Why the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist is a must-have brightening product for all skin types.
Even if the only thing you know how to make is a sunny side up egg, you know to always have salt and pepper in your kitchen cabinet. For a similar reason, I always keep stock of the Missha First Treatment Essence and the Night Repair Ampoule in my skin care stash. They’re everyday essentials that keep my skin even and hydrated, and for a skin care junkie like me, they are rare items that I continually repurchase, no matter what season.
The First Treatment Essence in particular is a famous K-beauty dupe for the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Not only do the two products have close to identical packaging, but they both contain fermented ingredients, galactomyces ferment filtrate for SK-II and saccharomyces ferment filtrate for Missha. But while the SK-II essence lacks other ingredients to boast of, the Missha essence also has the added benefits of bifida ferment lysate, niacinamide, and lactic acid. This, in addition to being a third of the price of SK-II, is what drew me to pick up my first bottle of the Missha essence back in college.
Naturally, I had mixed feelings when I heard that Missha decided to upgrade their bestselling essence. Sometimes updating a formula can seriously compromise the effectiveness of a product, which is all the more disappointing when that product is your holy grail. But having gone through three bottles of the original Missha First Treatment Essence and the Intensive combined, I thought I’d put the Intensive Moist to the test for two weeks for a comprehensive review.
According to Missha, the Intensive Moist uses a new ingredient, Himalayan purple barley and gemmules, and a new fermentation process called ion fermentation to hydrate, improve skin tone and texture, and crank up skin’s collagen levels. To me, they sound like exactly the same benefits as the Intensive, except Missha claims that the Intensive Moist delivers double the effect.
While the Intensive contained 80% fermented yeast extract, which is already impressive, the Intensive Moist now has 90% fermented yeast extract. Purple barley, the new ingredient in the Intensive Moist, grows in the most barren parts of the Himalayas and the gemmules are the nutrient-rich pods that make sure the barley thrives in the tough, high-altitude environment. Purple barley contains a similar amount of antioxidants as Vitamin C, which means it’s an effective anti-ager that fights free radical damage.
The ion fermentation process allows the fermented extract to penetrate quickly and deeply into skin. Ultimately, the extract fortifies skin barrier and speeds up cell turnover, so your skin becomes smoother, brighter and less prone to the buildup of dead skin cells that make your skin feel dull and rough.
Just like its predecessors, the Intensive Moist has a watery texture. Its colorless, fluid, and so lightly scented that you can hardly smell anything. Granted, I wasn’t blessed with an acute sense of smell, but only when I intentionally sniff the bottle do I smell something vaguely like powdered coffee creamer with a hint of something floral, or the water that’s left over after I wash some rice. For me, the scent is barely noticeable, so it likely won’t be a problem for anyone unless you’re extremely sensitive.
There are several ways to apply this essence, but my go-to method is to pour a little onto my fingers and gently pat onto the skin within the first 3 seconds of washing my face, focusing on the wide, dry areas like my cheeks, forehead, and of course, my neck. Because the texture is like water, it absorbs fast and doesn’t sit around on my skin like some other hydrating products I’ve tried.
If I’m using a cotton pad, I take a sponge one like the Klairs Toner Mate 2 in 1 pads and again, gently pat onto my face and neck. Depending on what I feel like, I use this essence right after I double cleanse or after I’ve double cleansed and gave my skin a general sweep with some cleansing water.
On days my skin feels sandpaper dry or I have a hot date, I soak a multi-layered cotton pad with the essence, separate the layers, and then place them all over my face for five to eight minutes. This gives me the most instant results, as my skin is noticeably more even and hydrated afterwards. Just make sure to take off the cotton pads before they dry completely.
Just like the original First Treatment Essence and the First Treatment Essence Intensive, the Intensive Moist took about a week to produce results. The redness on my cheeks subsided, which made my complexion noticeably more even. My pores—stretched out from testing out foundations and wading through the heat waves of New York City—appeared less visible. Of course, the essence didn’t leave me totally flawless to warrant throwing all my cushion foundations into the gutter, but it did make my bare face look brighter and more even, which is a huge win.
The Intensive Moist works just as well as the Intensive. But if you ask me which is better, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. They look the same, feel the same, and give me the same result: a noticeably more even complexion and tamed pores. I honestly can’t say that one is better than the other.
Normally, essences that emphasize hydration don’t produce visible results for me. Even though I may feel that my skin is slightly less dry, the Missha First Treatment Essence is the only essence I’ve tried so far that gives me results I can see and feel.
The funny thing is, Missha upgrades this essence every so often, usually by adding a new ingredient and giving it a new name. This is because of the influx of counterfeits appearing and being sold in grey markets, which the explosive popularity of this miracle essence has prompted. So in this case, upgrading the formula really means regulating the market so that as consumers, we can easily tell apart which ones are original and which ones are counterfeit.
Thankfully, the Intensive Moist is the same price as its predecessor, so I can easily justify purchasing the Intensive Moist when I run out of the Intensive I’m currently using. If you’re a regular First Treatment Essence user like me, don’t be afraid to try the upgraded version. If you’ve never tried the First Treatment Essence, the Intensive Moist is your chance to visibly brighten your skin with 90% saccharomyces ferment filtrate. Trust me, this essence is a must try for all skin types.