Bio-Performance Intensive Skin Corrective Program has an eyebrow-raising price accompanied by claims that make this combination of products sound like a NASA project for aging skin. Something Shiseido refers to as “Bio-Recharger MC” is said to strengthen skin by “optimizing the calcium-magnesium ion distribution,” the result of which is allegedly smoother, firmer skin.
Shiseido talks about ion exchange in relation to this product. Briefly, an ion is any atom that has either lost or gained an electron. When an ion loses an electron, it becomes positively charged and is called a cation. When an ion gains an electron, it becomes negatively charged, and is called an anion. Ion exchange is a natural process that occurs in many different substances. Skin can act as an ion exchange medium due to its water content, and cosmetics chemists the world over know that various cosmetic ingredients, used alone or in combination, can make a product positively or negatively charged.
Shiseido’s idea seems to be that aging skin needs an infusion of calcium and magnesium ions in order to regain its youthful appearance. In reality, these minerals play a minor role (at best) in skin function and appearance; they certainly are not critical ingredients to look for in the quest for the ultimate antiwrinkle product because they cannot be absorbed into the skin.
This kit consists of two products, neither of which is impressive or worth even one-fourth the cost. The Serum Essence is the portion that contains the calcium and magnesium, very tiny amounts of both. It is mostly a blend of water and slip agents with alcohol, a humectant, and preservative. Talk about boring, and the alcohol, while not likely to cause irritation, is a letdown. The Balm is a non-aqueous blend of silicone with Vaseline, film-forming agents, and wax. It can function as a spackle for wrinkles, but the effect is temporary—plus the amount of fragrance components in this product is likely to cause irritation. All told, this set is an utter disappointment, with a price tag that is over the top for what you get by any standard.
Consumers looking to spend this much on an antiwrinkle product would do better with the various options from DDF, M.D. Skincare by Dr. Dennis Gross, or even the products from Dr. Perricone. All of them have overinflated claims, too, but at least many of the formulas approach or surpass the current state-of-the-art, which this Shiseido duo absolutely does not.
A concentrated two-week treatment specially formulated to bring visible improvement to skin showing severe signs of age, stress and environmental damage. Formulated with Bio-Recharger MC to strengthen skin by optimizing the Calcium-Magnesium ion distribution resulting in smoother, firmer and more radiant looking skin. Contains Micro-Smoothing Complex to help make skin brighter while preventing roughness.
The Serum Essence (1 ounce)
Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat, Erythritol, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-32, PEG-6, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Metaphosphate, Magnesium Chloride, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Calcium Chloride, Prunus Speciosa Leaf Extract
The Balm (28 0.01-ounce jars; 0.28 ounce total)
Cyclomethicone, Hydrogenated C6-14 Olefin Polymers, Petrolatum, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polyethylene, Zinc Dioxide, Silica, Microcrystalline Wax, Fragrance, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexane Carboxaldehyde, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Tocopherol
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!