Did you know that Shiseido is the oldest and fourth largest cosmetics company in the world?
Founded in 1872, Shiseido was Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy that quickly grew in popularity by building a clientele of royalty and high society.
Over the years, Shiseido shifted from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics with the introduction of their Eudermine skin lotion, which is still popular today. The brand has expanded to offer an entire collection of skin care products, as well as sunscreen, makeup, and even a line of men’s products.
But just because Shiseido has been around for quite some time doesn’t necessarily mean their products are right for your skin.
What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2021?
In order to determine how well these products perform, we’ll have to evaluate the formulation details, including the key ingredients in Shiseido skin care products and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skin care.
We’ll also share some Shiseido reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
What Are The Top 10 Most Popular Shiseido Skin Care Products?
Shiseido skin care products include everything you need to create a complete regimen, such as cleansers, masks, moisturizers, serums, sunscreens, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 most popular Shiseido skin care products.
Shiseido Waso Color Smart Day Moisturizer
Let’s face it: we all have days when it feels like way too much effort to apply a full face of makeup, but we still want to quickly cover up imperfections. That’s when a tinted moisturizer can be a life-saver.
Shiseido Waso Color Smart Day Moisturizer is a tinted moisturizer that’s said to adapt to your skin color to enhance skin tone while also providing long-lasting hydration.
It’s true that the formula easily blends into skin to provide sheer coverage, but the promise of “long-lasting hydration” isn’t exactly true.
That’s because the formula contains a pretty high concentration of denatured alcohol, a type of drying alcohol that’s not doing your skin any favors, and may actually be causing damage (we’ll explain more about this in the Key Ingredients section below).
There’s two sunscreen ingredients in this moisturizer — titanium dioxide and octinoxate — that provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
The rest of the formula primarily consists of silicones, ingredients that give the product a silky texture while also helping to disguise lines and wrinkles.
Bottom Line: Shiseido Waso Color Smart Day Moisturizer is a tinted moisturizer that provides sheer coverage and broad spectrum SPF 30 protection, but the high concentration of denatured alcohol prevents us from recommending this product.
Shiseido Benefiance NutriPerfect Night Cream
Just reading through the claims for this Shiseido night cream caused us to raise our eyebrows. Why? Well, the formula is claimed to “help dramatically improve the look of wrinkles, sagging, and dullness”.
Sure, products can improve the look of wrinkles and dullness, but no topical product is going to dramatically improve sagging!
So let’s discuss what this formula can do for your skin. The key ingredient in the cream is a dipeptide called carnosine.
Carnosine has skin-soothing, antioxidant, and anti-glycation properties, which means it can help protect skin against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Ultimately, this helps to prevent the formation of lines and wrinkles. But it’s definitely not going to dramatically improve the look of sagging skin!
The rest of the formula consists of humectants, silicones, and emollients, which help to soften and moisturize skin.
Unfortunately, there’s fragrance in this cream, which may lead to skin sensitivity, and there’s one paraben in the formula.
Bottom Line: Carnosine is the key ingredient in Shiseido Benefiance NutriPerfect Night Cream, which may help prevent the formation of lines and wrinkles, but it’s not going to do anything for sagging skin.
Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Eye Cream
This is a thick eye cream that helps to instantly soften the skin around the eyes thanks to a blend of emollients like hydrogenated polydecene, mineral oil, petrolatum, and squalane.
As for anti-aging ingredients, the formula includes carnosine and a few peptides. The blend of green, brown, and red algae — what the brand calls “KOMBU-Bounce Complex” — helps to bind moisture to the skin, thereby reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
We were disappointed (but not surprised) to find a pretty high concentration of fragrance in this formula, especially since this is an eye cream and the skin around the eyes is particularly delicate.
In fact, there’s more fragrance than Mukurossi, Chlorella, Gambir and Turmeric Extracts, or what the brand claims are “key” ingredients.
Another drawback: there are two parabens used as preservatives in this formula. According to the EWGparabens can act like the hormone estrogen in the body and disrupt the normal function of hormone systems affecting male and female reproductive system functioning, reproductive development, fertility, and birth outcomes.
Bottom Line: A thick eye cream that uses emollients, peptides, and algae extracts to smooth the skin around the eyes, but keep in mind there’s fragrance and parabens in this formula.
Shiseido Benefiance NutriPerfect Day Cream
Shiseido Benefiance NutriPerfect Day Cream is said to be “a powerful, protective day cream for mature skin experiencing visible signs of aging such as discoloration and loss of resilience”, but it’s honestly an overpriced sunscreen, in our opinion.
There’s three chemical sunscreen ingredients in the formula: avobenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene.
While chemical sunscreen ingredients won’t leave a white cast, we don’t recommend these types of sunscreens due to researchthat has shown they absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s still unclear if these chemicals are linked to health conditions, but it’s known that they do enter the body.
Also, the SPF 18 in this day cream is not enough to protect against sunburn and skin cancer because most organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, recommend using at least SPF 30.
The only anti-aging ingredient in this day cream is carnosine, and like we mentioned above this ingredient helps to protect against free radical damage.
The rest of the formula consists of humectants, silicones, and emollients. There’s nothing wrong with these ingredients. In fact, they are quite beneficial, but they can only help to soften and hydrate skin — they do not help firm skin or reduce wrinkles.
Bottom Line: A day cream with chemical sunscreen ingredients that provides broad spectrum SPF 18 protection, which isn’t enough to protect against sunburn and skin cancer.
Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream
This is a popular Shiseido eye cream, but the formula is actually pretty disappointing. The first thing we noticed is the high concentration of skin-drying denatured alcohol. Alcohol-based products aren’t good anywhere on your body, especially around the eyes.
You’ll notice that this formula also contains a high concentration of glycerin and several different silicones. Combining alcohol with glycerin and silicones will provide an effect that disguises signs of aging.
You see, alcohol tightens the skin, glycerin hydrates the skin and thereby plumps skin, and silicones form a thin, invisible film that can help disguise signs of aging. However, these effects are temporary and will disappear once you wash off the product.
Another problem with this Shiseido eye cream is the inclusion of fragrance, which can cause skin sensitivity.
You may notice that this eye cream helps to brighten dark circles, but that’s because the formula contains iron oxides and minerals to basically cover up dark circles rather than actually correcting them. All in all, you’re better off applying concealer than using this eye cream.
Bottom Line: This Shiseido eye cream combines ingredients that temporarily disguise signs of aging, but the formula lacks ingredients that actually correct signs of aging long term.
Shiseido Waso Beauty Sleeping Mask
This gel cream is meant to be used as the final step in your skin care routine, but we wouldn’t recommend using it at all. That’s because this is another Shiseido product that contains a high concentration of alcohol, which damages the skin barrier and leads to problems when used long term.
Besides alcohol, the rest of the formula consists of humectants, dimethicone, and candelilla wax — and that’s it. All of the “key” ingredients, like ginseng, carrot cells, and Moutan bark extract, are used in very low concentrations in this formula (less than 1%).
We know this by looking at the ingredient list (which is in order of descending concentrations). All of these ingredients are listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol, which cannot be used in concentrations more than 1%.
Bottom Line: A sleeping mask with a high concentration of skin-drying alcohol and low concentrations of key ingredients.
Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate
A facial serum that includes alcohol as the highest concentration ingredient (after water). This is another Shiseido product that combines alcohol with humectants and silicones to temporarily disguise signs of aging.
Reishi mushroom, which the brand highlights as a “key” ingredient, is the lowest concentration ingredient in this serum.
There’s also a hefty amount of fragrance in this formula, which isn’t doing your skin any good.
Bottom Line: An alcohol-based, fragranced serum that may help temporarily disguise signs of aging, but we still wouldn’t recommend it due to the long term consequence of using alcohol-based products.
Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42 Sunscreen
This Shiseido sunscreen combines the mineral sunscreen zinc oxide with chemical sunscreens octinoxate and octocrylene to provide broad spectrum SPF 42 protection.
Similar to other Shiseido products, you’ll find high concentrations of denatured alcohol, humectants, and silicones in this sunscreen.
There’s also white peony and Baikal skullcap extracts, which both provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. But we don’t believe the benefits of these extracts outweigh the risk of using a product with such a high concentration of denatured alcohol.
Bottom Line: A broad spectrum SPF 42 sunscreen that includes a concerning amount of denatured alcohol.
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+
A clear sunscreen stick that works over and under makeup for sun protection on the go. The combination of four chemical sunscreen ingredients — avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene — provide broad spectrum SPF 50+ protection.
Silicones and emollients make up the rest of the formula, creating a sunscreen that applies easily and doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or sticky.
There’s a low concentration of fragrance in this sunscreen, which is better than other Shiseido products, but even the low amount could lead to skin sensitivity reactions.
Bottom Line: A clear sunscreen stick that provides broad spectrum SPF 50+ protection thanks to four chemical sunscreen ingredients.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen
This Shiseido sunscreen includes four chemical sunscreen ingredients — avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene — to provide broad spectrum SPF 50+ protection. The silky formula goes on clear and rubs in quickly.
But based on the reviews for this Shiseido sunscreen, it still leaves a greasy residue on skin, as one reviewer says, “This a greasy formula. Yes, it disappears but your skin is shiny and slimy.”
Similar to other Shiseido skin care products, there’s quite a few problematic ingredients in the formula, including denatured alcohol, fragrance, and one paraben.
Bottom Line: This broad spectrum sunscreen provides SPF 50+ and goes on clear, but may leave your skin feeling oily.
Which Shiseido Sunscreen is Right For You?
While we weren’t particularly impressed with any of the Shiseido sunscreen formulations, the best one, in our opinion, is the Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+. There’s no drying alcohol in this formula, and the compact stick makes for easy, portable coverage.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Shiseido Skin Care Products?
If there’s one thing we noticed about Shiseido skin care products, it’s the high concentrations of denatured alcohol in nearly all products.
The problem with this type of alcohol is that, at first, it seems like it’s benefitting the skin. Initially, alcohol gives products a quick-drying finish, immediately degreases the skin, and imparts a weightless feel.
However, these effects are temporary and will disappear once you wash off the product.
The major problem with using high concentrations of denatured alcohol is that this ingredient is well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier.
According to a publication in the journal BBA Biomembranes, alcohol can disrupt the lipids that make up the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin).
While alcohol may provide short term benefits, it’s not doing your skin any good in the long run.
And keep in mind that the brand combines denatured alcohol with high concentrations of humectants and silicones to disguise signs of aging.
Now don’t get us wrong; humectants and silicones aren’t bad ingredients. Humectants draw moisture into the skin and, therefore, are very hydrating. Silicones impart a silky, smooth skin feel while also forming an invisible film on the surface of skin to lock in moisture.
But like we mentioned earlier, combining these ingredients with denatured alcohol temporarily disguises lines and wrinkles, causing you to think the product is working. In our opinion, this is pretty deceptive, and it’s one reason we don’t recommend Shiseido skin care products.
How Much Do Shiseido Skin Care Products Cost?
Shiseido skin care products are priced at a mid to high range, for example, the Shiseido Waso Color Smart Day Moisturizer costs $38 USD for 50 mL and the White Lucent Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream costs $65 USD for just 15 mL.
Where to Buy Shiseido Skin Care Products?
Shiseido skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party retailers such as Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s, Walmart, and more. There’s also a store locator on the brand’s website so you can find a physical location that sells Shiseido skin care products near you.
What is The Shiseido Return Policy?
The Shiseido return policy states, “If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your Shiseido Online purchase, you may return it within 30 days of receipt and we will be happy to provide a full merchandise refund in the original form of payment.”
Is Shiseido Cruelty Free?
Shiseido is not cruelty free. In the brand’s animal testing policy, they state that they do not test on animals. However, Shiseido skin care products are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law.
Is Shiseido Vegan?
Shiseido may offer some products that are suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand.
Shiseido reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. One of the brand’s most popular products — Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+ — has received plenty of positive feedback, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than 1,000 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for this Shiseido sunscreen comment on its convenience, as well as the lightweight texture that doesn’t leave skin looking greasy.
For example, one review says, “This little guy is perfect to keep in the purse, it is so compact and easy to carry. It smells great! Not like typical SPF, and it doesn’t make your face greasy either! I will most definitely be purchasing this again in the future!”
Many reviews also mention how it works well both under and over makeup. For example, “Clear sunscreen is the bomb! Wear it Over or under make-up! Very compact fits in really small spaces. Very convenient and very, very effective!”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick from customers who noticed this sunscreen caused their skin to look oily.
For example, one review says, “I felt oily every time I touched my face as if it never sunk in. The stick or lotion are not great sunscreens to wear under makeup, making the foundation slip and unable to set.”
And another 1-star review says, “I didn’t love this. It is pretty expensive AND makes me super shiny/oily.”
Overall, we don’t recommend Shiseido skin care products because the cons outweigh the pros with nearly all of the brand’s products.
- Many positive Shiseido reviews
- High price point
- Nearly all products contain high concentrations of denatured alcohol
- Nearly all products contain fragrance
- Some products contain parabens
- Shiseido is not cruelty free
What Are Some Alternatives to Shiseido Skin Care Products?
If you’re looking for Skin Care products to address the signs of aging, one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
One Formulyst product we recommend is the Pro-Collagen Serum, which is specifically formulated for aging skin that has experienced a loss of collagen. Think of collagen as the scaffolding of the skin; it gives structure, support and suppleness. But collagen production naturally slows down as we age, causing wrinkles and fine lines to appear.
Formulyst’s Pro-Collagen Serum contains a highly concentrated mix of peptides and proteins, derived from seaweed, wheat and soy, to help tackle these signs of aging. Apply a few drops of this hydrating serum to help skin look smoother and younger.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in Skin Care products.
EWG “What Are Parabens, And Why Don’t They Belong in Cosmetics?” April 2019
American Academy of Dermatology “Sunscreen FAQs”