Nourishing Mascara Base
Last Updated:02.07.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This is an overpriced, “Why bother?” product that will do nothing to nourish or condition lashes, although it does make them feel soft, if not a little greasy, which is a problem when trying to keep mascara from smearing. Most mascara primers are a waste of time and money, making mascara trickier to apply, without helping to lengthen or thicken lashes any more than simply applying two or three coats of regular mascara. This addition from Shiseido is no exception.

Brand Overview

Shiseido At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection and present a variety of options, whether you're looking for titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone; a handful of good (but not great) moisturizers; worthwhile oil-blotting papers; foundations with sunscreen that provide sufficient UVA protection (and there are some wonderful foundations here); pressed powder with sunscreen for oily skin; the Perfect Rouge Lipstick is one of the best creamy lipsticks at the department store; mostly good mascaras.

Weaknesses: Expensive; several drying cleansers; boring toners; no AHA or BHA products; no products to effectively manage acne; no reliable skin-lightening options despite a preponderance of products claiming to do just that; irritating self-tanners; gimmicky masks; jar packaging; uneven assortment of concealers (and some terrible colors); average to disappointing eye and brow shapers; average makeup brushes.

Shiseido is one of the largest cosmetic companies in Japan, and the founder wants consumers worldwide to know that the brand he began is meant for all who seek beauty. Oddly enough, Shiseido (pronounced "she-say-doe"), whose products have a distinctly Japanese appearance and appeal, began in 1872 as Japan's first Western-style pharmacy. Its products have been sold in the United States for over 40 years, and it has become a nearly overwhelming product line. Although there are some respectable products, Shiseido's skin-care collection is far from a total approach to anything, unless your skin-care mantra is "it has to be average yet needlessly expensive and the routine has to include more products than any other line recommends."

A total approach to health and beauty would take into account all that has been learned to date about how skin functions, how it can repair itself, how it ages, and what it realistically takes for it to look, feel, and function at its best. Such an approach does not, however, involve cleansers with alkaline ingredients that cause skin to be unnecessarily dry, lackluster toners, or far too many products with alcohol; that can only harm the skin, which isn't beautiful in the least.

If anything, the numerous skin-care options presented here are merely average or really disappointing. Many of the moisturizers have luscious textures, but again, it takes more than a sensational feel to create exceptional products that have your skin's best interest (and best appearance) in mind.

One point of difference with this line is that Shiseido insists on regular facial massage. That means you'll find several facial massage creams, although most of them have traditional moisturizer formularies that differ little from what's seen throughout the lineup. Shiseido maintains that routine facial massage creates firmer skin that's less prone to sagging because the massage action tones the muscles, but that simply isn't true. The muscles of the face are among the most frequently used. Repetitive muscle movements are a prime cause of expression lines around the eyes, mouth, and on the forehead. Botox has become such a popular procedure because it selectively prevents these muscles from working, which smoothes creases and lines. Massage alone cannot do that; if anything, routine facial massage can encourage lines and sagging by stretching the skin. Furthermore, when skin slackens and sags, it involves more than just the muscles. Sun damage plays a role in collagen and elastin destruction, as does gravity, which causes fat pads beneath the skin to slip. And then there's bone loss, and the fact that, as we age, skin continues to grow (yet has less to hold on to). Massage to repair sun damage—give me a break!

For more information about Shiseido, visit www.shiseido.com.

Shiseido Makeup

Although Shiseido is known more for their seemingly endless array of skin-care products, their makeup, while not without its problem-child products, is clearly not just an afterthought. The main and most impressive part of the color collection is the foundations. For the most part they have silky textures, and provide adequate sun protection (at least an SPF 15 with UVA-protecting ingredients). If you're keen on shopping this line you should also pay attention to their Perfect Rouge Lipstick, lip gloss, the mascaras, and some distinctive specialty products. Items to avoid entirely include the eye and brow pencils and a couple of the eyeshadows; the makeup brushes are serviceable, but pale in comparison to what makeup artist–backed lines offer. Ignore the inflated claims that accompany many of Shiseido's makeup products, but don't ignore the best of what they have to offer—because in that regard, they're better than ever!

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Best mascara primer!

I also disagree with the rating. All other mascara primers straighten out my stick straight lashes after using an eyelash curler. I usually have to wear waterproof mascara otherwise my curl is lost but with this primer I can forgo waterproof depending on the mascara brand. This is the ONLY one (I've tried them all) that holds my curled lashes, lengthens & enhances mascara. The only disadvantage is the price.

Reviewed by
Contradicting advice

This really conflicts with your article: http://www.paulaschoice-eu.com/learn/short-sparse-eyelashes/ - you say: "I am not a proponent of most lash primers, but there is one whose formula is more than just colorless mascara and really does make a difference. It's a subtle difference, but for someone with short, fine lashes, subtle is better than none! That product is Shiseido The Makeup Mascara Base. Pairing this product with a mascara...an make even the tiniest lashes look dramatically longer"

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  Thank you so much for pointing out this discrepancy.  Unfortunately, that expert advice article is a bit outdated, and the product has since been reformulated, so please pay heed to the Beautypedia review and not the article.  I have since alerted the team to update the original article.

—Beautypedia Team
I see the difference !

I disagree!! I'm a makeup artist and I use this on my clients and myself! Not clumpy just adds length and a little thickness. Not overdone. I don't know about the nourishing factor, but does not harm lashes.

Reviewed by
Lisa S
Totally worth it!

I have to disagree as well. This mascara primer totally enhances any mascara. It gives my lashes a curl that will stay ALL day even when I put a regular water soluble mascara on top! Also I notice much more volume. This primer might not have the conditioning properties that it claims to have, but the way it performs under a mascara makes it worth for me! I already bought like 5 tubes of this and will continue to purchase. I hope Shiseido will never stop making this!

Reviewed by
Jasmin R.
Fantastic mascara primer

Disagree!! Normally I wouldnt splurge and purchase a mascara primer; as a matter of fact when i first read about this stuff and how great it was I was very skeptical. However, my post menopausal eyelashes were really looking thin and sparse, and the reviews that I read on Makeup Alley about this stuff were so grand that I had to try it; Makeup Alley is very reliable for accurate Beauty reviews. Now I am hooked. It makes ANY mascara look and perform better. I cannot live without this stuff n

Reviewed by
Ann B.
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