Shiseido vs Clarins (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

25 January 2023

We're positive you've seen Shiseido and Clarins on the shelves at your local beauty store before. But which is best? And which brand should you choose?

Come with us as we compare their best-sellers side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you and your skincare routine.

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Shiseido vs Clarins

Skincare fanatics know that the bare minimum effort for keeping your face looking youthful and supple is a nourishing moisturizer and a generous amount of SPF (reapplied every few hours, of course).

However, if you’re the type who has a several-step skincare system (whew, say that three times fast), then you know just how important a good serum is. Typically, serums are applied after toner and before your eye cream, and their job does quite the heavy lifting for your face—literally and figuratively.

While there are sooo many to choose from, today we’ll focus on Shisedo’s Power Infusing Serum and Clarins’ Double Serum. Given that both brands are on the pricier side, this usually implies that both will be quality products. But which one will come out on top?

Made with Shiseido’s exclusive ImuGenerationRED Technology, fermented roselle extract, heartleaf extract, reishi mushroom, and iris root extract, this potent serum hydrates, soothes, detoxifies, and strengthens the skin’s protective barrier. Thus, you’ll see a more youthful glow in only three days. According to almost 4,000 reviews and 4.6 stars, it seems like you can count on this mighty tonic.

Powered by 21 extracts (most notably turmeric, glycerin, and oat), Clarins’ silky serum corrects signs of aging by smoothing and plumping the dermis. After just a week of daily usage, you can expect restored radiance and smaller pores, too. Thankfully, this serum isn’t too good to be true—a 4.3-star rating and over 12,000 reviews make us believers of this powerful potion.

As previously mentioned, both brands are a bit costly. So, it should be no surprise that a standard sized 50ml bottle of Shiseido’s serum is $110, while Clarins’ 1.6oz bottle is $132.

Clarins’ formula is rated slightly lower but priced higher, which is two strikes in our book. But before we commit to Shiseido’s serum, let’s unpack each brand’s business ethics.

According to Cruelty-Free Kitty, Shiseido is not cruelty-free or vegan. However, they’ve taken some sustainable initiatives, like the Shiseido Blue Project, which involves marine protection efforts. Additionally, they’re continuously conducting studies to see how their products—especially SPF—can be harmless to the environment (namely coral reefs). With concerns for packaging, they’ve set a goal to have 100% sustainable plastic packaging by 2025. As for philanthropic involvement, though, there was nothing to be found on their website.

Clarins is not a cruelty-free or a completely vegan company. But they do have some admirable sustainability efforts, like replanting the plant ingredients that they harvest for their products. They also work with the local communities from which they source their plants to ensure that those people benefit directly from their biodiversity expertise.

Regarding manufacturing, packaging, and transportation, Clarins is striving to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by reducing water and waste consumption as well as shipping the bulk of their products by road or sea. (Air transport currently accounts for less than 2% of their products.) At the moment, 63% of Clarins materials are recyclable, which includes glass, paper, and cardboard.

Is it possible that we’ve been won over by Clarins’ approach to sustainability and ethically sourcing the ingredients for their products? I mean, basically. On the other hand, though, Shiseido’s future does sound promising. Therefore, we’ll remain a supporter of both.

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