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Facial Treatment Essence: aka Miracle Water

Komal Basith

If there’s one thing all superheroes have in common, it’s a good origin story. Japanese skincare brand SK-II and its bestselling ‘miracle water’, otherwise known as the Facial Treatment Essence, has one too and it reads thus: on a visit to a sake brewery in the 80s, a scientist noticed that the hands of the elderly men and women who worked there were disproportionately smooth when compared to their lined faces.

Suspecting all those hours spent with their hands dipped in sake might have something to do with it, the scientist studied the idea further and realised he was right. He isolated the component in the sake that was causing the workers’ hands to go all Benjamin Button on them, called it Pitera, trademarked it, and SK-II was born, along with the Facial Treatment Essence, said to contain 90% of the stuff and not much else (which might explain its funky, yeasty, er, fragrance).

Let’s be honest; for something that looks like water, feels like water, and smells a bit like feet, this stuff isn’t exactly cheap. So why am I recommending you buy it when you could be spending that cash on an annual supply of cupcakes instead?

Because it shrinks your pores and makes your skin radiant and makes those teeny lines on your forehead and that one laugh line you can only see in certain lights sort of - disappear, and because it makes your mother say things like, “I’m glad you’re finally getting some sleep,” even though you haven’t slept, not really, since you decided it was a good idea to quit your cushy job and start a beauty website. 

Hence the ‘miracle water’ street name, because it’s less a marketing strategy and more a genuine anointment from the masses of women who have loved this product since its inception; women like Cate Blanchett, who went on about the Facial Treatment Essence for so long and with such fervour that SK-II finally got the hint and hired her to be their brand ambassador.

It’s one of those hallowed, unassuming, cult products which need little in the way of ornamentation and frippery to sustain its popularity. So don't let its watery consistency fool you; it might not look like much, but you'll find that the results speak for themselves. 

Facial Treatment Essence available at Saks Fifth Avenue and Strawberry Net with worldwide delivery.

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