Shu Uemura Phyto-Black Lift, Anti-aging Skin Care Collection

Published in: Product Reviews, Skin Care

Product: Shu Uemura Phyto-Black Lift, anti-aging skin care collection
Use: A three-step anti-aging system to firm skin, smooth fine lines and moisturize
Cost: If you’re looking for a luxurious high-end skin care system, Phyto Black Lift’s got you covered. Budget friendly, it’s not, but in this case you get what you pay for.
Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

It’s easy to fall in love with all three products in Shu Uemura’s Phyto-Black Lift anti-aging skin care system. With sleek black packaging, a light floral scent and smooth textures, the products are a skin care junkie’s luxury dream come true.


All three products in the collection are plant-based, with exotic sounding ingredients like lychee extract and Depsea water. Black Tea Ferment, a sweet tea believed by the Japanese to have mystical anti-aging properties, is the line’s star ingredient.

Each product in the collection performs a different step in Shu Uemura’s anti-aging regimen.

Step 1: Prepare with Radiance Boosting Lotion, $45

I believe exfoliating toners do help to clear my skin, but they’re often too drying for long-term use. Radiance Boosting Lotion, with fruit extracts and alpha hydroxy acids, exfoliates without leaving my skin feeling tight and dry. And after two weeks of testing, my skin seems clearer and less pimply. This is my favorite product from the collection.

Step 2: Treat with Lifting Anti-Wrinkle Essence, $95

You may have noticed that serums are a big trend in skin care lately. Serums are either thick liquids or light lotions designed to target specific skin care issues. Typically, they’re applied before moisturizers.

Lifting Anti-Wrinkle Essence serum contains an ingredient Shu Uemura calls micro-silica, which they claim fills in wrinkles to smooth skin and create a lifting effect.

The texture is like a hybrid between a light lotion and a foundation primer. After I smooth it on my face and neck, my skin does feel smoother, but I think that may be at least partly due to Dimethicone, an ingredient commonly used in skin and hair. I’m in my early-thirties, so I don’t have a lot of wrinkles yet and can’t really tell if my skin is being lifted or tightened when I apply the product. I like this serum, but I’m not 100% convinced of the degree of its impact.

Step 3: Moisturize with Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream, $125

Ohhhh, yummy. My acne-prone, dry skin super loves this stuff. Packed with “Nutra-lipids,” a patented combination of natural oils that protect and rejuvenate skin, my face feels instantly hydrated after using this cream. I can see an immediate change from rough to smooth skin after one application. The jar I have is the dry skin mixture; if you have oily skin you’ll want the lighter lotion, called Smoothing Anti-Wrinkle Emulsion.

This cream hydrates like nobody’s business, and when I use it on my face, my skin feels drenched in moisture. The second thing I like about it is the texture. Moisturizers that target dry skin are often thick and greasy, but Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream feels fluffy and light and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. I like that I can use it on my neck and not feel sticky.

Yes, at $125 it’s rather expensive, but if you’re plagued by dry skin and gravitate to high end brands, then I’d highly recommend giving Shu’s Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream a try.

The final word

In general, I’m skeptical when it comes to anti-aging products, especially those that don’t contain clinically proven active ingredients like retinol or alpha hydroxy acids. Some compounds have lots of long-term scientific studies backing their anti-wrinkle claims. Shu’s Phyto-Black Lift collection doesn’t make those claims.

While I can’t conclusively say that this skin care system is effective when it comes to treating and preventing wrinkles, I can say with confidence that the products in steps one and three, Radiance Boosting Lotion Toner and the Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream, do help with my big skin issues, pimples and dry skin.


If you’re interested in plant-based products and willing to spend top dollar for skin care, you should give the toner and cream a try.

I’ll be doing a ton of product reviews this week, including more stuff from Shu (my new makeup love), so please check back later today for more.

How’s your Monday going so far? I’m still a little sick but on the road to recovery, yay!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 25 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Rowena says:

    Woahhh baby, thats pricey. I have used the Shu Depsea range (gave me a rash) and the whitening range which is ok. Overall my no.1 love from Shu is green tea cleansing oil. This range does look lovely though…

  2. Joanna says:

    My skin simply hates Shu Uemura. I’m not sure why, it does wonders for my mom but not me.

  3. LaurieT says:

    Wow, these are way too expensive for me. That’s a lot of money unless it works like magic. I could swing for the first step but that’s about it.

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Rowena,

    I know, it’s kinda an arm and a leg. The toner is pretty awesome though, so if one is used to paying those prices then it might be worth a try. I’ve never tried the green tea cleansing oil yet. Does it smell good?

  5. Karen says:

    That’s too bad, Joanna. I think they use very high quality ingredients, but yeah, certain lines don’t mesh well with my skin too.

    Do you have a favorite skin care line? Right now I’m really into Philosophy.

  6. Karen says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Yeah, it’s pricey. If you want a cheaper alternative to an exfoliating toner then Clinique makes one called Mild Clarifying lotion. The active ingredient is salicylic acid, it doesn’t dry out my skin, and it’s only $11.00!!! If you ever try it let me know πŸ™‚

  7. Rowena says:

    Oh yes Green Tea smells amazing…it’s sort of not that green tea like, just fresh, like dew, but warming…for the mo I think I will stick to my Nars Skincare. πŸ™‚

  8. Karen says:

    Oh yum! Sounds divine. I can’t wait to smell it. I’ve never tried NARS skincare – what do you like from the line?

    BTW, have you seen the new Shu spring stuff? The shadows look really pretty.

  9. I didn’t realize that Shu Uemura had a anti-aging skincare line. I thought they were all about makeup!

    Good to know.

  10. Girl-Woman says:

    Hi Karen. I just gave La Mer a test-drive at Saks. It is also tres expensive. I will give Shu a try this week and see how they compare. I am still a Retin-A/Prevage/Olay gal.

  11. Lea says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m one of your silent readers (I’m sure there’s many of us who tune in but have no time to leave you a note). I just want to congratulate you on such a great job. Your blogs are all very informative, and I love the humor you thrown in with the little bit of your personal stuff.

    I especially love product reviews (mostly stuff outside MAC). It’s great to know what else is out there and get honest consumer perpective. I use MAC products but not extensively as I have very sensitive skin and nose, my skin bickers against MAC (boohoo). I get irritation and reaction to anything as ridiculous as mint flavored chewing gum, to wine, to silver accessories. Over the years I’ve learned what products to stay away from and now take pride in my clear and smooth skin. I’m all ears when it comes to skin products! I also salute you for being health consious, we have similar outlook about food and exercise and even (may I dare say) some weakness πŸ˜‰

    Thanks again for taking the time to write, merci for your tips and tricks! I promise to drop a note to let you know I am here reading and that I appreciate your input.

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Miss Gisele,

    Yes, there are a few different targeted skin care lines available, brushes too. πŸ™‚

  13. Karen says:

    Hi Girl-Woman,

    I have a sample of Prevage and have yet to try it. What do you like about it?

    And yes, La Mer is hella expensive. Do you think it’s worth the money?

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Lea,

    WOW! What a wonderful note. You totally made me smile. πŸ™‚ I am so thankful that wonderful readers like yourself take the time out of your day to read the blog.

    It sounds like you’ve done a lot of trial and error when it comes to skin and makeup. I totally feel your pain, because it seems that’s the only way to find what works for ya, you know? I’ve got lots of skin care reviews rolling out so I hope you come back soon.

    Have a wonderful week, and it was great to “meet” you! Take care.

  15. EtherealPrey says:

    thanks for the review! but did you hear what has happened to our beloved Shu? he passed away πŸ™ sorry didn’t mean to be a downer but you wrote an nice shu review…,8599,1701376,00.html

  16. Karen says:

    Yeah, I was going to put a post up just right now. Boo hoo!

  17. Stacey says:

    That is too bad about Shu. However the prices are a bit crazy. I use Hydropeptide by Azure Cosmeceuticals. I love their stuff and it’s not as pricey as some of these products. Plus it’s an amazing product line. I’m sure this is as well for some people. Just not for me.

  18. Lea says:

    No biggie. Good to know I’m able to make one more person smile today. I’m a blogger too, exept I blog about life just as soon I hit my 30th, points of view in general. I do have a silent reading audience, friends and fam tell me they read my blogs exept they don’t get to leave a comment and really that’s fine by me. For me writing is merely an output, writing (and not keeping them in my head) keeps me sane. On the other hand, your blogging is almost a career (not sure what you do full-time) and I think it’s important that you get a two-way communication as an added inspiration. I’m not sure how you do it, it’s very time-consuming to write, take photos, go to the shops, not to mention dish out all that cash!! Kudos Karen!

    Yes, I can honestly say “been there-done that”. Although I’ve already found the loves-of-my-life products (and am sticking with them for a very very long time), it’s still great to read about other items in the market.

    Trust that I’ll be reading…so you better come up with some very good and witty ones now! jk.

    Pleasure to meet you as well, and have an awesome rest of the week!

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Stacey, Yeah, I agree – the prices are certainly not budget minded. I’ve never heard of Hydropeptide. Is it a moisturizer, or an anti-aging cream?

  20. Karen says:

    Hi Lea,

    That’s cool that you are a blogger too. Blogging is a great outlet for all writers, and it sounds like your personal blog is very therapeutic.

    I was wondering – what are your loves-of-your-life products? I am always curious to know what people can’t live without! Plus it gives me an excuse to scope out new stuff. πŸ™‚

  21. Jane says:

    I have the entire line and it’s what I’m currently using. I agree that the toner is the stuff of gods. The cream/emulsion are pretty standard: I feel I can get the same effect if I used my Olay Regenerist cream/emulsion. I thought the essence was the best of all: it really helped reduce the fine lines under my eyes (from years of smoking), but the problem was long-term use gave me millia. πŸ™ So, now I’m back hunting for the perfect product to eliminate these wrinkles smoking gave me.

    On another note, I hope you had a happy Christmas and a great holiday! πŸ™‚

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Jane! Thank you, I hope your trip went well and that your Christmas and New Years was fun.

    That’s too bad about the milia! It totally sucks to find something that works only to have it turn on you.

    And yeah, that toner is so rocking! πŸ™‚

  23. Diana says:

    Im using two lines from Shu Uemura, the ACE B-G Line in the spring/summer and the Depsea for the fall/winter. Im in love with their oils and especially the second step lotion. I have used other skincare lines such as Shiseido and it was great.. but it didnt help with the texture of my skin. But now after using the Shu lotions.. my skin is so smooth! Hence my foundation goes on so flawlessly! And the other great thing about the line is that you can mix and match with other skin care lines. They dont tell you that you HAVE to use their whole line to work.

    People tend to think that Shu Uemura is just a makeup line because he was a hollywood makeup artist and his makeup has no limits. But his first ever product was the Cleansing oil. “Beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin”

    Great article on the Phyto Black!

  24. Hi Karen! Am loving your blog! Sorry… I know this post is from last year but I just bought my first Shu cleanser and so far I’m loving it.

    I also am in my early 30’s and am starting to be more aware of my ‘maturing’ skin. πŸ˜‰

    A year later, are you still using any of the phyto products? Still liking them?

    I’ve been using the Laura Mercier flawless face skincare since forever and I love it… but am open to better if it’s out there!

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on the Shu skincare. Thanks! (my skin runs combo!)


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