SK-II’s New Limited-Edition Facial Treatment Essences Are Its Cutest Yet


Editor’s note: This review was written prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent postponing of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which are now scheduled to occur in 2021. Allure is currently reporting on the novel coronavirus and its impact on the beauty industry. To read some of that coverage, click here).

SK-II has become nearly as well-known for the elegant and adorable limited-edition bottles of its Facial Treatment Essence as the beloved fermented formula itself. The clarifying, radiance-boosting liquid has been encased in Disney imagery, abstract art, and everything in-between. And the brand’s latest packaging presentation is quite possibly the cutest ever.

On Wednesday, April 1, in celebration of the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics, SK-II launched two limited-edition bottles of the brand’s signature Facial Treatment Essence: a pair of adorable cartoon busts, inspired by “the style of girls in Tokyo.” We’ve decided to call them Monica and Rachel. The question is: What do they talk about when they’re alone?

Monica: Rachel, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.

Rachel: What’s up, Monica?

Monica: What’s the difference between freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling? Both are events in the forthcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Rachel: Yeah, it’s confusing, right? But also fascinating — wrestling is one of the oldest sports in history and has been included in the Olympic program as far back as 708 B.C. Greco-Roman wrestling, in which combatants are only allowed to fight with their upper bodies and arms, was established in the modern Olympic Games as a nod to the event’s origin. Freestyle wrestling — in which, as the name suggests, opponents can fight with their entire bodies — has been an Olympic sport since 1904.

Monica: That’s interesting…

Rachel: It’s actually funny you’re asking me because I wrestled for a bit in college—

Monica: …but I’m not getting the difference. Can you use another example?

Rachel: Let me think… [beat] Well, it’s kind of like in skin care, how you have regular essence versus SK-II’s signature Facial Treatment Essence. Regular essence is lightly hydrating, and a good base for moisturizer. SK-II’s is, too, but they also have an ingredient derived from yeast fermentation that gives your skin other things it likes. In essence — ha!— they’re the same, but SK-II is doing it much more effectively, with legs.

Monica: OK, I get it now. And that was a very funny essence joke!

Rachel: Thank you! It came to me in the moment. I love you, Monica.

Monica: And I love you too, Rachel.

The new SK-II Limited Edition Facial Treatment Essences are available for $247 each at Saks, Sephora, and

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