Shiseido vs Clinique (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

24 January 2023

We're positive you've seen Shiseido and Clinique 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 Clinique

Fine lines and wrinkles are possibly two of the most obvious signs of aging. Unless you’re planning to shell out hundreds (or possibly thousands) for various cosmetic procedures, then you might think you’re stuck with them. Au contraire.

If you want to be spared from needle pricks or going under the knife, you have options—and thankfully they’re topical.

Formulas like Shiseido’s Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Cream and Clinique’s Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Cream are designed specifically to make your wrinkles a thing of the past.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the details of each to see which will better restore a youthful complexion.

A combination of Shiseido’s KOMBU-Bounce Complex (green, brown, and red algae plus chlorella extract) and turmeric extract work to smooth out existing wrinkles and prevent future ones by strengthening skin’s elasticity. Not to mention, 95% of those tested reported improved hydration and softness immediately after application. What’s more is that 4.7 stars and 338 back this claim.

Clinique’s cream is made with their CL1870 Peptide Complex, hyaluronic acid, and soybean seed extract to plump and nourish the dermis. Moreover, a whopping 85% of those tested said that the appearance of their fine lines and wrinkles was visibly diminished after four weeks. Thus, it’s no surprise that this cream has earned 4.5 stars after 2,132 reviews.

Now, while the ingredient makeup for each is vastly different, another notable difference is that Shiseido’s formula is ideal for normal or combination skin and Clinique’s is best for dry combination, combination oily, and oily skin.

Lastly, for 50ml of Shiseido’s cream, it’s $70, while 75ml is $95. Clinique’s cream is $22 for 0.5oz and $68 for 1.7oz.

Shiseido appears to work better but is pricier, but Clinique is slightly less effective and cheaper. This is quite the predicament. Perhaps considering their takes on sustainability and philanthropy will make your decision easier.

According to Cruelty-Free Kitty, Shiseido is also 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. Regarding packaging, they’ve set a mission to achieve 100% sustainable plastic packaging by 2025. As for philanthropic involvement, though, we couldn’t find any on their website.

Clinique is also not cruelty-free or 100% vegan, but they may offer some vegan formulas. Their eco-friendly initiatives and charity work are extensive, though. They’re currently working towards having 100% of their secondary packaging be Forest Stewardship Council certified; having 75% of their packaging be recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled, or recoverable; and they’re increasing the amount of post-consumer recycled material in their packaging to 25% or more—all by 2025.

Further, they also fund a wind farm in Bulgaria, a clean water filter project in Cambodia, and a tree-planting initiative in Uruguay. Regarding charitable actions, The Clinique Difference was created to offer support to women and girls seeking education in countries where it’s not advocated for, as well as organizations that aid in breast cancer research, childcare, and offering corrective solutions to children with facial abnormalities.

Both brands appear to be making progress towards better business ethics, but Clinique seems to have a leg up with concerns for their humanitarian efforts. So, Shiseido might yield more favorable results, but Clinique will be money (more) well-spent.

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