For just about as long as I can remember, I’ve had a reverence for the Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido. The 144-year-old(!!!and no wrinkles) company was pretty much the only Asian brand that was well known and widely available in the US when I was growing up. Shiseido became shorthand in my head for luxury and prestige. Even more importantly than that, it became shorthand for luxury and prestige that came from Asia, something that will always resonate with me.
The market is very different these days, but when Shiseido’s US PR got in touch with me last year, I happily accepted their offer of some skincare and lipsticks to try. Since I have constant brightening concerns, the White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector was the first bottle I cracked open.
The product featured in this post was provided by a Fifty Shades of Snail sponsor.
Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector Review
Purpose: Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector is a serum that claims to fade dark spots and improve skin’s overall radiance.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to alcohol, fragrance, silicones, vitamin E, limonene, linalool, botanical extracts, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: Use during the serum stage of your skincare routine. Dispense one to two pumps and spread evenly over skin. Pat in or let dry slightly before moving on to the next step. (Need help putting your products in order? Read this post!)
Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector ingredients: Water, alcohol denat., glycerin, PEG-8, betaine, dipropylene glycol, dimethicome, cetyl ethylhexanoate, triethylhexanoin, xylitol, PEG/PPG-14/7 dimethyl ether, potassium methoxysalicylate, phenoxyethanol, isostearic acid, butylene glycol, carbomer, potassium hydroxide, lauryl betaine, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, xanthan gum, alcohol, tocopherol, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, 2-0-ethyl ascorbic acid, fragrance, sodium metaphosphate, disodium EDTA, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, butylphenyl methylpropional, glucosamine HCI, sodium metabisulfite, limonene, linalool, sodium hyaluronate, prunus yedoensis leaf extract, alpha-isomethyl ionone, angelica acutiloba root extract, paeonia suffruticosa root extract, crataegus monogyna flower extract, resveratrol, rehmannia chinensis root extract, lilium candidum bulb extract, artemisia princeps leaf extract, uncaria gambir extract, pyrola incarnata extract, iron oxides (CI 77492), iron oxides (CI 77491), sodium benzoate, glucosyl hesperidin
Notable ingredients: Okay, so. Hmm. The ingredients list doesn’t really start out promisingly. The top handful of ingredients are primarily moisturizing and/or texture-enhancing. Also, hello, alcohol denat. in the second spot! I’m not particularly against alcohol in skincare, but in that spot, this product is presumably either pretty much all water or contains a lot of alcohol denat.
What the MicroTargeting Spot Corrector doesn’t contain are the usual spot-fading, skin-brightening ingredients I’m used to seeing. No niacinamide, arbutin, or even tranexamic acid, kojic acid, or morus alba (mulberry). Instead, Shiseido uses potassium methoxysalicylate, 2-0-ethyl ascorbic acid, and glucosamine HCI as its key lightening agents. As far as I could find, none of those ingredients has quite the breadth of scientific backing that most of the others I listed do, except maybe glucosamine. Still, Shiseido is known for their R&D and certainly has the resources to come up with novel formulations, so let’s just see what this can do.
I’ve been using the MicroTargeting Spot Corrector at least once daily for about six weeks now. Since my overall routine contains a lot of other brightening products, I designated a specific zone of my face (eye area and tops of cheekbones) as off-limits for all other brighteners. I also did what I did with Sulwhasoo’s Snowise Brightening Serum: I used the Shiseido serum on the top of one slightly tanned foot to see whether it would have an effect on pigmentation or the slight tan line there, in absolute isolation from any other products.
One of the many lofty claims the brand makes in its package insert is that the MicroTargeting Spot Corrector “focuses on quick improvement processes.” The product page on Shiseido’s website specifies that 73 percent of consumers who used it in an independent consumer study saw results on dark spots after two weeks. (Also, the typo in the URL of that page is pretty fun. Did you sport it?)
After six weeks, I haven’t seen dramatic changes in the landscape of the remaining sunspots on my upper cheekbones or the one single one on my left eyelid. The edges are a bit more faded, but neither the big ones nor the lighter little spots (which the package insert also specifies will be, uh, micro-targeted) have gone anywhere. I do notice a slight increase in overall translucence and even tone, particularly on the foot I subjected to this serum. The effects aren’t drastic for me, but I can see how they could be for someone with a more limited routine and fewer strong actives than I use.
If you read my review of the Sulwhasoo Snowise serum, all of this may sound familiar. In a lot of ways, my experiences with the products were similar. Not a whole lot of substantial improvement but some effects on overall evenness and surface translucence. I did feel the Shiseido serum had a little bit more fading power than the Sulwhasoo, though still nowhere near comparable to an AHA, a retinoid, or a really well formulated niacinamide serum like Shark Sauce.
Physically, the White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector has a lot in common with the Sulwhasoo serum, too. It’s a comparatively thin and watery-feeling liquid with a lot of slip and a pretty strong fragrance. I didn’t have any problems with the alcohol or other ingredients in the product–no breakouts or irritation–and I found it pleasant to apply (if perfumey) and very fast-drying. (Thanks, alcohol!) It also comes in an airless pump bottle, a nice touch that helps preserve the product’s effectiveness.
One final note on the performance of this product: The package insert claims not only reparative but also preventative benefits to the MicroTargeting Spot Corrector. It’s meant to resist the formation of new dark spots or hyperpigmentation over time.
Strong antioxidants, like the resveratrol in this product, may not only help ward off free radical-induced skin aging, but also prevent pigment darkening by inhibiting the oxidation of melanin already present in skin. That may be the case, but it doesn’t make this a substitute for sunscreen. Really, no matter what other brightening products you’ve got going on, you should be backing them up with sunscreen. You just won’t make any progress otherwise.
Conclusion: Has my experience with the White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector dimmed a little of the Shiseido brand’s luster in my mind? Yeah, I guess. I was disappointed in the fairly minimal results I got after an extended period of use. It’s important to note that I’m used to attacking my pigmentation issues with much stronger actives, however, and also important to note that I did see some improvement–just not equivalent to what I see with vitamin C or tretinoin. Strong actives aren’t for everyone, so if you’re just looking for increased overall translucency and even skin tone and are willing to shell out the $100+ for a bottle of this product, you may find it does what you need.
1 – This should be taken off the market, or this failed at its one primary job.
2 – Caused me some problems or doesn’t work very well; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Worth rebuying.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.
Where can I buy Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector?
Shiseido products are available in many department stores. I’ve also heard the odd report of the White Lucent line appearing at places like TJ Maxx, though I’m not sure whether that bodes well for those products’ expiration status. The White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector can also be purchased online at:
If you’re fighting pigmentation or looking for a radiance boost, check out the rest of the posts in my Brightening category!