SK-II is one of the big brands I had never got around to trying. I had heard so much about it, I have friends rave to me about it and in all honesty it has been towards the top of my list of products to try for a few years, but for some reason it just never happened. That all changed earlier this year when I had the opportunity to have a facial with Fumi Yamamoto, the founder of Zen Facial in Sydney. On paper Fumi is a wellness and spa consultant, but what she does goes far beyond that. Her facials are the what dreams are made of. Her hands are like little magic wands that vanish flaws and create good-lookingness (the thesaurus couldn’t give me a better word for that one).
Fumi was going to use all SK-II products so I had a skin consultation before to find out exactly what products were right for me. Using the SK-II Magic Ring (a special camera used at SK-II counters to look at the skin through different light waves) we determined my skin was in pretty good condition but I definitely had a few concerns to work on, namely some pigmentation, dryness and of course my desire to slow down the ageing process. I don’t need to tell you about the facial, because it was amazing and I fell asleep, so I am going to share my review of the products I was prescribed and whether the regime worked for me.
- Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser
- Facial Treatment Essence
- Cellumination Deep Surge Moisturiser
- Skin Signature Eye Cream
This 4-step skincare regime is pretty simple for me. I am used to using 10 or so products each day and each night so I found using just four made my morning and night ritual very quick. Of course I added an SPF 30 in addition to the regime each morning because none of the products I was prescribed included sun protection, and there is absolutely no way you can prevent ageing if you don’t wear sunscreen (write that down, kids!).
Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser
- This cleanser comes in a tube so I instantly disliked it as I have an aversion to products that sit upside down in my shower (I wash my face in the shower and have no shelf).
- The formula is a thick cream and you only need a pea size amount as it lathers up A LOT. And I mean, a lot. Instructions tell you to lather in the palm of your hand first before spreading it over your face and then gently “stroking” from lower to upper part of the face. It is the weirdest instructions I have ever had for a cleanser but I understood why when I attempted to wash my face the usual way of scrubbing in circular motion or when I used it with my Clarisonic Mia. The lather became overpowering and filled my eyes and nose, and the sting I felt was unbearable. Definitely use this one as per the instructions and DO NOT use it with a Clarisonic unless you want to singe your nose hairs off.
- Wash off was really easy and my skin was left feeling soft. It didn’t feel squeaky dry but after a week I noticed this cleanser was leaving my skin feeling dry immediately after washing even though it was still soft to the touch.
Facial Treatment Essence
- The tall glass bottle of tonic is definitely a good-looking piece of product. It looks expensive and a product you want to have on display.
- This is the most famous of all the SK-II products. Containing 90% Pitera (SK-II’s secret ingredient weapon) is said to be a miracle water. It is designed to maintain the skins renewal cycle as well as balance the skins pH level and sebum secretion, so oily and dry areas are properly moisturised.
- Once again the instructions for using this product is unique to me. It says after cleaning your skin, gently pat the face and neck with a cotton pad soaked in Facial Treatment Essence. It always felt quite cool on the skin so I imagine it would be a delight in summer but during the chilly weather of Autumn and Winter I have not been enjoying the process.
- When I open the bottle each and every time I feel like I am being overwhelmed with pure alcohol. I am told by SK-II advocates that it isn’t alcohol, it just happens to smell like that, but I couldn’t get my head past it. As I have dry skin I avoid using toners because of the alcohol so this always felt like I was using a toner even though it isn’t one.
- I found it difficult to get in the habit of “patting” on to my skin. Naturally when I have a cotton pad soaked in something I am used to wiping my face. It took a couple of weeks but I got the hang of it.
Cellumination Deep Surge Moisturiser
- The Cellumination line from SK-II is for whitening and brightening the skin. This moisturiser contains a unique active whitening ingredient that works to balance skin tone. I don’t usually use a whitening product but because I do have some pigmentation and sun spots showing I wanted to address that before it got worse.
- Most SK-II moisturisers are in a jar, which look beautiful but I personally don’t like for functionality reasons. The cream did come with a little plastic spoon to scoop out the cream, which was fine at night time when you have time to fiddle but when you are frustrated in the morning getting ready it is a hassle.
- The cream has a strange silicone feeling similar to Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. It leaves my skin feeling very silky but in that artificial way, masking how my skin actually feels. It did however work amazingly under makeup and I suspect it is because it does have those similar properties to silicone-based primers.
- I found my skin to remain hydrated throughout the day for the first week but my skin would become a bit oily around the t-zone by late afternoon. As I have dry skin it is not something I usually experience. After the first week my skin became extremely dry resulting in red blotches and flaking skin, mostly around my nose. Whether it was from the combination of cleanser, treatment essence and/or moisturiser I am unable to pinpoint but my skin definitely did not agree with this regime.
Skin Signature Eye Cream
- Containing concentrated Pitera, this eye cream is designed to firm the skin around the eyes and leave the area looking revived. It is said to help with fine lines, wrinkles and dark eye circles. I don’t have fine lines or wrinkles just yet but I definitely have dark circles and my skin is showing signs of dropping.
- Also packaged in a jar and accompanied with a plastic spoon, you only need a tiny dot of the thick cream to sufficiently treat the eye area if you are tapping the cream in like normal eye products. However, the instructions say to gently massage in a small spiral motion which is different to my usual eye cream patting motion. I did find it a bit weird though because the eye skin is so sensitive to pulling and unless you use a lot of cream you can feel your skin tug with you as you move.
- This was the only product out of the regime that my skin didn’t have a hissy fit over. My dark circles did appear to fade a bit but as my trial for this product was only 6 weeks I cannot say whether it helped to prevent the skin from further drooping. That one is a slow process.
In the end the products felt nice to use (when I followed the instructions) but my skin just didn’t agree with them. My skin has been extremely dehydrated throughout and having stopped using it over 10days ago it still has not fully recovered. Looking back, every person I know that has said they love it were either Asian or had oily skin, so I am not sure if that is the key. I do not have sensitive skin and even though I have dry skin it is pretty resilient to most things. I will be interested to see if these products just weren’t hydrating enough for me during the cooler months, and whether using them in summer would have a different result.
UK – Harrods
Have you tried SK-II? Do you have a favourite product? Let me know by commenting below!
According to PETA.org, SK-II (parent company Proctor & Gamble (P&G)) do test on animals. Click through to read P&G’s official statement regarding animal testing.