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Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Versus Sk-II Facial Treatment Essence (Pitera Essence) - Original

Serum
Essence
Korean Brand South Korea
Japanese Brand Japan

Updated on November 20, 2023

Overview

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for dry skin

Free From

They both do not contain any sulfates

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients
ph level
5
ph level
4.5

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
First Care Activating Serum
Rosa Damascena Flower Water Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting

Rosa Damascena Flower Water comes from the Damask rose. It is a dilluted version of the Rose Essential oil.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Alcohol Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AlcoholAlcohol Icon 5 Concerns

Alcohol comes in many different forms. Different types of alcohol will have different effects on skin. This ingredient is usually an astringent alcohol.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Betaine Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
3 Benefits

Betaine is a common humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture). It's known to be gentle on the skin and can help balance hydration.

Peg/Ppg-17/6 Copolymer Solvent

We don't have a description for Peg/Ppg-17/6 Copolymer.

Unknown Full details ->
Glyceryl Polymethacrylate

We don't have a description for Glyceryl Polymethacrylate.

Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract Skin Conditioning, Tonic

We don't have a description for Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract.

Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane belongs to the siloxanes and silicones classes. It is synthetically created and has a waxy composition.

Disliked Full details ->
Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Emulsifying
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil comes from hydrogenated castor oil. It is a solubilizer and emulsifier.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Carbomer Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Tromethamine Buffering, Masking

Tromethamine is an aliphatic compound. An aliphatic compound is an organic compound with open-chained carbon atoms. It is synthetically created. Tromethamine is used to balance pH and improve texture.

Glycyrrhiza Uralensis Root Extract Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
2 Benefits

Glycyrrhiza Uralensis Root Extract comes from Chinese licorice. This plant is native to Asia and used in Chinese traditional medicine. Chinese licorice root contains antioxidants and polysaccharides.

Parfum Masking, Perfuming
Fragrance IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon 2 Concerns

Parfum is a catch-all term for an ingredient or more that is used to give a scent to products.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Honey Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Good for Scar Healing IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Good for Scar HealingGood for Scar Healing Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Honey comes from bees. It is mainly made up of fructose and glucose. Honey also contains amino acids, peptides, Vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamins A, C, and E all offer numerous skin benefits.

Juglans Regia Seed Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Juglans Regia Seed Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Theobroma Cacao Extract Skin Conditioning

This ingredient is extracted from the seeds of the cocoa tree.

Dextrin Absorbent

Dextrin is used to thicken a product and helps bind ingredients together. It is created from starch and glycogen.

Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract Skin Conditioning

Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Extract comes from the Lotus Flower, Nelumbiumspeciosum.

Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Portulaca Oleracea Extract Skin Conditioning

Portulaca Oleracea Extract is an extract of the whole plant of the Purslane, Portulaca oleracea L., Portulacaceae. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hydrating properties.

Limonene Perfuming, Solvent
Fragrance Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon

Limonene is a fragrance that adds scent and taste to a formulation.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent
Antioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconHelps fight Acne Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 5 Benefits

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is derived from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from this plant.

Disodium EDTA

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

Disliked Full details ->
Phenyl Trimethicone Skin Conditioning
Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Phenyl Trimethicone is a silicon-based polymer. It is derived from silica.

Disliked Full details ->
Chondrus Crispus Masking, Skin Conditioning

Chondrus Crispus is a red algae native to the northern Atlantic ocean.

Disliked Full details ->
Linalool Perfuming
Fragrance IconMay cause irritation IconEU Allergen Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon 2 Concerns

Linalool is a fragrance and helps add scent to products. It's derived from common plants such as cinnamon, mint, citrus, and lavender.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Biosaccharide Gum-1 Skin Conditioning

Biosaccharide Gum-1 is a sugar created from fermented sorbitol. Most sorbitol is made from potato starch.

Ziziphus Jujuba Leaf Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Ziziphus Jujuba Leaf Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Natto Gum

Natto Gum is created by fermenting a soy protein using Bacillus natto (a bacteria). It is used as a texture enhancer.

Unknown Full details ->
Citronellol Perfuming
Fragrance IconEU Allergen Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon EU AllergenEU Allergen Icon

Citronellol is used to add fragrance/parfum to a product. It is often derived from plants such as roses. In fact, it can be found in many essential oils including geranium, lavender, neroli, and more. The scent of Citronellol is often described as "fresh, grassy, and citrus-like".

Very Disliked Full details ->
Citral Perfuming
Fragrance IconEU Allergen Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon EU AllergenEU Allergen Icon

Citral is a fragrance and used to add a lemon-like scent to products. It is both naturally found in plants and created synthetically. In plants, it is commonly occurring in lemon myrtle, lemongrass, lemon tea-tree, lemon verbena, and other citruses.

Unknown Full details ->
Propylene Glycol Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0 / 0 May worsen Eczema Icon
May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Propylene Glycol is an odorless, colorless liquid. As a humectant, it helps skin retain moisture. It also aids in delivering active ingredients.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Geraniol Perfuming, Tonic
Fragrance IconEU Allergen Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon EU AllergenEU Allergen Icon

Geraniol is used to add fragrance/parfum to a product. It is the main component of citronellol. It is a monoterpenoid and an alcohol.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Chlorphenesin Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Disliked Full details ->
Hydrogenated Lecithin Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Hydrogenated Lecithin is created from the hydrogenation of lecithin. Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction between molecule hydrogen and another element.

BHT Antioxidant, Masking
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

BHT is a synthetic antioxidant. As an antioxidant, it helps your body fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Dehydroacetate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

This ingredient is a preservative with antimicrobial properties. It is the sodium salt of dehydroacetic acid.

Potassium Sorbate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

Disliked Full details ->
Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Sorbic Acid Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Sorbic Acid is a preservative. It is the most commonly used food preservative in the world.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Tocopherol Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
Facial Treatment Essence (Pitera Essence)
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate Humectant
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (GFF) is a yeast traditionally used to make the Japanese alcoholic beverage, sake.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Sodium Benzoate Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Disliked Full details ->
Methylparaben Preservative
0 / 0 Preservative IconParaben IconNon-Reef-Safe IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon ParabenParaben Icon 2 Concerns

Methylparaben is a preservative and is a paraben. It is used to prevent the growth of fungus, mold, and other harmful bacteria. Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in both cosmetics and food.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Sorbic Acid Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Sorbic Acid is a preservative. It is the most commonly used food preservative in the world.

Very Disliked Full details ->

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

Preservative
Very Disliked

Sorbic Acid is a preservative. It is the most commonly used food preservative in the world.

Sorbic Acid is a natural antibiotic and highly effective at preventing the growth of fungus. It is less effective against bacteria.

Potassium Sorbate, another commonly-used preservative, is the potassium salt of Sorbic Acid.

Sorbic Acid may worsen eczema. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Potassium sorbate and sorbic acid can be found in baked goods, cheeses, dried meats, dried fruit, ice cream, pickles, wine, yogurt, and more.

Learn more about Sorbic Acid

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these products.

First Care Activating Serum
16
3
20
9
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Facial Treatment Essence (Pitera Essence)
1
3
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

143 Routines
45% use in am
55% use in pm
93% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
371 Routines
49% use in am
51% use in pm
97% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum 48 ingredients

3.0 /5
from 2 ratings

Sk-II Facial Treatment Essence (Pitera Essence) 7 ingredients

4.3 /5
from 3 ratings
Absorbs Well (1) Broke Me Out (1) Hydrating (1)
420plaenit's avatar

420plaenit

1 year ago ยท Combination Skin
Review

IT'S EXPENSIVE BUT WORTH THE MONEY!!!!
I'm the kind of person who is willing to go all out and drop some money for good skincare if I know I will...

IT'S EXPENSIVE BUT WORTH THE MONEY!!!!
I'm the kind of person who is willing to go all out and drop some money for good skincare if I know I will use up every drop and love it. I've tried a lot of snail mucin products (my oily acne-prone skin LOVES it) and this one is different! I've tried the COSRX and the Peach Slices and both don't compare to this. Peach Slices have a similar texture while COSRX has a similar result to the SK-II. However, I will say that the SK-II got rid of all my redness and significantly improved my acne and every time I run out I always notice a difference in my skin whenever I don't have it in my routine. The price tag is a little intimidating but there are more reasonable options on Stylevana and Yesstyle.

KatrinaBedford's avatar

KatrinaBedford

3 months ago ยท Sensitive Skin
Review

It seems to work v well for lots of people. It was a gift so I'm v upset it didn't work so well for me. It gave an amazing glow but irritated my...

It seems to work v well for lots of people. It was a gift so I'm v upset it didn't work so well for me. It gave an amazing glow but irritated my skin whenever I used it.