So I had already finished up three bottles of the Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence (which is now called Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean in the US) by the time I got my curious little mittens on a bottle of the SKII Facial Treatment Essence, two years ago.
I have now tried the SKII facial treatment essence for over two years and I’ve used the Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean for six years, so I have a strong insight into which of these products is best (and for whom… because one product is much better for one skin type than the other one is, keep reading to find out more).
I’d seen one or two people in the K-beauty blogging world say the Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean is a great dupe for the SKII Facial Treatment Essence. That actually put me off trying the SKII Facial Treatment Essence, for two reasons:
a) SKII Facial Treatment Essence is significantly more expensive in the full-size bottle.
b) I really, really, really, really loved the Innisfree one already. It’s a perfect product in its own right, and it’s so good that I don’t think it deserves to be called a dupe of another product.
So I decided the only way I could now write a review of the SKII product was to write it as a review/comparison, like my eyelash growth serum reviews or my Innisfree Perfect 9 Eye Cream vs Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream review.
I’ll also share the one packaging improvement both products would majorly benefit from (which you can do at home).
Here’s my full review/comparison of Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean vs SKII Facial Treatment Essence:
What the manufacturers say:
Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean: “6-in-1 liquid skin hero with a water-light feel helps visibly improve skin’s firmness, brightness, tone, smoothness, dewiness and moisture barrier. Formulated with high concentrations of antioxidant-rich Fermented Jeju Soybean Extract and Oil.” (from the US Innisfree site)
SKII Firming Treatment Essence: “Our iconic essence for crystal clear skin, loved by millions of women around the world.” (from the SKII site)
Scent: They both smell like nothing. You could completely mistake them for water if you decanted them into other containers.
Colour: They are both colourless. So keep them away from littles because babies/toddlers could think these are water and accidentally drink them.
Taste: Unknown. Seriously, don’t taste cosmetics.
Texture: Exactly like water. They absorb into your skin very readily and are not even slightly greasy.
Effect: Both products have a noticeable effect on fine lines, skin texture and brightness. In my own opinion, the Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean was just as effective as the SKII Facial Treatment Essence when I had younger skin, but six years after I first started using the Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean I’ve noticed the results aren’t as good as they were when I was younger. The majority of beauty bloggers are in their early or mid-twenties and don’t have the same skin ageing concerns as those of us in our thirties. As I’ve aged, I’ve found the SKII Facial Treatment Essence to grow with me, and still be as effective as when I first tried it in 2019.
Comfortable during pregnancy? Yes! Both of these have still felt comfortable to use during my two pregnancies and neither have any nasty ingredients that you would want to avoid when pregnant, either.
How to get better results: Instead of trying to get the product out of their original bottles every day, and using a cotton ball, which I find a bit of a faff, I use a cosmetic decanting syringe (which I bought in Japan) to decant these products into a travel spray bottle, then I use them as a facial mist on cleansed, dry skin before putting any other products. I use them twice a day.
Availability: This is where the SKII Facial Treatment Essence wins a lot of points, and why ultimately this is the one I buy now instead of the Innisfree product. See, the Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean is difficult to get unless you live in a country with an Innisfree online store. And Innisfree is (I have learned from bitter experience) very quick to discontinue their products. In fact, all of my favourite Innisfree products are impossible to get in Ireland. You might strike lucky in a TK Maxx but more than likely, you won’t. And if you want a product to become a reliable staple in your beauty routine, the SKII Essence will be around for a long time to come.
The SKII Facial Treatment Essence is also available in the duty free of almost every airport in the world, as well as being sold in most department stores worldwide. I have seen the SKII Facial Treatment Essence for sale in Dubai, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, America, Ireland, the UK, Greece, Turkey, Russia, France and Thailand. The only airport I haven’t seen it for sale in was Kathmandu, in Nepal, which doesn’t have any branded cosmetics or duty free shopping.
You can buy Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean in the US for around $40 and it’s not currently available on UK Amazon or anywhere I can find in Ireland. You used to be able to buy it on niche K-beauty import sites but it has sadly disappeared this year for some reason.
If you are under thirty, and can find it, buy the Innisfree Firming Energy Essence with Fermented Soybean. That’s probably why all the twentysomething bloggers are raving about it: It’s the most appropriate product for your skin.
If you are over thirty, buy the SKII Facial Treatment Essence. Not enough bloggers are talking about this but the SKII product is absolutely the best for more mature skin, and I highly recommend it (in fact, I haven’t bought the Innisfree one since I turned 34). It’s expensive for a reason and that reason is, it really works.
And do decant your product into a spray bottle it makes the BEST facial mist ever!