Review: How SK-II Skincare Changed My Life

As a beauty editor, I get a zillion products to review. Rough life, you might say, and I can’t argue with that. It’s truly a joy and privilege to look at some of the most well-constructed, highly effective products on the market and learning about the R&D process.

There are some lines that truly stand out above others. For the past several months, my skin has been on a breakout spree. Blame it on the weather, extra-long moisture-sapping showers, the icy winds etc. etc. I tried everything and nothing worked. My skin was always dry (even though I have oily skin, it was drier than the Atacama Desert).


And then I learned about SK-II, a Japanese skincare line that uses Pitera as a key ingredient. Pitera is actually a signature blend of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids, and the key ingredient of SK-II is a yeast that took several years to formulate and perfect. Pitera produces a seemingly miraculous rebirth of the skin through stimulation and renewal of the outer layer.

Cate Blanchett swears by SK-II, and she was using the line even before the brand tapped her to be their Brand Ambassador. My first thought was, if Cate loves it and if it’s a Japanese skincare brand, it has to be gentle and effective.

I’ve been using SK-II for a few weeks now and already my skin looks and feels a lot more radiant, a lot less muddy. Here are some of my favorite products:

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask: This, in my opinion is hands-down the most luxurious facial cloth mask out there; it DRENCHES your skin in moisture (it’s saturated with Pitera). Your skin cells are hydrated beyond compare, and if you’re having a particularly bad day or rough winter, you need this. It’s saved me from dialing beauty 911. I love that this cloth mask is full of rich enzyme-like gooeyness that you can spread all over your face and neck. It also has a cooling effect. There’s also the Eye Mask which I haven’t tried yet, but promises to depuff and soothe your tired eye area.

Japanese brides-to-be know about the genius of these masks, and follow a well-known tradition that begins after she becomes engaged; for three months leading up to her wedding day, the bride applies a SK-II Facial Treatment Mask each day. An expensive habit, certainly, since these masks don’t come cheap. 10 sheets retail for $125.

SK-II Essence

Facial Treatment Essence: The other product that I can’t live with is the Facial Treatment Essence, which is considered the “holy water” by a lot of zealous users in Japan. It’s a serious Award winner (Allure’s Best of Beauty in 2009) that will hydrate skin to improve texture and clarity. It also promotes skin cells’ well-being and harmony. Use this every day after your cleansing routine to awaken and refresh the skin.

Because this is a completely gentle essence, it works beautifully on all types of skin, even acne-prone ones like mine. You’ll have to pry this essence away from my dead, lifeless hands.

It retails for $195 for 7.3 oz.

Skin Signature Cream: This is an ultra light yet RICH cream (I know, that sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn’t) that has changed my skin’s texture, look and feel almost overnight. The cream hydrates to help restore and prolong skin firmness and elasticity and it also contains skin conditioners, along with Vitamin B3, Pitera® and Oli-Vityl™, a new ingredient for SK-II derived from an olive species that thrives in Tuscany, Italy.

I now SWEAR by this cream: I use it religiously, morning and evening, and thank the stars that it was made. Because I don’t handle harsh fragrances or scents very well, this fragrance-less cream is just the ticket. It is considered part of SK-II’s “Anti Aging” line and retails for $205.

I would pretty much venture to say these three products have completely changed my skin, and in so many ways, my life. Because having clear skin is totally priceless…it’s something no concealer or foundation can really ever change.

For Valentine’s Day, receive a Golden Compact Foundation with a purchase of $300 or more.

Which skincare routine has changed your life? Have you tried SK-II? What do you think? Leave us a comment below!

– Charu Suri

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