SOS review: SK-II

February 20th, 2012 by  |  Published in Beauty

When it comes to luxury skincare, SK-II is up there. It revolves around a magical ingredient (Pitera), is eye-wateringly expensive and is spoken of in reverential whispers. The luminous-skinned global ambassador Cate Blanchett is a fan and it’s a lovely story that she found the products rather than the other way around. But what is Pitera and does it work?

An extract of the fermentation process discovered by scientists observing the super soft hands of sake workers, Pitera is the foundation of the skincare range and hailed by SK-II as the secret to crystal clear skin. Seeking to introduce the first time user to this miracle ingredient, SK-II are offering a new Pitera Essence Set including a sample-size Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, a Facial Treatment Mask and a bottle of the best-selling Facial Treatment Essence for $99. A ‘bargain’ considering that the Facial Treatment Essence ALONE retails over the $100 mark.

I start with the Facial Treatment Clear Lotion. Presented as a complimentary product to the Facial Treatment Essence designed to prep the skin, the name lotion is misleading as I find it closer to a toner. Though mild, sensitive skin and toners rarely mix so I proceed to the Facial Treatment Essence. Described as a ‘miralce water’ containing the highest concentration of Pitera, the Essence is indeed watery in appearance with a faint but not unpleasant scent. It does add moisture but strangely it’s also mildly astringent and the more I splash it on the drier my skin becomes. After using the Lotion/Essence religiously for a fortnight I abandon the regime. Interestingly SK-II recommends following the Essence with your preferred moisturiser but this seems inelegant for a luxury skincare range and isn’t part of my usual skincare routine.

Fortunately the Facial Treatment Mask is a completely different experience. A super-saturated cotton mask, it looks creepy and feels goopy but is lovely and cool on the face. It’s quite easy to relax and forget. After the better part of an hour I’m reluctant to peel it off but I do anyway having well exceeded the recommended 20 minutes. My skin feels amazing, invigorated, tightened, less puffy. Why don’t they bottle this and sell it?

Although the Facial Treatment Essence has been relegated to the back of my bathroom cabinet there’s still something alluring about the product. I find myself reaching for it – when my skin needs a dash of moisture, a super mild toner to reduce shine or just a little freshening up. It’s not a daily essential but there’s something about it and there’s nothing quite like it.

So is it worth it? I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of Facial Treatment Essence handy but personally the mask is the real star. Skip the Lotion, consider the Essence and go straight for a Treatment Mask or try them all in the Pitera Essence Set.

We were given the Pitera Essence Set to review

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