Shiseido Ibuki Starter Kit: Before and After

3:52 PM

I've read rave reviews about the Shiseido Ibuki line but balked at the hefty price tag. Luckily, I spotted this starter kit at Nordstrom! It includes the Gentle Cleanser, Softening Concentrate, and Refining Moisturizer.

The Ibuki skincare line is formulated to be super-hydrating, enhancing skin's resistance "to UV rays, dryness, pollution, and stress" so as to prevent roughness, breakouts, dryness and flaking. It doesn't claim to be anti-aging, so it seems to target my demographic: the active student or the working woman. Read on to find out what happened to my skin after a month of use.

This starter kit is a complete three-step system with a cleanser, lotion (sometimes known as a toner), and moisturizer. The generously-sized bottles are perfect for on-the-go and contain enough product to last at least 6 weeks.

The Ibuki Gentle Cleanser is a foaming cleanser that looks and smells remarkably like Pond's facial wash. I find it similarly drying, making it unsuitable for winter. I would not use this daily even in the Philippines.

The Ibuki Softening Lotion is the star of the line. This runny, translucent liquid is heavily scented, floral and feminine. It smells like Palmolive shampoo! Like many Japanese toners, this is used as a pre-moisturizer, something that primes skin to allow better absorption of moisturizer. If you have an astringent toner, use it before this concentrate. After a month my skin feels marginally softer, but not particularly hydrated. I use this under my face base, because official moisturizers are too thick for me to use under anything heavier than a light dusting of powder.

The Ibuki Refining Moisturizer is runny and lightweight, even lighter than a gel moisturizer. It's just as scented as the previous two and dries to a sticky finish. Contrary to its description, it isn't hydrating enough for me. Not in winter at least. It would be good for oily skin. The Enriched cream would probably suit me better.

Before and afters after a month on this regimen, face freshly washed, no makeup. Again I apologize for the difference in color temperature. These were taken on opposite sides of the USA, with two different cameras. The befores are from when I was on the Mario Badescu regimen. I know that the photos don't show much of a difference but with Ibuki I feel my skin is actually duller and drier, despite warmer weather in the West Coast.

Rave reviews of the Ibuki line seem to come from bloggers in more humid climates, so I feel that this really isn't suited for Western weather, or even winter in some Asian countries. The Softening Lotion is the only one that yielded modest benefits. I'll give it another try when I get back to the Philippines, but for now I'm shelving these products.

The Wrap


Great starter kit that lasts 6-8 weeks.
Probably best for oilier skin.
Softening Lotion yields moderately softer skin.


Heavily fragranced; sensitive skin be forewarned.
Not sufficiently hydrating.
Effects don't justify the price tag.

I got the Shiseido Ibuki Ready for Anything Skin Starter Kit from Nordstrom for $25 USD. Shiseido is available at select department stores, Sephora, and You can also find Shiseido counters at major department stores in the Philippines.

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Majority of the products you see here are purchased by me. Products that are provided by companies for consideration will contain a footnote indicating that fact, as will affiliate links. Rest assured that all reviews are written with my honest opinion.

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