Road Test: SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

January 28 2014

After hearing lots of good things about the luxurious SK-II Facial Treatment Masks, I lashed out and bought myself a pack in the Americas late last year. Yesterday I cracked one open and today, sublime seekers, I’m giving you the goss.

The Hype

1) Japanese brides are known to follow a tradition of daily SK-II Facial Treatment Masks for three months before they are married in order to to guarantee glorious, hydrated, glowing skin.

2) Australia’s Cate Blanchett is a spokesperson for the brand and has admitted her secret to conquering the jet-lagged looks is to bust out a SK-II mask in-flight.

Cate Blanchett SK-II Spokesperson
Cate in all her dewy and majestic glory!

3) Also, I read an article where the author said it was the only beauty product she took to hospital when she had her baby. The plan was deliver baby, apply mask, sleep, meet relatives with glowing skin and new bub. Some of you might think this dame has her priorities alllll wrong, but who can really blame a gal for wanting to look, or more importantly feel good on such a monumental day?

Anyway you get the upshot – brides go gaga for them, celebrities rave about them, it’s the cure for feeling less-than-bedazzled after childbirth. I’m in.

What’s in it? 

The key ingredient in the mask and in SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence is Pitera; a blend of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids that allegedly work together to renew and rejuvenate the skin’s outer layer.  Pitera is a naturally-occuring liquid that comes out of the yeast fermentation process. It was discovered when scientists noticed that elderly workers in a saké brewery in Japan had wrinkly faces but oh-so-lovely, beautiful, youthful hands. The scientists decided they wanted saké hands on their faces and figured they’d bottle the miracle juju. Fast forward a little while, and now we alllll can have beautiful saké hand-faces via SK-II’s Facial Treatment line. (I can hear the booziest amongst you asking “will drinking saké make me look younger?” I don’t know. I suspect that’s possibly not how it works.)

How do you use it? 

The mask should be applied to a clean, dry face. I did my normal skin routine + exfoliation, then applied the mask. Each single-use cloth mask comes in a little foil sachet where it’s neatly folded up, marinating in all the saké juju (Pitera).

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask Sachet

And there is LOTS of juju in the sachet, 30ml to be exact, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a bunch. I wish I’d squeezed more out, it felt so generous and indulgent. SK-II say start by placing the mask over your eye area and then spread outwards. The mask feels cool and a bit gooey going on and I found took a bit of sliding around in front of the mirror to position correctly before getting the best spot with maximum coverage.

SK-II Facial Treatment MaskHot damn! Me, channeling an in-flight Cate Blanchett.
(I suspect Cate would have done a better job of smoothing out the creases than I did.)

They say leave it on 20 mins or more if you can. I left mine on nearly 30 mins and felt all the better for it. When I removed the mask, it left some gooey Pitera on my face and as I had the luxury of not needing to see anyone, I left it to marinate on my skin. The mask was still lovely and moist and I wanted to get some mileage out of it, so I then applied it to my décolletage because as beauty goddess Zoe Foster always says: your face stops at your boobs. JS came home from work at this point and was confused.

Later, the last of the Pitera had dried on my skin and looked a little flakey so I washed it off gently with some warm water.

Is it good?  

It IS good, sublime seekers, great even. My skin looked lovely immediately after and felt even better. Today it’s still totally smooth and as an added benefit, it feels as if the mask has had a pore-shrinking effect, particularly around my nose and chin. My skin is plump and dewy and feels like it’s screaming “make me up” because it’s certainly in optimum-hydrated-makeup-base mode. I can see why the masks are a go-to before special events. I really wish I’d used one night-before-wedding-day.

You haven’t mentioned the price… 

You’re right. I haven’t. In Australia, you can visit your local SK-II counter at Myer and pick up one mask for $28, or 6 masks for $140. Yes, they be expensive. At Sephora in the States, 6 masks will set you back $90 USDs and 10 masks $125 USDs, so if you’re gearing up for some freight-forwarding and want to give these a go, that’s probably the way to do it. Or even better, in duty free!

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

I procured a variety of professional facials in the lead-up to getting married last year, and feel like after this mask my skin is probably 70% as good as it was after any facial, but at 15% of the price. In post-wedding year where super-regular facials are a little harder to justify, I’ll gladly suggest to myself that this is an economic alternative. (See what I did there, how I turned something expensive into something cheap? That’s how you max out your credit card, kids!)

The verdict? 

If you’ve got a special event coming up, need a facial but can’t afford/justify/be bothered with one, have subjected your skin to some harsh cold/wind/burn OR have just got done with childbirth (!?)… I’d say it’s worth it. Perhaps not every day like the no-doubt-spectacular Japanese brides, but a one off will set you well on your way to sublime skin!


Have you tried the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask? Or the Facial Treatment Essence? What’s your go-to skin solution? Tell us below!

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