Asian American chef Shirley Chung creates superfood menu inspired by Shiseido’s WASO skincare line

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There’s an adage that says, if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

These days, it’s much easier to follow that as a rule of thumb, given that there’s focus on products that use more natural ingredients that we can identify and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals.

One such skincare line is Shiseido’s WASO collection, which uses superfoods and botanicals — namely carrot, loquat, honey, tofu yuzu and red basil — across the board, from its cleanser to overnight mask.

The WASO line, which was recently relaunched exclusively at Sephora, is designed specifically for young adults, ages 18-25, to help the common skin care problems they face like an unbalanced skin tone or being acne prone.

Based on the Japanese words, “WA” meaning harmony and “SO” meaning inspiration, WASO is a minimalist line that is intended to enhance more natural beauty and blend nature and technology together, as well as the ancient Japanese food tradition of Washoku with a modern aesthetic.

Chef Shirley Chung created a menu inspired by the ingredients in the WASO line | Jennifer Johnson Photography

Like Washoku in its pure sense of satisfying the senses, bringing harmony and being seasonally relevant, WASO is  “about using the best possible use of the ingredient in its best form in any recipe,” Tiffani Carter-Thompson, vice president of integrated communications at Shiseido told over a dozen attendees.

To demonstrate the active natural and edible ingredients that are in the WASO line, Asian American chef, restauranteur and “Top Chef” alum Shirley Chung (Ms Chi Cafe) curated a special menu during a recent late spring afternoon gathering at the Shiseido Malibu Beach House in Malibu, California. She was introduced by Jenn Harris, senior food writer at the Los Angeles Times.

Honey Roasted Heirloom Baby Carrots with Whipped Tofu and Yuzu Aioli | Jennifer Johnson Photography

Chung made three dishes (and encouraged guests to be hands-on as well):

  • Honey Roasted Heirloom Baby Carrots with Whipped Tofu and Yuzu Aioli
  • Magical Mushroom Garden Salad: Marinated and Roasted Mushrooms, Carrot Ribbons, Sweet Gem Lettuce, Loquat and Almond Butter “mud”, Yuzu vinaigrette, and Crispy Tofu Croutons
  • Wontons with Honey Yuzu vinaigrette and chili oil: Vegan wontons filled with roasted mushrooms, carrots and tofu. Pickled carrots, and micro cilantro.

“All three dishes I’m cooking today are very ingredient-driven. It’s really to present the best form of our key ingredients,” Chung said, explaining how she sourced ingredients for the dishes from a local farmer’s market.

Guests also enjoyed specialty cocktails like the Honey Mezal (Mezcal and ginger with honey and chile de arbol) and Nourishment Elixir (carrot and lemongrass, grapefruit, gentian and soda), as well as fresh juices.

After the gloomy, yet informative afternoon, each attendee went home with a gift bag of the WASO line which includes:

  • Clear Mega-Hydrating Cream: Using ninjin and Japanese carrot, this cream is clear and promises to plump, soften and hydrate skin for 24 hours while helping to reduce the look of pores and prevent dryness.
  • Quick Gentle Cleanser: An alcohol-free, oil-free, soap-free, honey-gel cleanser that uses hachimitsu and Japanese honey for antibacterial properties. 
    Based on the Japanese food tradition of Washoku, Shiseido’s WASO line uses foods like yuzu, loquat, carrot, honey and red basil | Jennifer Johnson Photography

    Color-Smart Day Moisturizer Oil-Free Broad-Spectrum SPF 30: Using Biwa and Japanese loquat, this sunscreen is an oil-free, skin-brightening moisturizer that hydrates, brightens and mattifies with SPF 30 and a tone-adapting tint. 

  • Beauty Sleeping Mask: Get hydrated overnight with this intensive mask that uses yuzu citrus to recharge skin to deliver dewy hydration by morning to erase any facial signs of fatigue and stress.
  • Purifying Peel Off Mask: A pearl-red mask powered by botanicals that peels away dirt, pollutants and other sources of breakouts to uncover smooth, hydrated skin with fewer impurities. The key ingredients are shiso and Japanese red basil.
  • Color-Smart Day Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30: A skin-brightening tinted day moisturizer that adapts to skin’s color to enhance tone and improves the look of pores. 
  • Soft+Cushy Polisher: This refining polish gently scrubs any impurities using a tofu-like formula made from soybeans to smooth and soften skin.
  • Fresh Jelly Essence: An oil-free, gel-to-liquid softening lotion that plumps skin and helps restore the skin’s moisture.

Everything on Shiseido’s WASO line is now available at Sephora locations and Using ingredients that are good enough to eat, it’ll be a test to not eat up the products!

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is an award-winning editor and communications strategist based in Los Angeles with experience in content, strategy and branding for media ecosystems, inclusive fintech startups, small businesses and direct-to-consumer products.

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