Making Cate Blanchett the new face of SKll could be a double-edged sword. And I'm not referring to her blade-like cheek bones. We all want to be tall and marble-esque like Cate. On the other hand, the new marketing campaign makes people like me start snooping around. My brain cells start (in a blurred kind of way, I'll admit) to summon up cosmetic trivia; wasn't there some recall scandal around SKll in China a couple of years ago?

Anyway, let's start with the fun part. SK11 comes with an 'origination myth' and a La Mer-like mysterious ingredient. As SKll is made by Proctor & Gamble, I think we can safely assume our skeptical hats. The myth: 30 years ago (the bowels of time for the 28-year-old marketing executives who write this stuff), Japanese scientists wondered why the humble girls working in the local saki factory had such beautiful skin. In scientific defiance of closely held saki trade secrets, they traced the cause to a yeast. Not content with this, SKll's marketers invented a secret ingredient that is "seemingly miraculous" and called Pitera.

Let's take a look at SKll Facial Treatment Essence. Apparently, it was this product in particular that got the young (as then unknown and positively gawky Cate) switched on to this brand. And it has a whopping 90% Pitera. It is almost pure Pitera!

P&G does its best to make sure you can't find the ingredients for Facial Treatment Essence without buying the damn thing. Thankfully, a fellow blogger posted it. Here it is:

Saccharomycopsis ferment - yeast, to you and me; two moisturizers that you will find in most creams under the sun, butylene glycol and pentylene glycol; water; and three preservatives.

The Chinese recall did happen. There was a scare about a year or so ago that SKll products contained toxic amounts of heavy metals. This had a negative impact on P&G's beauty division revenues, hence the need to splash out on Cate. I hope she's thought of a good charity to donate her fee to.