Get the 4-1-1 on Asian Beauty Products

You’ve probably seen all of the trends in your favorite cosmetic stores; Asian beauty products are taking over. Often billed in store and online as Japanese beauty or Korean beauty (K beauty for short), there are a lot of new products infiltrating the beauty scene! So, what’s the deal with all of the products and what makes Asian routines different than U.S. equivalents? Let’s dive in.

Multistep rituals

Get ready for this. Typical Asian beauty routines contain a lot of steps; some are eight, 10 or 12 steps before the face is done. This isn’t just wash and wear skin! The typical regimen involves the following: oil-based cleanser, foam-based cleanser, toner, essence, serum, face mask, eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen and then facial mist. Options to include extra masks or an exfoliant can add even more steps. While you don’t necessarily need to commit to doing all of these steps morning and night, adding one or two of your favorite ones into your day can help improve the look and texture of skin.

Different types of products

Some key differences in Japanese beauty and standard American routines come in the addition of products that aren’t yet common in the West. Two big standouts are the essence and the facial treatment mask on a sheet.


An essence is a water-like product that is packed with nutrients for your face in an easily absorbable way. Essences help to restore balance to and improve the texture/tone of your face. The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is a best-seller in Asia and is rich in vitamins, minerals and good-for-you acids. Its formula helps gently exfoliate the face and moderate the skin surface renewal cycle—so skin looks fresh, even and firm!

  • Close up of pouring SK-II PITERA™ Essence into palm

Face masks

You’ve probably seen these funny-looking face masks all over Instagram. Sheet masks are very popular in Asia because they truly pack your skin full of hydration—and quickly! These single-use masks are applied to the skin and left to rest for 10 minutes. After that, simply peel it off, dispose of it, and enjoy your party-ready face. The SK-II Facial Treatment Mask is a highly concentrated form of the essence. In fact, one mask contains the equivalent amount of active ingredient Pitera™ as one-quarter of the 2.5-oz. bottle of the Facial Treatment Essence!

  • SK-II Facial Treatment Essence with SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

History behind ingredients

A lot of Japanese beauty products are rooted in science and history. Some products contain seaweed, clay or charcoal. Others, like the entire SK-II line, trace their origins to sake brewing. It’s through this process that scientists discovered Pitera™, a clear liquid that works to allow skin’s natural rejuvenation process to function at its prime. Whatever the active ingredients in Asian beauty products may be, they likely have a pretty interesting story to tell about how they were discovered!

Shop your favorite beauty counter and give some new products a try! Because, hey, it’s always cool to learn about a new culture through being a beauty product junkie.

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SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

SK-II Facial Treatment Mask

$95.00 - $139.00