Ah, millennials. “Who are they and how do we court them?” seems to be the urgent question on every brand’s agenda at the moment. But as for defining this demographic, even Wikipedia is stumped. Instead, it offers up a vague non-answer of “Most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s”. So, everyone ranging from my teenage sister to my gym instructor who’s approaching 40?
[Click on the YouTube icon for a unique take on millennials courtesy of Micah Tyler]
Regardless of the baffling choice to clump everyone born in those two decades together, I think it’s safe to assume that I am a Millennial with a capital M. I use Instagram on an hourly basis, consume avocados like they’re going out of fashion (wait, are they?), and have been known to spend more than three hours at a brunch.
So Shiseido’s new skincare range, WASO, is firmly targeted at me. At first glance, it doesn’t look like a brand that’s trying to capture the hive mind of a generation. The packaging isn’t Millennial Pink, and the typeface is certainly not the sans-serif we’ve come to know and love. In fact, it’s almost like Shiseido have deliberately steered clear of these signifiers and thought carefully about making products that speak for themselves instead.
Having said that, the pastel-coloured tubes and bottles are still oh-so-Instagrammable.
In the spirit of diversity, we thought we’d test these products out on three human guinea pigs between the ages of 25–30. A crowd-sourced review, if you like, for the Kickstarter generation.
First up is Verity (30), who has combination skin with dry cheeks, an oily T-zone, and hormonal flare-ups. “I definitely have the skin of a 15-year-old,” she sighs. “I have to be so careful with ingredients, but this range sounds like it should be good for me as it has all natural goodness and no parabens or mineral oil.”
Then we have Mathilde (25), who has combination skin that is sensitive and prone to the odd breakout. “When it comes to skincare, I look for products that are gentle on the skin, as natural as possible, and not tested on animals,” she says. “Also, I always look for SPF in my moisturiser.”
And then, finally, there’s me (26) with unbelievably oily skin who steers clear of anything rich or heavy. The thought of caking on a cream that sits on top of my blotchy skin blocking my pores is enough to give me nightmares. So the gloopy, jelly-like texture of the WASO range is appealing to me already, especially in this sticky heat.
OK, here we go.
This gel/cream is super hydrating, which is unusual for products aimed at younger skin. I was impressed at how quickly it sank into my face. I found it very convenient that you can use it under or over make-up.
I really like this face cream as it’s light and silky – I might even try keeping it in the fridge for an extra cooling sensation during the summer.
Much as I thought I’d like this gel-like face cream, I found it too heavy for skin. Even after rubbing it in, I was very aware of the stickiness on my face. Maybe one to try just before going to sleep.
I only used a tiny amount but make-up went on well over it. So many creams make my make-up ‘bobble’ up, so I was relieved that this wasn’t the case here. I think this is a good option for people who don’t moisturise because they’re scared to aggravate spots.
I love this day cream. I’ve never used a skin-matching moisturiser before and I was so impressed. Plus, the fact the it’s SPF 30 is a major bonus.
By far and away my absolute favourite of the range. When you first apply it, the cream is a rather scary shade of carrot (one of the key ingredients), but keep on rubbing it in. As if by magic, the moisturiser somehow changes colour to enhance your natural skin tone. This did the job of my usual three products (moisturiser, concealer, and foundation) and left my face nice and matte with none of the greasiness associated with SPF creams.
As a vegetarian, it’s very important for me that products aren’t tested on animals – which WASO isn’t. This exfoliator has a tofu-like texture, which felt novel to me. WASO suggests using this no more than twice a week, so I’d probably do this every Sunday as part of my weekly skincare regime.
The exfoliation felt soft on the skin and the smell is pleasant. I think WASO has nailed the product design – as someone who likes to keep my nails looking nice, I noticed straightaway that there’s no chance of breaking a nail on these caps.
I used to exfoliate every day during my spotty teen years, and it’s only with hindsight that I realise how harsh that was for my face. This, however, is a million miles away from those astringent acne scrubs. Instead, it gently buffs away dry skin leaving you smooth and fresh-faced. Best of all, the beads are plant-based cellulose granules which means no nasty microbeads gets washed down the drain.
One of the biggest skincare lessons that I’ve learnt over the years is how, even though our instinct is to try drying out spotty skin, that can often make the problem worse. This cleanser contains enough amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for it to feel almost virtuous when taking off your make-up.
I like using natural beauty products as much as possible so I was really happy to see that honey is one of the main ingredients here. It didn’t smell too sweet either, just fresh. I wouldn’t use this as my first cleanse if I’m wearing a lot of make-up, but it’s ideal for the second, deeper cleanse.
I’m a sucker for royal jelly as my grandma used it all the time and it reminds me of her. This cleanser foams without water – which is handy – and removes dirt, excess oil and make-up. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling ‘tight’ either, just clean.
This felt like a mix between a very rich toner or a serum. It made my face feel slightly sticky, but there were no instant breakouts or signs of irritation. I liked that it didn’t make my skin oily.
I found the way this product transformed from a gel into a lotion really effective. It left me feeling instantly refreshed. The kikurage (white jelly mushroom) ingredient is a cool idea, as it is stored dried but bounces back to its original plumpness when soaked. I wish my skin did that!
I’ve recently swapped from a liquid toner to a gel toner, as I’m all about putting as much moisture back into my skin as possible. A toner’s function is to get rid of any impurities that are still lingering after washing with a cleanser, so this does that job perfectly.
WASO will launch in airport shops in Asia Pacific this October, and in Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa in September.