As I was finishing writing my review about these two bestsellers of the K-beauty brand Missha, I find out that both have been reformulated! And it seems like both the Missha First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist and Night Repair Borabit Ampoule has been discontinued.
It feels like there’s no point in sharing this, but as I’ve already put time and energy into this review I might as well publish it. Even though a slight modification doesn’t make it the same product anymore, maybe this might be helpful anyway.
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Missha Night Repair Serum [Borabit Ampoule]
Update: The Missha Night Repair Borabit Ampoule has been upgraded and reformulated in 2019. It is now called First Treatment Probio Ampoule with similar core ingredients. The Borabit Ampoule seems to be discontinued.
The Missha Night repair serum got a lot going for it. The inci list is Extensive, with a capital E. Like, it reminds me of my MRM Global Greens powder, in which I always wonder how on earth they could fit all those ingredients in there! I will just leave you to read the ingredient list for yourself as it’s almost easier to list what’s not in that what is.
I was excited to try this one, but not without a hint of caution over the jampacked formula. And this skepticism would soon reveal itself to be valid.
The road hasn’t been smooth sailing, but it hasn’t been terrible either.
The Missha Night Repair is often compared as a more affordable alternative to the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Recovery Complex. And I can understand why they do. Both have the same texture, color, and ferment-base. However, it’s a dupe and kind of not a dupe.
After using Missha night repair for a while as well as getting to test the EL again (via my mother), I’d personally stick to the original Night Repair version. The EL has a much more simple formula, meaning, fewer irritants and actives that can sort of cause problems. Mishas night repair’s inci list is Extensive, with a capital E.
Similarly to EL, I don’t see or feel immediate results. My skin might be plumper and more hydrated the next morning, but it’s not like a night after using retinol or acids. Both serums are more of a supplement for keeping skin healthy long term, I guess. My mom’s been using Estée Lauders ANR on and off throughout the years, and maybe that’s one of the things that helped her keep a youthful face as she got older?
However, one of my biggest gripes with this serum is that it causes tiny whiteheads to appear a little all over the place. Every. Time. I. Use. it.
It’s nothing I can’t handle, but it’s not like my skin gets better with nightly use. I suspect that the formula might be a bit too hydrating for me? Still, EL’s night repair complex does not affect my skin in the same way, so I can’t leave it without pointing fingers at the extensive list of ingredients.
Overall, it might be a better fit for skin that’s deeply parched or “mature”.
Missha First Treatment Essence [Intensive Moist]
Update: The Missha First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist has been upgraded and reformulated in 2019. It is now called First Treatment Essence RX with similar core ingredients and with the addition of rice extract, pearl extract, ceramide, and vinegar. The Intensive Moist seems to be discontinued.
This is the first and only Essence I’ve tried so far. The essence is considered to be one of the most important steps in a Korean 10-step skincare routine. If you ask me what’s the difference between an essence and a toner, I would say it’s hard to say in this day and age. Toners usually served as a pH-balancer and residue-remover after washing with alkaline cleaners. But today’s cleansers are more skin-pH friendly and so toners have gone to develope to act much like an essence. Giving back moisture and prepping for products to come, still being pH-balancing.
I think the biggest difference is that essences, not all but in general, contain some sort of fermented water/extract. Sometimes, that’s all they are made up of. Otherwise, a lot of the other ingredients can be found in other advanced toners, like the ones from Paula’s Choice.
The Missha First Treatment Essence has a very simple formula. The main ingredients are Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, and Niacinamide.
The viscosity of this product is just like water and it has no smell. Because of this, I almost imagined that I just bought myself some very expensive water to slap on my face lol. Because, how can I tell? And in all retrospect, this is basically 99% fermented water. But it doesn’t fizz at you or give results overnight, so it’s hard to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
As it smelled, felt and sounded like plain water, I went in with zero expectations. It wasn’t until a month in that I started to notice an effect. My skin felt softer and plumper, and my skin tone looked evener. Beyond this, my skincare routine was pretty much basic at the time. Laying off acid too.
The essence is not a game-changer by any means. It didn’t exactly stop breakouts. But it definitely felt like the “missing piece” in my routine that helped my skin work more efficiently.
I believe that properly hydrated skin is also better at repairing itself. As cells need water to function, therefore, the moisture this essence adds helps the skin to work much more efficiently. For instance, recover from breakouts much faster than it would without.
I will say, my usage has been a bit inconsistent. Coming back to it whenever I felt my skin needing a break or a moisture boost.
I do find that the yeast extract may help it be more effective compared to regular toners. But by my going back and forth, the difference between the Missha FTE and, for example, Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Toner is very slim in my experience.
After I stopped using it, I do recognize the feeling of something missing for my skin. However, not to the extent that I feel the need to run back to it.
As with all kinds of toner-like products, they are rarely a necessity.
But if you can afford and have the room, they can add that little extra moisture and calmness to your skin that you didn’t know you were missing.
On whether you should go for essence or toner, or even both, depends on the formula. I do, however, suggest trying out essences with fermented water extracts as it can truly work wonders!
Out of these two, I would probably only repurchase the First Treatment Essence as I saw a firm fit for it in my routine and its effectiveness.
Although I think the niacinamide in it was the main component to affect my skin positively, I do like using an essence instead of a toner.
The Night Repair serum though… It didn’t make a remarkable positive difference in my skin that I was hoping for. Getting whiteheads on top of that was another disappointment.
Not to say that I wouldn’t try the newer versions in the future. It’s just, for now, I will pass this along to my mother and see what difference she notices as an avid EL fan.
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