We wish we could say that Shiseido was kidding with this serum, because the formula is not only amazingly boring but also front-loaded with denatured alcohol, one of the most pro-aging ingredients known! Fighting signs of aging gets a lot harder when so much alcohol is present (you'll smell and feel it)—and, shockingly, despite all the statistical hype, this serum contains barely anything of true value for aging skin. It's mostly water, alcohol, glycerin, silicone for a silky feel, film-forming agent, and preservative. See the More Info section to learn more about how alcohol interacts negatively with skin.
What's particularly upsetting is that this sheer serum is supposed to strengthen skin's environmental defenses and ability to withstand stress. Knowing this, our question to Shiseido is why they're using one of the most stressing ingredients to skin, one research has shown break down rather than builds up healthy skin? And the fragrance ingredients added to the mix don't help matters, because these pose a risk of irritation for all skin types.
In the end, this serum isn't concentrated with anything amazing for skin. The teeny-tiny amount of intriguing ingredients (such as a form of beta-glucan) it contains don't make this worth the investment. Instead, look to any of the options on our list of Best Serums.
- Feels light and silky.
- Absorbs quickly.
- Front-loaded with denatured alcohol, which is pro-aging.
- Lacks a robust mix of proven anti-aging ingredients.
- Contains several fragrance ingredients that could irritate skin.
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).
The ultimate concentrate for enhancing skin's inherent multi-defensive power against signs of aging, environmental factors and daily stress. Day by day, your skin becomes smoother and more resilient making wrinkles less noticeable and your complexion appears to glow with more radiance than ever.
Water (Aqua), SD Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denatured), Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-17/4 Dimethyl Ether, Triethylhexanoin, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-14M, Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Rosa Damascene Flower Water Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Fragrance (Parfum) Disodium EDTA, Potassium Hydroxiodes, Silica, Isoceteth-10, Linalool, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (Ginkgo Biloba), Geraniol, Citronellol, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, BHT, Thymus Serpillum Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate
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!