I learned about softening lotions from Asian skincare brands. These products are not really typical for the Western market. The most analagous product within the Western skincare market would be astringent or toner, but these have high concentrations of alcohol and have a tendancy to dry out the skin. Lately, I have noticed more overlap as new Western skincare products start to mimic Asian skincare functionality, with the increased focus on the Asian consumer. So there are now some American and European toners that may resemble softening lotions in functionality.
1. Kose’s Sekkisei Lotion, 6.8 oz for $48.00 or 12.2 oz for $68.00
2. Shiseido’s White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched, 5.0 oz for $48.00
Softening lotions are meant to gently prepare the skin for further treatment after cleansing. They have a watery texture and are meant to be used with a cotton pad. You saturate the cotton ball, or square, and sweep it across your skin to gently exfoliate your skin, while at the same time leaving behind light hydration. The key aspect to the lotion is that it preps your skin for further applications of other products.
My two favorite softening lotions are Kose’s Sekkisei Lotion and Shiseido’s White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched and they are both from Japanese companies with a presence in the United States.
I prefer to use the Sekkisei Lotion for when my skin requires extra exfoliation. Sometimes, I need to use more powerful peeling agents, and it leaves my skin patchy and peeling significantly. This lotion sweeps the (visible) loose skin away and does not burn my sensitized skin. This is not surprising as the brand literature for this product states that it has these benefits:
- Cools down sun/snow-burned skin
- Anti-inflammatory for rashes
among other benefits: firming, hydrating and conditioning.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Glycerin, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Coix Lacryma, Jobi Seed Extract (Job’s Tears), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Melothria Heterophylla Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil (Wheat), Citric Acid, Di C12 15 Pareth 8 Phosphate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Citrate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Triethylhexanoin, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum) (Parfum)
Shiseido’s White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener Enriched is what I use when I require more hydration for sensitized skin, but less sweeping action because of smaller, loose skin particles. I get soothing richer hydration from this lotion that does not feel oily or heavy. However, if you have very dry skin, this will feel like water to you.
Ingredients: M-Tranexamic acid, Super Hydro-Synergy Complex (composed of Hydro-Wrap Vitalizing DE and Bio-Hyaluronic Acid), Erythritol, apricot extracts.
Both of these products are subtle in function and performance. It will not give the same immediate gratification that a glycolic acid product will, or firming peptime serum will. This is the beauty of these products. If you have sensitized, reactive skin from harsher products, even the subtlest effect of these products will be felt. I have purchased each of these bottles at least three times, and it is a staple that I need to have.