First up was a trip to Trump SoHo, where beauty writers and editors were invited to an intimate gathering, which consisted of sticking our hands into some fermenting rice. This is the origin of the magical Pitera, the secret ingredient at the heart of SK-II skin care products.
SK-II was born in 1980 in Japan after someone noticed that the hands of sake workers looked much younger than their faces. Years of research finally revealed that it was because of a metabolite produced by yeast fermentation; it’s a by-product of sake manufacturing. This particular liquid, later branded “Pitera,” is a nutrient rich fluid of vitamins, minerals, organic acids, and amino acids.
Cate Blanchett, age 41, is the luminous face of the brand. Whether her unbelievably perfect skin is due to genes, an Aussie respect for SPF products, or SK-II, we will never know. Whatever it is, I want some of what she’s having.
Some facts about SK-II:
-Laura Goodman, a senior scientist who has been working with the brand for 12 years, is probably the hottest scientist I’ve ever seen.
-Facial Treatment Essence is the cornerstone of the brand, containing 90% Pitera. A bottle is sold every 28 seconds. And at $100-$195 per bottle, well…you do the math.
-The Essence isn’t artificially scented. It’s not a bad smell, but it’s not good either. I would describe it as mildly musty and salty. The smell disappears after it’s absorbed.
-While Cate unfortunately wasn’t at the event, her long-time makeup artist, Dotti (yes, goes by first name only) was. Dotti waxed rhapsodic about Cate’s skin and said, “I’m constantly asking Cate if I can touch her skin.” Weird? No, it came across as very affectionate.
-The company has released a lot of products over the years, but the Pitera remains their signature and it’s in every product. There are cleansers, anti-aging products, and their latest, Skin Signature Melting Rich Cream. At $250 a pop, they’re obviously going after Creme de la Mer’s market.
Japanese women perform up to a dozen different steps in their daily skin care rituals.
-I was given a small bottle of the Facial Treatment Essence, which I’ve used three times so far. My skin is noticeably softer and less flaky. I’m hoarding it.
At the more democratic and wallet-friendly end of the anti-aging spectrum, L’Oréal has just released a new anti-aging line called YouthCode, which has been in development for 10 years. There’s an SPF 30 day lotion, an eye cream, a serum, and a day/night cream, each of which retails for $24.99.
The magic ingredient here is GenActiv, a concoction which is made up of a “good bacteria,” adenosine (a compound responsible for cellular signaling and energy transfer), and peptides. L’Oréal claims that in a month, the products will significantly diminish the signs of aging.
The products are light and blend well, and the day/night cream is nice and fluffy with a clean, fresh scent.
The bottom line: You can combine the beauty equivalent of a Gap shirt with a de la Renta ball gown when it comes to skincare this month.