Can’t Live Without: Shiseido ZA Two-Way Foundation

by PJ on Sunday, March 23, 2008

in _Can't Live Without, _Japanese Brand Profile, -Shiseido, -ZA, makeup, makeup - base makeup, makeup - base makeup - foundation, stash focus

(Shiseido ZA Two-Way Foundation)
This favorite foundation of mine got a very brief mention in my post on my foundation routine almost precisely a year ago (the one in the cherry-pink case). After I did a couple of Foundation Face-Offs (SUQQU vs. Chanel and Lunasol vs. Coffret D’Or), I thought I should highlight my favorite foundation for the past few years.

Launched in 1997, ZA is a drugstore brand from Shiseido that is targeted at those in the mid-20’s. What is interesting about ZA is that it is a Shiseido line that is not sold in Japan. According to ZA’s website, it is available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Hawaii.

(ZA Two-Way Foundation)
(I wear #22.)
(image from

Even though Sofina’s Raycious is also one of my favorite foundation lines, its annual powder foundation releases over the past few years seem to be getting paler and a lot more luminous. (I prefer a satiny matte finish.) Despite their very good sebum-control efficacy, the overly luminous finish doesn’t really suit me. This is where ZA comes in (while I use Raycious foundations mainly for highlighting and precision concealing).

For me, a good foundation should even out my skin-tone (particularly the mild redness), offer a medium coverage, create a matte finish, control shine, and minimize the look of pores. ZA’s Two-Way Foundation does all of these relatively well.


SPF 20, PA ++, 8 shades (see above)


The finish is predominantly matte with a very subtle and natural luminosity.


The texture is more on the dry side (which is good for sebum control). Among major Japanese cosmetics lines that release different powder foundations for spring/summer and fall/winter, this foundation’s texture is more like that of a spring/summer release.


The coverage is around medium, and it covers mild redness and minor imperfections quite well. (I wear #22, a light-to-medium shade with a subtle yellow undertone. It evens out my mild redness effectively and gives a very natural look.)

Pore Coverage

It offers relatively good and pleasantly long-lasting pore coverage.

Shine Control

The shine-control ability is fairly good. The slightly drier texture makes the powder absorb sebum well, and the absence of shimmery particles means that the shine does not look more pronounced than it already does. (But it is worth mentioning that Coffret D’Or’s new Beauty Lasting Pack UV has an even better shine control ability.)

Lasting Power

It has a very good lasting power, which manifests in two ways. Firstly, what happens with some powder foundations I have tried is that, after I blot out the shine for several times during the day, the foundation starts to look patchy and cakey. But I have rarely experienced this with ZA. Also, the shade of the foundation darkens very minimally and only after a very long day. Sometimes I have to have my makeup on for more than 12 hours and this foundation still looks pretty good right before I take my makeup off.

Overall, this foundation really suits me. Even though there are a few other powder foundations I’ve tried that perform better in one or two categories above, this is by far one of the most well-rounded foundations that I have used so far in terms of my personal foundation-wearing preferences.

Unfortunately, for those of you that might be interested in ZA but don’t live in the regions mentioned above, I have not yet come across a website that carries ZA and delivers internationally. But I will keep you updated if I have more information.

Updated on April 2nd, 2008:

– Two readers have told me that ZA is no longer available in Hawaii.

– A reader has noticed that some ZA items are sold on-line. Please refer to the comment section for the link.

Thank you all for the alerts!

Related Posts:

Paul & Joe Foundation Primer N

Raycious Pressed Powder

Lavshcua Loose Powder

(For me, all of these work well with ZA Two-Way Foundation.)

Other items in my “Can’t Live Without” series:

Dove Body Silk

RMK Cleansing Oil N

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

心。葵 Monday, March 24, 2008

ZA 2 way cake has always recieve good reviews in Malaysia. And this review of yours comes in just right because I want to get a new 2 way cake since my old one is running out.

But I’m kinda stuck in between with ZA, Maybelline Angelift and Kate Transial Pact. All of them have good reviews. Have you used any of the other 2?

Kate’s summer release seems pretty normal. I wish they have more exciting colours. Same goes for MJ. Anyway, love all your writings on Coffret, very pretty stuff but expensive!



Anonymous Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where do you purchase the ZA foundation?


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi 心。葵,

So you are a ZA Two-Way Foundation user as well. :)

I have not tried the two you mentioned. As far as I know, Maybelline Angelift is an Asia-only release.

I feel the same way about Kate’s and Majolica Majorca’s summer 2008 releases. But I think the Duo Carats will sell very well. I look forward to seeing more diverse collections in fall.

Thank you for posting your comment again! :)


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi there,

Thank you for your question. I usually purchase my ZA refills when I travel to Asia or occasionally I ask my friends to send them to me.

Thank you for reading my blog! :)


Kng Suan Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi 心。葵
Just to add my comment about Angelfit, the coverage is quite similar to ZA, however its oil control ability is not as good hence it is not as lasting.


Gloria Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oooh I must try this. Luckily my mom is in Taiwan right now, so I’ll ask her to pick this up. She and I have pretty much the same skin color and tone, so I’ll just ask her to find one in her color.

Awesome! I’ve been wanting to get a new powder foundation after using MAC’s Studio Fix for so long. The problem with Studio Fix is that it darkens and turns orange really quickly.


心。葵 Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Dual Carats are lovely! I’m looking forward in getting more of it, currently having only GD-1, but sadly alot of their colours aren’t available in Malaysia. >_< Will be doing a review of it shortly. :D Oh dear, I guess I’ll have to rely on instincts on which 2 way cake to buy. About ZA, i notice they have this pattern. During Xmas sales in watsons, they tend to sell 2 of it’s 2 way cake for the price of 1, one with casing and the other being the refill. Hehe. Just to inform you if you wanna stock up or something. regards,


xisa Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Have you use ZA True White Foundation? I was wondering what’s the difference between the two, since I’m currently using the True White one. :)

To 心。葵,

I use ZA True White, my sister use KATE Transial Pact, while my cousin use Maybelline Angelfit. My skin is oily so ZA works well with my skin, giving it a matte finish, coverage is good, long-lasting as well. As for KATE, from what I can see from my sister’s face, the coverage is very good, it hides all flaws and still looks natural, my sister’s skin is dry and for reference. Lasting power is great too. My cousin’s skin is combination, she uses Angelfit and I think her skin looks glowy, probably because of the shimmers. (the pearl?) Lasting power is good, not sure about the coverage since her skin is good. My sister had use both ZA True White and KATE, and she prefers KATE as it is more moist and less matte compare with ZA, which felt dry on her. But I prefer ZA, as it matte. XD I dont think my cousin likes Angelfit that much.


BRo0Ke. Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I posted a comment the other day but my comment is not shown.. why? :(


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi Kng Suan,

Thank you for your input! :)

As I have not tried Angelift, any comment is greatly appreciated. Hope 心。葵 will get to read your comment soon.

Thank you very much again! :)


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi Gloria,

It is great that your mother will be able to get it for you! :)

Hope you will get to try this soon and hopefully you will like it. Don’t forget to let me know what you think!

As for the L’Oréal Truth Match line you mentioned, I found a shade that should suit me from the testers, but it is out of stock in my local drugstores at the moment. I might consider trying it if they have it in stock later on. :)

Thank you for leaving your comment again! :)


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi 心。葵,

I hope you will get to read the comments from some other readers who have commented on Maybelline Angelift and Kate Transial Pact. :) Hope they will help you in making your final decision.

Thank you for the information on the ZA Christmas offers as well! :)


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi Xisa,

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your informative comment! I really appreciate it and hope 心。葵 will get to read about your thoughts.

I have not tried ZA True White Foundation. But I was trying to look for some users’ comments on it. Obviously, different people feel differently about the same product. But, very generally, a couple of people who have used both ZA Two-Way and ZA True white said that Two-Way has a slightly better shine-control ability and a slightly drier texture while True White has better coverage.

Some people have also commented on the fact that True White’s shade selection seems to be overall paler.

I hope it helps a little bit. :)

Thank you again for reading my blog and for your input on the various foundations. It is very helpful! Hope to hear from you again soon! :)


PJ Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hi BRo0Ke.,

Thank you for taking your time to leave your comment again.

Very occasionally, some readers make me aware of the fact that Blogger doesn’t successfully deliver readers’ comments to me. So I think that it why I didn’t receive your previous comment.

I do apologize for this. Thank you very much for visiting my blog, and I hope I will hear from you again soon! :)


BRo0Ke. Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear PJ,

Hope this one gets through again like the last!

I was saying that I saw ZA two-way foundation online here, but not sure if it’s the same one you reviewed.


PJ Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dear BRo0Ke.,

Thank you for taking the time to send your comment again!

I see. This is a different foundation and is from ZA’s True White whitening line. But it is very helpful of you to post the link. :)

Thank you again for posting your comment! :)


心。葵 Wednesday, March 26, 2008

thank you kng suan and xisa for the reviews!

i’ve heard bout ZA (the normal one) being good for oil control while the True white line oil control is not as good. i have combi to oily skin (i think) so i need something with good oil control.

but still, quite torn between these 3 as all of them have something i like and something i dun like about them.

buying foundation is difficult!!! :P



PJ Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hi 心。葵,

I am glad you got to read the reviews in the comments.

It is indeed very difficult to choose a foundation. But I do hope the decision will get easier for you as you come across more information. Do let me know if you get to try anything!

Thank you for stopping by again! :)


Anonymous Thursday, March 27, 2008

ZA two-way foundation is no longer available in Hawaii :( I’ve been using it for a couple of years and love it (and the price!) – if anyone knows of any online site(s) that sells it, please post it in the comments section!


kahani Thursday, March 27, 2008

When I’m in Malaysia I can’t live without this foundation either. but now I’m in the UK I have to! *cries* Fortunately I’m not quite as oily here as I am in M’sia and can make do with L’oreal’s Mineral foundation. But oh I miss my ZA..


PJ Friday, March 28, 2008

Hi there,

I am sorry that ZA left Hawaii. I will have to update my post. Thank you for letting me know.

I will try to keep you posted if I come across anything! :)

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your comment! :)


PJ Friday, March 28, 2008

Hi Kahani,

Thank you for visiting my blog!

It is always a little difficult when people move countries and don’t have direct access to favorite daily essentials (not just cosmetics items). I am glad that you were able to find a replacement that works well.

Hopefully you will be able to stock up the ZA foundations when you have a chance to. :)

Thank you again for reading my blog and posting your comment! :)


msnotty Friday, March 28, 2008

Ooooh interesting! I like!


Anonymous Saturday, March 29, 2008

I had a Za lipstick before…and it was a really good shade of red, it’s their aqualish lipstick. Sadly, ZA is not anymore available in my country. Thanks for mentioning the countries where it can possibly be purchased….


PJ Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hi Msnotty,

I am glad you enjoyed this post! :)

Thank you for visiting my blog, and hope to hear from you again soon! :)


PJ Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hi there,

Thank you for telling me about your ZA item! I am sorry that ZA is not available in your country anymore. But hopefully you will find a website that carries the ZA items you like and delivers to where you are! So far I have been alerted that has some ZA items, but do let me know if you come across anything else.

Thank you for leaving your comment! :)


Cris Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This is the foundation I’m currently using! I use a slightly damp sponge and pat the thing on. However I have to touch up every 2 hours or so because my nose gets shiny and it’s caused a few mini breakouts. However, great foundation @ great price (I got mine for about US$10 including a great silver compact case cos it was on sale hehe- think I might be getting this again)


PJ Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hi Cris,

Thank you for reading my blog!

I see. I usually use this foundation dry and I think it controls shine better this way. The finish might look dry for the initial 20 minutes but it should look a lot better later.

Thank you very much for leaving your comment! Hope to hear from you again! :)


Lisa Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hi PJ,

After reading your post on this, it’s made me want to give this two-way cake a 2nd chance. =P

Previously, I gave up on this because I could never seem to get a really close shade to my skin tone. One was too dark, another was too light (which I then gave away to a friend).

If I’m a MAC NC25/30, what shade do you think would suit me? Any suggestions?



PJ Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for visiting my blog!

I had a look at MAC’s website to see your foundation shade. I think ZA Two-Way 21 is probably quite close to your skin tone. (But I have not used a MAC foundation for a long time and I have not really seen the shades up close for a while. So I do apologize if 21 is way off your skin tone.)

If you can’t really find a shade that suits you well enough, then you might need two different shades on different parts of your face. Or you can base your decision of which one shade to choose on what items you already have (highlighters, contourers,…) that can help you get the foundation shade to work for you.

Hope it helps a little. Do let me know if you have any other question.

Thank you for leaving your comment! :)


Susan Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hi PJ,

It’s me, Susan (pictures; #21 girl.

I would of wrote to you sooner than today but my laptop broke.

Anyways, shade 21 is perfect and the foundation is extremely good! I love it sooooooo very much.

Thankyou for all your help from before.

Lot’s of love. XS


PJ Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hi Susan,

Thank you very much for letting me know! I am very glad (and relieved) that it is working well for you.

Thank you for stopping by my blog again! :) Keep me posted if you have any other question.


trevis Sunday, October 26, 2008

we live in hawaii and my mother cant live without it wither!! when she found out that it was leaving the islands, she stocked up like a mad woman!! but now she would like to know where she can get more since she is on her last refill…. HELP PLEASE!!! what to do??


PJ Monday, October 27, 2008

Hi Trevis,

I see. It is a pity that ZA left Hawaii. So far I have not come across websites that carry this product, but I will keep looking and will update this post if I come across any information. In the meantime, you might have to see if you can find people in countries where ZA is available who can purchase the refills for you or try to find them on eBay.

Thank you for your question!


leney* Thursday, November 20, 2008

hi there,

i’ve been using #22, but i’m wondering if i should actually change my shade. i’ve got MAC’s Mineralize Satin Finish in NC37, and i see that many users of NC25 go for #22. could you help me with this please?

much thanks (:


PJ Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hi Leney,

I think, as long as you are happy with #22, there is not really any reason to change it.

I am sure people who use a certain shade of foundation in one brand will find different shades in another brand to be more suitable for them. (It can be due to the undertones (pink/yellow).)

But you can certainly experiment and make sure #22 is the best possible shade that ZA has for you. (I once tried #23 and I thought it was too dark. I think #22 certainly suits me the best.)

Hope it helps, and thank you very much for your question! :)


momoko.baby29 Thursday, May 28, 2009 much do it cost?


PJ Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hi Momoko.baby29,

The price can vary slightly from country to country, but it should probably be around 10 USD for the foundation refill.

Thank you very much for your question! :)


Anonymous Friday, December 11, 2009

Has anyone found an online place to buy ZA 2 way cake? If I buy Shiseido makeup, what's the equivalent for #20 of ZA 2way cake?

Thanks for posting your reviews!


PJ Sunday, December 27, 2009


You are very welcome, and I am sorry for my late reply.

I am still not sure whether there is an on-line shop that carries ZA Two-Way Foundation. I will certainly post an update under this post if I come across any information.

As for the shade in #20, I think it is probably similar to the lightest and the second lightest shades in Shiseido's other base makeup ranges. But the tones of the shades (how yellowish and pinkish they are) may not be the same as that of #20.

Hope it helps, and thank you very much for your questions! :)


Jas Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hi, i’ve tried maybelline angel lift before and had major breakouts. because of that, i threw away both my foundation and the refill pack =( what a waste! went back to ZA right after that…its awesome!


PJ Friday, December 24, 2010

Hi Jas,

I am sorry that Maybelline Angelfit is not working well for you. It can often be quite frustrating to try new base makeup items that don’t really work well at all. But I am glad that you have the great ZA foundation to rely on! :)

Thank you very much for posting your comment! :)


Angie Twe Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yeap… I’m sticking with Za as well when I want extra coverage. Otherwise, BBcream is my fav.
GREAT post I’m loving your site honestly..!


PJ Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hi Angie,

It is indeed a nice foundation that creates a very decent amount of coverage. I am glad you like it too! :)

Thank you very much for stopping by and for your kind words! :)


Rozi Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I’m from Singapore and started using ZA Two Way Foundation (original) since 1998 but stop 3 years later because i wanted to try MAC Studiofix. Thinking that maybe i should upgrade myself to all MAC makeup ( i have that mindset previously =P) but i was wrong because at first the studiofix is really good as it has a good coverage for me but i hate it when it oxidise and turn my face to orange! But still i keep on using it (i dont know what get into me) only to stop using it few years later.

So i start using ZA Two Way Foundation (original) again 5 years ago and started ZA True White Two Way Foundation since late last year. These will be my all time Favourite Two Way Foundation =)


PJ Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hi Rozi,

I certainly agree with you that ZA Two-Way Foundation is one of the foundations that darken very minimally throughout the day. This is one of the numerous reasons why I really like it. I am glad that True White Two-Way Foundation has been working well for you! :)

I have been testing both ZA Skin Beauty Two-Way Foundation and ZA True White Two-Way Foundation, and I will post my review later on.

Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing your experience! :)


Leave a Comment

Please note that information on purchasing Japanese cosmetics on-line can be found on my FAQ page.

Thank you very much!

Previous post:

Next post: