I was going to make this post a “journey of discovery” and keep it a mystery on whether the MUJI is a dupe or not for the Shiseido, but I’m just going to come out and tell you that YES, the MUJI Cut Cotton in WHITE is indeed a viable DUPE to the cult favourite – and pricey – Shiseido Facial Cotton.
I’ve been using both MUJI and Shiseido cottons interchangeably for the past month to get a true sense of how similar or dissimilar they are to each other.
First, let’s explain what a “dupe” is in the beauty world. A dupe is a product that replicates another product in terms of colour, finish, texture, longevity, performance etc. A mimic, if you will. A dupe is helpful when:
• it is less expensive
• the original is no longer available (limited edition or discontinued)
• the original is not widely accessible (ie. Canadian brand not available in the UK)
• it fulfills a certain personal criteria (ie. cruelty-free, vegan, not made in China etc)
(Perhaps I should add this definition to my terminology list?)
So for me, the MUJI Cut Cotton dupe is a cheaper alternative to the Shiseido Facial Cotton.
Let’s back up a little – I am just so excited about this discovery! Some of you may know that I’m a bit of a facial cotton fanatic. I love trying new ones and am forever on a quest to find the pinnacle of facial cotton perfection. That distinction goes to Shiseido Facial Cotton. But, it’s kind of pricey at C$11 for a pack of 165 pieces. Another passion of mine is trying to find a dupe for Shiseido Facial Cotton (which I call “Crack Cotton”) but so far, to no avail.
Enter the MUJI Cut Cotton in White. It costs only C$3.50 for a pack of 165 pieces. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the MUJI Cut Cotton contains the exact same amount of pieces as what Shiseido contains. When I compared those blatant knock-offs from Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall, I noted how similar their packages look to Shiseido’s too.
I did my usual physical, observable comparisons between MUJI and Shiseido. The size of the MUJI is slightly smaller, measuring 65 x 50mm whereas Shiseido’s is 65 x 55mm.
MUJI Cut Cotton is thicker than Shiseido. I’ve noted that the MUJI cotton does seem to hold more liquid than Shiseido. Shiseido’s pieces look to have a slightly smoother cut when viewed in a stack.
They’re both very soft and the cotton sheets don’t fall apart in use. There’s no linting at all.
Then I did a blind test. I placed both Shiseido and MUJI in my cotton dispenser, randomly alternating them. And I could not tell the difference! 😮
When I was scrutinizing the two cottons side by side, I’d say that the Shiseido is ever so slightly softer. But it’s not apparent while I was using them on even the delicate eye area. Honestly – saving 68% allows me to ignore this tiny, almost undetectable discrepancy.
And both Shiseido and MUJI cottons are made in Japan.
Be careful though – MUJI sells other facial cottons, so don’t get confused. You don’t want the Cut Cotton Ecu – see my review on it – it’s not nearly as soft as the White version, likely due to the unbleached cotton. The only reason why I had even purchased the Ecru version in the first place was that the White was sold out. In fact, the White version is often sold out, I’ve discovered – probably because it’s so good!
In addition, MUJI sells “Peelable Cotton”, and “Cotton Puffs” (thanks to Polished & Inspired for pointing this out!) which are not the same as the Cut Cotton. MUJI Cut Cotton WHITE is what you want! 😀
EDIT December 2017: I noticed that MUJI has updated the Cut Cotton packaging to this now so look out for this instead:
See this, Shiseido? This simple resealable bag opening? You need to upgrade your packaging to this!
• Very thick and strong
• No lint
• Resealable bag
• Smaller size per sheet
Stash worthiness: 10/10
The one negative point (smaller size) of the MUJI is more than offset by the affordable price of the product. The Shiseido Facial Cotton has met its match! I do realize that for some people, MUJI may not be easily accessible. I’ll continue to seek out other dupes – I’m never complacent when it comes to facial cotton! 😉 And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ll never buy Shiseido Facial Cotton again, but let’s just say that I’ve stocked up on 3 bags of the MUJI Cut Cotton White for now. MUJI products can be purchased in-stores or online. In Canada, there are currently only 3 stores so far and luckily for me, they’re all accessible to me! 😛
Have you ever found a cheaper dupe for a more expensive product? Do share!