Review: Shiso Moisture Brightening Serum | The Body Shop

I am absolutely loving the western skincare market this past year. With a new interest in Asian culture (I think Psy might have a hand in this) and a widening aesthetic, a greater range of skincare choices has suddenly begun to trickle into North America. Many western brands are loosening up the boundaries and bringing some of their Asia exclusive ranges across the ocean. Today’s case and point, The Body Shop.

Brand: The Body Shop
Product: Moisture White Shiso Brightening Serum*
Size: 30ml
Price: $36 CAD
Range: Cleansing oil, face wash, target corrector, eye cream, serum, moisturizer/cream.
Availability: The Body Shop Stores & Online
Would I (re)purchase: Yes.

As an avid reader of Japanese fashion and beauty magazines, I was well aware that the brand has long carried a brightening range of skincare products overseas. In fact, if memory serves me I do believe a similar line was available here in Canada but it never quite won the popularity contest and slowly dropped into the shadows.

This time around, the revamped Moisture White Shiso range is formulated with shiso (a Asian herb/spice), vitamin C and licorice. While the latter two are commonly found in a variety of skincare products both east and west, shiso is appears to be a much newer ingredient and a quick search yeilded little results on this mystery herb.

Below is a look at the full cocktail of ingredients in the Moistre White Shiso Serum, note some of the more interesting parts which have been highlighted.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Dipropylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dimethicone, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Batyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hexyl Cinnamal, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract.

Note: This is NOT an oil-free product.

Housed in an airtight sealed pump bottle, a little over a half pump is all I need to cover my face with a little pat over my neck as well. The product itself is light both in texture and fragrance, a watery milky consistency that is very comfortable to apply and sinks in quickly with no waiting time which makes this ideal for layering with other products if you do have an extensive skincare regime. While I did find the “Japanese Formula” label on the packing to be rather superfluous I do agree that the silky smooth texture of this is serum to be similar to Japanese products I’ve used in the past, a definite improvement over the many thick and often sticky formulations of western brands.

I also love the idea that they combined brightening with moisture, an element that I can not stress enough regardless of your skin type. This Shiso Serum is not a winter approved product but for this time of the year and onwards towards summer, I think it’s rather lovely and I do notice a suppleness to my combination skin that doesn’t exacerbate the oilier parts of my face.

On the topic of skin friendliness, I’m happy to report no signs of breakouts or other irritation from using this. In fact, it does seem that my skin texture has improved slightly since adding this serum. A little finer, a little smoother, a few smaller visible pores and my skin feels lovely to the touch.

Now for the real test of time, here I have before and after photographs (above) spanning about 3 weeks of usage, during which I applied the serum pretty consistently twice a day. In real life, there seems to be a slight luminescence in the product that does translate onto the skin for a little cosmetic radiance. I do think it helps to promote healing for any fresh scars and spots, something I had the unfortunate (but convenient) opportunity to test out when I got a soccer ball right in the face causing a very notable scar on the ridge of my nose. By the time I took the after photo, the one week old scar had faded significantly and quite impressively compared to my usual healing time.

Yet for my overall complexion, including the darker patch on my forehead it seemed rather weak and it’s not something I would recommend alone for major discolouration.


At $36cad a bottle, I think The Body Shop did well by putting out a mid range affordable product with a beautiful texture that would suit a range of skin types from dry to oily. I would have liked to see a few more active natural ingredients in the mix and a little less parabens because I know they have the ability to do so. This doesn’t seem to be a heavy duty potent formulation but it is gentle and does provide some brightening affects, promotes healing of fresh spots and refines skin texture. I would suggest it for a beginner who is just venturing into brightening products or someone who wants a little radiance boost to their complexion but not if you are looking for serious brightening action. As a whole, this isn’t as effective as the Laneige White Plus Renew Essence (reviewed) on my skin but it’s nice enough that I can see myself going for a second bottle in the future.