February 17, 2011

Foundation review #25: Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

Note: I'm considering not numbering these reviews anymore, I'm afraid the numbers are becoming scary.

My first japanese foundation! How could I wait so long to get one?
Well, Shiseido recently launched this one in the US. It's going to be launched in Europe in the coming weeks and a friend of mine got a few PR samples, and she gave me this one because the color was too light for her.
Speaking of color, the one I got, I00, is a perfect match for me; the range offers 15 different shades.

How the brand describes it:

A light liquid foundation that blends seamlessly to instantly erase conspicuous pores, acne scars and skin roughness for perfectly even, long-lasting coverage. Minimizes shine while optimizing the moisture balance of the skin. Offers an exquisitely smooth, refined finish for 15 beautiful hours. Formulated with Micro-Smoothing Complex, a Shiseido-exclusive ingredient that protects against the enzyme that causes skin roughness. Available in 15 shades for your perfect match. Semi-matte finish, medium coverage.

  • The packaging! Even though this contains 30ml/1 fl.oz like most products on the market, this little guy fits in the palm of the hand, it's not much bigger than a bottle of nailpolish and it's actually lighter because it's made of very light black plastic. Also, the bottle has a nose that makes it easy to decide what amount of product we want. Definitely an excellent point for this product.
  • Long-lasting: excepted on my nose area (even though I don't have a cold, but that's where foundation wears off quicker for a lot of people) I can say this was still on most of my face after 15 hours. I'm not saying you won't feel the need to touch up at all during the day but it wears really really well in my opinion.
  • Light to medium coverage: I don't think this will save you from the burden of using concealer, but it does even out the skin tone pretty well, erasing light redness and scars.
  • Semi-matte finish: I'd even say satin, actually, this brings a nice luminosity to the face.It also feels extremely light on the skin.
  • Erasing pores: ok, I'm not really sure about this one but it does NOT enhance pores, that's for sure, and that's nice already.
  • No smell.
  • On me this became a bit too shiny on the T-zone for my liking through the day. Nothing dramatic, but since I do use a bit of powder, I didn't think this would happen.
  • Although the product looks liquidy when you poor it out, it's actually a bit dry when you spread it.
  • If you're among those who like putting a nice bottle on your dressing table, this packaging isn't going to satisfy you - definitely not a prettyfying object for your bedroom!
My overall opinion.
Well I am a bit confused about this foundation, because it's very close to being Nars Sheer Glow twin sister - and Nars Sheer Glow has been my Holy Grail foundation for over a year, as you know. The shade I00 I'm wearing is exactly the same as my Nars Gobi, and the result on the face is very very similar.
So what are the differences?
  • Sheer Glow is a fraction easier to spread on the face
  • Sheer Glow is a fraction more glowy without looking greasy (and I insist on using the word "Fraction" because the difference is really that small) and I do think the longevity on me is equivalent to the Shiseido one.
  • Shiseido's packaging is much more practical and light, especially if you travel, and is also unbreakable while the Sheer Glow bottle is a pain to handle
  • At 38USD, the Shiseido product is 4$ cheaper than the Nars one for the same amount.
If you have dryer skin, Sheer Glow will work a bit better for you because of its consistency. If you're after a good product with a no-nonsense packaging, Shiseido will be the best choice.

I do think I still prefer my beloved Sheer Glow for its texture and less dry feeling on my cheeks (who knows if I won't change my mind in the future?), but I already know that when I travel, it's Shiseido that's going to be in my makeup bag!


  1. This sounds amazing. I couldn't make NARS sheer glow work for me but I really wish it did. So many people say it's their holy grail. I love Shiseido though. I may give this a go.

  2. Dang, your review of this foundation makes it sound amazing! I might have to try this soon- I love NARS SG but it broke me out. Also that 'satin' texture really appeals to me, SG was a tad bit more glowy than I would have liked!

  3. I still have not tried the Nars Sheer Glow as I want to use up some of my already opened foundations :) but this sounds really interesting... Who know I may buy it in a very near future even if I was kind of disappointed by the only foundation I tried from Shiseido in the past (hydro liquid compact or something like that)

  4. @Ansa: definitely, unless you're really dry.
    @Mimi: looks like it could be what you're looking for!
    @Lambda: maybe try SG first to see if you like it?

  5. thank you for reviewing it !

  6. Would it be any trouble to ask for the ingredients?

  7. I've been waiting to read a review on this foundation.. And you make it sound like a great foundaiton..

    Thanks for your insight hun =)

  8. Just out of curiosity- have you tried the Milk-of-Magnesia as a primer trick yet on your t-zone? I don't generally have excess oil anywhere, but I'm becoming more and more intrigued as I research. Magnesium and it's relatives are a really common oil absorber in skin care and cosmetics, so it totally makes sense that the milk of magnesia would work to keep shine at bay.

    Id be really curious to see if it would help foundation wear longer, especially on your nose, if you just spot applied it before your foundation.

    Let me know if you've tried it!

  9. @Jess: no and I'm not even sure where to find that here, but anyway since I have stopped moisturizing during the day, I don't get very oily anymore. Technically you wouldn't even say I'm really oily, since oils will appeal like after 5-6 hours of wear. But it's an interesting question :)


I love getting comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts!