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Monday, August 11, 2014

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (FTE), better known as the "miracle water" by many Asian celebrities is the only facial product I use from SK-II.

Discovering SK-II Miracle Water

The whole range of SK-II products costs a bomb but FTE is a product that I would definitely invest some moolah in. Besides, I heard from my gal pals that SK-II as a whole range works miracles on temperate Asian skin (Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea etc) but not so much for tropical (Singapore, Malaysia Indonesia etc) skin. I know of many Singaporeans who use FTE and not any other SK-II products as the whole range is too rich on our tropical skin. Hence a few years ago, I jumped onto the FTE bandwagon and was eager to see what this miracle water would do for my skin.

The results of FTE is not immediate but over the years, it certainly helps to keep my complexion looking youthful. There are mostly rave reviews on FTE on many platforms with a handful lamenting that it is an overrated and expensive product that stinks literally. Let me touch on the stink later.

The Secret Ingredient

The story of SK-II started at a simple sake brewery in Japan, where scientists chanced upon elderly sake brewers who despite their wrinkled face, had beautiful soft hands as a result of being in constant contact with the sake fermentation process.

A rigorous search of over 350 kinds of yeast was conducted before researchers discovered the unique yeast strain that held the secret to crystal clear skin – Pitera, a naturally-occurring liquid from the fermentation process. Pitera is rich with vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids that work together to allow the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process to function at its prime.

All of SK-II’s skincare products contain Pitera but the Facial Treatment Essence has a whopping 90% of the product containing Pitera, the most out of all their products. This is also why FTE stinks literally. What do you expect from fermentation? Fortunately, the smell is bearable for me. I was initially treading with trepidation when I first read reviews with people saying that it smells like shit, vomit, something gone bad and the likes. I was close to preparing a gas mask on standby, so imagine my delight when I found that the smell did not wage a scent war with my nose at all.

How to Apply SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

FTE is to be applied after toner and before moisturizer and serum. I'm a really lazy person and sometimes I simply skip the toning part. But if you aren't lazy, please apply it between the toning and moisturizing step.

(A) The SK-II Recommended way -- With Cotton Pads

Soak a cotton pad and gently smooth onto your face for 1 minute. Turn the cotton pad around and gently pat onto your face and neck for another minute. Apply every morning and night after cleansing and toning.

Personally, I find that lots of product is wasted and I would recommend patting the cotton pad all over other parts of your body after you are done with your face and neck. There is simply too much goodness soaked in there to be wasted.

(B) With Your Palms

Simply pour drops of the liquid onto your palm and pat onto your face and neck. It is so lightweight and easily absorbed that you have to bring your palms to your face as quickly as possible. The Sales Assistant told me that they encourage the use of cottons pads as the FTE would be absorbed into the live cells of the palms quite quickly but not on the cotton pads.

(C) Spray and Pat with Palms

Spraying and patting is my favourite method since it addresses the shortcomings of the previous two methods.  I actually transfer the FTE into a smaller spray bottle for this method. Depending on the type of nozzle, one or two spritz would suffice. I use Muji spray bottle and one spritz is more than enough.

Furthermore, having the smaller spray bottle on the vanity top while keeping the remaining product in the original bottle in the cool cabinet ensures that the fluctuation of temperature in the bathroom does not affect the whole bottle. Another plus point!

Do What Works Best for You

Different people found different ways of application which work well for them. For me, I personally prefer method (C) and (B). I find it a waste that the cotton pad soaks up too much of the liquid even as I try to dab them all over my arms, elbows and knees after that.

What SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Has Done for Me

  • Skin looks youthful and supple with the famous "doink doink" feeling uttered by the earlier SK-II Asian ambassadors. 
  • Skin feels supple, firmer and smoother.
  • There is a radiant glow from within.
  • Overall, my skin looks better than it did years ago even though my skin is supposed to be ageing more than years ago. 
  • This skincare step is so fast and easy since the product is lightweight and absorbs easily. Perfect for lazy people like me. 
  • Expensive
  • Must continue to use the product to maintain results

For many people, FTE requires lots of patience for results to be seen. I can certainly attest to that fact. It is truly a good product to include in my facial regime. I have stopped using FTE after my 2nd bottle as I'm currently trying out some mid range Japanese skincare range which also includes the lotion step ie, the step between toning and moisturizing, right when FTE should be applied. That makes me really confused.

There are many SK-II counters in department stores all over Singapore. I know that many neighbourhood beauty stores like Spring Beauty, Beaute Spring, Pink Beauty sell SK-II products at a fraction of the original price. However I strongly advise against buying from those shops. They could be fake or have expired. I read about how some people had very bad reaction to high end beauty products bought from neighbourhood shops. I'm not insinuating that these shops most certainly sell fakes, I just feel that it is just not worth the risk.

Besides buying from SK-II counters, you could also buy SK-II online from Zalora. The SK-II e-shop on will not only offer the latest products, including special seasonal coffrets, but will also have information about the brand and the latest product news. With Zalora teaming up with so many renowned brands, you could definitely set your mind at ease buying from Zalora.

My skin condition doesn't look as how it did during my FTE days and I would most likely include FTE in my beauty regime once I'm done with this current regime. 


  1. I was lucky enough to be gifted a bottle of this and it's definitely a lovely and I saw results however the high cost has kept me from using it regularly. If I hit the jackpot in the lottery, it would a different story ;p

    Rowena @ rolala loves

    1. I agree with you, Rowena. Results are fabulous but one has to maintain it. And repurchasing bottles and bottles of this is really heavy on the purse.

  2. Sake? Such a cool idea and story. As for "doink doink" I have no comment. As for your complexion, truly gorgeous indeed :) xoxo

    1. I tried searching for the older advertisements with the "doink doink" but I can't find it. My complexion always looks better on photos due to filters and photo editing apps/softwares. It is all fake... like the grey eyes and that sinister cat that seems so kind.

  3. I'm glad to hear your thoughts on the facial treatment essence! I've been wanting to try it out for a while and I like the background knowledge you gave. When did you started seeing a difference in your skin when you first started using this product?

    1. I'm glad that my post helps you! As for when did I start noticing the difference, I really can't remember. All I remember is that it is gradual and I felt that it is just a normal product till one day, I just noticed that my skin looks really radiant. And once I stopped, my skin wasn't like that anymore. Gee... I'm not sure if my reply helps.

  4. I've always wanted to try SK-II products, but was leery since I purchased La Mer and was disappointed. FTE sounds amazing. I definitely want to try. Super awesome review Jo. It was interesting reading the history of the ingredients and how this product came about.

    1. La Mer is another high end product that has super fab raves and super disgruntled rants. Sometimes, the only way to know if the product is good for you is to use it yourself. Results of FTE are fabulous but one has to maintain it. And repurchasing bottles and bottles of this is really heavy on the purse.

  5. o.m.g. jo it's like you read my mind. I just purchased the mini version 30ml from sasa (for like a whopping $25 bucks fml) BUT i did see the wonders it did to my skin........ was fully prepared to be disappointed too! So sigh looks like i'm gonna be dishing out the big bucks for the full sized bottle... you know how sometimes you wish your skin wouldn't love the expensive products so much but it does? =.= that's how i feel. the price we pay for beauty!!!!!

    xoxo, Mango ❤
    Blog | Latest Video

    1. $25 for 30ml is really a killer. I'm so happy yet so sad that FTE works for you. Hahaha... You know why? Coz it just means that to maintain the fabulous results, you've to continue to repurchase bottles and bottles of this and it is really heavy on the purse.

  6. But you don't need facial treatments???

    1. I need. But I haven't gone for a facial for ore than a year.

  7. Hi Jo! Whoa this sounds totally amazing. I would love to try it. I'm not sure how much 94.00 SGD is in $ and I don't think the site ships internationally haha. Too bad :D


    1. Hey Mira. SGD94 is about EUR57. It is a very expensive product considering you have to apply twice a day and extreme;y light and fluid liquid tends to use up faster.


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