Wow! This talc-based pressed-powder foundation with an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen is about as close to perfect as it gets. The texture is unbelievably silky and wonderfully light—you’ll notice right away how this seems to float over skin without feeling the least bit like makeup—and provides a silky matte finish. The finish enlivens skin rather than making it look dry or chalky.
This isn’t the powder foundation for those seeking significant coverage, but it’s ideal for those with normal to oily skin seeking sheer to light coverage that looks incredibly skin-like. The shade range favors warm-toned (meaning yellow) shades, and almost all of them are great. Shade O60 is a bit too golden yellow, but that’s the only color worth skipping. There are no shades for dark skin tones, but plenty for fair to light skin.
Note:Although this foundation provides broad-spectrum sun protection on its own, you must apply it liberally and evenly to get the stated level of protection. A sheer or spot application will not provide the amount of sun protection the label indicates. If you’re not likely to apply this foundation liberally, we recommend applying it over a moisturizer with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater and setting your foundation with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater.
Active: Octinoxate 3.9%; Titanium Dioxide17.5%; Other: Talc, Synthetic Fluoroapatite, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Barium Sulfite, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethylcyclohexane, Bis-Hydroxystearamide, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Diphenyl Dimethicone/Vinyl Diphenyl Dimethicone/Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Hexemethylene Bis-Hydroxystearamide, Diisostearyl Malate, Nylon-12, PEG/PPG-35/41 Dimethyl Ether, Polysilicone-2, Sorbitan Sesquistearate, Dimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aluminum Stearate, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Methicone, Tocopherol, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate, BHT, Tetradecene, Chlorphenesin, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides, Mica
Shiseido is one of the largest cosmetic companies in Japan, and the founder wants consumers worldwide to know that the brand he began is meant for all who seek beauty. Oddly enough, Shiseido (pronounced "she-say-doe"), whose products have a distinctly Japanese appearance and appeal, began in 1872 as Japan's first Western-style pharmacy. Its products have been sold in the United States for over 40 years, and it has become a nearly overwhelming product line. Although there are some respectable products, Shiseido's skin-care collection is far from a total approach to anything, unless your skin-care mantra is "it has to be average yet needlessly expensive and the routine has to include more products than any other line recommends."
A total approach to health and beauty would take into account all that has been learned to date about how skin functions, how it can repair itself, how it ages, and what it realistically takes for it to look, feel, and function at its best. Such an approach does not, however, involve cleansers with alkaline ingredients that cause skin to be unnecessarily dry, lackluster toners, or far too many products with alcohol; that can only harm the skin, which isn't beautiful in the least.
Shiseido doesn't have the issue of sun protection down yet, as witness a few of their sunscreens that still lack sufficient UVA protection - even though they participate in Japan's UVA-based PA rating system (explained in the Sun Products reviews below). And when it comes to state-of-the art essentials such as antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and substances that reinforce the structure of healthy skin, Shiseido typically comes up short. You'll hear (and read) much talk about the company's exclusive technologies, but terms like Bio-Regenerine, Phyto-Capsule Emulsification, Optimal Balance Network, and Deacti-Complex are meaningless without significant, proven ingredients to support each technology's alleged function. We're sure they are intended to make the products seem more advanced and special to consumers, but the proof is in the ingredient lists, and very few of Shiseido's lists fall under the category of impressive.
If anything, the numerous skin-care options presented here are merely average or really disappointing. Many of the moisturizers have luscious textures, but again, it takes more than a sensational feel to create exceptional products that have your skin's best interest (and best appearance) in mind.
One point of difference with this line is that Shiseido insists on regular facial massage. That means you'll find several facial massage creams, although most of them have traditional moisturizer formularies that differ little from what's seen throughout the lineup. Shiseido maintains that routine facial massage creates firmer skin that's less prone to sagging because the massage action tones the muscles, but that simply isn't true. The muscles of the face are among the most frequently used. Repetitive muscle movements are a prime cause of expression lines around the eyes, mouth, and on the forehead. Botox has become such a popular procedure because it selectively prevents these muscles from working, which smoothes creases and lines. Massage alone cannot do that; if anything, routine facial massage can encourage lines and sagging by stretching the skin. Furthermore, when skin slackens and sags, it involves more than just the muscles. Sun damage plays a role in collagen and elastin destruction, as does gravity, which causes fat pads beneath the skin to slip. And then there's bone loss, and the fact that, as we age, skin continues to grow (yet has less to hold on to). Massage to repair sun damage—give me a break!
For more information about Shiseido, visit www.shiseido.com.
Although Shiseido is known more for their seemingly endless array of skin-care products, their makeup, while not without its problem-child products, is clearly not just an afterthought. The main and most impressive part of the color collection is the foundations. For the most part they have silky textures, and provide adequate sun protection (at least an SPF 15 with UVA-protecting ingredients). If you're keen on shopping this line you should also pay attention to their Perfect Rouge Lipstick, lip gloss, the mascaras, and some distinctive specialty products. Items to avoid entirely include the eye and brow pencils and a couple of the eyeshadows; the makeup brushes are serviceable, but pale in comparison to what makeup artist–backed lines offer. Ignore the inflated claims that accompany many of Shiseido's makeup products, but don't ignore the best of what they have to offer—because in that regard, they're better than ever!