shiseido ultimune power infusion concentrate review

Wait…. Is PRE-serum a thing now?!

What the… is this a new marketing ploy to sell us another serum we don’t need or do pre-serums actually do something for your skin?

I’ve put Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate (a sample of it, anyway) to the test to find out:

What’s In Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate?


I’m not surprised to see glycerin here. This baby is pretty much in all your skincare products. For a reason.

It’s a humectant that draws water from the environment into the skin. The more moisture your skin has, the better it looks. Moisture plumps up skin, makes fine lines and wrinkles look smaller, and even gives the complexion a dewy glow.

It’s the perfect base for every skincare product.

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycerin In Skincare


Shiseido Ultimate Power Infusing Concentrate doesn’t have any actives that help you fight wrinkles, slow down aging, or reduce dark spots. It’s just a simple mixture of glycerin and silicones.

Silicone create a protective barrier on the skin without suffocating it. Thank their molecular structure for that. They’re big molecules with wide spaces in between. Skin can still perspire – and active ingredients penetrate – through these gaps.

So what else do silicones do? A few things:

  • They fill in every nook and cranny, so your fine lines and pores look smaller
  • They help moisture stay into the skin, where it needs to be to keep it hydrated
  • Make skin velvety soft to the touch
  • Enhance the texture of the serum, helping it glide onto your skin smoothly

The catch? Silicones only provide a temporary fix. When you wash them off your face, your fine lines and large pores are back.

If you’re happy with that, great. But if you want something antiaging, they won’t cut it.

Related: Are Silicones In Skincare Bad?


Alcohol has a bad rep. Critics say it’s drying and irritating.

Science doesn’t agree. A 2007 study shows that “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less skin irritation than hand washing.”

I’m still not convinced that alcohol is totally harmless because, when in my teens I used toners with it and little else, my skin always became drier and, in the long run, produced more oil. So frustrating!

So, who’s right? Both. Alcohol may not be the devil incarnated, but overuse can dry out your skin, especially if it was already dry to begin with. As long as you moisturise well afterwards, you should be fine.

But why is it here? Alcohol has two main jobs in skincare: it thins the texture and helps active ingredients better penetrate skin.

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Very lightweight, thin texture (just a little thicker than water) that sinks in into the skin quickly, without leaving a greasy residue behind.


It’s floral, lovely, and subtle. But it may also irritate sensitive skin.

How To Use It

After your cleanser and toner, but BEFORE your serum and moisturizer. Apparently, it helps your lotions and potions better penetrate skin… (I’m not 100% convinced about that).

Performance & Personal Opinion

Even after putting Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate to the test, I’m still not sure what it’s supposed to do.

Shiseido says it has an antioxidant and mushroom blend that firms skin and protects it from daily damage. But those ingredients are so far down the ingredient list, they’re here for show. They can’t do what Shiseido claims.

Although… silicones create a protective barrier on the skin, so you could say they help defend skin against environmental aggressors…

It’s not the most hydrating serum, either. It makes skin a little softer and a little more hydrated, but… there’s a reason why it’s called pre-serum. You still need a hydrating serum afterwards.

I’ve been using it for almost a month now and have seen no improvement. I may as well have splashed water on my face.

At least it didn’t irritate it. But if you’re sensitive skin, the combination of alcohol and fragrance may be too much for you. Stay away!

shiseido ultimune power infusing concentrate 01

Who Is This For?

No one needs this. Period.

Who Is This NOT For?

No one needs this, but it’s particularly unsuitable for sensitive skin.


Bright red to white gradient-coloured bottle with a pump applicator. Beautiful and practical.

Does Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusion Concentrate Live Up To Its Claims?

The Ultimune serum strengthens skin against daily damage and visible signs of aging for skin that’s 28% stronger in just 1 week.** It has a silicone base that creates a protective barrier on the skin. That helps a little with protecting skin against daily damage, but it’s not as impressive as Shiseido makes it out to be.
For all skin types. Use Ultimune as a pre-treatment to enhance the efficacy of your moisturizer or serum. It’s NOT for sensitive skin and it won’t enhance your skincare routine.
Skin looks even smoother, firmer, more hydrated and resilient. Skin looks just a little but smoother and hydrated. But the serum can’t firm it.
The new formula features an improved dewy texture that sinks quickly into skin, for a longer-lasting, silky smooth fresh feeling. True.
In 4 weeks, 
98% said the product was effective overall 
97% said it maintained the skin’s supple condition 
90% said it improved their skin condition 
91% felt it enhances effects of other skincare products they’re using

This sounds impressive, but isn’t. Shiseido probably asked women if they felt their skin was more hydrated afterwards. This can be misleading. People can be influenced by the placebo effect or simply say yes because they want to be nice. Either way, they’re just the women’s opinions, not scientifically-proven facts.
The last claim is particularly misleading. Note that it says women “felt” that the serum enhanced their skin. They couldn’t prove it in any way…
New Ultimune is now enhanced with ImuGeneration Technology™ featuring botanical extracts of Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root, to continuously fortify skin’s ability to defend itself. These ingredients are present in tiny amounts and won’t do anything for your skin.
Features the comforting scent of ImuCalm Compound™ that contains fragrance ingredients of rose and lotus elements and a green floral fragrance. Fragrance always has the potential to be irritating, no matter how comforting it is.

Price & Availability

$75.00/£69.00 at department stores.

Do You Need It?



Dupes & Alternatives


Water, Alcohol Denat, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-17/4 Dimethyl Ether, Triethylhexanoin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Trehalose, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, PEG-14M, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Hydroxide, Silica, Isoceteth-10, Linalool, Lauryl Betaine, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Geraniol, Citronellol, Origanum Majorana Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Germ Extract, Alcohol, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, BHT, Thymus Serpyllum Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Stem Extract