During the 90s, I was, for several years, completely devoted to Shiseido products. Then, one day, I noticed that they really didn't seem to work anymore and my skin was looking dull and dejected. It was time for a change and I never looked back. Until the other day when I spotted an ad in a magazine for Shiseido Bio-performance Super Restoring Cream ($96) and wondered if it would inspire a reintroduction.

My first impressions were good ones. The packaging is pretty sexy and there are some impressively cutting edge ingredients. Mortierella oil comes from a fungus, mortierella alpina, that consists largely of arachidonic acid. This fatty acid is a component of human breast milk and is thought to be important in the development of the brain and nervous system in babies. In fact, many baby milk formulae now include arachidonic acid. As far as skin care is concerned, the key fatty acid in this mushroom seems to be gamma-linolenic acid.

The other botanical of note is syzygium jambos, the malabar plum that is also known as rose apple. This appears to an anti-inflammatory with a proven track record.

The pedigree of thiotaurine is more uncertain. This is so cutting edge that just about the only thing I could find out about it is that has something to do with "the metabolism of sulfur containing amino acids in mammals". The only other thing was a paper published in Japan by the scientists at Shiseido saying "we have clarified that thiotaurine in skin care products prevents sebum oxidation and consequently prevents skin troubles and skin aging".

Thankfully, there is more information on ectoin. This protects the skin from the effects of UVA-induced cell damage in a number of different ways. Tests conducted by researchers in Germany have shown that ectoin counteracts the effects of UVA-induced and accelerated skin aging at different cell levels.

The remaining contents, however, are mundane or undesirable. There are a few silicones, petrolatum (which can contain carcinogenic impurities), alumina (a neurotoxin), as well as allergans and irritants such as sodium lauryl sulfate, phenoxyethanol, sodium hexametaphosphate and potassium hydroxide.

Overall, I'm not convinced enough to go back to this brand.

Ingredients in Shiseido Super Restoring Cream

Water, Glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Petrolatum, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Microcrystalline Wax, PEG-40Stearate, Erythritol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Mortierella Oil, Sodium Polygamma-Glutamate, Thiotaurine, Ectoin, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Talc, Dimethylacrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Crosspolymer, PEG-30 Soy Sterol, Silica, Alumina, Trisodium EDTA, Sorbitan Tristearate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Potassium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Syzygium Jambos Leaf Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.