. The claims made about the benefits of t.e.n. mineral water I'll discuss in a bit. Those with sensitive and acne-prone skin may enjoy this short list as it doesn't have as many botanical extracts, and only niacinamide may trigger acne.
Missha has my dream ingredients list. It leads off with yeast ferment (saccharomyces ferment filtrate), then BAM follows it up with ginseng, licorice root, and niacinamide - all great brightening ingredients. Then there are numerous botanical extracts, which can be a bit tricky for sensitive and acne-prone folks. And at the very end, they've included lecithin, hyaluronic acid, lactobacillus ferment, and adenosine, for maximum anti-aging! ✓ I give the win to Missha.
It's a very light, refreshing, and smooth watery texture. It gives a lasting moisturized feel to the skin. The water is clear, much like filtered water. ✓ I like both textures as the Cremorlab lingers while the Missha absorbs and dries instantly.
Because this is the mist version of the FTE, when the essence is sprayed into the palm, it's got a light, fizzy texture to it. It's very thin, watery yet effervescent formula. You can see it's a bit more opaque due to the higher concentration of hero ingredients that are not water. The spray itself is a really fine mist that covers a wide area. ✓ I like both textures as the Cremorlab lingers while the Missha absorbs and dries instantly.
it smells like nothing.
it smells like a delicious sake / champagne cocktail! ✓ Love it, it makes my former Big 10 college girl self smile.
I have no words. It. is. absolutely. stunning. The clear 150 ml bottle is adorned with the coolest design of diamonds and winds. Wait, scratch that - it's probably minerals and water.
While it's not the most portable as the bottle is quite large, it seems to be made out of plastic instead of glass, making it not too fragile. The little nozzle makes it easy to get as much or as little of the product out as you want, without pouring it all over yourself. ✓ I just can't even. Picture me pouring balsamic vinaigrette drop by drop into the empty bottle, just so I can use it again.
It's a pretty standard mist. The spray nozzle isn't the sturdiest, but it does the job well. The bottle also comes with a cap for safe keeping, so you won't sit on it accidentally and butt-spray it everywhere. If you get the 50 ml bottle, it's definitely very portable.
I had pretty neutral results. While I really enjoyed using the product - it was very refreshing to use... At the end of the day, I couldn't really attribute any brightening or softening effects to this product. (I test my products in isolation, so I'll cycle in products into an already stabilized routine). I did notice some reduction in redness however.
I wouldn't write the product off completely, as I think those with sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and even rosaceans may be interested in the merits of the mineral spring water, or "t.e.n. thermal water". I was able to find some favorable research findings from studies done on La Roche Posay's thermal water products and lord knows, people have been trekking to mineral hot springs for millenia, I perhaps didn't have any issues that could benefit from this ingredient.
After I cycled out my Cremorlab MTE to test the Missha FTE mist, I was stunned that I actually saw some results. The quick-absorbing Missha FTE varietal made my skin feel soft, and look glow-y. It was no surprise to me as the formula includes much more yeast ferment filtrate (primary benefit being that yeast is a source of beta glucans, an antioxidant), and some of my favorite ingredients like the brightening niacinamide and licorice root extract, and the firming ginseng root extract. This product is what proved to me that First Treatment Essences can provide great results of their own accord. ✓ The win in this category goes to Missha.
$42 for 150 ml ✓ They both provide about the same amount of value.
$35 for 120 ml or $20 for 50 ml ✓ They both provide about the same amount of value.
☿☿☿(in case you missed my last review, this is my new rating scale, they're little girls in etude house kitty headbands!)
|try it for yourself, get it at ->
$42 at PeachandLily where you can save $10 off your first purchase through my link here
|try it for yourself, get it at ->
$20 for 50 ml or $35 for 120 ml at SokoGlam where you can save $10 off your first order through my link here.
Also available at MisshaUS - $20 for 50 ml
Also available at MisshaUS - $35 for 120 ml
Have you tried First Treatment Essences out yet? If yes, which is your favorite?
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