Shiseido IBUKI Starter Set: Smooth & Trouble Free

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Softening products are my jam, especially now that the air is so cold and dry. A few days ago I got a humidifier which should help my moisturizing creams and serums be even more effective, and I’m already feeling the positive results. After all, nothing’s better than smooth and supple complexion!

Shiseido IBUKI Starter Set

Shiseido IBUKI Starter Set appeared on my desk several months ago, but I had the opportunity to actually try it in action only a couple weeks ago. The set contains three travel-sized products: Gentle Cleanser, Refining Moisturizer, and Softening Concentrate. According to Shiseido, this basic skincare line is targeted for 20-30 year old demographic and aims to address and prevent the effects of environmental damage, pollution, and rough skin texture. Not much in terms of anti-aging, but basics are important, too!

Shiseido IBUKI Starter Set

Shiseido IBUKI Gentle Cleanser [$30 for 4.5 oz, available here] has a no-nonsense pearly foaming formula that removes oil, dirt, and impurities from the skin without stripping it of essential moisture. That’s in theory, but in practice it’s a fairly harsh cleanser with pH9.5, and that’s after being mixed with water. If you apply the paste straight to the skin, the pH is even higher – slightly over 10. What that means is that it will dry out your skin worse than most bar soaps. While I love many Shiseido products, this one was a disappointment. Also, tou can read more about my reasons for picking low pH cleansers here.

Shiseido IBUKI Starter Set

Shiseido IBUKI Softening Concentrate [$38 for 5 oz, available here] is a serum and essence in one. It’s promised to deliver a boost of hydration and enhance the benefits of other skincare products in the routine. I thought this lightweight essence was quite pleasant to use, even though the fragrance was quite strong. Instead of soaking a cotton pad, I decided to apply this concentrate straight to the skin, patting in for better absorbance. The result: moisturized surface with smooth velvety texture.

Shiseido IBUKI Refining Moisturizer [$45 for 2.5 oz, available here] is described as a corrector for uneven skin texture and complexion. It promises to smooth out any rough spots and dry patches, while minimizing the appearance of enlarged pores and skin discolorations. This milky emulsion was very pleasant to apply, and made my combination skin feel fantastic! I would’ve liked it even better if only it didn’t contain so much fragrance, but that’s probably just me because I’m prone to scent-induced migraines.

Shiseido IBUKI Starter Set

Bottom line: Shiseido starter sets are a good way to try the line without committing to full-sized products, so definitely check them out to find one best suited for your skin’s needs. As for the products I tried, the cleanser ended up being too harsh for my liking, but the moisturizing emulsion and the essence-like softener smoothed out all rough spots and quenched dry patches on my combination/dehydrated skin. However, even though I liked the overall look and feel of my face after using this duo, it lacks the anti-aging effects I look for in skincare.

Shiseido IBUKI line is available at, Sephora, Nordstrom, and other fine beauty retailers.

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Have you tried Shiseido skincare or makeup before? Do you prefer anti-aging skincare or a more basic moisturizing routine? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclosure: This post features products received for editorial consideration and may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to Disclosures & Content Use page.