I love the idea of a multi-step skincare routine. Cleanse, tone, moisturize. But that's just three steps...and I think we all know by now (via the Korean skincare and beauty regiments that have become so widespread) that there are a lot more steps to be had. Multiple steps call for multiple products. Pardon me, but this sounds expensive and involved and I have some questions: What do I need and what do I not need? What’s the layering process? Do I have to get rid of all the stuff I already use? And, last (but maybe most important) are these products going to make a difference?
Based on the small amount of research and reading I've done on the multi-step skincare phenomenon, I've concluded what I think is the most important nugget of information: a facial essence is key. What's an essence you ask? Well for one, it's not a toner. It's a liquid formula designed to restore moisture into your skin, and can help the products you layer on top be more effective. People that incorporate this one step into their routine say they notice an almost immediate difference in brightness and hydration. Incredible, right? Not so fast. Not all facial essences are created equal...and if you want those incredible results, you need an incredible product. SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence was one of the first essences to be created (nearly 40 years ago) and contains a key ingredient that is so powerful, it's often referred to as "miracle water."
I had heard about the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and it's magic powers. My friend Grace has called using it "Benjamin Button-ing" (because it makes your skin look like it's aging backwards instead of forwards. Given all the hype and praise you'd think that I would have been adding the Facial Treatment Essence to my regiment years ago. Better late than never - I embarked on a skin transformation journey. If SK-II can really change my skin with just one bottle, why wouldn't I try it?!
Here’s the thing…I’m turning 30 in October. And while I’m not all gloom and doom about the number or the age, there is something about the milestone that feels big. And it’s made me evaluate a few things. For one thing, I can 100% say with a straight face that my skin is not what it used to be. To anyone in their early-mid twenties, I’d just like to tell you: your skin will probably never look better than it does right now. It almost feels like someone has been punking me for the past four years because dark circles I never had under my eyes have made themselves right at home, layers of moisturizer don’t ever feel like enough to quench constant dryness, that youthful “glow” is a distant memory unless I get strategic with highlighters, and you never realized the tightness your skin once had until it’s all but gone. Boo. Nature can be a tough lady. That being said, I’ve spent the past several months trying to get my skin looking and feeling as pretty and healthy as possible…saying “hi!” to 30 in less than two months seems like it will be easier if I’m feeling like my very best self. My skincare diligence has gone from focused to downright obsessive but hey, I’ve been feeling pretty darn good about my skin as a result.
I wasn’t banking on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence making me feel above and beyond. I thought, “Why not give it a go?” but not, “THIS IS GONNA BE THE HOLY GRAIL.” Basically, I’m always open to taking things from good to great in the skin department – especially if it’s as easy as adding one extra step and/or product – but my expectations were low that one bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, used daily, morning and evening would totally rock my world. But I wanted to take a journey and the promise of Cate Blanchett-like skin (she’s been using the essence for 15 years!) before 30 was too good not to jump in with both feet. If you’re potentially one bottle away from greatness, why not give it a go?
Spoiler alert: it’s that good.
Before I go into my results I want to talk about what exactly makes the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence so special. That key ingredient I mentioned earlier is called Pitera™, an ingredient derived from a unique yeast strain from a natural sake fermentation process. SK-II discovered this powerful ingredient after scientists visited a Japanese sake brewery and observed the wrinkled faces of aged sake brewers in contrast to their soft youthful hands. Realizing there was something special happening in the sake fermentation that was causing this anti-aging effect, the scientist began the process of pinpointing what this “miracle” water was. After years of exhaustive testing they were able to isolate the single yeast strain that was the secret key to flawless skin. Called Pitera™, the clear liquid is full of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids that allow the skin’s natural surface to rejuvenate at its prime and balances the moisture barrier for overall hydration and youthful-looking skin.
Though SK-II has many products, the Facial Treatment Essence has the most concentrated amount of the miracle ingredient – it’s more than 90% pure Pitera™. In addition to Pitera™, essences are more easily absorbed than creams and give your face an extra boost of moisture for a more beautiful, glowing complexion. Beauty pro favorites like SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, help stimulate the natural renewal process of the skin’s outer layer to expedite your way to glowing skin.
One product, one additional step, twice a day = transformed skin.
When I started using the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence I wasn’t peering into my mirror each morning and night looking for changes. I was just doing my normal double cleanse, followed by toner, then sprinkling about five splashes of the Facial Treatment Essence onto my palm, spreading the liquid across both hands and fingertips, and gently pressing all over my face and down my neck. Followed by moisturizer and eye cream. My three step routine got bumped to four but I hardly noticed the extra step.
After a week of using it I started telling Sally that my skin looked even more clear than before. I figured it was because I tried a new exfoliator. A week after that I was going without makeup and not feeling like Charlize Theron in Monster. I chalked it up to the added humidity Dallas has been blamed with (strangely, my skin seems to adore the extra moisture and heat). Each day my skin seemed to be looking better and each day I was thinking, “Oh! It must be XYZ.” It finally dawned on me that it was the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence literally working transformative magic.
You’d think that I would have had this “duh” realization immediately but the Facial Treatment Essence is so easy to use and so light and non-irritating that I just used it diligently without thinking…but it works. Texture: check. My pores are minuscule and adorable. Firmness: check. I feel like I have the happy skin of a teenager. Wrinkles: check. The lines on either side on my mouth are basically gone. Skin tone: check. OMG this has been the biggest difference – my redness (which I struggle with almost as much as I do acne) is so much better it’s insane. Radiance: check. I’ve never believed that skin can really “glow” but that’s exactly what I’m experiencing. Seriously noticeable results that totally snuck up on me. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced with another skin care product.
But what I love most about the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is that I can use it along with the skin products I already have. I can swap around my cleansers, toners, and moisturizers/lotions/balms – as I frequently like to do and have been while integrating SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – and by keeping the essence as a consistent step, my skin maintains a balance like I’ve never had before.
Now I totally get why Cate Blanchett looks like such a goddess…good genes and SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Totally worth the hype, worth the investment, and worth the extra step! I’m here, declaring myself authentic proof that with SK-II you’re just #OneBottleAwayFrom younger looking skin. Hey big 3-0, I’m ready for ya!