Shiseido Haku Melanofocus EV Whitening Serum Ingredients Explained

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Published on September 13, 2023.

A friendly reminder from SkinSort: all skin tones are lovely!

Overview

What it is

Serum with 43 ingredients that contains exfoliants, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C

Cool Features

It is reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any fragrances, parabens or sulfates

Fun facts

Shiseido is from Japan.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

Vitamin C
Exfoliators
Hyaluronic Acid

Benefits

Hydrating
Redness Reducing (2)
Skin Texture
Anti-Aging
Dark Spots (2)
Scar Healing
Brightening (2)

Concerns

Drying
May Worsen Oily Skin (2)
Acne Trigger
Irritating (2)
Rosacea (2)
Eczema

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Bleaching
2
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
Good for Dark Spots Icon
3
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
4
Cleansing, Skin Conditioning
5
Skin Conditioning
6
7
Masking, Skin Conditioning
8
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
9
Skin Conditioning
10
Humectant
11
Astringent
12
Skin Conditioning, Tonic
13
Masking, Skin Conditioning
14
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
15
Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness Icon
16
Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
17
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
18
Masking, Solvent
19
Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Fatty Alcohol Icon
20
Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking, Solvent
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
21
Emollient
Silicon Icon
22
23
Cleansing
24
25
Masking, Skin Conditioning
26
Humectant, Masking, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning
27
Solvent
28
Skin Conditioning
Oil Icon
29
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0-5 / 2
May worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
30
Emollient
31
Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
2 / 2
Fatty Alcohol Icon
32
Abrasive
Exfoliant Icon
33
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
34
Emulsifying
35
36
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
37
Antioxidant, Masking
Antioxidant Icon
38
Masking, Refreshing
May cause irritation IconEU Allergen IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
39
Buffering
40
Buffering, Masking
41
42
Antioxidant, Preservative
Antioxidant IconPreservative Icon
43
Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 43 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Bleaching

We don't have a description for Potassium Methoxysalicylate.

2
What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Tranexamic Acid is best used for treating hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and melasma. It can also help build a stronger skin barrier.

Once applied, Tranexamic Acid starts decreasing inflammation from UV exposure. Tranexamic Acid also prevents our skin cells from meeting the pigment production cells.

Fun fact: Tranexamic Acid is also a medication used to reduce heavy bleeding.

This acid is derived from lysine, an amino acid.

Learn more about Tranexamic Acid
3
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Xylitol is a humectant and prebiotic. It can help with dry skin.

In studies, xylitol has been shown to improve dry skin. It decreased transepidermal water loss, or when water passes through the skin and evaporates. Xylitol also showed to help improve the biomechanical properties of the skin barrier.

The prebiotic property of xylitol may also help reinforce our skin's natural microbiome. Having a healthy microbiome prevents infection by bad bacteria and helps with hydration.

As a humectant, Xylitol helps draw moisture from both the air and from deeper skin layers. This helps keep skin hydrated.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and commonly used as a sugar substitute. It is naturally occurring in plants such as strawberries and pumpkin.

Learn more about Xylitol
4
What it does: Cleansing, Skin Conditioning

Lauryl Betaine is a surfactant. It helps cleanse your skin by gathering oil, dirt, and other pollutants to be rinsed away.

5
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Amber Extract.

6
What it does:

We don't have a description for Succinic Anhydride.

7
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Serine is an amino acid naturally found in our body. Our bodies use amino acids to create protein.

Amino-acids help give keep our skin hydrated. They play an important role in the skin barrier, which keeps the skin plump and firm.

Serine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning we don't need to obtain it from eating foods.

Learn more about Serine
8
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate
9
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Hypericum Erectum Extract.

10
What it does: Humectant

We don't have a description for Eel Extract.

11
What it does: Astringent

We don't have a description for Potentilla Erecta Extract.

12
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Tonic

We don't have a description for Syringa Vulgaris Extract.

13
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning

Thiamine Hcl is Vitamin B1. The HCL stands for hydrochloride. Thiamine HCL is created using thiamine chloride and hydrochloric acid.

Our bodies use Thiamine HCL for aerobic metabolism, cell growth, and transmission of nerve impulses.

Learn more about Vitamin B in skincare:

Learn more about Thiamine Hcl
14
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
15
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Artemisia Vulgaris Extract is more commonly known as the common mugwort. It has strong antioxidant properties and helps soothe irritation.

Antioxidants protect skin from damage and the signs of aging.

This plant contains the compounds saponins, glycosides, flavanoids, protein, triterpenoids.

The common wugwort has been used in traditional Indian, Chinese, and European medicines to treat gastrointestinal diseases.

Learn more about Artemisia Vulgaris Extract
16
What it does: Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ascorbic Acid is is pure Vitamin C. This form makes up the largest amount of vitamin C found naturally in our skin.

Not only is vitamin C great for your overall health and immune system, it also has plenty of benefits on your skin.

Vitamin C is best used for brightening skin. It improves dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. This is because it blocks the process of skin darkening when exposed to UV.

Remember: Vitamin C should not replace sunscreen!

Your skin uses vitamin C to build collagen. Collagen is one key component in having a strong skin barrier and plump skin. Vitamin C also plays a role in regulating collagen, thus making it effective in improving wrinkles and fine lines.

Ascorbic acid shows potent antioxidant activity. As an antioxidant, it helps fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. These antioxidants also protect skin against UV damage.

The best formulations include Vitamin E and/or ferulic acid. These two ingredients help stabilize and provide a boost in the benefits of ascorbic acid. This is because ascorbic acid becomes unstable when exposed to UV and air. In fact, you can tell your ascorbic acid has oxidized when it turns an orange-yellow color.

Ascorbic acid is generally compatible with other ingredients. However, using ascorbic acid with other active ingredients might cause irritation. Two ingredients: copper ions and benzoyl peroxide, will inactivate ascorbic acid completely.

Read more about other types of Vitamin C:

Foods rich with vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, and more. When consuming Vitamin C, your skin receives a portion of the nutrients.

Learn more about Ascorbic Acid
17
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
18
What it does: Masking, Solvent
Community Rating: Disliked

Dipropylene Glycol is a synthetically created stabilizer and solvent. It is a part of the glycol class in the alcohol family.

Dipropylene Glycol helps dissolve and evenly distribute ingredients. It also helps decrease viscosity and thin out texture.

As a masking agent, Dipropylene Glycol can be used to cover the smell of other ingredients. However, it does not have a scent.

Studies show Dipropylene Glycol is considered safe to use in skincare.

Learn more about Dipropylene Glycol
19
What it does: Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Disliked

A type of fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as traditional alcohols.

Emollients help keep your skin soft and hydrated by creating a film that traps moisture in.

Behenyl Alcohol is usually derived from the fats in vegetable oils.

In 2000, Behenyl Alcohol was approved by the US as medicine to reduce the duration of cold sores.

Learn more about Behenyl Alcohol
20
What it does: Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Alcohol Denat. is an alcohol with a denaturant property. It is created by mixing ethanol and other additives. It has a low molecular weight and will evaporate quickly. This helps other ingredients become better absorbed and dry once applied.

Alcohol Denat. is volatile and may cause irritation. It helps draw out natural oils in skin and dry out your skin.

One study from 2005 found adding emollients to propanol-based sanitizer decreased irritation.

Alcohol is antibacterial by nature. This can help preserve products and increase their shelf life.

Other types of astringent alcohols include:

Learn more about Alcohol Denat.
21
What it does: Emollient

Polydiethylsiloxane is a type of silicone.

22
What it does:

We don't have a description for Isodecyl Acrylate.

23
What it does: Cleansing

We don't have a description for Sodium N-Isostearoyl Methyltaurate.

24
What it does:

We don't have a description for Isobutane.

25
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

We don't have a description for Valine.

26
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Maltitol.

27
What it does: Solvent

We don't have a description for Peg-6 Methyl Ether.

28
What it does: Skin Conditioning

Hydrogenated Egg Oil is an oil.

29
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Myristyl Myristate is created from the fatty acids of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid. In skincare, it is an emollient and texture enhancer.

On its own, this ingredient has a comedogenicity index of 5/5. This means it has the potential to clog pores. When diluted with cetyl alcohol or propylene glycol, the comedogenicity will decrease.

This ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne safe.

Nutmeg, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil all contain this ingredient naturally.

Learn more about Myristyl Myristate
30
What it does: Emollient
Community Rating: Very Disliked

We don't have a description for Ppg-15 Stearyl Ether.

31
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Stearyl Alcohol is a type of fatty alcohol from stearic acid. It is a white, waxy compound used to emulsify ingredients.

Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. Emollients help soothe and hydrate the skin by trapping moisture.

They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as solvent alcohols. FDA allows products labeled "alcohol-free" to have fatty alcohols.

Learn more about Stearyl Alcohol
32
What it does: Abrasive
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polyethylene is a synthetic ingredient that helps the skin retain moisture. It is a polymer.

Polyethylene is also typically used within product formulations to help bind solid ingredients together and thicken oil-based ingredients. When added to balms and emulsions, it helps increase the melting point temperature.

33
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

34

We don't have a description for Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine Stearate.

35
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of edetic acid and is found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
36
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
37
What it does: Antioxidant, Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

BHT is a synthetic antioxidant. As an antioxidant, it helps your body fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

BHT also helps stabilize products and prevent them from degrading. Many products are sensitive to air and light. BHT prevents them from breaking down when exposed.

38
What it does: Masking, Refreshing
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Menthol is a compound found in mint plants, such as peppermint. In its pure form, it is a clear crystalline substance.

Menthol is known for its cooling sensation; however, the cooling is actually from your skin being sensitized. Menthol can worsen rosacea. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have concerns.

Menthol also has antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Menthol
39
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Disliked

Potassium hydroxide is commonly known as caustic potash. It is used to fix the pH of a product or as a cleaning agent in soap. In cleansers, it is used for the saponification of oils.

Sapnification is the process of creating fatty acid metal salts from triglycerides and a strong base. During this process, Potassium Hydroxide is used up and is not present in the final product.

Using high concentrations of Potassium Hydroxide have shown to irritate the skin.

Learn more about Potassium Hydroxide
40
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Citrate is the sodium salts of citric acid. In skincare, it is used to alter pH levels and acts as a preservative.

Sodium Citrate helps maintain the pH of a product. Normal pH level of skin is slightly acidic (~4.75-5.5). The acidity of our skin is maintained by our glands and skin biome. Being slightly acidic allows our skin to create an "acid mantle". This acid mantle is a thin barrier that protects our skin from bacteria and contaminants.

Sodium Citrate is a chelating agent. It neutralizes metal ions from water and prevents them from binding to other ingredients. This ensures the other ingredients will not be altered.

Learn more about Sodium Citrate

We don't have a description for 2-(2-Aminoethoxy)Ethanol.

42
What it does: Antioxidant, Preservative

Sodium Bisulfite is an antioxidant and is a preservative.

43
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 43 ingredients in this product ✨

21% are loved or liked
5% have mixed ratings
30% are disliked or very disliked
44% have no rating yet
Verified by SkinSort

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The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

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