If you're new to the world (and hype) of BB creams, you should know that they're not as revolutionary as they're made out to be. There are many good ones, but in essence, BB creams are just a twist on tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. Sometimes BB creams treat skin to other beneficial ingredients, but sometimes not. In short, a product labeled BB cream isn't necessarily any better than your regular tinted moisturizer or liquid foundation.
In the case of this BB cream from Shiseido, the amount of alcohol this contains is a problem for all skin types (see More Info to find out why). The alcohol gives this BB its fluid texture and allows it to set quickly, but there are other ingredients that can do that without putting skin at risk of irritation.
On the plus side, this has good slip, is easy to blend, and sets to a soft matte finish with light coverage that does a good job diffusing imperfections. The sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection and includes titanium dioxide for anti-aging UVA screening.
Shiseido offers two shades, both of which are on the peachy side but OK for light to medium skin tones—but if you're curious to try a BB cream there are better, less expensive options that you'll find on our list of Best Tinted Moisturizers/BB Creams.
- Lightweight, sheer texture is easy to blend.
- Natural-looking coverage diffuses imperfections.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Amount of alcohol is cause for concern due to its risk of irritation.
- Fragranced formula contains few proven anti-aging ingredients beyond sunscreen.
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Active Ingredients: Ensulizole 2%; Octinoxate 4%; Titanium Dioxide 7.2%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, SD Alcohol 40-B, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica, Xylitol, PEG-6, PEG-32, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Thiotaurine, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Arginine Hcl, Ononis Spinosa Root Extract, Sodium PCA, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, PPG-17, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aminomethyl Propanol, Aluminum Distearate, Isostearic Acid, Stearic Acid, Trisodium EDTA, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Alumina, Polysilicone-2, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, BHT, Syzygium Jambos Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.
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.
Shiseido doesn't have the issue of sun protection down yet, as witness a few of their sunscreens that still lack sufficient UVA protection - even though they participate in Japan's UVA-based PA rating system (explained in the Sun Products reviews below). And when it comes to state-of-the art essentials such as antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and substances that reinforce the structure of healthy skin, Shiseido typically comes up short. You'll hear (and read) much talk about the company's exclusive technologies, but terms like Bio-Regenerine, Phyto-Capsule Emulsification, Optimal Balance Network, and Deacti-Complex are meaningless without significant, proven ingredients to support each technology's alleged function. We're sure they are intended to make the products seem more advanced and special to consumers, but the proof is in the ingredient lists, and very few of Shiseido's lists fall under the category of impressive.
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.
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!