Hey lovely friends, I have a very important review for you today.
I have always wished that there are more genuine reviews of high-end skincare products out there. If we are parting with a significant chunk of our money, we should be armed with better information than we have.
Many brands collaborate with bloggers for product launches or social media advertorials and endorsements, which can present as a conflict of interest. Many of these relationships are not clearly disclosed and we (consumers) may believe these blog posts, tweets, Instas to be independent statements without the necessary information. In many cases, it is abundantly clear that someone received a free sample for review or is paid to write about it (seriously, you know what I mean). But there are also those sneaky ones that eventually lead to court cases for misrepresentation.
Anyhow, I find myself very cynical when I see the same words on blogs that are straight out from the media kits. I gave up on searching for reviews on this batch of SK-II products before I bought them. If I want genuine reviews, I will do it myself. Here it is! 😉
Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (i.e. Pitera), Butylene Glycole, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Triethylhexanoin, Glycerin,Pentylene Glycol, Nylon-12, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Inositol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Boron Nitride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, PEG-20, Sorbitane Cocoate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimenthicone Crosspolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Laureth-7, Benzyl Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Hexyldecanol, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Tocopherol, Zea Mays Oil/Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Methicone, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 75130 (Beta-Carotene).
To assess the ingredients list, I looked at the first 15 ingredients as well as their function. Why the first 15? Well, ingredients are listed in descending order, starting with the largest amount in the product. If I look at more than 15, I’d have lost you, my readers
and probably myself too.
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate – The star ingredient in all SK-II skincare. There is some research demonstrating that galactomyces ferment filtrate has a protective effect on the skin barrier, and helps to prevent damage to the integrity of the skin barrier.
Butylene Glycol – Commonly-used ingredient that has multiple functions in cosmetics, including as a texture enhancer. It’s similar to propylene glycol, but has a lighter texture.
Cyclopentasiloxane – Silicone based skin-conditioning agent
Niacinamide – Aka vitamin B3, helps to even skin tone, reduce fine lines and dullness. It is very high up in the list, which I am happy about.
Triethylhexanoin – Skin conditioning
Pentylene Glycol – Solvent and skin-replenishing agent, much like butylene glycol (above) and propylene glycol
Nylon-12 – absorbent, texture enhancer and mattifyer
Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate – Skin conditioning, occlusive
Inositol – A sugar (which are generally humectants)
Polymethylsilsesquioxane – I’ve no idea what this does.
Boron Nitride – Skin conditioning, oil absorbant
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – Skin-Conditioning Agent, occlusive
Panthenol – Alcohol form of the B vitamin pantothenic acid. Panthenol is used in skincare products as a humectant because of its ability to attract and hold moisture.
PEG-20 – Humectan, solvent
Of the first 15 ingredients, I only find pitera and niacinamide interesting. While I understand that a good formulation is more than just a smattering of actives, if I’m paying $200 for this 50 ml of essence, I want more bang for the buck.
The Spot Essence comes in an elegant bottle. It is so beautiful that I put in more than the normal effort to give it a photoshoot to do it justice. The dropper is initially delightful as it dispenses the right amount for the whole face, but is absolute shit after a while. When I am halfway through the bottle, the dropper refused to pick up anything and I resorted to pouring out from the bottle or allow the Serum to drip down my palms from the sides of the dropper. It gets frustrating!
The serum itself is runny and milky. When applied, it leaves a matt finish (the mattifying effect of nylon-12 in action here). It works well under moisturisers and sunscreens, with no pilling observed for all combination of products.
How I Use It
Toner > Fermented Essence > Serum > Oil > Moisturiser
I use it both day and night, as niacinamide, which appears to be the only active ingredient for brightening, is stable in heat and UV. I have not observed intense brightening that I have with the Rohto Melano CC Serum (review), but I did wake up to nicely moisturised and well-rested skin. This is especially on the days where I brought out the big guns and used the Spot Essence in conjunction with HABA Squalane (review), Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Cream (review) and Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalising Mask (review).
However, it is not as ground breaking as the first time that I’ve used Estee Lauder ANR (review).
After the initial period of testing, I am now using it solely in the mornings (and saving the Melano CC aka ascorbic acid for night time).
Who It Is For
Not me. One purchase for trying is great, but I don’t have that much money to burn regularly on pitera and niacinamide.
If you have the budget, by all means get it. It is a decent splurge and it looks gorgeous on your vanity. 😉