Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sample Month Day 28: Shiseido Hydro Nourishing Softener

Or, alternately called The Skincare Hydro-Balancing Softener.

What is a "softener", anyway? You'll notice that it's always included in an Asian skin care kit/regimen as a mandatory middle step. It's sort of what we North Americans refer to generally as toner. But I always feel that the Asians mean for it to act as a pre-step to moisturizing, not to "balance" the skin to accept moisture better, but rather to pre-moisturize for additional moisturizing. It's essentially a sort of a liquid moisturizer, which is why they sometimes call it a "lotion" as well. I could be wrong about all this, but there's a Korean phrase that's always flouted when it comes to skin care ("chok chok") and it indicates dewiness and moisture.


Well, I'm an abomination and a disgrace when it comes to the chok-chok level of my skin, because I rarely moisturize properly if at all. Like the day I tested this "softener" - I simply used it as a moisturizer and skipped a heavier lotion/cream completely, except for the small areas around my eyes and mouth. The instruction says to use a cotton pad to gently wipe over face as you would a regular toner, but I just slapped half the content of the sachet over my face and let it soak it in.


And I must say that the result wasn't bad at all. I wouldn't recommend that others do as I do, unless you are extremely oily like I am and don't care about wrinkles and things. It's winter now and this isn't anywhere near enough for a regular face when it comes to moisture level. But my face felt smooth and plump and didn't break out or react badly to it.

Still, I am not spending CAD$36 on a softener. If I am to use a middle step routine to eliminate further moisturizing, I would go for a more effective treatment/serum instead. I would so love to be that woman who can cleanse, tone, pre-treat, serumize, moisturize, balm and drift off into a rich, deep sleep... but my face would turn into a giant pimple by morning and nobody needs that.

Sample received as gift. (Thanks, Mary!)

16 comments:

  1. hmmm... i like the concept, but i agree, i can just manage to put on one moisturizing product, and usually not any at night bc i am lazy. I love how asians like plump/hydrated glowy skin. my mom used to lecture me about it lol.

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    1. Don't get me started on my mom. She can't understand why she gave birth to three daughters who don't and can't give a shit about skin care like the crazies in Asia. LOL

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  2. THANK YOU for explaining the whole softener/lotion thing to me...I was always confused as to why one would need a lotion AND a cream. It all makes sense now!

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    1. I'm glad it does to someone! I'm still not sure that I have it right but this is how I understand the whole deal. You'd think that these giant companies can afford proper translation into English but I see so many crazy language mistakes being made. And sometimes they're not necessarily "mistakes" but they use confusing terminology that isn't exactly clear.

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  3. I had never heard of a softener, that's interesting. I agree with you though, it's just way too expensive, plus the last thing my already overly complicated daily skincare routine needs is another step!

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    1. Some people like the complicated routine, I guess! I'd actually love to pile it all on but my face would explode, LOL.

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  4. Huh! I had no idea about the softener thing so thanks for that! But yeah-it's so expensive for what it does. Skin care is such a downer for me-it's so expensive lately!

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    1. I hate spending a lot on skincare and hair, which is odd because a lot of people would do the opposite and spend less on makeup and splurge on skin. My face likes the cheap stuff though. And don't even talk to me about your perfect skin!! lol

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  5. So now I'll be adding a new expression to my beauty vocabulary: Chok-chok!! :-)

    While I don't often use a toner/softener, I ALWAYS moisturize. Liz, I yelled at you about this last time: START MOISTURIZING or else in about 7 years time, you'll look back at this and wonder why you didn't listen to me! Especially if you have oily skin; you need to keep the balance there, or your skin will simply overcompensate by producing more oil, which in turn will lead to more breakouts, and the vicious cycle continues. See how that works? Moisturize now, enjoy the compliments that will follow for years to come!

    I'm still on the fence about needing to add a toner to one's skin care routine and I've never really understood the need for it; it always somehow seemed a little sketchy to me, sort of along the lines of snake-oil, but I must say that since I bought the Bioderma Micellar water for my daughter, I've been indulging in it as well -- and liking it! So I guess this old dog CAN learn new tricks, lol! PS: you wondered if the Bioderma for combination skin would work well enough as an eye makeup remover, or if it would cause any sensitivity, remember? Well, I'm happy to report that it works great in that capacity with absolutely no adverse reaction!

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    1. It got much colder so I have been moisturizing this week. :)

      I know all about the rebalancing of skin with moisturizing and have had successful moments with it in the past, but I don't know why it's so difficult to make it into a regular routine. I think a part of it is that I don't really see a downside of it physically on my face - people still mistake me for 10 years younger than I actually am. This is going to sound insane, but I wouldn't mind a few more markers of age on my face to look my actual age. But your advice is duly noted!

      Re: toners - I think it depends a lot on the cleanser you use - how well it works to remove makeup and what kind of residue it may leave behind after rinsing. When I use harsh cleansers for whatever reason, I must have a toner. If not, I can skip it. Thanks for the feedback on the Bioderma! Good to know. :)

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  6. Haha. I think Eugenia may be right about this one. Or maybe I actually listened to my mom for once in my life, I dunno. I had occasional bouts of acne as a teenager and I found that once I actually moisturized regularly (in addition to washing my face, of course), the breakouts occurred less often or actually just stopped. Part of that is genetics and what not, I'm sure, but I do think moisturizing is important.

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    1. I've tried moisturizing with various items over the years and sometimes it worked and sometimes I just broke out more. I think the key for me is to stick with very basic moisturizers that aren't too rich. It's seasonal as well. I'm good about moisturizing in the winter (started to this week because it got much colder) but I will not do it in the summer with all the other crap that have to be piled on.

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  7. See, I used to LOVE Shiseido's softeners (though I use it as a toner -- it does the same shit as a toner) but for the price, I just can't continue to buy it. At 150ml a bottle, I'd be paying $36 a month for toner! I usually opt for Estee Lauder's Balancing Lotion instead because it smells good, makes my skin feel nice, and it's $39.50 for 400ml. :) BUT I don't think I would ever use it on its own for moisture... my cheeks would start to feel tight.

    "cleanse, tone, pre-treat, serumize, moisturize, balm and drift off into a rich, deep sleep" -- I am totally one of these people, LOL. You could totally do these things without turning into a giant pimple! Just find the right products. :)

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    1. It was fine on its own last week but would not be okay this week. It's cold now. :(

      I did the whole pampering routine last night and it was fantastic. Just don't have the energy/time for it every night! It's so true about finding the right products though and it's so much work. I have some okay things right now that are working fine. It'd be nice to commit to some holy grails and never look back.

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  8. I believe you're right Liz, these are called softeners as they add a bit of extra moisture to the skin before...moisturizing again lol. When I bought the Pureness one I was getting it for that exact reason, and I think it did the trick. But the extra step that doesn't seem entirely necessary is kinda lost on me. I totally agree that I'd rather put on a treatment instead. I like the idea of doing a bit deal at the end of the day, but in reality it would never happen! And now that I use a face oil at night, I kinda feel like I'm pampering my skin anyway so it all works out :)

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    1. I'm so jealous because I really want to slather my face in oil but I'm scared to try the Caudalie on my face again. Having a bad skin week - yerp.

      Coming back to this after some time, I'm now thinking that the softener + moisturizer steps must work for a lot of people. Otherwise, they wouldn't make the stuff, right? East Asians are zealous and obsessive in their skin care and sometimes I think they know better. I just can't deal with re-immersing myself back to that culture after being away for so long!

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