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Devised by science geeks, Shiseido skincare is brainy, brilliant and uncompromising. Its futuristic design evokes images of lab technicians in Tokyo poring over periodic tables and peering into microscopes. But the Japanese innovator has a whimsical side too. Waso is its light-hearted capsule collection showcasing delicious ingredients, like carrot, honey and yuzu, sensorial textures and playful packaging. And it’s a tightly edited proposition, with just a handful of products designed to treat oiliness, dryness, blemishes and visible pores. More than a range exclusively for millennials, Waso is an invitation for anyone who wants to add some zest and zip to their regime.
Skincare has become so complicated of late that the chance to simplify one’s routine is a blessing. Waso is instantly recognisable for its pastel-tinted packaging, blob-style components and easy-to-use formulas. Like its name—a reference to washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine focused on nutritious seasonal ingredients—Waso nods to the plant-based realm. The underlying message: skincare is food for the skin. True to the brand DNA, the line integrates scientific breakthroughs and clinical testing, but these are somewhat less important than the overall fun factor. In the effervescent world of Waso, age is merely a number, so you won’t find any talk of turning back the clock. It’s also more affordable than the main line, with every item priced between $40 and $60, plus all the products are non-comedogenic and free of parabens and mineral oil.
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Where to begin? Quick Gentle Cleanser is the perfect introduction. It’s an invigorating face wash that incorporates honey and royal jelly to sweetly remove impurities without stripping away essential moisture. A small amount of the gold-hued gel is all that’s required to cleanse skin—it works without water—to be rinsed off when you’re ready. Follow with Soft + Cushy Polisher, an exfoliator with soy extract and a whipped, tofu-like texture that leaves skin silky smooth. More addictive than a spicy tofu stir-fry, it’s one of the only scrubs in the wider Shiseido portfolio. White jelly mushroom is the pivotal ingredient of Fresh Jelly Lotion, a skin-softening essence applied after cleansing and toning. Like a sponge, the mushroom holds onto water, delivering moisture to skin’s deeper layers and plumping your complexion.
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When it comes to hydrating and treating skin there are several options. Inspired by daikon radish, Waso Eye Opening Essence is a cooling orange-hued jelly that lessens the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. If you’re oily, Quick Matte Moisturizer Oil-free is ideal as a daytime hydrator. It uses the citrus-like loquat to mattify shiny T-zones. Clear Mega-Hydrating Cream, a richer moisturiser, incorporates whole carrot cells to replenish skin. Beauty Sleeping Mask, meanwhile, is a gel mask infused with brightening yuzu citrus, the Japanese superfood, to create peak dewiness by morning. By far the most dramatic product is the Purifying Peel Off Mask. This pink metallic formula employs red shiso leaf, an antioxidant-loaded herb, to lift away pollutants and enhance skin. Bonus: you’ll be ready for a cameo on Star Trek: Picard.
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In addition to offering skin benefits, the food-derived ingredients are sometimes deployed as inspiration for textures, colours and packaging. You won’t find real wasabi in the Poreless Matte Primer but the product uses the green hue and fluffy texture of Japanese horseradish to help mitigate redness and reduce sebum. Housed in three mini sachets with screw tops, Reset Cleanser Squad resembles a juice cleanse for your complexion, but it’s your call if you’d like to store them in the fridge alongside your actual cold-pressed brews. Finally, with fetching shades including gold, ruby and celadon, the Waso family has bathroom appeal. You can even customise the tubes with yakumi (condiments) stickers included in the boxes. Name another collection that does that.
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