White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum
1 fl. oz. for $125
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This obnoxiously overpriced skin-lightening serum lists alcohol as its second ingredient. That makes it too drying and irritating for all skin types, not to mention that alcohol causes free-radical damage and causes collagen to break down.

This contains a dusting of ingredients with limited research pertaining to their skin-lightening ability, but for the money your skin deserves what works. For what Shiseido is charging, you’d be better off getting a prescription for 4% hydroquinone, which copious research has shown is excellent for skin discolorations and for treating melasma (Source: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, volume 7, 2006, pages 223–230).


A cutting-edge anti-spot serum, created with the latest advancements in Shiseido skincare technologies to deliver intensive brightening benefits. Targets dark spots such as sun and age spots, acne marks and darkened pores to even out skin tone for perfectly radiant skin. Shiseido-original brightening ingredient 4MSK and m-Tranexamic Acid help to diminish dark spots and prevent their formation. Specially developed with Multi-Target Vitamin C and natural Yomogi extract. Light and dewy texture instantly absorbs to leave skin feeling fully hydrated and renewed in radiance.


Water, SD Alcohol 40, Glycerin, PEG-150, Tranexamic Acid, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Potassium Methoxysalycylate, Dimethicone, Isostearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Lauryl Betaine, Potassium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-C30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 2-0-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Polyquartinium-51, Sodium Metabisulfite, Limonene, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzyl Benzoate, Serine, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, Sodium Benzoate

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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Made my skin bright!

I really like this serum. i dont have dark spots so i cant say how it works on dark spots but it made my skin really bright and radiant!

Reviewed by
Ethan K.
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