Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

by Paris B on · 111 comments

in Brushes etc.,Makeup,Product Reviews

shiseido perfect foundation brush review

I have been wanting to rave about the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush for the longest time. Its one of those things that I sit down to tell you about and then, I get distracted by one thing or another. But no longer. Today will be the day! Today, you will hear about the brush that made me change my mind about foundation brushes!

I used to be a powder compact foundation girl mainly because I hated the feel of liquid foundation. Thick, cakey, yuck! And then the brands started coming out with lighter textures and suddenly I realised that I could use liquid foundation and that in many ways, it looks much more natural on skin than compact foundation. Liquid sort of moves with your skin, while powder tends to sit on your skin, if you know what I mean.

shiseido perfect foundation brush Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

I however ran into one problem using liquid foundation – application. When I started out, everyone said to use a brush. So, ok. I went and got a foundation brush – your typical flat paddle type. Sorry, hated it and realised it ate up too much product. So, I tried a sponge. Its not called a sponge without reason – it soaks up liquid like water. So I went back to the makeup tools we are all born with – fingers, and I actually shared a great tip for using your hands to apply liquid foundation.

I’ve been using my fingers all this while, never mind the brief flirtation with skunk brushes and that stipple method everyone raves about for creating an air brushed look. I found it too much trouble. So when I came across the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush, my spidey senses were tingling. Perfect? Seriously? That’s a tall order. But yes, its perfect and I have no need for another nor do I even intend to look at another. In fact, I have 2! That’s how perfect it is.

This little dinky wonder is small. It actually surprises me everytime when I pick it up, because its really small. And that small head can make you wonder just how long you’d need to put your foundation on, and just how practical it is. Well, you know what they say right? Size isn’t everything, its what you do with it that matters icon wink Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

shiseido perfect foundation brush6 Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

The brush head is a round head of very densely packed synthetic hair. It is so dense, it is almost solid in feel. Yet, it is soft. So soft against your skin. The brush is cut at a gradient which allows it to fit to the curve of your skin and face so the whole surface of the brush actually fits on your skin and moves with it. Its crazy, but its one of those things you have to see to know what I’m talking about.

The small head isn’t a bad thing either. It allows you to get right into all the nooks and crannies of your face – that bit around the nose, the bit between your nose and lips, the bit between your brows. Its great for that.

It is, I believe the way the brush head is made that makes the application such a dream. When you dab it into your liquid foundation, you will notice that the foundation is spread out on the whole flat surface, on the tips. You then, lightly dab it on your skin in a stippling/bouncing motion. Don’t sweep it about your face, but work in sections, dabbing as you go and you’d be surprised at how quickly you’re done.

shiseido perfect foundation brush2 Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

I know what you’re thinking. So what makes this brush so great or perfect then? I can do that with my skunk brush or sponge or beautyblender thing as well. Well, its the finish. The denseness of the brush head allows the foundation to be deposited in a very uniform manner on your skin, so there is really, no need to buff at all to even it out. It applies as a thin even layer on your skin and evens itself out as you go along, so by the time you are done dabbing it all over, you are done with your foundation application and it looks perfect.

If you like, you can even go over the areas that need more coverage, or on the under eye, and that’s it. No need for concealer unless you intend to conceal every flaw. I hesitate to use the word “air-brushed” but you really look like you just took photoshop to your face. In real life. No streaks, no uneven application, just a perfect canvas.

I thought I’d show you just how effective this little wonder of a brush is in comparison to a couple of skunk brushes or duo fibre or stippling brushes that most people use for that “air-brushed” finish.

shiseido perfect foundation brush3 Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

(1) Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush (2) Real Techniques Stippling brush (3) Duo Fibre (skunk) brush

You might want to peer in a little closer icon razz Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

For purposes of this experiment, I used them all the same way. I dabbed the brush into the foundation (the splotch you see above (1)) and then dabbed it on my skin in a stippling method. You will notice that:-

  1. Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush – The foundation applied looks even with just 1 pass
  2. Real Techniques Stippling brush – The foundation goes on a little patchy and you will have to buff it to even it out
  3. Duo Fibre (Skunk) brush – The foundation is very patchy just dabbing on the skin and you will have to buff it to smoothen and even it out

shiseido perfect foundation brush4 Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

This is to show you how the foundation looks when you dab the brush into it. The foundation on the Shiseido (1) and Real Techniques (2) brushes look more evenly distributed. On the duo fibre brush (3) it is only concentrated in the middle bit so when it is applied against the skin, the foundation will be heavier in the middle and lighter on the sides.

I use the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush with a myriad of liquid foundations and it does help bring out the best in the foundation. When I started, I found myself using more foundation but over time, I realised that I did not need more than the usual 1 or half pump. The brush picks up the foundation and seems to hold it like a reservoir so I can just dab it once into the foundation, and cover a wide area without having to re-dip. I’ve actually read reviews that say not to use this brush for your whole face because its too small and you’ll take too long.

Well, I use it for my whole face and its great. Yes, it does take a little longer than if I were to use fingers, but not much longer otherwise, because I don’t have to spend time buffing the foundation into my skin. It applies perfectly every single time and I’m so impressed, I got another. I have to, because I can’t do without it, and washing is a beeyotch icon razz Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

Yes, a major downer is the cleaning. Because it is so dense, the brush is hard to get thoroughly clean. So here’s a tip. Use the Daiso detergent. It does a great job getting the brush clean in super quick time and because the bristles are synthetic, no harm comes to your brush. Plus, its cheap!

It can also be used with powder foundation and I find that it works too for a nice smooth, even finish, but it takes longer because the brush can’t hold the powder foundation the way it does liquid. So I’d use this to touch up powder foundation but not to apply unless I have a lot of time.

In a nutshell

The Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush is just perfect, especially for applying liquid foundation. It gives a very even and smooth finish with just one pass. Lightly dab it on your skin and it deposits just the right amount of foundation so you get a very even flawless result without it looking streaky or cakey. You don’t even need to buff it after that. It just goes on quite perfect. I have 2. I think that says it all

Pros: Gives perfect application of liquid foundation without it looking cakey or streaky, Easy to use, No learning curve

Cons: None (unless you count the cleaning but there’s Daiso detergent for that)

Who will like this: Anyone who uses liquid foundation and have problems applying it without it going on too thick or streaky

If you are in Japan, Shiseido has a similar brush to this one called the Shiseido 131 foundation brush. Its sold at the Japanese drugstores and not available outside Japan and is, perhaps a little cheaper than the one sold at counters. I was very lucky to be gifted with one and I can report that it is quite similar… but not.

shiseido perfect foundation brush5 Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

In all appearances, its almost identical. The difference in packaging is that the Shiseido counter one has a more opaque acrylic handle with the signature purple metal ferrule and the Shiseido brand printed on it. The Shiseido 131 brush has a more translucent dark blue handle with a dark blue ferrule and the Shiseido name is embossed on the handle.

Brush wise, there is very marginal difference. I felt that the 131 brush was a bit less dense and while doing a great job, did not deposit foundation as cleanly as the counter one did. Might that be to do with this specific one? I don’t know. Its a great brush though and if you can get it, why not! I don’t know how much it costs in Japan since its a gift but its available online at at US$26.50 + $2 and for the quite marginal price difference and instant gratification I’d just get the Shiseido one (RM95) from the counter which I did.

Yes, the Shiseido Foundation Brush is RM95. Don’t complain. Its not expensive when compared with other brands and other brushes and for the perfection it delivers, its worth paying and with proper care, will last you forever. Your products are only as good as your tools after all icon wink Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

Have you used or owned the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush? Are you in love with it the way I am? I swear its revolutionized the way I apply liquid foundation and I never cease to be amazed at just how even the foundation goes on my skin. I don’t know what the people at Shiseido did but they did in fact create the perfect foundation brush and I salute them for that! I’m not the only one raving – even the Pink Sith is, and she’s not easy to please! icon wink Simply Perfection: The Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush makes applying foundation a dream

Paris B

Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush Price: RM95 Availability: All Shiseido counters

Disclosure: The first Shiseido brush I had was a PR sample. I purchased my 2nd and the 131 brush is a gift.

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

JackieA May 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

Oh PB! I love this one and my search for a foundation brush ended (for the time being… know what I mean!!) when I found this little fella! Love it and the application is smooth too! It took some time to get used to the size but that was it. Love it!


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

YAY!! A fan! :D Like you Jackie, my search is over. I’m not straying from this small wonder at all! Well, except to use my hands if I’m really in a hurry :)


dom May 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

i have this brush and yes! i love it oh so very much. great review :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Dom! You picked it up?! I remember Connie telling me that you both went to check it out but I didn’t know you got it – glad you like it too :D


Honey May 16, 2012 at 9:49 am

I like how you analyse and compare things. Great job with the 3 applications on your hand. What do we do without you? As with most of us here, I’ve got stippling brush, buffing brush, kabuki head, beauty blender etc etc. just to try and get the ‘perfect’ canvas. I’ve been lazy lately and for the past week I’ve gone on wet sponge application. Quick and eazy. Yah, I was that lazy. This has perked me up a bit and I might put this on my wish list.


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Haha Thanks Honey :D There are lots of very details blogs out there so I’m sure if I decide to retire some day, you’ll all be in good hands :D I tried all the brushes but never quite got the coverage and effect I wanted. I also tried the damp sponge method but I found it a bother because I have to make a special trip to the bathroom to do my foundation. Gotta admit its a neat trick though.


Germs May 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

This was my first ever foundation brush and i think it’ll be the only one I’ll ever own! I love how it’s small and allows me to precisely reach the harder-to-reach areas such as the sides of my nose :) was quite clueless at first as to how to use it until i found this video. i do find it harder to clean though, and takes quite some time to dry. Still a great brush nonetheless!


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Its awesome how you hit the bullseye with your first try Germs :D So glad that you too are a fan of this brush. I like how the brush just covers up all the right bits and gets into all the corners so easily. Its made applying foundation so much easier and quicker (ironically).


plue May 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

i have been seeing this brush around for a while but never gotten around to it. have always been a powder girl than liquid, but recently i had a change of heart. i adore skunk/stippling brushes (they are the same, right), but your this review makes me wanna give this a try since i do more liquid foundation now, and can’t stand dirty fingers!

and RM95 for something that does the job well is a steal i’d say!


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I was always a powder fan too but recently, have hardly touched my powders. Oops! I never got the hang of skunk brushes if you can imagine. Not for blush and not for foundation. Never understood the hype lol!


Lisa May 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I am personally not a stippling brush person either.
I was gifted with a MAC one. Was initially very happy to receive it thinking it must be really good from all the online hype few years back. But after many fruitless experiments with it, I gave up. It’s just too much work trying to make it work. And after which it still doesn’t work for me. There were several times I had to remove and redo my makeup all over no thanks to this brush.


Paris B May 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

Oh good! I thought I’m the only person who doesn’t get the whole stippling/skunk brush thing. I have usually managed to apply my blushes, pigmented ones even, with a good soft blush brush so I never quite understood the need for the skunk brush :P I find they tend to splay too much and cover too wide an area for blush. Maybe it’s just me.


plue May 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

lol like how i don’t understand the magic of using sponges and beauty blenders! :P


Paris B May 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Me neither!


Nikki May 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

The brush looks wonderful! I have a soft spot for brushes like that! It spells “FULL, EVEN Coverage”! :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

As a MUA you’d know that, Nikki! I’m told that lots of makeup artists love it too.


Ana Nz. May 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

Interesting! Whats the bristles made of Paris? Synthetics, Animal hair, etc?


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

It’s synthetic, Ana :)


Esther May 16, 2012 at 11:04 am

Hi Paris, I bought the Shiseido 131 brush from a drugstore in Shinjuku thinking that it’s the Shiseido brush that you were raving about! When I came home then I realised it is not THE ONE. Anyway, as mentioned by you, the difference is marginal and it is equally great to use :) I also use the Daiso sponge detergent to clean the brush and yes, it takes forever to clean it…Maybe I should buy one of this, the one from the Shiseido counter :)


Joy Chong May 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Hi Ester,

Another cheaper way to clean your brush faster and more effectively. Try the bar soap from Marks and Spencer or Dove. Wet the brush and glide it over the bar soap till it is soapy and rinse off. Then leave to dry on a towel.
*Use only the 2 bar soaps mentioned as any normal one will leave your brushes dry


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I say! I must try this! :D


Esther May 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

Thanks for the tip Joy :) I will give them a try :)


Joy Chong May 17, 2012 at 10:26 am

It was one of the first things my that we were taught when I learned makeup because makeup artist go through so many brushes at 1 go and using a detergent or brush cleaner will really burn the pocket :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Oh dear! But it’s still a good brush and almost exactly the same as the counter one. Cleaning it can be a bother which is why I ended up with 2 :P one to clean and one to use when the other is dirty lol! The Daiso detergent does make life easier though.


Yani May 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

Okay – I’m ABSOLUTELY sold! Been toying with the idea of getting one and now I will just have to! :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Ok, I better go ask Shiseodo for some commission now ;) I hope you like it as much as i do Yani!


jyoan May 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

I can’t believe the timeliness of this! I wanted to click this brush from the online Tangs store yesterday. But stopped short as I feel I should feel it first before investing. Now this has convinced me.


Jyoan May 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Checked it out today as there was a Shisedo sale in town. Gosh, this brush is incredibly small, and I almost gasped and exclaimed, “so small” to the SA. haha. I wouldn’t believe it’s a foundation brush if they don’t name it.


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Yikes! How’s that for serendipity?! Did you end up getting it? It’s actually really small which is why I used a picture of me holding it to show just how compact it is hehe…


Jayie May 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hmmm I wonder how it compares to the also raved Sigma E80 foundation brush? The denseness looks similar…


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Interesting question Jayie. I don’t have the Sigma one so I can’t compare them. Hope you find the answer one way or another :)


lyn May 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I’ve been experimenting with this brush and really like it too. Application takes a bit longer but it is worth while. I am getting another for powder foundations because I don’t like to mix my brushes between liquid/cream and powder products. I need to test this out with the Chanel cream foundation because I keep getting rather patchy application. Hoping this lil’ brush will work great ;-)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm

You know what? This brush didn’t work for me with the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. I find that applies best with fingers but I don’t know about the cream. I don’t mplike my brushes mixing liquid and powder too hence my moment of madness getting another lol!


Rachel Lok May 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Hi.. I wonder if you’ve heard of Bubbi HD flawless brush.. It’s kinda look the same with Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush.
here’s the link:

ps: I’ve always wanted to try Bubbi brushes (well, it’s from my favourite youtube guru!) and the brushes seems to have good reviews.


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Hi Rachel, I haven’t come across Bubbi brushes but thanks for pointing me in their direction. Will try to check them out if I can :)


cc May 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Been using this brush for the past 3 months. At first I was using the ‘sweeping’ way to do it and the effect is kinda ‘meh’ so I then switched back to Real Techniques stippling brush, then buff it further with the buffing brush.. (phew, that sounds like a lot of work!! IT IS!!).. Then I researched further, watched a couple of videos of how it should be done by the designer herself, ( it is now love love love. Oh, about the washing bit, I dab the brush with a little bit of L’Occitane almond oil and wash it, then rinse again with their soap. Cleans well and leaves a lovely smell. :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Im going to try the almond shower oil trick soon. My brushes are due for a wash :D thanks for sharing the video too cc. I have to agree that It’s all that buffing with brushes that put me off foundation brushes but now, no more hassle! :)


giddy tigress May 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Now you made me wanna go get this brush too! And I am on a shopping ban! Arrrghhh!!!


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Well it’s permanent so no rush! :)


gio May 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This brush sounds wonderful! I don’t think I’ve never seen this one here yet, must ask the SA where they’ve been hiding it next time I go to the counter lol. I really hope they’ll have it in stock. :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Yes, Gio. Tell them not to hide the good stuff! :) I hope you manage to find it and that it’ll work out for you. It will change the way you view your foundation once you see it go on so much smoother :D


Leesa May 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I have the same brush at home but use it with coffret dor 2 way pact and absolutely love it- it does actually apply like a dream, there are some videos for those interested in how to apply from shiseido makeup artists…


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Yay Leesa! I’m so happy that I’m not the only one raving like a lunatic over how great these are. I don’t use them for powder foundation a lot but will give it a try again soon.


Jacqueline May 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Pars, I have this too and it is the best foundation brush I have ever used. I love it to bits, the best part is, it is so affordable.


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I have to agree with you on every score, Jacqueline :D it’s a great little brush!


espenine May 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Paris! I want to break your vicious vow about having ‘no need for another nor do I even intend to look at another’ by introducing you to the Hakuhodo Foundation Brush (G5553-2mm). It is a very, very strong contender for Shiseido Foundation Brush with its beautifully soft hair brush, small size to reach the corners & airbrushed coverage. It is also easier to clean too.

Personally, this used to be my perfect love until the Hakuhodo Foundation Brush appeared in my life.

Never say never in the makeup world! :P


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm

*hide* Noooo not the Hakuhodo brushes!!! :P thanks for letting me know about it, Espenine. I have been keeping an eye on Hakuhodo brushes but the prices! *gasp* I think I’ll make do with these few good mainstream brushes. But as you say, never say never! ;)


milktea May 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I got the 131 from adambeauty recently. :) Not used yet. Do not have Shiseido the makeup brush to compare with unfortunately.


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm

The 131 is pretty good. Break it out and let’s have a go! :)


Joan May 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I have this brush but im actually not as impressed… I do think that it takes me surprisingly a short amount of time to do my whole face with such a small brush, and the finish is quite nice – i like it better to apply powder foundation actually because powder is less likely to be pushed into the brush.

But the cleaning is a PAIN. It takes me SO long to get the brush to be rid of all trapped foundation! :( Is there a secret to cleaning this brush!?


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Aww Joan was it just the cleaning that got to you? It got to me too when I was using baby shampoo as I usually do. But I find the Daiso detergent for sponges helps a lot! I just have to dilute some in a small container of water, dip the brush, soak it just a little bit then agitate it in the water and it’s mostly clean. The Daiso detergent is murder on natural hair brushes but for synthetic bristles, it’s pretty good. Maybe give it a go?


Ashley May 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I’ve been interested in the 131 but I don’t want to go through the hassle of shopping online. I will definitely be visiting a counter near me to pick up the Perfect Foundation brush, I may even have a coupon to sweeten the deal!


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm

A coupon! Perfect, Ashley! :D I hope if you do try it that you’ll like it too!


Joy Chong May 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Paris you are evil!! I’m already so broke and I ran down to Isetan and bought 1. But I must say this is a first and hopefully last :)


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Wow! That effective eh? ;) I hope it works for you, do let me know if it does! I’m told a lot of makeup artists like it too.


Sze Ling May 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I fell for the typical-foundation-brush-trap too. Hate it! It’s now just sitting on my vanity, collecting dust.

For foundations, I love my Beauty Blenders. :) Worth every penny I paid for it.


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I almost fell for the beauty blender hype and I got a dupe by Sonia Kashuk. I never quite got the hang of the whole bouncing thing. Maybe I should dig it out and see if age and experience has made me any wiser :P


laila May 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Have been looking for a foundation brush for quite sometimes and the price is not that expensive compare to Mac brush..thanks Paris for this review…definitely a must buy item since I am using liquid foundations all the time….


Paris B May 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I hope you’ll like this one Laila. I was never one for foundation brushes till I met this :D


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