When I heard that Shiseido was launching a skincare line for millennials I was pretty curious. I’ve never actually plunked down the money for Shiseido’s regular skincare because I find the ingredients to be pretty lackluster compared to the prices — and deluxe samples didn’t dissuade me of that notion. But a cheaper, younger-targeted line that I could try for $25 by buying a starter kit at Sephora? Hello, I’m in.
I’m exhausted (I’ve been freelancing for other sites; you can read what I’ve been up to here) and [SPOILER ALERT] I’m returning this to Sephora, so apologies for the stock images. I plan to get back to using my own uninspiring photos soon lol, but I wanted to get this up to keep other people from making the same mistake I did.
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-8 Diisostearate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Isostearic Acid, Fragrance, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Caramel, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Limonene, Betaine, Honey, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Royal Jelly Extract, BHT. CosDNA analysis.
pH level: I’m getting 5.5 straight out of the tube, 5.0 when mixed with my awesome NYC (7.0) water.
WASO Quick Gentle Cleanser Rating
Ingredients/pH: B+. The ingredients and pH are fine overall, but I prefer to avoid cleansers with Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a surfactant that can be rough on skin. Honey and royal jelly are mentioned in the marketing copy, but they appear at the end of the ingredient list, so they’re barely in there.
Price/value: C+. At $28.00 for the full-size 5-ounce bottle, the price isn’t egregious, but this is a basicass gel-to-bubble cleaner that brings zilch that’s special to the table.
Sensory experience (texture, scent, skin feel): B. The cleanser is heavily fragranced and doesn’t bubble up particularly well. Shiseido claims it foams up even without water and I don’t even know what that means because I can barely get it to bubble with water, let along foam. Maybe Shiseido is banking on everyone using cleansing devices?
Results: A-. This does rinse clean and I don’t find that it makes my skin feel coated or tight after using it. I’m not noticing any special bonus skin effects and I suspect it could be too striping for more sensitive or dry skin.
Overall: B. This is a merely fine cleanser that’s not cheap per ounce, doesn’t really do anything special, and isn’t very pleasant to use thanks to the rather un-millennial fragrance. I’d skip this.
Ingredients: Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betaine, Erythritol, Trehalose, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrogenated Dimer Dilinoleyl PEG-44/Poly(1,2-Butanediol)-15 Dimethyl Ether, PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Carbomer, Lauryl Betaine, Fragrance (Parfum), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Lamium Album Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Sodium Benzoate, BHT, Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharide, Tocopherol. CosDNA analysis.
WASO Fresh Jelly Lotion Rating
Ingredients: B. The ingredients are fine on a technical level. It’s a moisturizing toner (lotion = toner in Japan, for the most part), so the main ingredients are humectants. The product doesn’t rely on alcohol to dry down, which is nice. What surprised me is that there are no “WOW!” ingredients such as plant extracts high in the ingredient list. The marketing copy highlights the Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharide in here, but AGAIN, it’s way down the ingredient list.
Price/value: B. At $30.00 for 5 oz., this isn’t a terrible value, but it also not a great value when you compare it to well-known, affordable lotions like Hada Labo.
Sensory experience (texture, scent, skin feel): C. This comes out of the bottle as a thin gel-liquid and then melts on contact with your skin. It’s a cool effect but the formula is slow to dry down. The killer is the scent: the fragrance is incredibly heavy and I don’t associate the scent with a millennial concept at all. It’s not old lady-ish, but nothing about it says “youthful” to me.
Results: C. This has a fairly heavy finish for a moisturizing toner. When I run my fingers over my skin about 5 minutes after application, there’s lotion residue on my skin and it feels kind of gummy. To me, that’s not desirable; I think of that as a less sophisticated formula. I have tons of moisturizing toners of varying thicknesses and they tend to dry down nicely. Not sure what’s going on here. My skin ends up feeling sort of hydrated, but mainly on the surface layer. I feel like this product is banking on my skin not needing much, which kind of pisses me off because why would I use skincare if I didn’t want skincare effects???
Overall: C. This has a promising texture straight out of the bottle, but the fragrance-loaded formula just doesn’t deliver and feels gross.
Buy instead: Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner. This toner has the same touted mushroom ingredient as the Waso lotion, but actually feels good and works.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol, Xylitol, SD Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denat), PEG-20, BIS-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Dipeptide-15, Dimethicone, Erythritol, PEG-150, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Trehalose, Sodium Chloride, Betaine, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-19/19 Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylene Glycol, Trisodium EDTA, PEG/PPG-17/4 Dimethyl Ether, Caffeine, Alcohol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Fragrance, Sodium Metabisulfite, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, BHT, Lamium Album Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Protoplasts, Citrus Junos Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Benzoic Acid, Beta-Carotene (CI 75130). CosDNA analysis.
WASO Clear Mega-Hydrating Cream Rating
Ingredients: C. The ingredients are pretty meh, and you can totally feel the array of ‘cones aka. silicones in here. Again, “whole carrot cells” (wut) show up at the end of the list, not impressed.
Price/value: B. $38.00 for 50ml (standard jar size)…it wouldn’t be unthinkable if the product were good, but it’s not.
Sensory experience (texture, scent, skin feel): D. This feels like the lube that comes with self-assemble exercise equipment. The scent isn’t overpowering, but it’s a bit like hairspray.
Results: D. I found this to sit on top of my skin while seemingly doing nothing for it. Unlike an occlusive, it didn’t even prevent moisture loss from my skin, it just sat there and felt gross. When used in combination with the lotion, my makeup was easy to apply because my face was so slick, but it also meant that my base was ready to slide off for the day long before I got back home. Waso says it can be used under or over makeup. What does that even mean?? Why would I put a cream OVER my makeup? Disgusting all around, to be honest.
Overall: D. There is no universe where I would want to use this product. The only thing going for it is that it didn’t cause pain or irritation.
Shiseido WASO Starter Kit Rating: C
While I was excited to have the chance to try these new products cheaply, the formulas are totally unacceptable in my opinion. Unlike some products where the issue is the cost/value, the lotion and cream formulas are very unpleasant to me. On top of that, nothing about this line says “millennial.” Perhaps the products are terrible because Shiseido believes that younger skin doesn’t require much to look and feel good? But anyone with skin and friends knows that’s not true. Finally, the scents of these products are terrible and too strong. I’m returning this. Try harder, Waso.
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