Ingredients List: Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Water, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Niacinamide, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-51, 1,2-Hexanediol, Adenosine, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid
Following my newfound interest in fermented extracts a few months ago, I felt like it was a necessity for me to try out this world famous and overwhelmingly acclaimed Korean essence-toner containing 90% fermented yeast. In fact, the internet has very kind words for the First Treatment Essence. The general impression left by the comments I’ve come across is that the toning essence is one of the ultimate Holy Grail product our finite world has to offer us. Spoiler alert: I disagree.
The product claims to boost:
- Hydration level: “Ion Fermentation enables rapid absorption of moisture deep into skin, providing optimal hydration level.”
- Skin texture: “Skin is hydrated from within, which helps refine texture and remove dead skin cells.”
- Skin tone: “Fermented yeast extract of Himalayan purple barley and gemmule nourishes and moisturizes skin.”
Apparently, Missha’s claims are backed by “science“. According to results based on a comparison of both the 2nd and 3rd generations of FTE (21 women, 2 weeks of use), using the First Treatment Essence can bring a 142% improvement of the skin’s hydration level… as well as an outstandingly-absolutely-insane 119% improvement of the skin’s texture.
Here’s my million dollar question: What is Missha’s definition of skin texture??
All the information presented above is available to the public on Missha’s website (22/06/2018) @Misshaus.com
√ Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate + Bifida Ferment Lysate: from Himalayan Purple Barley and Gemmule extracts. Nourishes the skin barrier and supports overall health of skin.
√ Niacinamide (vitamin B3): a skin soothing and skin regulating antioxidant.
√ Lactic + acetic acid: to exfoliate dead skin cells.
- Irritation Potential: Moderate-low. Fermented ingredients and Niacinamide (both situated at the top of the ingredients list) are skin soothing, those should reduce irritation. Lactic and acetic acid (the two last ingredients) are chemical exfoliants and therefore represent a risk of irritation.
- Look & Feel: exact same look & consistency as water, a tad bit stickier. Very runny, which makes it easy to waste. Watch out for the eyes: the product will make them sting.
- Finish: “invisible”. The skin quickly absorbs the water-like toner. Concealing (heavier) products are to be applied shortly after.
- Smell: Unscented.
- Packaging: Solid and elegant 150 ml clear glass bottle. I’d prefer an opaque bottle to make sure sunlight doesn’t affect the quality of ingredients.
- Potency: With 90% fermented yeast that product sure is yeasty, but that doesn’t stop the product from feeling like some plain yet acidic water.
- Pricing: Moderately expensive (49$)
My Experience with the Product
My skincare experience with this product wasn’t exciting. It wasn’t terrible, neither was it great. It essentially felt like splashing some very expensive water on my face. And this is exactly how it worked: I poured drops of the water-like toner into the palm of my hand so I could then quickly pat it/splash it onto my face. The mist version of this product makes much more sense, now that I know it exists. Nevertheless, I got better at applying it over time and the bottle lasted around 3 months -I did not use it every day.
Even though the First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist toner felt like applying slightly sticky and acidic water, it was nowhere nearly as hydrating as using a basic water mist, perhaps because it wasn’t pure water either. As a result, I kept on spraying some of my thermal water-mist onto my face systematically before applying the toner.
There was that time when I got my skin quite irritated from over-exfoliation or Retinol (not sure which; my bad). I then thought applying Missha’s toner would soothe my skin, help out my skin barrier you know, but it just made my face sting. It hurt. The toner would frequently end up in my eyes, also leading to much pain as it would burn my eyes. I did not find this toner to have any particular soothing effect. Unlike with the Time Revolution Night Repair serum by Missha, also containing fermented extracts, my skin did not feel nourished after applying the product. It did nothing at all for skin texture, without any surprise.
The skin tone enhancement, or “skin glow effect“, was there, but it was minimal. This would suggest the skin’s overall health does benefit from the fermented extracts contained in the product. I don’t think the niacinamide nor the acids (aka chemical exfoliants) were present in sufficient quantities to have a serious impact.
Did you know? The Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Intensive [Moist] is also known as a cheaper version -a dupe- of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Still, at 49 USD, I think Misshas toner is still too expensive for what it offers: not much. If you’d like to enhance your skin’s hydration level, texture, and tone, then a simple chemical exfoliant (AHA or BHA lotion) is a safer cheaper bet. If you want to nourish your skin barrier with fermented extracts/probiotics, maybe try something else?
- Will I repurchase the product? No.
- Would I recommend it to a friend? No. I don’t think this product stands out as a toner or as an anti-aging product in general.