Launched in Singapore at the start of 2010, the Shiseido White Lucent range promises to brighten the complexion and reduce hyper-pigmentation.
The White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum was an instant hit locally and incredibly, sold out within January. Subsequent shipments of the serum similarly flew off the shelves. No mean feat, considering the product costs almost S$160!
Starting out as a pharmacy in 1872, Shiseido developed Eudermine, its first skincare product, in 1897. Its name a derivation of the Greek words for ‘good’ and ‘skin’ (eu: good; derma: skin), Eudermine was reformulated and re-introduced a century (!) later in 1997.
Since the creation of Eudermine, Shiseido has worked to help women achieve clear skin and is a recognised whitening expert in the beauty industry. With a history that spans almost 140 years and a strong tradition of intensive skincare research, Shiseido created White Lucent in response to the needs of contemporary women, for whom whitening continues to be a skincare concern, next to anti-aging.
A whitening line that focuses on imparting clarity and luminosity to the visage, White Lucent – as its name suggests – also aims to give skin translucence. Containing efficacious ingredients, the products are classified as quasi-drugs (products with medicinal content), a category between medicine and cosmetics.
Several of my friends use and laud White Lucent, so I was curious about it. I was able to sate my curiosity, thanks to an invitation from Shiseido Singapore to attend a White Lucent workshop. There, I learnt many facts relating to the line and reaffirmed what I know about skincare.
Angela, one of the Shiseido skincare trainers, first introduced the Japanese term for whitening: ‘bihaku’, which also means ‘美白’ (měi bái) in Chinese. Although the phrase combines the words ‘beauty’ and ‘whiteness’, it’s not all about fairness. After all, darker skin tones can be clear and radiant too. As such, White Lucent’s emphasis is on achieving clarity of the skin.
She went on to state that melanin is our skin’s natural sunscreen, a form of protection against UV rays. However, its overproduction can lead to blemishes and uneven skin tone. As such, whitening products aim to inhibit melanin production.
Interestingly, White Lucent targets pigmentation at three stages of melanin production and it is this multi-level approach that distinguishes Shiseido White Lucent from other whitening ranges.
According to the brand, SWL:
1. Inhibits melanocyte activity to prevent future unwanted pigmentation with m-Tranexamic Acid.
2. Attacks underlying pigmentation by purging trapped melanocytes with 4MSK (potassium methoxy salicylate).
3. Lightens what is present (freckles and scars, for instance) with Multi-Target Vitamin C (Vitamin C ethyl).
Other whitening ingredients include arbutin and progressive-release Vitamin C (ascorbic acid 2-glucoside) and Yomogi extract. The last ingredient apparently ‘boosts skin’s metabolism, suppresses melanin build-up, and promotes skin’s ability to shed hyperpigmented cells’.
The ideal way to use the basic White Lucent range is as follows:
Step 1: White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam (S$57)
- Squeeze out 1 cm of the foam. Add some water and gently lather it up.
- Once the cleanser is suitably foamy (much like whipped cream), apply it onto the face.
- Gently clean the face in circular motions with your middle and ring fingers.
The foaming action, together with the formula, will not only clean the face of impurities, it will also remove dead skin cells, leaving the face fairer. I’ve tried this and really like how my skin and neck look clearer and more even toned, post-wash.
Step 2: White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener (S$79)
- Saturate a cotton pad with the softener.
- Wipe the the entire face with the cotton pad.
A softening lotion is a must-do/must-have in the Shiseido skincare regiment. The softener apparently restores the skin’s pH level as the cleansing foam leaves the skin more alkaline post-wash (alkalinity makes the skin more vulnerable and exposed to stimuli). The softening lotion also helps essence and the like to better penetrate the skin.
Although it is not a toner, the lotion also helps to remove dead skin cells as the softener has exfoliating properties as well. People who’ve used this have mentioned how the lotion helps the cotton pad to pick up facial debris!
Step 3: White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum (S$159)
- Pump the bottle twice and pat the serum all over the face.
Two pumps is the recommended amount. This should be done both day and night. As the light fluid is easily absorbed, a minute is all you need before applying other products on the skin. The brand advises customers not to stint on the product or apply too much of it, in order for it to work.
Step 4: White Lucent Moisturiser (Brightening Moisturizing Emulsion/Cream/Gel or Brightening Protective Emulsion/Cream SPF 15 PA++)
- Dispense a suitable amount of the chosen moisturiser and massage it into the skin in an upward, circular motion.
The creams are richer and more suited for night use. Their goodness is apparently best harnessed between 10 pm to 2 am, the period of golden slumber. ;)
There are other products in the range that fit into this regime. I was particularly intrigued by the White Lucent Brightening Massage Cream, a lubricating cream that promotes facial blood circulation. Recommended to be used after the serum and removed before moisturising, the emollience of this specialised cream allows massage actions to take place on delicate facial skin. We were warned not to use a moisturiser for this purpose – some moisturisers are meant to be absorbed and not slip-sliding across the face, so this might have a detrimental effect on the skin.
Another interesting fact I learnt was that toner is applied after moisturiser in the Shiseido skincare system. According to Angela, softening lotion ‘opens the door’ for moisturiser penetration and toner ‘shuts the door’ – pores tighten; trapping the moisturiser. For oily skins, she recommended saturating cotton pads with the White Lucent Brightening Toning Lotion and applying them on the T-zone to control sebum secretion. These pads also act like mini toning masks.
Erica, the other Shiseido skincare trainer who was at the workshop, was wearing the White Lucent Brightening Powder Foundation SPF25 PA+++. The colour match was perfect and it gave her face an absolutely flawless appearance! According to the Shiseido Singapore website, it ‘contains Luminizing Veil Powder to camouflage imperfections, pores, and shadows with a soft natural-looking finish’.
After the presentation and product play, everyone at the workshop was given a skin analysis. We had our skin tested with a portable machine that presented a magnified view of the skin’s surface on a screen (the horror!) to find out our skin type.
From the results, we could determine how to manage our skin using the right products.
Erica had this advice to share: Select a moisturiser based on the skin condition of the cheeks, not the T-zone.
She was a real sweetheart – Cheerful the entire time, she was happy to dispense skincare facts and tips. I really enjoyed talking to her. She’s beautiful in person and the perfect spokeswoman for the White Lucent range (look at her glowing visage!).
Possessing a wealth of dermatological knowledge, the trainers not only fielded questions with ease, they also did it with passion. I was quite impressed by their willingness to share their knowledge and their enthusiasm in doing so. Thank you Shiseido Singapore, for the relaxing and informative session!