SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (& mask) Review

I received the products marked with an asterisk (*) complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster – a free-to-join site that occasionally sends their members products to test and provide feedback. All opinions are my own. Full disclaimer here. #myessence #SKII

SK II Facial Treatment Essence Review on brighterdarling.com

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now or we’re friends IRL, you may have picked up that I have high-maintenance, sensitive skin. I’m always researching ingredients that can help remedy my biggest issues, which are mainly dehydration, breakouts, texture and uneven skin tone. When I found out I was one of the lucky ones to get the SK II box from Influenster, I was ecstatic because I’ve read SO many incredible things about their Facial Treatment Essence ($99-290)* and Facial Treatment Mask (1/$17, 10/$135),* both of which came in the box. It’s been a full month of use, so I’m ready to give my official SK II Facial Treatment Essence review to let you know if these products are worth your hard-earned cash money.

SK II Facial Treatment Essence Review on brighterdarling.com

A brief history on the SK II line…

As summarized from sk-ii.com, in the 1970s, scientists stumbled upon the fact that aged sake brewers in China had wrinkled faces, yet impeccably youthful hands – which were constantly exposed to sake for hours on end each day. After analyzing the over 350 strands of yeast in the sake, scientists narrowed down what is now patented as the ‘miracle ingredient’ in SK II’s Facial Treatment Essence – Pitera. Rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, Pitera is said to “dramatically improve the skin’s natural rejuvenation process.” The formula has been unchanged and enamored over for 35 years+ now.

The Facial Treatment Essence is composed of over 90% Pitera and the Facial Treatment Mask has won eight awards (and counting) from Elle, InStyle, Cosmo for Latinas, The Knot, and Brides – among others. Clearly prettttty hyped up!

My thoughts on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence…

When I received my box, the claims included:

  • Replenishes skin’s moisture to help prevent skin dryness
  • Helps smoothen skin surface texture for soft and smooth skin
  • Helps moderate skin’s renewal cycle
  • Penetrates better than a cream

To apply an essence, it’s not recommended to simply use like a toner. Gently shake 5-6 drops of the watery fluid into the palm of your hand, clasp hands together then gently press into your skin until absorbed. I used this step after I cleansed and toned, but before moisturizer in the mornings and evenings.

After two weeks of use, I felt ready to make some solid opinions about the essence. Strangely enough, the very first 24 hours of use were the best. I noticed an immediately smoothness to my skin the morning after I first used it, but unfortunately, that smoothness didn’t continue or improve. My skin did not necessarily worsen, but I just felt that it was an unnecessary step in my routine that wasn’t providing any notable improvements. Dryness seemed to be slightly alleviated, but being more oily/combination, dryness is only something I experience post-Retin A usage and I didn’t notice any significant changes by using the essence. It definitely penetrates better than a cream simply because it’s a liquid. Once you press it into your skin, it has a weird (but very mild) spit scent (yes, like your saliva.. kind of gross but not intolerable lol) and it also feels slightly tacky to the touch. As for moderating my skin’s renewal cycle, I would have to say no.

I think this may be a product best suited for those with normal/dry to dry skin who are looking for something to slightly boost their skin’s hydration level in addition to their standard moisturizer. It is not something I feel is a necessity, but perhaps a nice treat for those preparing for a special life event – wedding, anniversary, big trip/vacation.

You can pick up the SK II Facial Treatment Essence from sk-ii.com, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom.com or Bloomingdale’s. 2.5 ounces will run you $99 (but I would assume that small bottle will last a good 3-6 months), or you can get the largest 11 ounce bottle for $290 (in case you want to bathe in it I guess).

Before you continue to read about the mask, I’m currently running a READER’S CHOICE poll on what YOUR favorite beauty tricks are, favorite products and what you’re lusting after! Later this month/early June, I’ll be sharing a round up of the most interesting submissions (bonus if you’re also a vlogger/blogger because I’ll be linking your site). Access the quick 5-question poll here.

My thoughts on SK II Facial Treatment Mask…

I was a bit more intrigued by the mask because I have heard directly from friends that they swear by it. Of course, when someone you know raves about something, it definitely holds a bit more weight. However, even with the annual Sephora 15-20% off sales, I never was able to bring myself to buy a $17 one-time-use mask (plus, 50% of the time, they were sold out). Some of the claims that SK-II makes about this mask include:

  • Immediate hydration
  • Visibly radiant, soft and translucent skin
  • Crystal clear complexion

Heavy claims, yet again. Now, I RAVE about my #1 sheet mask that costs $7.50 here, so that’s what this SK-II mask was up against. When I opened the mask, I have to note that the cloth was certainly saturated with the solution – so much so, I had enough leftover for two additional nights of using it as a serum. The cloth was notably better fitting, slightly softer and thicker than other sheet masks I’ve used. The directions suggest wearing the mask for 5-15 minutes – I left it on for 20 minutes. My skin was definitely hydrated, soft and glowing – but honestly, those effects happen no matter what sheet mask I use. Think about it, you’re basically keeping a damp cloth on your skin for an extended period of time and it also is cooling because the air is hitting your face. What happens if your hands stay in the water too long? They get waterlogged and pruned. You’re basically waterlogging your face in a cool environment, which helps to temporarily tighten/shrink your pores until the face returns to normal temperature. So because of that, I wanted to see how my face looked/felt the next day. When I woke up, my skin felt and appeared more firm, yet still hydrated without being greasy. Very nice, but it’s the exact same effects I get from my other #1 sheet mask and this one costs more than double. Hm. If you consider that I was able to use the leftover serum the remaining two nights thereafter (versus the 1 night thereafter with my favorite one), perhaps this mask would be a good investment, but I think I’ll be sticking to stocking up on my $7.50 alternative.

You can pick up the SK II Facial Treatment Mask from sk-ii.com, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom.com or Bloomingdale’s. A single mask will cost $17, but you can also purchase packs of 6 and 10 for a slightly more cost effective investment.

SK II Facial Treatment Essence and Mask review - how to use facial essences and who should try SK II products on brighterdarling.com.

Since receiving this box from Influenster, my local Saks gave me two deluxe samples of SK II’s Essential Power Rich Cream ($260/1.7 oz.), which seems like a lightweight cream version of the essence; and their LXP Ultimate Revival Essence ($305/5.1 oz.), which is advertised as a MORE intense version of the original essence – with even MORE Pitera. Follow me on Twitter to see what I end up thinking about those two in the near future…

Thanks to Influenster for choosing me to try these products. I appreciate the opportunity and I’m happy I was able to share my honest opinions with my readers. I hope my recommendations help you decide if these products are worth your time and money.

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Happy skin care shopping,




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