I’ve been running low on enthusiasm for Asian skincare products as of late, due in part to the number of products everyone else seemed crazy about but didn’t do much for my skin. But it seems like the tides are turning! First with Goodal’s waterest lasting water oil and now with this terrific and economical essence.
SK-II, Pitera, and Dupes
Pitera is the magical ingredient in SK-II’s products. Pitera’s origin story (old sake brewers with youthful hands) stinks of a marketing gimmick but there is some research (albeit mostly done by P&G which owns SK-II) that pitera has antioxidant effects and increases production of hyaluron, a component in the skin’s extra-cellular matrix, the production of which decreases with age. SK-II’s facial treatment essence has been on my radar for years but I am less than eager to drop $100 for 2.5 oz of essence. In comparison, Purebess’s 100% Galactomyces Extract Essence contains 100% Galactomyces ferment filtrate (vs SK-II’s 90%) and cost me under $10, including Avecko fees and shipping. It’s a small bottle, but still comes to about 6 times cheaper than SK-II.
This product is certainly not the only Pitera clone on the market. One of the reasons I love Asian beauty products so much is once an ingredient has any sort of hype behind it, the industry just runs with it. Corsx, Tonymoly, Mizon, Secret Key, The Saem, and many others all have essences that contain varying amounts of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. I went with Purebess because the product is cheap, small (and therefore a minimal commitment), and uncomplicated (100% of the good stuff).
Missha’s first treatment essence is often touted as a SK-II dupe but this is not quite true: Missha FTE is a different type of ferment filtrate (Saccharomyces vs Galactomyces) and also includes many other ingredients and extracts to beef up its formula. Skin & Tonics does a really good comparison of Missha FTE with SK-II FTE here if you’re interested. I’ve tried Missha FTE and it produced no noticeable change to my skin after about three months of use and stopped using it upon receiving the Purebess extract.
PUREBESS Special 100% Galactomyces
There’s a lot of gorgeous packaging coming out of South Korea. Purebess seems to have missed the memo.
This bottle is small and easy to travel with.
Product comes out via a small, round spout. Not very much comes out but you only need a little.
Looks, feels, and absorbs like water.
I have been using this extract for a little bit over a month and the main benefit is that my skin seems calmer. After a recent 11.5 hour plane ride, I had a small cluster of acne emerging on my skin. Because the flight had left my dry skin more parched than usual, I did not want to subject it to C20 OST Vitamin C serum, which is my trusty go-to acne-control protocol. Instead, I did a thorough double cleansing, which left my face red and splotchy, patted on a generous amount of this essence, and applied Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion. Less than an hour later, the redness was completely gone and by the next morning the acne was starting to clear out. Of course, the reduction in redness could have been due to other factors but I certainly feel like this essence calms and nourishes my skin without any negative effects.
Final Thoughts: Definite Win! My skin loves this cheap and simple SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It seems to effectively calm and reduce redness from acne.