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There’s a reason women in East Asia are so lauded for their skincare. Yes, their 10-to-12 step routines may seem overkill for some, but they are a continent of beautiful skin. Encouraged to embrace the process of cleansing, exfoliating and intensely moisturising along with an SPF before some of us are of an age that we can dress ourselves, their way of looking after their faces makes total sense.
Why rush for the expensive eye creams at 40, desperately trying to reverse too many years of harsh cleansing products and sun exposure, when you could be preventing damage from the get-go?
While I’m a proponent of aspects of the Asian skincare regimen – double cleansing, acid toners, sheet masks and facial massage – I hadn’t until recently tried any Eastern-inspired products. And so, as many of them take the lead from the women who cleanse their face with the water they use to cook their rice (utilising rice’s skin-enhancing benefits), I was excited to try skincare brand SK-ii’s signature product.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
“SK-II’s much-revered ‘magic ingredient is Pitera™: “derived from a strictly controlled natural fermentation process, Pitera™ is a clear liquid rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids. This fascinating combination of nutrients work to dramatically improve the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process.”
Product name: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, from £123.00, Harrod’s
Product info: “Women everywhere are so passionate about Facial Treatment Essence that they describe it as their ‘holy water.’ Pitera, the seemingly magical ingredient found in all SK-II products, helps restore vital balance by promoting the skin’s natural 28-day surface renewal process. This singular blend of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids produces a seemingly miraculous rebirth of skin’s appearance.”
In a nutshell, Pitera is an ingredient found in yeast, which can be a derivative of rice, also. Sciency.
Ingredients: Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate**, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Aqua (Water/ Eau), Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid.
How to use: Saturate a cotton wool pad (not too much, this stuff is expensive) and sweep over your face after cleansing and toning. Or you can splash straight into hands then on to the face. Less wastage this way!
What I reckon: It took me quite a while to work out how to squeeze this essence in to my skincare routine. I’m used to a fairly hefty regimen – cleanse x 2, tone, serum, moisturise, oil plus a mask and exfoliant twice a week – but I struggled to know where to fit this in.
It just so happened that this product arrived as I was suffering with some real skin problems, so it was the perfect time to try it. I actually substituted my acid toners for the essence for a month, and I really noticed a difference. My skin was brighter, retained moisture more easily and has been clear throughout.
I’ve slowly introduced my acids back in to the routine (Pixi Glow Tonic/Liquid Gold/Chantecaille Fruit & Flower Acids mask/Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum – not all at once, obviously) while using the essence post-toner and have noticed none of the drying or allergic ill-effects I had around Christmas time.
Is this product responsible? Perhaps. I’m sure it’s definitely helped my skin retain a little of the glow I was missing last year. Would I buy it again? I think I would. Perhaps not for an everyday use, but most definitely to use in my twice-weekly facial/bathtime routine.
This is a true cult product, and if you’re looking to invest in an Eastern-inspired skincare treat you should look no-where else. Enjoy!
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, from £123.00.