Me and Japanese skincare just don’t go well together.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love lots of Japanese stuffs. I drive a Japanese car. I enjoy shopping at Isetan. I eat sushi and sashimi by truckloads. I drink green tea by barrels. Doraemon remains my favorite cartoon character.
But when it comes to skincare, Japanese products just ain’t for me.
Just so you know, I had major breakout issues during my late teens (you can read about it here). Since then, I tried products after products. Somehow, the Japanese ones always ended up giving me problems.
First I tried Shiseido. The girl over the counter told me to get the entire Pureness range which supposed to fix my oily skin. Guess what, it didn’t. I ended up with the worst acne experience I ever had. It was really bad that I had to see a dermatologist and go under medication.
While I was doing my degree, I tried Kosé. Bought a couple of products from the Sekkisei line. Can’t recall if it made my problem any worse, but it definitely didn’t make it better. Hence I stopped using it.
Since the two bad experiences, I shied away from Japanese skincare. Tried lots of other brands - local and abroad, cheap and expensive - until I found my peace with Nivea. Yeah, the cheap pharmacy brand worked wonders on me! Then I switched to Olay, which was just as good, if not better.
After a while, I thought I should give Japanese skincare another try. Heard a lot of hype about SK-II, so I decided go for it. My mum is a long time fan. She started using it when it was still known as Max Factor Secret Key, way back when I was in primary school. Yeah, that long ago. Secret Key later became SK, then SK became what is now known as SK-II. She has been switching brands many times since, but somehow SK-II keeps coming back into her beauty regime.
So I thought, if it worked on my mum, it might just work for me. After all, lots of people used it without problem. Kind of thrilled by the prospect of having crystal clear skin like Fauziah Latiff and Qi Qi.
So sometime during Ramadan last year, I headed to SK-II counter and grabbed the entire range. Everything. From the cleanser to the toner to the infamous miracle water and more. Was really excited seeing those pretty glass bottles with shiny caps decorating my dressing table. Looked so classy.
I started using the range, at first it was just ok. No difference. After several weeks, I noticed some effects. Bad ones. My face started growing tiny little pimples. My cheeks began to redden. Whenever I applied the toner, I felt stinging sensation. When I dapped on the facial treatment essence a.k.a. miracle water, my face felt really itchy.
But did I stop using it immediately? No I didn’t. I decided to go on, believing that it was only initial reaction towards new product. Perhaps my face was detoxing itself. Gosh, wonder where the idea came from! Now that I think about it, it sounds really stupid! Well, maybe I was in denial, thinking that after so much money being spent on the product, it must work somehow.
It was a comment from my dad that made me realize the reality. “Why are your cheeks red?” he asked me one day. I looked into the mirror and checked my skin thoroughly. What a horror it was! True enough, my cheeks were red with tiny little dots all over them! I thought no way, whatever advance pitera technology the range might have, it definitely wasn’t working for me. After more than a month of usage, the “initial reaction” period should have long passed. What I saw was not initial reaction, it was allergic reaction!
Therefore, with a heavy heart, I had to let go of my entire SK-II range. Gave the products to my mum, she was more than happy to have them. “You should have told me earlier, I just replenished my stuffs!” she said. Good for her, now she has more to use.
So I went back to Olay and the allergies subsided. Meanwhile, I started surfing around for hypoallergenic skincare. Came across several suggestions, finally I settled on Clinique, which is well known for its allergy tested range. Been using it for a month now. Totally love the result!
Moral of the story:
- Just because it’s expensive, doesn’t mean it works.
- Just because it works for others, doesn’t mean it works for you.
- Don’t be in denial. If it doesn’t work, get rid of it and find something else.
Of course, every person is different. Let’s just put it this way: My mum gave birth to me, obviously half of her DNA is mine. Yet SK-II works like a charm on her skin but was entirely the opposite on mine. How do you justify that?
And while I was feeling devastated thinking that I was the only one in the world being unlucky with SK-II, I surfed the net and found these sites:
- This girl had similar experience as I had. I bought as many products as she did, if not more.
- This girl she mentioned that when she applied the products on her face she got red spots. But when she put them on her feet, they became smooth. Go figure.
- This girl said the miracle water made her face felt “like burning with sting sting feeling” which was exactly how I felt when I used it.
- This girl used SK-II mask the night before her wedding and woke up with rashes on her face. Imagine her horror!
- This girl also had allergic reaction, which was confirmed by her doctor. She returned the products and asked for a refund.
- This girl only used the essence for a week and her skin got worse. And like me, Nivea was good on her.
- This girl said her face reacted badly towards the facial wash, but the eye gel worked well on her eyes. I totally agree on the eye gel, it’s absolutely wonderful. I still use it, no problem whatsoever.
So should you use SK-II or any other skincare for that matter? It’s all up to you. As I said before and I shall stress it one more time, every person is different. I’m sure while Nivea, Olay and Clinique work well on me, there are people that have bad experiences with them. Similarly, while SK-II doesn’t seem to suit me and those girls I mentioned, you’ll surely find dozens of others singing praises about the product.
In conclusion, don’t give up finding what works on your skin. It takes effort, time, money and a whole lot of patience for sure.
Like what the late Aaliyah sang, if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again!