Review: Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector

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 spot corrector review

Probably the most aggressively feminine bottle in my current stash.

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.

Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector package claimsBest suited for: All skin types.

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

CosDNA analysis

Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector English ingredients

Lots to type out. Lots of squinting was done.

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.

Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector bottle detail

Performance

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.

Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector package insert

Soooooo many sciencey-sounding claims.

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.

Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector texture

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.

Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector review feature image

I swear to God, the higher the price point, the more words the company feels compelled to shove into the package.

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.

Rating: 3/5

Rating scale:

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!

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5 responses to “Review: Shiseido White Lucent MicroTargeting Spot Corrector

  1. I have only tried a few Shiseido skincare products, all within the last few years, and I couldn’t tell you their names but they were all cosmetically elegant and felt good on my skin. I’ve never been impressed enough by their ingredients lists to want to buy any, though, especially at their price-points.

    I am curious about your experience with the lipsticks, though. I have been incredibly impressed with all of the Shiseido makeup I’ve used, all purchased within the last 5 years or so.

    They make the best cream eyeshadows on the market, but they only come in high-gloss/glitter/shimmer/sheen shades and I’ve hit that age where those are no longer an option for me. If they made mattes, I’d own them all. Ditto on their powder eyeshadows, which are great quality – finely milled gorgeous textures, fantastic color selection, easy to apply and blend, long-lasting – but also mostly shimmers. Their powder bronzer (Bronzer Oil-Free) is great and I have repurchased the Sheer Eye Zone Corrector many times.

    I’ve never tried any of their lipsticks, but I’m not sure why. Maybe lots of those are shimmery, too? I’d like to hear what you think regardless.

    Thanks! and thanks for the post!

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    • Ooo, I just wanted to agree with you on the quality of Shiseido makeup. Best eye makeup on the market. It’s incredible! I wore one of their cream eyeshadows with one of their powder eyeshadows over the top in a tropical heatwave, and they did not budge at all. The rest of me was dripping with sweat, but they hadn’t shifted into any lines or faded. My eyelids are so dry that I’d used a couple of watery layers, oil, moisturiser and sunscreen and yet these eyeshadows stayed in the insane humidity over the top of those. Incredible. I use the white cream eyeshadow as my eye primer now. Like you, I wish I could get less sparkly versions alongside that line, but I do keep an eye out for lower sheen ones that they release periodically. I’ve found the middle colour of their Strata trio to be not too glittery. Their blush is also brilliant.

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  2. I recently got into korean skincare and I can see some improvements already, but unfortunately korean products are much more expensive than drugstore products from my country. I always try to find the best products for the cheapest price. But I can’t find any good and affordable moisturizers.. First I bought the Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel because I really hate any kind of sticky feeling, but it’s not enough for my dry skin. Do you have any recommendations for moisturizing creams that are suitable for dry skin and aren’t over 15 USD or even less?

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