12.18.2014
6
1311
Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA+++
Rating
1 fl. oz. for $36
Last Updated:12.18.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

NOTE (6/1/15): We’ve received a lot of feedback from readers that this foundation has recently been reformulated. We’re checking into this, and will update the review as soon as possible.

Sun Protection Liquid Foundation SPF 42 PA+++ deserves much praise not only for offering substantial sun protection via its in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen but also for having a silky, lightweight texture that blends easily. It offers a sheer matte finish but can provide medium to nearly full coverage if needed, all without feeling thick or looking heavy.

The silicone-enhanced fluid is ideal for normal to very oily skin and an excellent option for outdoor wear when you're active because it stays in place and is water-resistant. That doesn't mean you can apply it once and sit by the pool or play volleyball all day, but it is one of the few foundations that provide sufficient sun protection and keep looking fresh even through strenuous activities. Just be sure to reapply periodically during long days outdoors, and take other sun-protective measures, too (hat, sunglasses, seeking shade when possible).

Of the shades available, SP40 and SP50 are a bit too peach for most medium skin tones. The other shades are great options for light and dark (but not very dark) skin.

From a formulary perspective, we wanted to let you know that this foundation does contain a small amount of fragrance as well as isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol). In all likelihood, neither is present in an amount that would be cause for concern.

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 20 or greater and setting your foundation with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater.

Second note: PA followed by plus signs (PA+++, for example) is a designation used in Japan for rating the UVA protection of a sunscreen. The SPF number is about the sun's UVB rays; there are very few countries that have a UVA rating reference. Three plus symbols after the "PA" indicate the highest level of UVA protection, which can be as low as PA+, which means some UVA protection. The PA standard is not accepted or used in other countries, but because NARS is owned by Japan-based Shiseido, some of their products have begun to include it on the labeling. The concept is interesting, but ultimately the SPF rating and the active ingredients matter far more because the method of assessing UVA protection is not widely accepted, primarily because it is very difficult to get agreement from scientists on what tests to use and what they mean.

Claims

This full-coverage, liquid foundation leaves a flawless, transfer-resistant, dewy and luminous finish that lasts for hours. Resistant against water and oil. PABA-free.

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 1.9% Titanium Dioxide, 8.3% Inactive Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Isododecane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Cyclomethicone, SD Alcohol 40-B, PEG/PPG-19/19 Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, BIS-Butyldimethicone Polyglyceryl-3, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Saxi Fraga Sarmentosa Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aluminum Distearate, Alumina, Isotearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylysilane, Trisodium EDTA, Silica, Polysilicone-2, Alcohol, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Hydrated Silica, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, BHT, Syzgium Jambos Leaf Extract, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Tin Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica.

Brand Overview

Shiseido At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection and present a variety of options, whether you're looking for titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone; a handful of good (but not great) moisturizers; worthwhile oil-blotting papers; foundations with sunscreen that provide sufficient UVA protection (and there are some wonderful foundations here); pressed powder with sunscreen for oily skin; the Perfect Rouge Lipstick is one of the best creamy lipsticks at the department store; mostly good mascaras.

Weaknesses: Expensive; several drying cleansers; boring toners; no AHA or BHA products; no products to effectively manage acne; no reliable skin-lightening options despite a preponderance of products claiming to do just that; irritating self-tanners; gimmicky masks; jar packaging; uneven assortment of concealers (and some terrible colors); average to disappointing eye and brow shapers; average makeup brushes.

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.

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.

Shiseido Makeup

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!

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
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04.18.2015
formula changed

they changed the formula :(

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
03.06.2015
Summer staple

This is my go to foundation for summer time. Beautiful finish, protection and waterproof. I'm acne prone and doesn't break me out.

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Reviewed by
Ana R.
12.02.2014
Broke me out like crazy!

I bought this foundation for extra protection during long summer days. I was looking for something with good SPF, coverage and tenacity. This product broke me out like crazy. I never have breakouts and didn't even know that a product could do it to me! Within a few days my chin and lower face was covered in deep cysts! The foundation itself feels extremely thick and dry on the skin and does not wash off easily. It is very hard to put any makeup over it. I felt like I covered my face with cement!

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Reviewed by
ANETA D.
11.22.2014
Sensitive Skin Miracle!

I have sensitive combo skin/oily T-zone, and this stays put all day - no transfer or slip. Dries to a pore-less finish & covers redness. Friends think I'm not wearing any makeup! There's no moisturizer in this foundation so I use a light moisturizer underneath during summer, and a heavier one in winter. Lightest color #10 is still a little dark on me so I mix it with a dab of Cover Girl Aqua Smooth or Lorac Natural Performance - also helps it smooth on better. Terrific tenacious SPF protection!

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Reviewed by
Kat
01.17.2014
Tenacious!

This my HG foundation for summer days at the beach or the pool. It is incredibly water and sweat resistant, with a satin-matte finish that looks like skin. Girls with oily skin will fall in love with it, but it does accentuate dry patches. The sun protection is very reliable, but since it's a foundation, you don't want to put it on too heavily. I layer it over another water-resistant sunscreen. This won't wash off with cleanser alone, you'll need a soft washcloth or Clarisonic to remove it.

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Reviewed by
BRIANNA V.
04.10.2013
nice foundation; doesn't stay put

This foundation feels wonderful when you put it on; silky. But I am in my late 60's and much as I love this, I cannot buy it again because it gravitates into my wrinkles. Even after buffing it out, the product returns to where i don't want it. Too bad, really.

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Reviewed by
MARY S.
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