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.
(I wear #22.)
(image from www.za-ny.com)
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.)
It offers relatively good and pleasantly long-lasting pore coverage.
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.)
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!
(For me, all of these work well with ZA Two-Way Foundation.)
Other items in my “Can’t Live Without” series: