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· Beauty Notes: Shiseido Revital and Anessa

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Beauty Notes: Shiseido Revital and Anessa
by Dain

Of late, I've grown excessively fond of Shiseido skincare. What marks out this luxury brand from our reliable favorites from Embryolisse and DHC and Olay the ingredients lists cannot explain. In all likelihood, there is too little difference in foam cleansers to justify the price of The Skincare Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam. Gimmicks, too, cannot be swallowed whole and entire—everything about the presentation of White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment proclaims it as a cure for undereye circles—in reality, continued use makes you look less tired than usual, but if concealer remains a necessity, it's not quite worth $52.

What Shiseido does really well, apart from the seminal softener, are moisturizers and sunscreens.

My skin, which only seems to get drier as I age, needs a rich cream to be happy. Sometimes, people classify their skin as dry or slightly dry, because it enjoys a substantive moisturizer, when their true complaint is dehydration, low moisture levels in the surface layers of the skin. Dehydration, other than a visible reduction in radiance, interferes with cell turnover: at its worst, it can suffer from both flakes and clogged pores. This distinction may seem somewhat jesuitical, but without the appropriate terminology in mind, the task of choosing the proper moisturizer for your skin type is that much more problematic. Dry skin, in its classic definition, is a chronic condition in which the skin produces insufficient sebum. Since oil prevents moisture loss, it is frequently dehydrated, but just as acne-prone skin is not the affliction of adolescents alone, dehydration is not at all specific to dry skin. The pores are small, so the texture of the skin, though fine and smooth, is also thin and fragile, so dry skin is often prone to sensitivity: chemicals burn, scrubs abrade, and even harsh weather feels abusive. As anyone with oily skin can tell you, there isn't much you can do to dampen the enthusiasm of hyperactive oil glands. Dry skin, with its sluggish pores, is equally at a loss to correct its imbalance.

I've never bought into expensive skincare, except in the name of "research", but in Korea they always give you these deluxe samples every time you purchase something, and the Cream Science AA (about $250) was among them. I was suffering from severe contact dermatitis at the time, a harsh scrub compounded by seasonal allergies, and most of my skin felt thoroughly dead. This cream somehow managed to return my skin to normal—soft, plumped, hydrated, bright, clear, and healthy again—only after I fell in love did I learn its price. The texture is as luxurious buttery as an eye cream, and yet absorbs rapidly into my dry skin, with a delicate, leafy fragrance that pleases even my picky nose. It was not my intention to consider anti-aging creams (while I can't vouch whether it's Shiseido's "Cassumar Extract G" and the "Collagen Complex" at work, but my skin does feel firmer), but since sebum production diminishes as it ages, it makes sense that Revital Cream Science AA restores lipid production in dry skin. Most moisturizers only delay the inevitable. While dehydrated skin often reacts to harsh, stripping skincare by overcompensating with extra oil, but even under gentle treatment dry skin is perennially parched. My skin feels comfortable again.
    INGREDIENTS (nothing special; no idea why it works so well for me): water, hydrogenated c6-14 olefin polymers, glycerin, cetyl ethylhexanoate, cyclomethicone, butylene glycol, dipropylene glycol, erythritol, microcrystalline wax, disteardimonium hectorite, isostearic acid, squalane, sodium chloride, sodium pca, glyceryl behenate/ eicosadioate, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, tocopheryl acetate, arginine HCL, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, mortierella oil, bupleurum falcatum root extract, zingiber cassumunar root extract, soluble collagen, hydrogenated lecithin, saccharomyces ferment lysate filtrate, petrolatum, dimethicone copolyol, trisodium edta, cellulose gum, sodium metaphosphate, PEG-30 soy sterol, tocopherol, ethylparaben, butylparaben, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, iron oxides.
I also quite like the basic Softener EX II and Moisturizer EX II duo, for drier skin types, and may acquire the retinol-laced Wrinklelift AA when the aforementioned White Lucent has run its course.

I don't like sunscreen. I've long avoided it—hardly the first time I've ignored the voice of conscience—so much did I abhor the textures. Traditional sunscreens are thick as grease, uncomfortably heavy to wear about your day. If purported to be matte, the so-called "dry" finish is really a rubbery, protective coat, like a condom for the skin. Only Olay Complete has been remotely satisfactory, more like a light lotion than a proper sunscreen, but is unavailable, so far as I know, in Korea. Luckily, there's Anessa, one of Shiseido's lines. The Milky Sunscreen (Town Use) SPF 32 PA+++ ($37), currently its full and proper name, is a sunscreen I feel fully comfortable using. It is pricey, but no complaint can be leveled at its performance. There is only the faintest masking scent, a bit like Elmer's Glue. Unlike the other Anessa variants, which are quite liquid, the Milky Sunscreen (Town Use) is creamy and comes packaged in a squeeze tube, intended for drier skins, like mine, but the texture is deceptive: it behaves more like a foundation primer for dry skin. It is not fully waterproof, but I use a cleansing oil for removal in any case. And it does not irritate my skin in any way. I've never felt even a glimmer of loyalty to a sunscreen before; I can stand behind this one as an absolute necessity in my skincare regime.
    INGREDIENTS (apologies if I spell awry; long list): water, cyclomethicone, glycerin, alcohol, silica, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl ethylhexanoate, lauryl peg-9 polydimethylsiloxmethyl dimethicone, octocrylene, dimethicone, caprylyl methicone, disteardimonium hectorite, PED-PPG-17/4 dimethyl ether, trimethylsiloxysilicate, methyl gluceth-10, PEG-PPG-14/7 dimethyl ether, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, sodium hyaluronate, thymus serpillum extract, potentilla erecta root extract, trithoxycaprylsilane, polybutene glycol/PPG-9/1 copolymer, isostearic acid, trisodium EDTA, distearyldimonium chloride, butylene glycol, BHT, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, zinc oxide.
Both Anessa and Revital are brands that are not available on the US market.

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