Earlier this year, Olay‘s Wrinkle Relaxing Complex, from the brand’s Regenerist range, was renamed 10 Minute Miracle. (It is essentially the same product with minor tweaks, according to the ingredient list of Wrinkle Relaxing Complex on Olay’s UK website.) Today let’s take a closer look at this product.
After talking about items for eyes as well as cheeks and lips, today I am posting the final part of my natural makeup recommendations. The items below are likely to work well for those with combination or oily skin who want a decent semi-matte coverage as well as a fair deal of pore coverage. (I have oily skin and I find it a little easier to recommend products that suit those with combination or oily skin.)
This product is obviously not designed to be a primer, but the silicone-rich formula makes it a good primer. It helps disguise the appearance of pores and creates a soft-focus finish. (If you have very oily skin, be very light-handed with it.)
(I very rarely use primers and Idealist is the one I use the most (only a couple of times a year at most). Also, I don’t use oil-control primers so I don’t really have a personal recommendation.)
I think this is one of the best powder foundations for those with combination or oily skin and it has been my favorite foundation for years. It has a semi-matte finish, a decent coverage, and a good pore coverage. The sebum-control efficacy and the overall lasting power are fairly good too.
Compared with ZA Two-Way foundation, it has less coverage but controls sebum better. I like it slightly less mainly because it doesn’t have the level of coverage that I want, but this is an outstanding powder foundation if you need a good deal of sebum-control.
One feature that Trish McEvoy is known for is the Makeup Planner System, which combines Makeup Planners (makeup pouches with binder rings) and Makeup Planner Pages (refillable palettes). Today I am reviewing the limited-edition Bejeweled Makeup Planner Collection for holiday 2009.
The set contains a Petite Refillable Makeup Page, which holds up to eight eyeshadows and can be filed into the Planner.
The palette includes:
- Eye Definer in Deep Aubergine: dark brown-toned purple (matte) - Eye Definer in Amethyst: dark violet (with sparse shimmer) - Glaze Eye Shadow in Sable Bronze: light-to-medium warm beige (softly metallic) - Eye Shadow in Delicate Pink: gently pigmented off-white pink (matte) - Blush in Easy Going: soft warm pink (glowy matte with very subtle shimmer) - Bronzer in Dual Resort: pale beige (shimmery) and brown-toned beige (mildly shimmery)
I personally really like Glaze Eye Shadow in Sable Bronze and Blush in Easy Going. Sable Bronze has a flattering sheen which doesn’t look flat or frosty, and the shade has a natural warmth to it. (It doesn’t look ashy or too bronze.) The blusher adds a soft and natural flush to the cheeks. The powder is smooth and velvety and is very easy to apply.
Overall I think this palette is more suitable for those with a light or light-to-medium complexion, as Sable Bronze, the blusher, and the bronzer might be too subtle for those with darker skin tones.
Eye Base Essentials is an eyeshadow base with quite a creamy texture. The shade included in the set is Bare, which is a pale beige with a pink undertone. It has sufficient pigment to even out the skin tone in the eyelid areas. It also contains ingredients to provide additional moisture for the eyelids, such as hydrogenated vegetable oil and bees wax.
The set also includes Beauty Booster SPF 15 Lip Gloss in Brightening Pink. It is a moderately pigmented cool berry pink with no shimmer. The color looks quite bright in the tube, but, as it is not too pigmented, it looks considerably more natural on the lips. It creates a vinyl-like glossy finish, which lasts well.
It contains avobenzone, which provides protection against UVA rays, and it is fragrance-free. It contains peppermint oil, which might be a concern for some people. But it is the last ingredient on the ingredient list, and it doesn’t feel tingly or cause discomfort or irritation when I wear it on my bare lips. (It only feels very mildly cooling.)
All the items are housed in a limited-edition White and Black Quilted Petite Makeup Planner. (It measures 11.5cm x 15cm x 7.5cm approximately.) The planner contains a small see-through pouch, which fits snugly in the Planner (as seen in the photo at the top).
Except Eye Shadow in Delicate Pink, which is not on Trish McEvoy’s website as an individual product, all the makeup shades in this set are available individually. I think this is a very nicely edited set with well-coordinated and easy-to-wear colors which are quality basics and can suit various occasions.
In the UK, this set is exclusive to Harvey Nichols.
(The product featured in this article is provided by Trish McEvoy.)
It is available in four shades and has SPF 28 and PA+++, and it uses a twist-click dispenser. The concealer has a creamy consistency, a good opaque coverage and a glowy matte finish. (It doesn’t have visible shimmery particles.)
So far, I have been having little issue with darkness in the eye area, so I can’t really say how well it works on heavy dark circles. (But it does even out the skin tone in the eye area quite well.) My main issue is the occasional breakout, and this product covers the redness effectively.
Also, I think the texture and consistency are just right. It is not so liquidy that it gets blended off where I want it to stay (it is always annoying when a concealer ends up around the breakout and not on the breakout), and the cream is just malleable enough to be blended nicely with enough play time to ensure a seamless finish.
I use this concealer underneath my powder foundation, which helps set the concealer. Once it sets, it is very long-lasting and doesn’t travel or disintegrate (even on my oily skin, where cream-based base makeup products don’t tend to stay on very well).
The shades tested for this review are 01 and 02. My skin tone is between light and light-to-medium (I use ZA Two-Way Foundation in 22 and I would go for the second OC shade in Japanese foundations), and 02 is a fairly good match for me. If you have a fair skin tone and tend to go for the lightest foundation shade, then 01 should be a good fit for you. (Both shades are quite neutral-toned and don’t look pinkish. Apart from being darker, 02 is slightly warmer than 01.)
Overall, Super Basic Concealer seems to be a very competent product, and, for me, it works well in concealing redness/breakouts. Also, the SPF/PA factors are a welcome feature as they provide extra protection for the breakout area, which can be particularly sensitive to sunlight.
It is a semi-transparent pressed powder. According to SUQQU, the main function of this product is that it sets the foundation
without altering the foundation color or leaving any powdered finish. It is also claimed to be able to cover pores and deliver an oil absorption effect.
(It is available in 101 Clear (matte) and 102 Clear Pearl (very slightly shimmery). The case, refill, and brush (similar to the flat powder brush of RMK’s Powder Foundation EX) are all sold separately.)
When I touch the surface of the powder, it feels like a piece of frosted soft plastic. I can’t hardly pick up any powder with my fingers. It does seem considerably different from nearly all the other pressed-powder products I have come across.
The application can be slightly tricky, and, over the last couple of years, I have noticed that the SUQQU sales assistants’ application techniques have changed. I remember they used to advise that we sweep the brush gently across the powder (as we normally would with any pressed powder), but it appeared to me then that the brush was not really able to pick up the powder this way. Now the sales assistants seem to apply a lot more pressure with the brush to sweep up the powder, which I think is the only way to pick up the powder from the pan.
When the powder is applied on the skin (after I apply my powder foundation), the particles are invisible. Therefore, it is certainly true that it is able to set the foundation without leaving any trace of it (no alteration of foundation color or powdered finish). What I see is that the finish of my powder foundation becomes a little more matte and that the appearance of pores is more blurred, and this is obviously down to the semi-transparent silicone particles.
The pore-diffusing efficacy is decent, but I do feel that the oil-control ability is somewhat on the weak side.
In my post two years ago, I mentioned that I imagined Clear Veil Powder would be a pressed-powder equivalent of a silicone-based liquid/gel primer (think Smash Box’s Photo Finish) and that it would probably work as a “post-primer” (something with the same purposes as those of a primer but applied after the foundation). After I have tried it, I do still think of the product in the same way. But I do find that I can also use it as a primer and apply it before my powder foundation, so the product is more versatile than I expected.
Whether Clear Veil Powder serves all of our needs would vary from person to person. If you have finally found a foundation that offers the perfect match with your skin tone and think all the loose/pressed powder products that you come across interfere with the perfect match, then this setting powder is definitely worth looking into. If you use a setting powder to diffuse the look of pores, then this product may work well for you too. But if you rely on a setting powder to keep you shine-free, then this might not be the product you are looking for.
Overall, I commend the design of the product. In Japanese cosmetics, there are a lot fewer multi-purposed products, and, especially within Japanese base makeup, it seems to be mostly about one product serving one very specific purpose.
As I was reminded of all the Japanese office/kitchen/storage gadgets that faithfully and effectively serve their sole duties, I think Clear Veil Powder is another prime example of this sophisticated simplicity of consumer product design that Japanese brands (not just beauty brands) excel at. It also exemplifies the unique quality of Japanese makeup that will always keep me curious and fascinated.
Some of you who have been reading my blog probably already know some of my favorite Japanese base makeup products, but I thought I’d present them in one round-up post for your future reference. Links to previous posts on products which are still available are provided below.
I actually tend not to use primers at all. For my oily skin, I use as few base makeup products as I can after skincare and before point makeup. I used to use primers a long time ago, and I did find a couple of products from Ettusais (a yellow-based color-adjusting primer and a pore-concealing primer) to be quite effective. Among the primers I have talked about so far (that are currently available), I have been relatively pleased with SUQQU’s Makeup Base Creamy and Makeup Base Brightup. If you are interested, please have a look at my post on Coffret D’Or’s Beauty Lasting Veil UV and Lunasol Smoothing Makeup Base as well.
- Powder Foundations
I have been a fan of Shiseido ZA’s Two-Way Foundation for many years. I think the product has been revamped once since I started using it (while the product name remained the same), but the change is (fortunately) minimal. (It has very slightly less coverage and the finish is marginally more luminous.)
(Lavshuca has launched Finish Powder (in two shades) on February 1st. It is replacing Face Powder, but Face Powder might still be available for a little while.)
To finish off the series, I’d like to mention the wave of mineral makeup (particularly foundations) arriving in Japan at the moment.
Since last year, I have started to notice that more and more Japanese beauty blogs are covering mineral foundations from the west. While I like some of the mineral eyeshadows I have tried, I have not yet been a fan of mineral foundations. There is very little doubt that mineral foundations have attractive appeals, as true mineral-based foundations can be saviours for people with very sensitive skin. However, I feel that, compared with some of the best (Japanese) foundations that I have used, they generally lack sebum control and pore coverage and they often lack staying power. For me,
purely in terms of the quality of the finish (not of their skincare benefits), mineral foundations are generally mostly about coverage and not much else, as their straightforward ingredients do not seem to provide multi-faceted results.
It seems that many Japanese consumers are very open to trying out new products, so I think the novelty factor will work its magic for a while. But I do wonder, compared with some of the best foundations that one can buy in Japan, whether most of the mineral foundations will continue to hold consumers’ attention in the next few years. I guess this will depend on future product developments from both sectors.
So that’s it from me now, and I hope you enjoy this series. Now I would love to know your favorite Japanese base makeup products. You could simply drop in a short comment with the name of the item(s), and it would be really helpful if you would tell us your skin type as well. Of course, if you have any comment on this series or any question, do please feel free to post a comment here too.
(IPSA’s new Pore Protect Foundation) (image from www.ipsa.co.jp)
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
I am often asked about choosing the right foundation shade from a Japanese brand. One question that comes up the most is “What is the difference between Ochre shades and Beige Ochre shades?” If you have wondered about the same thing, I hope this part of the series will help you a little.
Many major Japanese foundation lines categorize their shades into three groups:
Sometimes the shade name can vary. (Coffret D’Or’s pink-toned shades are called Soft Ochre shades.) But, on a typical shade chart, neutral shades are usually in the middle, with pink-toned shades on the left and yellow-toned shades on the right. Below is the shade chart for Coffret D’Or’s Lasting Power Pact UV:
(shade chart for Coffret D’Or Lasting Power Pact UV)
(image from www.kanebo-cosmetics.jp/coffretdor)
In the shade chart for all the Sofina Primavista foundations (below), Ochre 05 is marked as the “standard shade”, which is the shade that suits most people of East-Asian descent. This happens to be the shade I would usually go for, as the second lightest Ochre shade usually suits me quite well.
(shade chart for all Primavista foundations)
(image from www.sofina.com/jp/primavista)
If you are of East-Asian descent and you have never tried a foundation from Japanese brand, then I would recommend trying an Ochre shade, which is likely to suit you reasonably well. Also, once you know what an Ochre (neutral) shade looks on you, it is slightly easier to know what to expect if you decide to try a yellow-toned or pink-toned shade.
(Since most Japanese makeup lines are only sold in Japan or in East/ Southeast Asia, the foundation shades are not made to suit a wider range of complexions. If you are of Caucasian descent, then you can probably find Japanese foundation shades that suit you. If you are of Latina or Afro-Caribbean descent, then most Japanese foundations might be too light for you. But I have had good feedback from readers of Afro-Caribbean descent on Japanese loose powder products, which are usually translucent and can work for most complexions.)
However, not all Japanese foundation shades are categorized like what you see above. Other brands use a linear presentation of the shades and the shade names don’t suggest their undertone. Below is Paul & Joe’s Protective Fluid Foundation N:
(Paul & Joe Protective Fluid Foundation N) (image from www.paul-joe-beaute.com)
Overall it can be a lot trickier to tell which shade would suit you the most. In this case, apart from weeding out shades that might be too light/dark for you, try to compare the swatches in terms of yellow/pink undertones.
(If I have to pick a shade only by looking at the swatches here, I would first eliminate the two lightest shades, 10 and 20. I tend to avoid peachy/pink-toned shades, and 30 looks like a shade that might work for me as it looks slightly more yellow-toned than the neighboring shades.)
Having to choose a foundation shade on-line can be very difficult. (I can occasionally choose the wrong shade even when I can see all the shades in person…) But once you have some experience, things will get a lot easier.
(Sometimes it might be worth learning to recognize the Japanese characters for the three shade groups. Please refer to the Primavista shade chart for the characters (those printed within the color swatches). The names happen to be the same ones used by Maquillage, so you will be able to make more sense of the shades you see for Maquillage’s Lasting Powdery UV at the top of this post.)
Are you ready for some on-line browsing? Tomorrow I will talk about some popular Japanese base makeup lines.
(Sofina Primavista’s spring/summer 2009 base makeup lineup)
(image from www.sofina.co.jp/primavista)
Partly due to the speed of development in Japanese base makeup (and partly due to marketing tactics), the frequency in which a brand’s base makeup products get updated is a lot higher than that of most western brands.
Many major Japanese beauty brands release two base makeup collections a year. Spring/summer releases are usually in March and April, and fall/winter releases are usually in September and October. (They are more or less released two months after the seasonal point makeup collections are available.)
The size of the collection varies. Sometimes there are just a couple of items (perhaps a new foundation and a primer), and sometimes there can be a major collection revamp.
Very often, when a new product is launched, the existing equivelant will be discontinued. This means that a Japanese base makeup product can sometimes only be available for 12 months. (This is especially the case with some department store brands.) For example, during the Raycious era (2000 – 2007), a new powder foundation was released every March and the previous version would be discontinued. Not all the products are updated at this rate, but many do get revamped about every other year.
So, on the whole, every six months, a base makeup collection goes through an update, and possibly a few products are phased out. (One obvious exception would be a new base make range whose lineup is still growing, like Primavista.) My suggestion is that, if you discover a Japanese base makeup product that you can’t live without, consider picking up some extras. (The next version might not suit you equally.)
There are some general differences between spring/summer and fall/winter releases. Spring/summer releases tend to have higher SPF and PA. They are often more sweat-resistant and are better at sebum-control, and the finish is often slightly more matte. Sometimes, the coverage is more on the natural side.
Fall/winter releases usually have a more emollient texture.
The foundations sometimes have more coverage, and the finish is more luminous. The primers tend to be for further moisturizing the skin.
It can be quite useful to know in which season a product (particularly a foundation) is released. In Japan, there is quite a big temperature difference between summer and winter. If you have combination or oily skin and you happen to live in a tropical or sub-tropical climate, you probably don’t need a very emollient cream foundation (even though it might be a best seller in Japan.)
(Though the choice of a powder foundation or a liquid/cream foundation is often a matter of preference, I tend to suggest powder foundations for people with combination or oily skin. I think those with normal or drier skin do have more choices. Liquid/cream foundations would generally work fine, and there are some powder foundations with a very smooth and velvety texture that can work very well on dry skin even without a primer.)
Apart from regularly checking the official websites of Japanese beauty brands, Japanese beauty magazines offer great editorial content on new base makeup releases. Biteki runs a major base makeup feature twice a year (usually in the May and October issues). Voce’s popular monthly feature, “Voce Experiment” regularly tests out the latest foundations. Even if you don’t read Japanese, these features are usually abundant in photos of new products.
Tomorrow, I will touch upon the choice of foundation shade.
Many years ago, I read an article on Japanese base makeup, which mentioned that the technologies in Japan involved in producing base makeup were about a decade ahead of those of most western brands. While it is not easy to prove this (and whether it is still true today), I do feel that Japanese base makeup items are constantly out-doing their western counterparts.
It seems that we can draw inferences from the cultural side of things. I have often heard that, if one can only choose to wear one makeup item for the day, a western consumer is likely to choose a mascara (or an eyeliner). On the other hand, a Japanese consumer would go for a foundation. (It can be a sweeping generalization, but I do find some truth in it.)
From the articles written by Kaoru Saito, a Japanese beauty expert, it seems that Japanese people perceive having shine and open pores in public as something impolite. Having a fresh and impeccable complexion, free from shine and open pores, seems to be part of the social etiquette. (Maybe this is why there are a lot more products (mainly primers) that tackle these two issues in Japanese beauty brands.)
In this case, it is the consumers’ needs that drive product research and innovation, and the result is products that work better.
I have oily skin and almost always use a powder foundation, and I think I probably want quite a lot from it. I want it to have a fair amount of coverage but to still look natural. I want it to cancel out mild redness, conceal pores, control sebum and last throughout the day. The powder should have a smooth texture, and the finish should be predominantly matte.
Generally, I find that Japanese foundations cancel out mild redness and conceal pores considerably more effectively than western ones. Also, the foundations I have tried that have a good sebum-control efficacy are all from Japanese lines. So, based on personal experience, I’d say that Japanese base makeup products generally perform a lot better.
(I have less experience with liquid/cream foundations. If you have any observation on how Japanese products fare with western ones, please do let me know your thoughts.)
In the next few days, I will talk briefly about the rhythm of product releases in Japanese base makeup, how to choose the right shade, some Japanese beauty brands that are particularly known for base makeup, and some of my personal favorites and recommendations. Do come back!
(The ad on top of this post is the TV ad for Coffret D’Or’s latest powder foundation, Lasting Power Pact UV. It was officially out on March 1st and is something I am interested in trying.)