Friday, 25 April 2014

REVIEW: Estee Lauder Micro Essence vs. SKII Facial Treatment Essence

Hey musers!

Today's deathmatch is between the infamous SKII Facial Treatment Essence, and its all new competitor, the Estee Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion.

Which one wins in Jen's books? Keep reading to find out - no shortcuts guys!! :D

Now I'm sure most of you know that I have been using the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (FTE) for many years now. It's been a staple in my daily morning and nightly skincare routine, alongside my Hera products.

Ever since moving to Korea though, my routine has changed. I'm still in the middle of phasing my Hera skincare products out, and have been testing out a variety of different lines, from popular Korean brand Hanyul (made famous by My Love From Another Star actress Jun Ji Hyun) and Laneige. However, that will be for another post. [Read: My Night Time Skin Care Routine - I still do use these products but am phasing them out atm, just out of boredom! Want to try other products for you guys =) ]

A month ago, while shopping for new skincare products to replace my previous routine, as mentioned above, I decided to return to Estee Lauder. I have tried many products from Estee Lauder in the past, and my long-time followers would know I loved the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair for a while but didn't purchase a new one when I ran out of my previous bottle.

I was looking for an item to replace my FTE, which I had recently run out of (the biggest bottle, mind you - after oppa started joining me in using my products upon moving to Korea lol. Guys faces are so big they use so much product! -_- Hahaha). In browsing the store, I came across the Estee Lauder Micro Essence.

The EL Micro Essence (ME) Skin Activating Treatment Lotion claims to:

  • be an advanced essence-in-lotion for nourishing skin
  • be specially proven for Asian skin
  • be suitable for all skin types
  • create a stronger more resistant skin foundation
  • enhance cellular renewal to make skin look translucent and radiate from within
  • prevent signs of aging
  • leave skin smooth, soft and young looking
  • give deep hydration to keep skin supple all day long
  • help skin look healthy and emanate the angelic glow of youth from within

The bottle is rather large with 150ml, and is roughly AUD$150, depending on where you purchase it. It comes in a slightly heavy translucent glass bottle with a twist-open gold cap.

Now, at first I was sceptical. I thought if it was so new, it must not have much R&D or market credibility as of yet. In my head, I was pretty set on the fact that there would be nothing similar to SK-II's FTE, which as I previously stated I had used for many years and had become such a part of my routine it was strange to go without it.

Before I tell you my thoughts on the Estee Lauder ME, let me tell you briefly about my experience with SK-II FTE.

My thoughts on the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. A long-overdue review.
The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is undoubtedly an expensive and unique skincare product. Containing over 90% Pitera (fermented rice water), many claim this to be their holy grail skincare product that helps nourish their skin, make it more even toned, balanced, healthy, radiant and clear. Due to the Pitera, there is a slightly yucky odd smell about it - subtle yet insistent - which you get used to after a while. [I like to describe the smell as the smell of something that's ever-so-slightly rotten.. you might get turned off by this but I'm just being honest when I say it almost smells like dried saliva.. hahahaha sorry #ewmuch]

Being an essence, it's crucial that you apply it on just-cleaned, fresh skin prior to your normal skincare routine and allow a few moments for it to soak in. Don't get confused - it's not a moisturiser or serum. It's a light water-type product which acts to add nutrients into the skin and get it prepped for the rest of your routine.

I've heard many say they can't live without this. I've heard some say they had horrible experiences with it (break outs). For me, this is a super gentle product that I can't imagine my skin breaking out from. 

When I first started using it back in 2011, I could immediately tell the difference. My skin was more radiant, clear and nourished. It became more even-toned and healthier looking. Along with the rest of my routine (lotion, serum and moisturiser), foundations began to sit much nicer. The finishes became much more natural-looking and one with my skin. I actually clearly remember the very next morning after using the FTE for the first time the night before, my skin was so clear and had a glow from within. Ever since then, I've been hooked.

Now, after 3 years of use and constant care and maintenance of my skin, I feel I actually could live without the FTE. I have heard others also say that their skin became used to it and no longer could they see its effectiveness. For me, being a normal-with-a-slightly-oily-tzone chick, I've never had problems with dry patches or overly oily areas. Aside from a random pimple once in a while, I haven't recently had too much skin problems. I've come to a point where on days that I go without the FTE, I don't feel a difference. Perhaps this is why I feel I actually could live without it, or even that I dare venture out and try something new in its place.

That's why I wanted to try the Estee Lauder ME. Well, not the only reason.

As the SA helped me trial the product at the department store, I couldn't deny it. My skin was plumper, more nourished and definitely different. I never felt the FTE give me that kind of effect before. I was informed by the very friendly and genuine SA that she even personally recommended this product to me; that it was currently the best seller in Estee Lauder in South Korea, that no one ever had bad reviews, and instead has repeated sales with very positive testimonies. I don't usually trust SAs but I could tell she was being very honest, plus I could feel the difference myself. 

After oppa tried it, he just immediately said, "Get it." (He only does this if he really is impressed by something. And yes.. these days he uses my stuff lol.)

So we decided to buy it.
And you know what? I love it.

Even more surprising? Oppa loves it even more than me. Hahaha.
He shared with me how shocked he was when his wrinkle disappeared immediately after applying the ME one morning.

Estee Lauder's ME versus SK-II's FTE. What's the verdict?

So here's the comparison.

  • The prices are roughly the same, with the FTE leaning slightly more on the pricier side (again, this is subject to what country you purchase it in)
  • The ME is slightly stickier than the FTE.
  • The ME is more hydrating and moisturising than the FTE, with the effect lasting longer.
  • The ME slightly plumps the skin and keeps it supple.
  • The ME has a slight fermented smell, just like the FTE, but it isn't as strong.
  • The FTE seems to be more effective in improving skin clarity and radiance, whilst the ME seems to be more effective in improving skin elasticity and youthful hydration. 

Overall, both oppa and I found the ME to be more worth our money and effective for our current skin needs. Considering all the above points, the winner today is - hands down - the Estee Lauder Micro Essence.

Definitely worth a check out next time you're at the stores. I recommend it for all skin ages, tones and types. In fact, the older and more problematic your skin, the more results you will probably see. Like all skincare products though, you may find it works differently for you, so make sure to try a tester before investing your hard-earned $!

Hope this was helpful guys :)

I have two new videos going up right now. Will keep y'all posted.

Love Jen 

What do you think? Have you tried the FTE or ME? Let me know your opinions in the comments :)