makeup – base makeup – primer/concealer

Paul and Joe Pearl Foundation Primer 002 Sweet Bonbon Spring 2017 Base Makeup 1


Paul & Joe‘s Pearl Foundation Primer in 001 Bonbon was first released in spring/summer 2012 and re-released in holiday 2012 (the year when the brand celebrated its beauty line’s 10th anniversary). This year, Pearl Foundation Primer in 002 Sweet Bonbon was released as part of the brand’s spring 2017 Les Petits Noms d’Amour makeup collection, which celebrates the beauty line’s 15th anniversary. From the collection, I went for the beautiful Compacts and Lipstick Cases CS, which I wrote about earlier, and I also decided to add the primer to my collection.

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Kao Sofina Primavista Ange Long Keep Base UV Spring Summer 2013 Base Makeup 1


Earlier this year, I reviewed Powder Foundation UV (Long Keep) from Kao Sofina Primavista Ange, a base makeup line developed for the Taiwanese market. (The line is not sold in Japan.) The products are formulated to appeal to those with combination or oily skin who need to cope with a warm and humid climate. Besides the powder foundation, I also purchased Long Keep Base UV and Liquid Foundation UV (Long Keep). (I rarely use primers or liquid foundations, but I was curious about them.) Today I am reviewing Long Keep Base UV.

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Olay Regenerist 10 Minute Miracle Spring 2014 Skincare 1


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.

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Paul and Joe Pearl Foundation Primer 001 Bonbon Holiday 2012 Base Makeup 1


Paul & Joe‘s Pearl Foundation Primer was first released in spring/summer 2012 as a limited-edition item. I was planning to buy it at the time, but it seemed to sell out quite quickly and I missed out on it. A few months later, I was very pleased to see it back as part of Paul & Joe’s limited-edition holiday 2012 makeup collection. I certainly didn’t allow myself to miss out on it again!

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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.)

– Estée Lauder Idealist Pore-Minimizing Skin Refinisher (bottom left)

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.)

ZA Two-Way Foundation (top)

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.

Coffret D’Or Beauty Lasting Pack UV (center)

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.

Lavshuca Finish Powder in Lucent (left)

This is the new version of the discontinued Face Powder in Lucent. (The two are very similar.) It mattifies the skin well and has a fairly good pore coverage. It has a subtle redness-neutralizing effect.

Kiss Mat Chiffon Powder (bottom right)

It is as good as Lavshuca’s Finish Powder in Lucent. Between the two, Mat Chiffon Powder is sheerer but has a marginally better pore coverage. I quite like its skin-brightening finish.

Coffret D’Or Makeup Powder (right)

Among the three loose powders here, this is the most natural-looking one. It has a very airy and translucent finish that almost never looks powdered, but it doesn’t control shine or disguise the appearance of pores as well as the two above. (Among the three loose powders, this is the most likely to suit those with a none-oily skin type.)

Related posts:

– If you have a drier skin type, then these items might be worth considering:

Jill Stuart Moist Silk Liquid Foundation

SUQQU Powder Foundation Glow

Lunasol Skin Fusing Powder Foundation

Sofina Powder Foundation Moist Touch

RMK Powder Foundation EX

SUQQU Loose Powder in Natural

– Have a look at my Japanese Base Makeup Week series.


(image from Trish McEvoy)

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.)

Related posts:

Dior Cristal Boréal

SUQQU Christmas Makeup Kit A (for Holiday 2009)

Paul & Joe Holiday 2009 Collection (Pearl Powder, Pencil Eyeliner, and Pouch C IV)


(RMK Super Basic Concealer in 02)

A few weeks ago, I reviewed RMK‘s Powder Foundation EX, one of RMK’s three new base makeup items. Today I am sharing my thoughts on one of the two other products, Super Basic Concealer.

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.

Related posts:

“Japanese Base Makeup” series

Thierry Mugler Bleu Glacis Cooling Effect Concealer

Prescriptives Site Unseen Brightening Concealer SPF 15


(SUQQU Clear Veil Powder in 101 Clear (refill))

In this post, which I wrote in 2007, I mentioned SUQQU’s Clear Veil Powder. It was launched in fall 2006 and became an instant sensation.

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.

Related posts:

SUQQU Contour Shadows
(another example of a unique and specialized product)

SUQQU Spring 2009 Collection Review

My Personal Take on SUQQU


Part 5: My Favorites (& Yours)

(One of my favorites:
Kiss Mat Chiffon Powder)

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.

– Primers

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.)

Other than ZA Two-Way Foundation, I think one of the best powder foundations I have tried in the last couple of years is Coffret D’Or’s Beauty Lasting Pact UV, which has very good sebum-control efficacy. (The link above will also take you to my thoughts on Lunasol’s Skin Fusing Powder Foundation.) Some of my other posts on Japanese powder foundations include those on SUQQU’s Powder Foundation Glow, Jill Stuart’s Smooth Silk Powder and SUQQU’s Powder Foundation Fresh, and Primavista’s Powder Foundation Moist Touch.

– Pressed/Loose Powder

At the moment, all my favorite pressed powders are from Raycious, and they have been discontinued. In terms of loose powder, my favorite is Lavshuca’s Face Powder (in Lucent). Mat Chiffon Powder from Kiss is almost equally good too. I also enjoy using Coffret D’Or’s Makeup Powder, but it slightly falls short on pore coverage and sebum control compared with the previous two.

(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.

I look forward to hearing from you!


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.