Sheer and Perfect is a finely milled pressed-powder foundation that offers light coverage with an ultra-subtle glow. Calling this powder a "foundation" is a stretch given how sheer it is, and we wouldn't count on it to cover the more obvious imperfections, but it can help even out the skin tone ever so slightly.
The shade range includes several options, spanning from fair to deep, although for some reason not all Shiseido retailers carry every shade. Most of the collection is neutral-toned, but watch out for any shades that seem to have an unflattering pinkish undertone; although the pink base can help counteract a too-yellow complexion, the goal is to make sure it still looks natural in daylight.
Sheer and Perfect absorbs oil, at least in the short term, while imparting an understated radiance. If you have very oily skin and you're looking for a powder to keep your skin matte, this isn't for you, but those with normal to dry or combination skin will likely find the ultra-subtle luminous finish nice for a natural, youthful glow.
Although this fragrance-free powder is on the translucent end of the coverage spectrum, it can be stippled over problem areas for more coverage without looking chalky or caked on. Not an easy feat to master, but Shiseido did!
Likewise, we were pleased by how well Sheer and Perfect held up throughout the day, while also noting that it is easy to use for on-the-go touch-ups. The broad-spectrum sun protection via an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen is an added anti-aging bonus. However, we don't recommend relying on this as your sole form of sun protection because it's hard to apply a powder liberally enough to obtain the SPF number on the label, so we strongly recommend wearing this with another reliable source of sun protection underneath it.
For all our praise, we must reiterate that this "foundation" powder doesn't offer enough coverage for visible imperfections, but if super sheer coverage with a hint of glow is what you want, then this delivers!
Note: The total price is $38.50, with a one-time purchase of the refillable compact.
Note: This product was recently downgraded from 5-stars to 4-stars due to its less-than-optimal SPF rating. Although this does provide sun protection, it's less than SPF 30. The problem? Health experts and medical boards around the globe agree that SPF 30 or greater is best when it comes to providing a reliable defense against the damage the sun can do. Yes, a foundation with less than SPF 30 is acceptable if your daytime moisturizer is rated SPF 30 or greater, but we wouldn't want anyone thinking an SPF under 30 is the best for skin. See More Info below for details.
Sunscreens Rated Lower than an SPF 30: An extensive body of research and a growing number of medical organizations around the world have determined that a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater is mandatory to ensure adequate sun protection.
Although a sunscreen rated lower than 30 will provide protection at the SPF number on the label and may claim broad-spectrum protection, we always point out when it does not have a rating of SPF 30 or greater because that's so important for the health and appearance of your skin.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Oncology, September 2016, ePublication
Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, August 2014, pages 212–219
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, September 2012, pages 18–23
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2008, Supplemental, pages S149–S154
Active: Octinoxate (2.9%), Octocrylene (2%), Titanium Dioxide (6.2%). Other Ingredients: Talc, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Nylon-12, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Silica, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate, PEG/PPG-36/41 Dimethylether, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aluminum Distearate, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Methicone, Calcium Stearate, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Polysilicone-2, Tocopherol, Barium Sulfate, Citric Acid, Sodium Phosphate, BHT, Tetradecene, Alumina, Chlorphenesin, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide.
Strengths: Most of the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection and present a variety of options, whether you're looking for titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone; a handful of good (but not great) moisturizers; worthwhile oil-blotting papers; foundations with sunscreen that provide sufficient UVA protection (and there are some wonderful foundations here); pressed powder with sunscreen for oily skin; the Perfect Rouge Lipstick is one of the best creamy lipsticks at the department store; mostly good mascaras.
Weaknesses: Expensive; several drying cleansers; boring toners; no AHA or BHA products; no products to effectively manage acne; no reliable skin-lightening options despite a preponderance of products claiming to do just that; irritating self-tanners; gimmicky masks; jar packaging; uneven assortment of concealers (and some terrible colors); average to disappointing eye and brow shapers; average makeup brushes.
Shiseido is one of the largest cosmetic companies in
A total approach to health and beauty would take into account all that has been learned to date about how skin functions, how it can repair itself, how it ages, and what it realistically takes for it to look, feel, and function at its best. Such an approach does not, however, involve cleansers with alkaline ingredients that cause skin to be unnecessarily dry, lackluster toners, or far too many products with alcohol; that can only harm the skin, which isn't beautiful in the least.
If anything, the numerous skin-care options presented here are merely average or really disappointing. Many of the moisturizers have luscious textures, but again, it takes more than a sensational feel to create exceptional products that have your skin's best interest (and best appearance) in mind.
One point of difference with this line is that Shiseido insists on regular facial massage. That means you'll find several facial massage creams, although most of them have traditional moisturizer formularies that differ little from what's seen throughout the lineup. Shiseido maintains that routine facial massage creates firmer skin that's less prone to sagging because the massage action tones the muscles, but that simply isn't true. The muscles of the face are among the most frequently used. Repetitive muscle movements are a prime cause of expression lines around the eyes, mouth, and on the forehead. Botox has become such a popular procedure because it selectively prevents these muscles from working, which smoothes creases and lines. Massage alone cannot do that; if anything, routine facial massage can encourage lines and sagging by stretching the skin. Furthermore, when skin slackens and sags, it involves more than just the muscles. Sun damage plays a role in collagen and elastin destruction, as does gravity, which causes fat pads beneath the skin to slip. And then there's bone loss, and the fact that, as we age, skin continues to grow (yet has less to hold on to). Massage to repair sun damage—give me a break!
For more information about Shiseido, visit www.shiseido.com.
Although Shiseido is known more for their seemingly endless array of skin-care products, their makeup, while not without its problem-child products, is clearly not just an afterthought. The main and most impressive part of the color collection is the foundations. For the most part they have silky textures, and provide adequate sun protection (at least an SPF 15 with UVA-protecting ingredients). If you're keen on shopping this line you should also pay attention to their Perfect Rouge Lipstick, lip gloss, the mascaras, and some distinctive specialty products. Items to avoid entirely include the eye and brow pencils and a couple of the eyeshadows; the makeup brushes are serviceable, but pale in comparison to what makeup artist–backed lines offer. Ignore the inflated claims that accompany many of Shiseido's makeup products, but don't ignore the best of what they have to offer—because in that regard, they're better than ever!
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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