Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream SPF 38 PA+++, for Face deserves a bit of explanation because of its PA+++ designation. This rating system was developed in Japan (where Shiseido is based) as a means to quantify the level of UVA protection a sunscreen can provide. “PA” stands for Protection-Grade of UVA. A PA+ rating signifies some UVA protection (which would apply to most sunscreens today), while a PA++ means moderate UVA protection, and PA+++ symbolizes high UVA protection. Because this particular sunscreen contains over 9% zinc oxide, it qualifies for its PA+++ rating. (This system is not recognized in the United States, Canada, or Australia.)
The fragranced base formula is suitable for normal to oily skin not prone to blemishes. This would be rated higher if it included greater amounts of antioxidants and did not contain a potentially problematic plant extract. Still, it has an admirably lightweight texture and silky-smooth finish and definitely provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
A highly nourishing cream-formula sunscreen for the face that defends against the powerful UVA/UVB rays that cause cell damage, dryness, roughness, and the premature signs of aging such as fine lines.
Active: Octinoxate (7.4%), Zinc Oxide (9.6%) Other: Water, Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-10, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Talc, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Glycerin, Xylitol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Ononis Spinosa Root Extract, Ectoin, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Isostearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, PEG-150, Calcium Stearate, Stearic Acid, Silica, Trisodium EDTA, BHT, Syzgium Jambos Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide
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
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.
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!
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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