Earlier in the year, I was invited to preview the latest skincare launch from Shiseido, Essential Energy — a range inspired by neuroscience, of all things. Of course I was intrigued, as I’d never heard of anything like this before. It was the tail end of winter when I attended the event and given that I was already committed to testing out several other skincare products, it’s taken me until now to share my thoughts. The life of a beauty journalist, I tell you …
Find oversize glass doors, must pose
Morning green “cocktail” made with ashitaba, a key ingredient in Shiseido’s new Essential Energy range
On the left, I’m holding one of the original clay molds of the new Essential Energy jar shape; on the right is one of the first prototypes for the jar
When you unintentionally match the event theme
At the event, I was not only introduced to this new range, but also told that Shiseido was basically undergoing a rebranding, as well as dropping pretty much every other skincare range in their lineup (head’s up: if you have any faves from the brand, I suggest scooping them up while you can). The Essential Energy range jar shape was inspired by the bowls used in Japanese tea ceremony, and in fact there are 64 unique shapes (body & caps) — all created to fit ergonomically in the palm of your hand. Plus, their clean and organic look makes you want to display them, no?
For this launch, Shiseido teamed up with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, known the world over for her love of polka dots and infinity mirror installations — for the record, she’s now 89 and still going strong, to create a limited edition makeup bag (no longer available).
A Kusama Infinity Mirror installation
Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate (CAN $125.00/50 ml) | Shiseido happens to be one of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world (founded in 1872), and even though I’m relatively new to their skincare, what I have tried thus far has left a deep impression. This featherlight serum developed in tandem with Harvard scientists and which incorporates breakthrough technology, is made with Japanese botanicals and infused with ingredients such as:
- reishi mushroom – an antioxidant
- iris root extract – intense moisturizing properties
- gingko, shiso, thyme & lotus germ – firming properties
Free of parabens and mineral oil, this is meant to be used as a pre-treatment to supercharge any other products you layer on top. The texture is fluid (but not runny) and one pump warmed up slightly between fingertips before being applied to the skin, is all you need to cover your entire face and neck. Quickly absorbed into the skin, it bears a light fresh rose fragrance that quickly dissipates after application. Personally, I absolutely love how this feels and can definitely see improvement in my skin — I can’t say for certain whether it’s a result of this serum alone or the fact that I’ve been layering it with the Essential Energy moisturizer, but regardless: I’m actually seeing positive results.
Essential Energy Collection (CAN $64.00/each) | The collection consists of 3 moisturizers in 3 differing formats: a lightweight gel, a more emollient-type cream, and one with SPF. Created with ReNeura™ technology, this range is meant to enhance the “healthy appearance of the skin, combating the dullness and dryness associated with skin non-responsiveness”. Tell me if this sounds familiar: you diligently apply your skincare regimen and even though it may have appeared to show results at first, after a while it’s like nothing is happening anymore. That’s where the neuroscience part of this range comes into play; basically, it has your brain tell your skin cells to ‘wake up’, thus enabling the products to work more effectively.
The formulation contains an active response powder that is made up of “malleable spheres which gauge the skin’s senses, detecting information and damage in real time“. There’s also a sensorial effect that goes on at the same time, probably due to these microscopic spheres no doubt, where the actual sensation of the applied product almost feels like a subtle soothing massage as it glides smoothly along the skin. Ashitaba Extract (new to me, but apparently known in Japanese culture for centuries), helps to promote regeneration while other Japanese-inspired ingredients such as Assam Tea Extract and Pearl Extract inhibit “double carbonylation of the stratum corneum” (i.e.: helps keep the outer layer of skin smooth), Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract to suppress oxidation of lipids, and Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract to brighten dull skin and promote the production of epidermal hyaluronic acid.
- Essential Energy Moisturizing Cream – hands down my favourite of the three, mainly because I feel like my skin has been needing more moisture lately (thank you, hormones & screwy weather), it not only absorbs super fast, but has noticeably changed the texture of my skin as well, leaving it feeling literally as soft as a baby’s butt.
- Essential Energy Moisturizing Gel Cream – I loved using this during the summer when humidity levels soared; it’s cooling texture felt absolutely wonderful upon my overheated skin, leaving it feeling fully hydrated throughout the day.
- Essential Energy Day Cream SPF 20 – slightly thicker in feel to that of the Cream (most likely due to the included SPF), this should be reserved for daytime use (obviously) and apart from offering up all the benefits of the other two, it also helps defend against sun damage. I call that a win-win.
If the results I’ve seen by using the Ultimate Serum and Essential Energy range is anything to go by, then I’d have to say that Shiseido is definitely on to something pretty good. And speaking only for myself, what I love about these products is that not only is the entire regimen simple to use and wallet-friendly, but all apply beautifully without any residue issues, leave my skin looking brighter, definitely more even-toned & slightly plumped (which also means it helps minimize the look of those pesky fine lines), and unbelievably soft. Seriously; is it weird that I find myself constantly running the back of my hand along my cheeks? All this to say that I’m a convert and cannot recommend this range enough.
Available at Sephora, The Bay and online
Kindly provided by Shiseido for my unbiased consideration