Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

by Paris B on · 45 comments

in Foundation,Makeup,Product Reviews

I’ve learnt a few things since I started this blog.

  • I can now use liquid foundation when I would previously shy away, preferring to use powder foundation
  • I am quite happy to give up most of the liquid foundations I have tried from time to time. Most, I can live without.
  • Some liquid foundations, I’d hold on to for dear life and I’ll fight you for them! So gloves off!

shiseido foundation Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

The last category doesn’t come around often. In fact, its a new category I just created, after playing for a couple of months with the Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation. I’ll fight you to keep it! Yes I will! icon twisted Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

Know why I call it a Small Wonder? See, it fits right into my hand. Its small. In fact, its one of those things you hold up thinking “How can anything this small cost so much and yet do so much magic for the face?” I like the small compact packaging and that black bottle is certainly different from the norm. However, as you can also tell, it can get quite marked if you use your hands to apply foundation all the time. I did my best to clean it up before photos – scouts honour! But 2 months is a long time for it to set in icon razz Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

So yes, I do like this foundation quite a lot. I find that very little goes a very long way. The nozzle dispenser is excellent for dispensing just a right sized dollop which I can use all over my face.

shiseido foundation2 Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

It is a liquid foundation with “stretch” in it. I’m not certain if I’ll describe it correctly but if you put a drop on your skin and then spread it out, you’ll find that a drop of foundation can cover quite a wide area quite effectively. Its like it “stretches” to cover your skin and cover flaws which is of course great, because you use very little. And that’s great because its pricey! *ouch*

shiseido foundation5 Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

Here is a rough approximation of a before and after. Left is bare skin and right is with the Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation. You can probably see that most redness in skin is covered and most imperfections too. Not 100% of course. This isn’t a full coverage foundation although you can try layering it, but I’d put it at sheer-medium depending on how you use it. Lighting is a bit suspect so no, it does not lighten your skin per se.

I don’t do the palm method of application with this foundation. I squeeze a dollop on the back of my hand and apply it with the flats of my fingers. I usually use about half the dollop all over my skin and then use the remainder as concealer by patting on an additional layer of this foundation on the areas that need some help. I don’t use another concealer thereafter.

My shade is I00 Very Light Ivory which isn’t white as the name might imply. Its actually a pretty good match for my skintone, despite looking a little dark when swatched on the back of my hand.

shiseido foundation3 Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

And here is a swatch comparison with some other foundations that fit my skintone. You will find that they are all quite different put side by side, although they all work very well for me.

shiseido foundation6 Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

Swatch comparison: L-R: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation #51, Shiseido Perfect Refining foundation I00 Very Light Ivory, Diorskin Nude foundation 010, Guerlain Lingerie de Peau 01 Beige Pale

You will also note that the Shiseido I00 is a touch yellow compared to the Dior and Guerlain which are pink based. Bourjois’ is a more neutral based shade. The Shiseido actually looks a lot darker on my hand as opposed to my face. No idea why but its a good fit for my skintone.

There is a small fly in the ointment. I find this foundation a little dry so you do need a moist base and your skin must be properly moisturized. If I use a sunscreen that leaves a dry matte finish on my skin, it can go on a little patchy. If I use a sunscreen that is more moisturizing, it goes on much smoother and looks better. So, with trial and error, I’ve learnt that I can’t wear this foundation very well with the Clarins HP Plus sunscreen but it plays well with the Hada Labo UV Emulsion or Cream. I don’t know about primers because I don’t use primers.

In a nutshell

A medium lightweight liquid foundation that spreads very easily on the skin so very little is needed with each use. The texture allows you to also use this as a concealer. The colour tones tend to the yellow and would likely fit Asian skintones well. The packaging is compact and small and it lasts on my (not oily) skin all day without turning oily at all. The texture can be a little dry so well moisturized skin or a moist base is recommended. This will most certainly be a repurchase for me!

Pros: Very little goes a very long way, Good colour match for my skin, Small compact packaging, Nice sheer-medium coverage allows me to use this as concealer as well

Cons: Pricey, Can apply a little patchy on dry skin

One more note. I don’t have oily skin so I cannot tell you how this performs if you do have oily skin. What I like however is that it does not make my skin any oilier throughout the day, as liquid foundations sometimes do. I rarely set it with loose powder at all because it sets on its own to s semi-matte sort of finish and stays that way all day. I’m comfortable with that, so that’s saying something.

And here’s the ingredient list for those interested:-

shiseido ingredients Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

Have you tried this one? I’m not sure how the other shades are, but there are, I believe, 14 to choose from and my suggestion is to go down to a counter and get yourself properly colour matched icon smile Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation Ok maybe I exaggerate a little. There may be one or two other liquid foundations I might be willing to fight for too. Some day I’ll run up a list icon smile Small Wonder! Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation

Paris B

Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation retails at RM130/30ml and comes in 14 shades at all Shiseido counters.

Disclosure: Featured product was provided by PR for consideration. For posting guidelines please read my disclaimer.

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[ 45 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Denise July 22, 2011 at 8:52 am

You’re right about it being pricey. But with the “stretch” that it gives, good value for money! And I think that it’s really cute, being such a compact bottle. I don’t like it when companies make their packaging so much bigger in an attempt to make their product look way bigger than it really is.


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

I do have to agree with you. Most liquid foundations are also 30ml but their bottles look so much bigger and bulkier! I like this one for being so portable and compact and unassuming. I also like how little is needed :)


rinnah July 22, 2011 at 9:47 am

I like this post! (And nah, I don’t think I’ll be fighting with you for this foundation just yet. :P )


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

Haha… not yet anyway eh? ;)


Sue Lynn July 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

I swatched this, but since I rarely use foundations these days, I gave it a pass.

I’m DYING to know your list of:
“Some liquid foundations, I’d hold on to for dear life and I’ll fight you for them! So gloves off!”

Could you list them? Thanks!


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

Unlike you BB Creams are stil no-go territory for me :( I might have a couple I like but ultimately, I go back to foundations :)

Just very quickly, its a very short list – Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation (serum and normal) and this for now. Haven’t thought too hard about the rest LOL!


Sue Lynn July 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Ahh…Love how foundations make me look flawless, but it’s such a bother after work to thoroughly remove them.
Light, liquidy textured BBs are easier for everyday :P

I like the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum. And MUFE Face & Body.

What about the I Nuovi Cosmetics Gelbase liquid foundation?
You got me lemming for it after reading your review ^_^

Do you still like it as much?


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

We’re a study in contrasts – I find BB creams more sticky and harder to remove! Well when I say harder I mean as hard to remove as foundation :) And they tend to make my skin oilier. I haven’t tried the MUFE one although i’ve heard a lot of good things about it and yes, I do like the I Nuovi one. But I gave it away to a friend who needed a foundation and I wasn’t using it very often then. I recently saw her and asked what foundation she was using because it looked nice on her only to be told it was the I Nuovi Gelbase -_-


Sue Lynn July 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I can’t find INuovi in Sasa anymore.
And the online shop offers 2 shades!?!??!

Hhhmmmm…It depends on the BB Cream.

I believe I’ve made my way through the whole spectrum :P
…from the thickest, pastiest…
…to liquidy water-based ones which feels even lighter than the Hada Labo Emulsion…

Of course, shade-match is a perpetual problem =_=


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I was told they have pulled out everywhere pending a new distribution channel which IMO is a right pain in the BUTT! When brands shift around too much I tend to lose focus and interest :P I’m still liking the Hada Labo emulsion though. It saved my skin from the hot hot sun but it still tends to be too yellow :( I’m roadtesting Garnier as we speak. That one has pink tones and I’m getting conflicting feedback on how it looks on me -_- But its nice and light.


Sue Lynn July 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Tell me about it! I just ordered it online =_=
It’s not even available in Parkson Grand as stated in their official website
*huge pet peeve – inaccurate info in the OFFICIAL WEBSITE!?!??!*

Garnier = “PINK” – ‘Nuff said.
Thanks for the heads-up ^_^
I’ll pass and save the moolah for the next drugstore BB :P

I’m still liking my HLabos coz I’m darker and yellower than you are :D


Lisa July 24, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I like the Inuovi gel base too! Got it based on your review quite some time back. Managed to finish a bottle of it too. As much as i like it, it couldn’t replace my discontinued Revue by Kanebo foundation. That was my perfect foundation that up til now, i couldn’t yet find a equivalent. I checked out Lunasol’s new water gel foundation today. Reminds me of the Inuovi gelbase but with better coverage. Yet another temptation to try out. ;-)


ParisB July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

You know what? I think I have a Lunasol foundation somewhere! I picked it up during their sales here. :D I will have to go and dig it out.


april August 2, 2011 at 2:53 am

I agree with you on the Bourjois, it is indeed wonderful!


milktea July 22, 2011 at 10:38 am

As time goes by *ahem*, I find myself preferring liquid to powder foundations. Less drying. I’m glad you reviewed this product. :-)
Sometimes it’s hard to find a quality liquid foundation with good color matching to Asian skin. I will probably be one shade darker than you! ;-)


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 11:08 am

I think you might like this one then! And on hot days, I still go back to powder foundations – I look less like an oil stick :P But on cool days, I like wearing liquid foundations now :)


Hanny July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

Ooo!! I tried this when they first launched it, and I like it a lot!! ^.^ My color was 400 methinks.


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

Its really nice isn’t it? I like how little I really need :)


Lily July 22, 2011 at 10:57 am

My gloves off foundation is hands down Lancome’s Maqui Blanc. My shade is BO-02. Been wanting to try this though. Will do it soon :-)


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

Hey, glad to know the Maqui Blanc Miracle works for you :D Its just way too yellow for me although texture is great :)


Lily July 22, 2011 at 11:17 am

Did you try the shade that starts with B? That leans pink…


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 11:21 am
Lily July 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Oops sorry! I mean shade starting with O.


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I believe the O ones are even more yellow but I could be mistaken :) that said, none of the O line has a colour light enough to suit my skintone :(


Lily July 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Hhmmm maybe you’re right and the sales assistant was toying with me ;-p


ParisB July 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

I checked out some other shades over the weekend. O is a bit more neutral but it doesn’t come in a light enough shade :(

Lily July 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

By the way, I also love Skin79′s hot pink BB cream!!


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

This one gets a lot of raves! But I haven’t tried it yet :)


Lily July 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I have combination skin, T zone being more oily and I find this helps with sebum control. I also find my skin softer after application if it makes any sense. I have a weird case because my face leans darker than my neck (?) so I have a hard time finding a shade that makes my head look like it belongs to the body -.-
This hot pink matches skin colours as it oxidizes. Pretty nifty!


Nikki July 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Wow, this packaging looks difficult to squeeze but the coverage is really natural! Funny on the shade name, never heard of Very Light IvorY! Just today!


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Haha it isn’t hard to squeeze :) I’ve never come across Very Light Ivory either. I thought it would be white :P


Sarah July 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Perfect timing! I’m looking for a new foundation, something light – this sounds really good.

Off topic, I DREAD going to the counters to swatch and test foundation. It’s such a turn off to be excited about a product, only to have the SA uninterested in entertaining you. :(


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I hope you find yourself a colour match in this range :) I too dread meeting SAs at the counter. It is helpful when they know what they are talking about but sometimes, its more frustrating. And the worst is when they ignore you – I don’t mind that though because it means I can browse at my leisure ;)


Sarah July 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I hope so too! I’m not sure what shade I am now, when it comes to Shiseido. I had the Pureness compact ages ago (my first department store compact, haha). *drags feet to counter*

Yes, the whole ignoring thing is the worst! But that only bothers me when I actually want to buy something. -_-” . I find it funny that SAs at counters tend to ignore you, but when you go into Guardian, Watsons or Sasa (especially Sasa), they’re more attentive about greeting you and asking what you’re looking for.


Rainy Days & Lattes July 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

The foundation looks fantastic on you! :) I always find that even a little coverage makes a big difference in how I look. I’ve never tried the shiseido refining foundation but I use their powder all the time :)


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Thank you :) I gotta agree with you. A touch of powder or foundation goes a long way towards sealing a look :) I’ve never tried their powder so we’re even! LOL! :D


alene July 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

i wanted to try this since i read yani’s post…but NUUUUUUUUUU! alcohol DENAT, the alcohol my skin despises MOST of all as 3rd ingredient! wahhh!


ParisB July 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Maybe your skin has changed? Erm… just saying… if you could score yourself a sample, it might help you test it out and see if it will bug your skin


lyn July 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

This is one of my fave foundations and it is perfect for travelling as the bottle is lightweight and plastic. I reviewed this in April ( and we have almost the same “product in hand” shot :-)


ParisB July 25, 2011 at 9:56 am

Great minds etc ;) Its a dinky little one and I love it! For once I don’t have to wrestle with glass bottles!


Tiffany December 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm

hi paris! how do you fare this with clarins everlasting foundation? which would you recommend? :) im torn between these 2 foundations!


Paris B December 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Clarins Everlasting is more matte and has more coverage. The Shiseido one feels lighter and has more glow factor. Perhaps try to get a sample and see which you prefer? I find the CLarins one sometimes can look too matte/flat but its great for oil control (I’m not super oily) Here’s the review on the Clarins Everlasting foundation if you missed it ;)


Aussie July 22, 2012 at 6:46 am

Hi there! I use this foundation too and agree with your comments about it being slightly drying. My solution is to mix it with some Benefit Girl Meets Pearl, which boosts the moisture content and gives the foundation dimension. :)


Leesa October 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Hi Paris! I have tried a sample of the foundation and like it quite alot but am worried abt clogged pores… How do you remove it? Cleansing oil? Does bioderma do an adequate job in removing it?


Paris B October 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Leesa, I use cleansing oil to remove makeup every evening, so my answer will be cleansing oil. I have tried using Bioderma and it does remove but I need quite a lot of work to do so. I must say I’m not much of a fan of Bioderma :P


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