Welcome friends, to Day 5, and the final day of Cushion Foundation Week on My Women Stuff!
This has been the new wave of foundations to hit our counters, popularised by Korean brands and formulations, so I wanted to keep it all in one place. What I did over the past few days, was to tell you what I thought of the cushion foundations from a particular brand. Save the first one, all the other cushion foundations I have featured are from the Western brands, because that’s what I have on hand. After this, I’ll do a quick round up with some general thoughts, and also tell you what I think about cushion foundations in general so look out for it then.
Today’s cushion foundation from a western brand, is the Shu Uemura Blanc:Choma UV Brightening Cushion Foundation. You may be wondering why I say this is a western brand cushion when the brand has its roots in Japan. But I say so because of who owns the brand (L’Oreal) and my perception of the brand. Incidentally, this one will be heavily critiqued, so read on! 😀
Cushion Foundation: Shu Uemura Blanc: Chroma UV Brightening Cushion Foundation
I wasn’t too surprised to see a cushion foundation coming out of Shu Uemura. Their sister brand, Lancome, had already launched one last year and it stood to reason that Shu Uemura would follow. Like most brands out there, Shu Uemura placed their cushion in their whitening/brightening skincare range. Currently, that’s the Blanc:Chroma range. The names have changed so often, I can’t keep up!
You’d think however, that since L’Oreal had the advantage of experience, after working on the Lancome cushion, that they’d be doing some wonderful things with this one from Shu Uemura. Well, let me just say that they didn’t.
Sunscreen protection : SPF50+ PA+++
The Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma cushion foundation offers SPF50+ and PA+++ sun protection that is very high and broad-spectrum, and perfect for where I live. I however, use this on top of regular sunscreen, not as a replacement for it. The high sunscreen protection jives with the intended use of these cushion foundations, as popularised by the the Korean brands – as a sunscreen top-up you can use through the day.
If you look at the ingredient list however, I noticed that the sunscreen ingredient is not placed very high on the list. If you quickly scan through the ingredient lists of the cushions I featured in the past few days, you will see Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide in the top 3-4 ingredients listed. For this one, it’s 8 or 9 down the list. Something to note, if you want to use this as a sunscreen as opposed to makeup. I advise using it as the latter.
The Packaging & Refills
Here is where the critique starts. SHU UEMURA WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! 😛
Yes, this deserves an all caps situation, because despite calling this a UV Brightening Cushion Foundation, Shu Uemura did NOT put a cushion in this compact! Are you confused? Let me explain.
Do you see that strange surface of the “cushion” in the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma cushion foundation? When I opened the cover (no seal! Tsk tsk!) I was confronted with a very weird white netting. You’ll see a slightly better close up picture below. There’s no cushion in this thing – it’s a weird netting.
Ok, so maybe the cushion is underneath, you think. Oh no it isn’t. Underneath the netting, which you can see through the weave, is a strange material that resembles rockwool. This is a fibre that is often used in roof and wall insulation. How do I know this? Let’s just say I’m not unfamiliar with the construction industry 😉
Shu Uemura calls this a “non woven fibre matrix” Pfbbtt! It’s rockwool fibre, or close to it. I found it strange and almost surreal. This is a cushion, Shu Uemura. You CALL it a cushion foundation and yet, you don’t put a sponge cushion in it? Perhaps their cushions are stuffed with fibre and not sponge. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I was not pleased!
And then we come to the refill. For the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma cushion foundation, everything is sold separately. Case, refill, puff … EVERYTHING. Again, what’s up Shu?! What this means is that you get the case in one box, and the foil sealed refill in another. I believe that locally, the lilac puff may come with the case, as mine did, but no new puff comes with the refill. So I was puzzled at this. Every other brand I’ve come across has a puff packaged with their refill. It’s for hygiene purposes and it makes perfect sense. How much does a puff cost anyway?! Instead, in Japan anyway, the puff is sold separately as I found out from this very scathing review (which I fully concur with btw). Tsk tsk tsk… another point docked from the already low ratings.
The cushion, if I can call it that, is a pretty pathetic excuse for a cushion. The way it is assembled is a little similar to the Bobbi Brown cushion foundation, in that it’s white when it arrives. When you depress the surface, the foundation will seep up through the fibres, and then through the netting. It’s weird. The netting has a weird, crackly plastic feel to it that sends shivers down my spine. It feels… cheap.
Suffice to say, nil points for this NOT being a cushion in any sense of this being called a cushion foundation. Innovative? I think not.
The Sponge Puff
And then we come to the applicator where I will sit here, and generally try to refrain from tearing my hair out. Shu Uemura tried to be innovative with their cushion foundation. Sure, there are loads out there, and they all look the same – there must be a reason. It bloody works, that’s why! Stop trying to reinvent the wheel!
Almost all the cushion foundations I’ve ever come across use a puff with a sponge/rubber surface. The primary reason is because surfaces like this do not absorb product as quickly as fabric. Secondly, it actually picks up product better from the surface of the cushion, and here’s the most important bit, deposits it better on your skin. When you pat it on, you transfer the product from the sponge to your skin and the sponge helps the product adhere to your skin. Think of it the way you’d use a sponge, like the beautyblender, to apply liquid foundation. Tap on, pat off. It works.
What did Shu Uemura decide to be innovative with?
They put a bloody flocked puff in there. The same puff you find in a pressed powder. Hello?
You know why this does NOT work? A flocked puff will pick up product, sure. But, the product will not transfer properly to your skin if you pat it on. It does not have the adhesion that a sponge/rubber surface gives, and therefore does not give the dewy effect of a product being patted on. If you wipe it on, it transfers the product. And that kind of defeats the whole purpose of this being placed in the cushion foundation category. It’s absolutely useless. Instead, just use a sponge, or a brush. Or better yet, skip this altogether.
Did I say that aloud? 😛
Texture, Coverage & Finish
Packaging and misnomer aside, the contents of the Shu Uemura Blanc:Chroma cushion foundation is quite nice. I will give them that.
There is a nice balance of moisture and coverage, which makes it seem almost, like Shu emptied a bottle of their liquid foundation in this compact because it has a very foundation feel to it. I gave up using the puff provided, and used the puff from a different brand to apply. WORKS SO MUCH BETTER! See, Shu, don’t reinvent the wheel.
The coverage is light-medium and quite buildable. I didn’t think it was too glowy or shiny on my skin and it seemed to dry down to a semi-matte finish. Seemed to work just as well without powdering over, like the Clinique one.
Here is an idea of how it looks in a before-after photo using the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Cushion Foundation in 774.
Coverage is decent as you can see. It not only evens out skintone and redness, it even manages to hide some of the blemishes and pigmentation on my skin. 774 is slightly warm toned, but light and neutral enough for my skin and even seems to brighten it a little. If this was a liquid foundation, I’d say that I like this a lot. The texture is lovely, the coverage is decent and the finish was comfortable. But since it comes in a terrible packaging, I find it hard to accept it as it stands.
This is another fairly impressive point for the Shu Uemura Blanc:Chroma cushion foundation. There are 6 shades in this range – 564, 574, 594, 754, 764, 774. I’m not too familiar with Shu’s numbering system as it’s been a long while since I used their bases, but I think the ones that start with 5 have a more pink base, while the ones that start with 7 have a yellow base. I don’t know how else the numbers go, but they have catered for different skintones and depth of tone. I’m not sure how deep the deepest shades go, but it tells us there are options.
Here is a swatch of the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma cushion foundation in 774 compared to other foundations I wear.
As you can see, it’s a little more yellow than other bases, but because it’s a little sheerer and its light, I get away with it. It doesn’t look too bad on my skin.
There is a weird chemical fragrance infused in this cushion, which I found strange. It isn’t very strong, but it’s there, when you open the cover – a whiff of eau de chemical 😛
Do I like this?
I think you know the answer. No, I most definitely do not, for the simple fact that they tried to reinvent the wheel and failed miserably in my view. I was sent this by the brand and I’m afraid there’s no way I can tell anyone to try this, even in the name of experimentation, without being overcome by guilt for making you actually pay for this. I’m sorry, Shu, it’s ok if you don’t want to send anything else, just make what you make, better. Calling this a cushion foundation and then departing from the essence of a cushion is unforgivable. The terrible flocked puff included was the final nail in the coffin for me. The foundation itself is decent. The packaging and delivery system is terrible. For the money, I say get yourself a bottle of Shu Uemura foundation and forget this ever existed.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma cushion foundation is a cushion foundation with a difference. There is no sponge reservoir of liquid foundation. Instead, the reservoir is a weird fibre, topped by a plastic netting. The puff included is a flocked puff which does not work at all for applying the product. Further, the product is sold separately – case, refill and puff – and to cap it off, there’s only 13g of product in the refill. Most brands have 15g which is already very little. The foundation itself is pretty decent, with a light-medium buildable coverage, does not look too shiny or moist on skin and feels comfortable when worn. But because this professes to be a cushion foundation, I’m calling its bluff. It’s an imposter 😛
PROS: Easily available, light texture, Evens out skintone and redness, Easy to use, High sunscreen protection, Portable packaging, Refills available separately, Decent coverage, Good shade selection
CONS: Pricey, Poor product design, Puff is useless for the product, All components are sold separately including the puff, Strange chemical scent, Not a cushion foundation
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: I’m not sure, you tell me
PRICE: RM190 (case + refill + puff) Refill available separately at RM140 each without the puff. I understand the puff is sold separately – 6 shades available 564, 574, 594, 754, 764, 774
AVAILABILITY: Shu Uemura counters and beauty boutiques – Possibly exclusive to Asia for now
If you’re interested in what’s in there, here’s the ingredient list
Does this Cushion Foundation intrigue you? Have you checked it out?
Sorry mates to end off Cushion Foundation Week on a sour note, but this is as much a cushion foundation as I am the Duchess of Cambridge. Their liquid foundations are decent. Give them a go. Skip this travesty.
More cushion foundations can be found in this category.