If you're busy maneuvering your kitten heels up the career ladder, Shiseido's streamlined Ibuki range will give you "ready-for-anything" skin, so you can play the game of life without aching over acne and fine lines
Leave it to Shiseido to conjure up a skincare line that seems custom-made for the better part of LegazpiFabModa fans. Yes, we're talking about you, dear reader straddling the stressful 20s to 40s – that no woman's land between battling post-pubertal spots and warding off post-menopausal wrinkles.
The claim: The Ibuki line – its Japanese moniker roughly translates to "inner strength" – fortifies your skin's layer of protective lipid cells against external enemies like free radicals, global warming-era pollution and ill-advised lifestyle choices (we're talking smoking, frequent all-nighters and one too many cocktails).
Here's how: Shiseido's new "Shape Memorizing Cell Technology" works like a hawk-eyed tuition teacher, coaxing your lazy skin cells to "remember" their moist, youthful plumpness. With long-term use of the cleanser, toner, moisturizer and eye cream, your skin is trained to "bounce" back after bombardment by baddies.
Additionally, a PhytoResist Complex composed of botanical actives like hydrating trehelose and white nettle extract, collagen-creating citrus junos seed extract and a beet molasses-derived exfoliating agent work in tandem to birth new skin that's smooth and buoyant like well, a firm fishball.
REVIEW: In a nutshell – I'll be repurchasing just about everything when my current supply runs out.
In an age of byzantine, multi-step regimes, the Japanese stripped-down simplicity of Ibuki is seriously refreshing – all told, there're just three steps in this routine.
First, decide between two cleanser options: Opt for the Gentle Cleanser if you have normal to dry skin, or use the Purifying Cleanser if you have combination to oily skin ($43 each, 125ml).
I alternated between the two, lathering up with the milder Gentle Cleanser in the morning and sloughing off the day's grime with the Purifying Cleanser at night. Both worked up lush, ultra-fine bubbles when massaged into my skin, and left my face comfortably clean with a ruddy, English Rose glow.
The Softening Concentrate ($50, 75ml) is essentially a serum-like "softener" – as with most Asian brands, the term "toner" appears to have fallen out of favour – that Shiseido says will prep the skin for subsequent skincare steps. You could use cotton pads, but I patted it in with cupped palms. My skin sopped up the silky formula in less than a minute (yes, I used a mental timer) and felt pliable and pillowy after – for once, I fully appreciated the value of a "softening" product.
At this juncture, you may incorporate a targeted treatment product of your choice – but for the sake of this review, I twisted my fingers and left my suite of serums well alone. Instead, I stuck to Shiseido's recommended routine and proceeded to apply one of three moisturizers, all of which contain a trio of spot-fighting and brightening ingredients – peony root extract, exotic lempuyang ginger extract and the more familiar astringent, witch hazel.
The day version was my favourite – the Protective Moisturizer SPF15 ($66, 75ml) dried to a satiny finish, and finely milled powders lit up my pale complexion with an Instagram filter-like luminosity.
At night, I took one for the team and experimented by applying the lighter Refining Moisturizer ($66, 75ml) on one side of my face and the Refining Moisturizer Enriched($66, 50ml) on the other.
For a beauty writer whose mien is quite literally my money-maker, these trials are always a harrowing experience. Unfortunately, I have to report that the latter caused my jawline to break out in small bumps (a blemish-prone zone which, to be fair, has always been a volatile minefield for me) – so if you have oily skin like me, approach the Enriched version with a healthy degree of caution.
On the bright side (pun!), I adored the Refining Moisturizer. As a hypothetical cosmetologist, I'd be hard-pressed to improve upon the lovely porcelain-hued packaging, evanescent floral scent and meltingly milky texture of the lotion. Smoothing it on was actually sexy, in the all-encompassing, toe-curling, soul-stirring sense of the word. This sort of unfettered joy is the raison d'etre behind my love affair with beauty...but enough with the purple prose, and on to the eyes.
The Eye Correcting Cream ($60, 15ml) functions much like a CC cream. Key takeaways include the formula's depuffing herbal extract of houttuynia cordata, traditionally used to relieve water retention, as well as its universally flattering, pale rose hue that veils the shadowy, telltale signs of fatigue.
Like me, you'll probably have to layer a concealer on top of it during the day, but that's par for the course.
All things considered, Shiseido's Ibuki is a more than decent skincare range that hits some really sweet spots – the cleansers and Refining Moisturizer are well deserving of a slot in your beauty cabinet, and have, indeed, become permanent fixtures in mine.
Now I'll have Ibuki to tide me over untill I – shudder – wade into "mature" skin territory.