Part 4: Which brands shall I look into?

(IPSA’s new Pore Protect Foundation)
(image from

Today I will briefly mention some of the Japanese beauty brands that are noted for their base makeup lines. Direct links to the base makeup pages of the brands’ official websites are provided if possible. (Some sites are very flash-heavy and don’t have direct URLs for individual pages.) I will also update this post when there is something new and noteworthy on the scene.

Here we go:

– The three “megabrands“/ “superbrands

Currently, in Japanese cosmetics, “megabrand” refers to the main base/point makeup lines of Shiseido, Kanebo, and Kosé. At the moment, they are Maquillage (of Shiseido), Coffret D’Or (of Kanebo), and Esprique Precious (of Kosé). These lines are usually worth looking into because their latest products are often the results of the companies’ latest foundation technologies.

Sofina Primavista

Primavista, Kao Sofina’s main base makeup line and Raycious’ predecessor, is the answer to the megabrands’ base makeup lines. Right now two collections have been released (fall/winter 2008 and spring/summer 2009), and it will be interesting to see how the line develops.

Albion Exage

Various versions of powder foundations from Exage (and Exage White) have been among the best-sellers in Japan for years. Fans often comment on the fine and light texture of the power and the natural finish.


IPSA is particularly strong in skincare and base makeup. All IPSA counters have a consultation area where you can find out which skincare and base makeup items are suitable for you. You can also check which foundation shade goes with your complexion.

Paul & Joe

Paul & Joe has been known for its base makeup for quite a while. The products tend to create a luminous finish, with a low-to-medium coverage for an ultra-natural look. (Even though Paul & Joe is a French fashion line, its beauty line is produced in Japan.)


SUQQU has been very strong in base makeup, and I feel that most of its base makeup products tend to be quite suitable for dry skin (even their powder foundations). Their concealers (Stick Concealers), cream foundation (simply called Foundation) and Clear Veil Powder are particularly popular.


I think Lunasol has been so popular with its gorgeous point makeup collections season after season that some forget that some of its base makeup products are also very well-received. In the February 2008 issue of Biteki, Water Cream Foundation and Micro Finish Powder N are listed among the top five favorite base makeup items (in their own categories) with Biteki readers. In the February 2009 issue, Skin Fusing Powder Foundation is among the top 10 powder foundations.

Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel is another French fashion brand that features an essentially Japanese beauty line. Among the base makeup products, Water Gel Foundation (which is claimed to contain 80% water) and the primer (currently Treatment Makeup Base S) have been popular for as long as I can remember.


ECM started off as a base makeup brand and has a well-structured range of base makeup items. Please see my brand profile article on ECM here.


Recently, Ex:beaute has been getting quite a lot of Japanese beauty magazine coverage. Their current slogan is to create the luminous and flawless “actress skin”, which is ready for anything hi-definition.

Shu Uemura

Since Shu Uemura is sold internationally, the range of foundation (and loose powder) shades is considerably wider than that of most other Japanese beauty brands (that are sold within East/ Southeast Asia). There are also quite a few different foundation products to choose from.

Other than the brands above, a few cult products deserve a mention. RMK‘s various primers, AYURA‘s Zero Clear Colors (color-adjusting concealers), Chacott‘s (a dancewear brand) Finishing Powder, and Kesalan Patharan‘s Sheer Micro Powder all have their places on the Japanese base makeup map.

In the final post of the series, I will mention some of my favorite Japanese base makeup products and I will finish the series with a few further notes.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Je nais sais quoi Saturday, March 7, 2009

hi there :) It’s my first time commenting on your blog even though I’ve checked it out a couple of times.

Thanks for such an informative post! Now the question is..which brand do I go with?? :P I wish i could get them all :D hehe


thenewgirl Saturday, March 7, 2009

on chinese makeup forums mikimoto eturia loose powder is also a cult product. i found the only blog on it in english

still trying to find a place to purchase it though ><


milkypop Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hi PJ,

Thank you for your very detailed breakdown of Japanese base make!
I like it that you mentioned underrated brands like Ex:beaute and Ayura. The Ayura Zero Clear Colors concealer in BE2 is my HG for concealing blemishes. Ive been through 2 refills. My friend who is fair-skinned swears by the Purple one for highlighting.

Also you may have left out DHC… i think in recent years they have had some interesting ranges incl the Rose Beauty series.. which i have not gotten my hands on yet!


therainbowstar Sunday, March 8, 2009

LOL that was my post on mikimoto :P (btw, i bought it online from taiwanese site BGO)

i’m dying to try out Suqqu and the new IPSA foundation! i have sonia rykiel’s water gel and makeup base, but i’m a little disappointed with them, especially the water gel foundation. D:


PJ Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hi Je nais sais quoi,

You are welcome, and thank you very much for visiting my blog! :)

It is certainly difficult to choose among all these brands. Apart from finding out more about them, sometimes I would simply start with what attracts my attention the most. There can be some trials and errors involved in finding a really suitable foundation, but hopefully you will find quite a few items that work for you.

Many thanks for posting your comment! :)


PJ Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hi Thenewgirl,

Thank you for the link! I have heard of this item, as Mikimoto is certainly well-known. I will definitely look more into it.

Thank you for sharing the information! :)


PJ Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hi Milkypop,

I really glad that you agree that Ex:beaute and AYURA deserved the mention. I haven’t really tried products from Ex:beaute, but AYURA does have some lovely products.

Thank you for reminding me of DHC. The Rose range you mentioned is indeed popular. Like you, I haven’t tried out the range yet. Do let me know what you think if you have a chance to test out some of the products.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)


PJ Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hi Therainbowstar,

It is great to hear from you! :) I enjoyed reading your Mikimoto review.

Do let me know what you think if you have a chance to try the foundations from SUQQU and IPSA. I would be very interested in hearing about your thoughts.

Thank you very much for stopping by my blog! :)


Shi Qing Tuesday, April 21, 2009

hi. when i come always ur blog, i love reading ur blog. Make me more understand japenese makeup brand.

can i ask which founation is the best? Coffret D’Or’s latest powder foundation, Lasting Power Pact UV or Shiseido Maquillage Lasting Powdery UV ? can u compare these two founation ? i would like to know more about them . thank you.


PJ Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hi Shi Qing,

Thank you very much for reading my blog. I am glad that you enjoy it! :)

I am afraid that I have not tried either of the two foundations that you mentioned, so I am not able to compare them. But my friend Betsy at Autumn Masquerade ( has tried both and has posted her thoughts on them. Do have a look. :)

Thank you very much for posting your comment! :)


Blair Monday, May 11, 2009

Hello PJ!

This is my first time commenting on your blog ^^

I blogged about Japanese primers recently and I used this post as an inspiration. Thank you for updating your readers on all the Japanese releases! =D


PJ Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hi Blair,

Thank you very much for reading my blog!

I find your post quite helpful. The primers you featured, as you mentioned, are relatively new, and it would be interesting to see how well-received they will be in the coming months.

Thank you for letting me know about your post, and many thanks for posting your comment! :)


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