Fast forward several years, and I totally forgot about SK-II. Gee, there are only about a gazillion other lovely cosmetics and skincare products out there to keep me occupied, and until I read about SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and Clear Lotion on one of Yumeko's Friday photo memes, it didn't occur to me that SK-II is a Japanese brand and, well, heeeeeeey, I was also in Japan! Yeah, talk about a duh moment. Somehow, all the ads I saw on TV, in the magazines, at the mall, etc. for SK-II promotion sets and trial kits just didn't register within the past 2 years. Double duh moment. I guess Japan was a bit of a sensory overload, even if I was none the wiser xD
Aeon SK-II Starter Set with 2.5g sample of Skin Signature Cream
The newer Aeon SK-II Starter Set with 7mL sample of Cellumination Essence EX
So with just a little over a month left in Japan, I was determined to at least get a trial set and see what the fuss is all about. I went on to SK-II's Japanese website and checked out their list of official retailers. Believe it or not, even though SK-II does have "official" sets and kits, other retailers put together their own sets and kits too. And after going through every single link SK-II listed on their website, I found the Aeon Shop has the most interesting promotional and trial kits at the most competitive prices. So I bought the SK-II Starter Set with the 2.5g sample jar of Skin Signature Cream. Aeon lists the set at 8,400yen but sells it for a discounted price of 6,720yen (~ US$85) with free shipping. According to my calculation, however, it actually has a retail value of 12,252yen (~ US$155), not counting the box of cotton sheets!
From left to right:
- SK-II Cotton 90 sheets
- SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, 40mL x 1 bottle, retail value 1,680yen (6,300yen/150mL). In the US, this lotion (toner) retails for $60/5.1 fl oz. or 150mL, making it about 25% cheaper as 6,300yen is ~US$80.
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, 75mL x 1 bottle, retail value 8,400yen (8,400yen/75mL, 20,475yen/215mL). In the US, it retails for $100/2.5 fl oz. or 75mL, $195/7.3 fl oz. or 215mL, which is actually comparative to the Japanese price with sales tax.
- SK-II Skin Signature Cream, 2.5g x 1 jar, retail value 492yen (15,750yen/80g, with pricing taken from Aeon Online Shop due to the product's "no print price"). In the US, it retails for $205/80g or 2.8 oz. While the price different is negligible, 15,750yen is ~ US$200, however if you were to add sales tax (around 8-9%, depends on which state), this cream ends up being about 10% more expensive as the Japanese price is already inclusive of tax! Interesting, huh?
- SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, 1 sheet, retail value 1,680yen (1,680yen/sheet or 9,975yen/6 sheets). In the US, it retails for $90/6 sheets or $125/10 sheets and is not sold individually at all. Not sure why, but it is markedly cheaper in the US with the current exchange rates, as 9,975yen is ~US$126!
Think that set's a good deal? Not as good a deal as this brand new SK-II Starter Set with the 7mL sample bottle of Cellumination Essence EX! Aeon just released this starter set, listing it at the same 8,400yen, selling it for the same discounted price of 6,720yen with free shipping, only it actually has a whopping calculated retail value of 15,435yen (~ US$196), still not counting the box of cotton sheets! I mean, what the hell?!? Why do they have to offer this now and not when I was still in Japan? I protest, Aeon, I protest this injustice! I want this set too! T.T
From left to right:
- SK-II Cotton 90 sheets
- SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, 40mL x 1 bottle, see above for retail value and pricing.
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, 75mL x 1 bottle, see above for retail value and pricing.
- SK-II Skin Cellumination Essence, 7mL x 1 bottle, retail value 3,675yen (15,750yen/30mL, with pricing taken from Aeon Online Shop due to the product's "no print price"). In the US, it retails for $150/1 fl. oz. or 30mL, $220/1.7 fl. oz. or 50mL, which is markedly cheaper than the Japanese pricing as well since 15,750yen is ~ US$200!
- SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, 1 sheet, see above for retail value and pricing.
***Above 4 pictures from Aeon Online Shop.
Anyways, yeah. Boo. Hiss. But here are pictures of my Starter Set with the Skin Signature Cream :P
Facial Treatment Mask, Skin Signature Cream 2.5g, and Facial Treatment Clear Lotion 40mL.
The star product of SK-II, the Facial Treatment Essence 75mL. The box is not sealed, but the bottle itself is.
I am using the Clear Lotion and Essence. Actually, I've been using them both since late July when I bought the starter set. Will review later. Too many things going on now, trying to unpack my Japan move before repacking for my upcoming Taiwan move ^.^ Yeah, my life is a bit nomadic right now I guess.