Ultimate Revival Cream (Discontinued)
1.7 fl. oz. for $330
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:11.29.2012
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This product has the distinction of being the second most expensive moisturizer in the SK-II line, and that is saying something when you consider how many moisturizers this line sells and the fact that most of them are in the $100 range. We wonder what the SK-II counter staff tells customers who’ve been using the “cheaper” moisturizers from this line. We imagine many of those SK-II customers will want to know what makes this “ultimate” cream hundreds of dollars better than the miraculous products they were sold during their last visit. The answer is nothing; it isn’t any better or any worse than the ordinary, overpriced moisturizers littering this line.

As it turns out the only miracle is that consumers probably will fall for the claims about this product and buy it thinking they’re one up on everyone else struggling to look younger. This is a classic example of expensive absolutely not being better in the world of cosmetics.

You might be shocked to discover that the ingredients in this moisturizer are strikingly similar to those in every other moisturizer from SK-II. And you may feel faint (I know I would) if you bought Ultimate Revival Cream only to find out now that texture- and formula-wise it differs little from the moisturizers Olay sells in their Regenerist and Pro-X lines (both Olay and SK-II are owned by Procter & Gamble). The only extra you’re getting for your money is the prestige factor SK-II promotes. Too bad a prestigious image doesn’t help your skin, and it certainly is not a guarantee of superior anti-aging skin care.

We really can’t stress enough what a waste of time and money this moisturizer is. Yes, it has what it takes to make dry skin feel and look better, and it can improve skin’s barrier function to prevent moisture loss, but so can countless other moisturizers whose price tags haven’t been catapulted into the stratosphere.

SK-II insults even further by packaging this moisturizer in a jar. At this price, that’s akin to paying for a 2-karat diamond ring only to find out you bought cubic zirconium (and not even good cubic zirconium).

One more comment: Just like almost every SK-II product, this contains an ingredient known as Pitera (saccharomycopsis ferment filtrate). A detailed explanation of Pitera is presented in the brand summary for SK-II; suffice to say it is not a miraculous or even close to a must-have ingredient for skin, and there’s not a shred of published, substantiated research to prove otherwise.


Luxuriously-textured intensive cream. Helps the natural cell renewal cycle of the skin’s surface. Strengthens skin’s moisture barrier structure. Adds vitality to skin’s appearance. Contains 3 kinds of vitamins, 3 kinds of minerals and 3 kinds of natural herbal extracts, and precious Noble Rose Oil.


Water, Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Triethylhexanoin, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sucrose Polycottonseedate, Myristyl Myristate, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Myristyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexapeptide-3, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein,C13-14 Isoparaffin, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Laureth-7, Polysorbate 65, Steareth-20, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carbomer, Sodium Stearate, Polyacrylamide, Sodium Chloride, Batyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Citronellol

Brand Overview

SK-II At-A-Glance

Strengths: Some well-formulated moisturizers and serums; all of the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection.

Weaknesses: Shockingly expensive, especially for the wide assortment of mediocre products; unreliable skin-lightening products; AHA/BHA products that contain an ineffective amount of exfoliant; no products to help manage blemishes; jar packaging.

Procter & Gamble, as always, is extremely helpful in providing information about their products. In this case it was for their upscale SK-II skin-care line. We certainly can't say that about most companies. We have to acknowledge P&G for having the integrity to share their "inside" details with someone like me, who might be more critical than complimentary. Thank you, P&G!

Regrettably, and we mean that sincerely, we wish we had more positive comments to convey, but alas, we don't. The data provided don't change the reality about skin care and the ingredients that can have an impact on skin. SK-II products are hardly worth the price, especially when compared to Olay Regenerist and Definity (P&G's own drugstore line of skin-care products). In fact, it takes only a quick review of the formulas to note that many SK-II items are very similar to Olay Regenerist items, except that the latter don't include Pitera, the supposedly miracle ingredient in this line. Yet there is minimal research indicating that Pitera is even helpful for skin.

Pitera is the cornerstone of the SK-II line and is present in every SK-II product. Pitera is the trade name for Saccharomycopsis ferment filtrate (SFF), a form of yeast purportedly unique because of the fermenting and filtering process it goes through before being added to these products. As it turns out, many forms of yeast have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant properties, including SFF (Source: Journal of Dermatologic Science, June 2006, pages 249–257). Other than that, all of the information about Pitera comes from papers presented at medical conferences, not from published studies. Presenting papers at medical conferences is not at all the same thing as publishing the results of studies. We frequently present papers and information at medical conferences, and we wouldn't offer that material as proof of anything because it isn't. The standards for presenting a paper at a medical conference are very different from the requirements for publication of study results in most medical journals.

To give P&G the benefit of the doubt, even if Pitera is a wonder ingredient, this doesn't explain how it rates when compared with other "wonder" ingredients because there are no comparison studies. Hundreds of ingredients—ranging from green tea to superoxide dismutase, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, eicosapentaenoic acid, beta-carotene, pomegranate, and curcumin to vitamin E, vitamin A, and on and on and on—have stellar reputations, and there's copious documentation to prove it.

Another point to consider: If Pitera deserves the spotlight SK-II shines on it, then P&G needs to change their claims about Olay Regenerist and Definity, and at the very least say that these products are almost as good as SK-II except we left out the Pitera. Ultimately, unless you believe Pitera is the answer for your every skin-care need (because each and every SK-II product contains it, with very few other added extras), there is no reason to waste your time and energy on this line.

For more information about SK-II, owned by Procter & Gamble, visit www.sk-ii.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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