Of all the online options, ironically I found buying directly from Japan was most economical, even with international shipping. It's not that the US retailers were marking them up - they actually retail for cheaper here when you consider the exchange rates! It's more like Japanese (and Taiwanese, Korean, HK, Singaporean, etc.) retailers often bundle gift sets with full size purchases, so in paying full retail, I also get more than just the full size item. And I don't know about other places, but gift set bundles are available year round in Japan, though of course they get super crazy around special events and holidays.
***Screencaps from Isetan JP.
Anyway, of all the tempting choices at the time I picked the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Rochas Bottle x Mask Coffret from Isetan. Actually, Takashiyama, Hankyu, and Aeon all offered the same coffret, but they were sold out by the time I found them. Shortly after I placed my order, Isetan too sold out of theirs! The coffret was popular because it featured the 215mL Facial Treatment Essence in a 2011 limited edition flower motif bottle in collaboration with Rochas. Yes, I did (and still occasionally do...) wonder if the stuff inside is from 2011 too :X LOL!
The Facial Treatment Essence Rochas Bottle x Mask Coffret retailed 20,475JPY, but I paid 25,850JPY with EMS shipping, about $255.78 given the better exchange rates at the time. The calculated value of the coffret is actually $354.14 (calculations below)! So as you can see, even after EMS shipping I still came out to about $100 on top, not to mention all these deluxe samples to play with! Great deal, no?
- Signs Eye Mask 7 pairs ($55/3,412JPY, full size 14 pairs for $110/6,825JPY)
- Facial Treatment Gentle Cleansing Cream 15g (~$12.47/1,260JPY, full size 100g for 8,400JPY via cosme.net because item has no print price, which means it's only available at SK-II counters. Also, this particular item is not available in the US!)
- Facial Treatment Cleanser 20g ($11.67/1,050JPY, full size 120g for $70/6,090JPY)
- Cellumination Essence EX 7mL ($35/3,675JPY, 30mL for $150/15,750JPY)
- Cellumination Deep Surge EX 15g ($45/4,725JPY, full size 50g for $150/15,750JPY via cosmet.net, again because item has no print price and is only available at SK-II counters. In the US, this product is called Cellumination Cream EX.)
- Magic Mask (sheet mask) 15 tablets (couldn't find the price for this anywhere, so I think they're generic)
Anyway, here's the 2011 limited edition bottle. It's basically a champagne frosted glass bottle (versus regular white frosted glass) with a white banner of flower motif that runs diagonally from the upper right. It's nowhere as striking as the deep red frosted glass of 2012 limited edition, again in collaboration with Rochas, but I'll be keeping my eyes open for this holiday season ^.^
***Screencap from Saks 5th Avenue USA.
For daily use, to be honest this 215mL is just too big and I much prefer the smaller 75mL bottle. This is why I'm itching to finish up the Jurlique Rose Water Balancing Mist (will post next) so I can reuse that 50mL frosted glass spray bottle. The tricky part is how to transfer without spilling this stuff all over! :X
See my previous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence post.