Shiseido ZA Airy Flawless Powder Foundation Spring Summer 2018 Base Makeup 1


Earlier this year, Shiseido ZA‘s Airy Flawless Powder Foundation was renewed. (Read my review of the original version here.) Based on the official information I found on-line, it was not obvious to me how the new version was supposed to be different. (The descriptions of the features of the two versions were virtually the same, and it seemed to me that the main difference was just the packaging.) To know whether there was any actual difference, I decided to try the new version and compare the ingredient lists of the two versions.

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Shiseido ZA Airy Flawless Powder Foundation Summer 2015 Base Makeup 1


Shiseido ZA‘s Perfect Fit Two-Way Foundation was replaced by Airy Flawless Powder Foundation a couple of years ago. Being a faithful fan of ZA’s powder-based foundations, I decided to try it.

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Shiseido ZA Perfect Fit Two-Way Foundation Fall 2012 Base Makeup 1


I have been using Shiseido ZA‘s powder foundations for a long time, and I have been using ZA’s Skin Beauty Two-Way Foundation (launched in spring 2010) since 2011. In fall 2012, Perfect Fit Two-Way Foundation was launched and it replaced Skin Beauty Two-Way Foundation. I decided to try it out.

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Shiseido ZA Total Hydration BB Cream UV 1(image from www.za-cosmetics.com,
info from www.nikkei.com)


Currently available at 6000 retail points in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and New Zealand, ZA is certainly one of the best-known Japanese drugstore beauty lines in Asia. However, since its launch in 1997, the Shiseido-owned line has not been available in Japan.

This is about to change in the coming fall. According to Nikkei, ZA will be launched in Japan in September 2012. It will be sold at 300 retail points in Japan in the first year. The launch lineup will feature skincare, base makeup, and point makeup items.

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Shiseido ZA Skin Beauty True White Plus Two-Way Foundation 1


After posting about the two new powder foundations from Shiseido ZA, I decided to try both in order to decide which one of them would be the successor to my ZA Two-Way Foundation. Now, after trying both, I present another Foundation Face-Off. (This time, it is sibling rivalry!)

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Shiseido ZA Skin Beauty Two-Way Foundation 1(images/info from www.za-cosmetics.com)


This is certainly by no means a timely update. I almost always have quite a few refills of my trusted Shiseiso ZA Two-Way Foundation and I wasn’t immediately aware of the new versions until I was told about them by a friend some time ago.

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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.


I am sure many of you have been doing what I do with powder foundations, but since I was again making a new refill a couple of days ago, I thought I’d document it and share it with you.

Some of us who regularly use a powder foundation might find that, as we get towards the end of a refill, the application takes longer and longer as the sponge has to dig into the corners. It can be a bit of a pain, and we just want to open up a new refill.

Some years ago, with several nearly finished refills like those you see above (from different brands actually), I decided to try putting all the powder together and I was a little surprised to see how much powder was actually left on each tray. So I started to save somewhat finished refills to make a new one later. (I stopped pushing my sponge to the very end…)

The steps are what you see in the photos below:

1. Find a small (and perfectly clean) spoon or spatula. (I prefer a plastic one to a metal one.)

2. Start scraping! (Imagine that you are clearing the corners of a delicious Japanese bento box.)

3. Realize how much powder is still left.

4. Put all the leftover powder into one tray. (Here, I have powder from four nearly finished refills of ZA Two-Way Foundation.)

5. With your spoon/spatula, gently pat the powder down.

6. Lay a piece of tissue (which I have folded here) on top of the powder, and apply even and firm pressure with your fingers. Pay specific attention to the corners.

7. Reveal your (semi-)new refill! (The one here is about 75-80% full and will last quite a while for me.)


1. Obviously the powder is not pressed to an industrial standard, so we have to be slightly more light-handed with the sponge than usual.

2. Sometimes our complexions can be between two shades with our favorite foundations, and sometimes we are happy with a shade but not the finish. These steps are good for customizing your own powder foundation, as you can mix and match from the same brand or different brands.

3. Make sure you store the nearly-finished refills in a clean/dry place just like your new ones. (I always save the refill boxes for this purpose.)

I hope you find this useful. If you have any related tip that you would like to share with us, do please post it in the comment section!

More beauty-related tips:

Can’t Live Without – Starbucks Napkins

Seasonal Sales on Cosmetics in the UK

Would you like some samples?


(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 www.za-ny.com)

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