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For an upstanding beautiful, natural skin tone, bare your skin to Japan. As an undergraduate Japanese language student, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t at least attempt to translate their slogan and that was my best attempt (that made anywhere near sense), please correct me if I’m wrong.
If you’ve not come across SK-II before, then you’re in for a real treat. A Japanese company with a wonderful and intriguing history, producing some of the finest cosmetics derived through years of industry-leading research.
The brand relies on an ingredient called Pitera – a nutrient-rich, liquid compound from Sake, discovered after it was noticed that the women working in the Sake brewerys had such smooth and youthful hands. This technology was bought by Max Factor and branded as Max Factor Secret Key with Pitera, and then condensed to Max Factor SK-II. The company is now owned and operated by P&G and now just runs under the brand SK-II.
Currently in the UK, SK-II is exclusively available at Harrods, who were kind enough to send me a couple of products from their luxuriously select line for me to have a little bit of a play with. I received the Purifying range consisting of just two products, the Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil and the Cellumination Mask-In Lotion.
I wasn’t 100% certain of how the products work as the boxes didn’t contain any information other than an ingredients list, but after a quick phone call to the Harrods SK-II counter, where I spoke to the most informed and helpful consultant, everything was cleared right up and I was all set.
SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil
I’m very new to the world of cleansing oils, I initially believed what I know many people do, especially those of us with oily skin, that adding an oil, onto oil results in… more oil? I purely opted for foaming cleansers and gels to remove dirt more aggressively, filled with surfactants and chemical exfoliators, well, until now that is.
The Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil formula contains Wild Rose Extract and the legendary Pitera, utilising a ‘lift and lock’ method, locking on to dirt as an oil and then as the product imulsifies with a small amount of warm water, impurities are lifted out of the skin and washed away.
Making sure your skin is completely dry, apply around 3/4 pumps of the prouduct into your palms and then massage the oil all over your face, including the eye area as it’s more than gentle enough.
When you’ve massaged it in, your skin feels and looks greasy and oily, and I initially thought, “Oh God! What have I done!?”. But then as I began to rinse my face with warm water, the product completely transformed, turning into a cloudy emulsified water that begins to melt from the face, taking all the dirt with it.
When you’ve finished, your skin feels unbelievably clean and there isn’t a trace of oil left. Because there are no harsh surfactants, your skin isn’t left gasping for a moisturiser, nor does it feel greasy and still covered in product, just completely smooth and cleansed. Ahhhh…
Cellumination Mask in Lotion
The Cellumination Mask in Lotion is a fairly new concept to me, more of a leave on mask to boost hydration rather than just a moisturiser, but not a serum or primer. The only similar concept I’ve used and could compare it to would be Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, which is more of a booster rather than a standalone moisturiser, but even that’s still pretty different to the Cellumination Mask in Lotion.
So the Cellumination Mask in Lotion is enriched with vitamin B3 and the Chinese herb, centella Asiatica. The lotion is very watery in texture and is meant to be applied just after cleansing the skin but before your moisturise of choice. It has a pleasant but strange fragrances, slightly floral, but a little rice-like at the same time, which is not surprising considering its main feature ingredient. The thing I loved about it was that it didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy or looking shiny but it did hugely boost hydration, just as if I’d used a moisture mask (I suppose the clue is in the name). Even after just a few days, my skins texture appeared a little more refined and plumper, which is great as dehydration is one of my main concerns; even the oiliest of skins can still be unbelievably dehydrated.
You have to shake the product out of the bottle, like a traditional men’s cologne, and I’d say 3/4 splashes should do the trick, but I can see that a bottle of this size (there’s only one) would last for an eternity. As you apply it, it has a similar sensation as when you apply a toner, very fresh, invigorating and cooling. You’ll find that as soon as you apply your daily/nightly moisturiser over the top, it sinks in more effectively and everything just seems to feel that little more luxurious, but I do want to stress again that for me, someone with an oily / combination skin type, it didn’t leave me shiny or feeling overly laden with product.
If you’re new to the Japanese skin care market, then you’re in for a real treat, as products from this market often tend to utilise a lot of high end technology with unique and innovative approaches to skin health. As I mentioned, these products are exclusive to Harrods who stock the complete product library with some amazing staff who appear to be incredibly informed of their brand. The range can be found here and the whole SK-II line is here.
If you’re already a lover of SK-II or you end up trying any of the products, please drop me a comment as I’d love to know how you got on, especially if you have any recommendations for me.
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