Facial o’clock: SK-II

Today I’m very excited to introduce you to a new category here at That Luxurious Feeling: My Facial Series! I enjoy the privileges that comes with being obsessed with skincare and often I get the opportunity to try out different facials. If you are thinking of splurging on a new brand, it’s a great way to test the products, see how they smell and feel, get to know the application technique advocated by the brand and then go home, let the products work their magic and see how your skin reacts to them!

This series is mostly a reminder for myself, like a diary, to keep track of my experiences and thoughts. I’m not accepting any products and/or payment for conducting these reviews. Maybe that’s bad business, but to me it feels like the right way to go: under this category, only the products get to have a voice!

The pictures will mostly be snapped with my iPhone for me to remember what items were actually used, but I still hope that you will enjoy these posts and learn something from them. Also remember that one single treatment by one single skincare specialist will never do a brand complete justice. That’s the fun challenge we face while submitted to a treatment. The reviews will follow in a random order.

First up is SK-II. This Japanese brand, own by Procter&Gamble, is all about it’s wonder ingredient Pitera™.

Back in the ’70s scientists discovered that workers at Sake brewing companies had skin that aged naturally except for their hands, which were free from wrinkles, translucent and soft. They come to understand that it must have something to do with the fact, that the hands were constantly in the brew, the fermented yeast about to become sake, and so a 10 year journey of R&D began to extract that special ingredient, now called Pitera. Ever since 1980 this has been the corner stone of SK-II and the main ingredient in all skincare developed!

This high prestige, high end skincare brand is sold worldwide but only landed in Dubai about a year ago (jippie!) and I prefer to shop at the counter at Bloomingdale’s Dubai as the counter staff is very polite and treat you with respect and professionalism.

For those who don’t live here, I can tell you that January is known as Dubai Shopping Festival and with that follows great offers and happenings all over the city. Right now, for example, there’s ongoing Skincare weeks at Bloomies and of course that made me eager to participate! I got the chance to meet up with SK-II skincare specialist Rita to do a full 1h facial and experience their skin consultation called Beauty imaging system. 

Picture: www.sk-ii.com

First, I got my photo taken, haha. Within a second the ray-machine had my face all mapped out on the computer, focusing on radiance, texture, firmness, wrinkle resilience and even skin tone.

I got to see a map over current blocked pores at the top layer of the skin, as well as those deeper down that will cause issues in the future…not so nice. Then I got to see my fine line status which was very positive and finally the firming status and the parts where my skin has started to lack in collagen production. Yes, this needed to be fixed. Right now!

I always focus so much on taking care of my acne and pigmentation, and those parts actually looked really good! The collagen and hydration on the other side was not as pretty, so Rita decided that we first needed to target those issues before doing anything else.

Exciting to see the skin in maps and diagrams. Nerd-alert. 

Most high-end department stores or beauty departments in Dubai do have access to secluded beauty rooms for facial treatments. At Bloomie’s they are located in a way that help you get away from the bustling shop floor and store music. I appreciate it very much. The rooms are softly lit, beautifully decorated and comfortable. I think it is up to each brand to make them in line with their own experience, so a visit in these facilities differs with each brand who utilise them.

As shown above, Rita decided on a 3-step cleansing and toning ritual. I very rarely use a lathering cleanser as my first choice, but got to try the Facial treatment cleanser. With Pitera and white willow bark extract it gently removed my SPF (I came without any makeup on). There’s some Rosa Canina fruit oil in the cleanser to add to the slip. I’m not totally convinced of this product since I usually use SK-II cleansing oil, which OMG holds mineral oils! Can’t really wrap my mind around this love-hate-scenario…

On to the Facial treatment clear lotion which is a toner for exfoliation. With AHA and BHA (citric, Lactic, Malic and Salicylic acid), Pitera, Glycerin this product really made a mark on me, in a positive way! It felt soothing and calm to the skin, but with a tingling sensation and I could feel the blood circulation kick in as Rita started working on some pressure points on the side of my temple. Hard pressure. Yes.

Then as a last step of the cleansing regimen she added the star of SK-II’s range: Facial treatment essence. Soaked into cotton pads and really patted hard into the skin, no gentle wiping but with firm tapping motions to get the blood flow really going and press the liquid into the skin. This essence holds 90% Pitera and as with the hands of those workers at the brewery, it assist with keeping the skin smooth, , translucent and without wrinkles or fine lines. Young might be another word, or very well kept from the skin ageing process.

Anyway this is a favourite product of mine and while I was in, I bought an additional smaller travel size bottle as the large one in glass is not so convenient to travel with.

Then we moved over to the heavy stuff. Rita is know for not just tip-tapping with her fingertips, but really put pressure on the skin. I love it, even though I have some points to my face that hurts when being massaged. Rita applied the SK-II Essential power essence which to me is more like a serum than an essence. A bit confusing! It comes in a silicon-in-water emulsion with a handy droplet, and with ginseng extract, Pitera and Niacinamide, an amazing cell-communicating ingredient which one should look for in a serum, I’ll say it really agreed with my skin. Added to it, the essential power eye-cream worked like a layer of treatment. I was not to keen on the eye cream and when sourcing the inci-list I immediately could spot why: apart from Pitera, it holds some rather simple emollients and Petrolatum which as I’ve told you before is vaseline, derived from petroleum. It holds moisture to the skin by locking the skin in like a film and not allowing it to breath properly or source water from the air like with hyaluronic acid. A complete no, no in my book.

Last, for the facial massage we added Skin signature melting rich cream, a very rich cream indeed, maybe not suitable for me as of daily use but oh so comforting and great for a real firming boost! With Pitera, olive oil, glycerin, olive fruit oil and jojoba seed extract it’s much more high-end and in line with what I except from a brand as SK-II. Hydrating and smooth I could feel the skin getting firm and nice. Rita gave me a thorough facial massage with a lot focus on five pressure points in the face and down the neck. I just wanted to fall asleep, it was purely amazing!

For the final step of the treatment, I got to test out two new (to me!) products: facial treatment essence-eye a version of their famous essence but for the eye-area and to top it all off: facial lift emulsion which both holds Pitera, glycerin and niacinamide! Beautiful products well worth investing in. If you are after those hexapeptides though, you need to take a step up to the LXP – Luxury Pitera line.

To summarise the SK-II experience I will say that apart from two products, I’m deeply impressed by the face-mapping, the massage technique and the result I could see, and still can two days after my lovely treatment. As with a lot of Japanese brands, SK-II take on a holistic skincare regimen to try and incorporate your every day habits, diet etc into what your skin might be in need for. I very much enjoy that idea and can see a difference in my skin texture with this single treatment! Some of my stubborn clogged pores are also coming up to the surface and I feel clean and moist. Definitely a brand worth exploring.

It is high-end and so is the price tag, so I mostly purchase the items one by one to really treat myself, but for the shopping festival I left the store with both the essence and a serum! Why not, new year, new skin…right?! ♥

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