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Review: Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Cushion Compact

I absolutley LOVE cushion makeup. It is so easy and generally Korean formulas make your skin look healthy and bounce-y (read: dewey).  I generally stay with the Korean brands (Hera and Sulwhasoo are my go-to brands) but have decided to branch out and travel over the East Sea to… Japan! Shiseido have released a version of their much loved liquid foundation Synchro Glow, in a cushion version Synchro Skin Glow Cushion (how fitting!). I believe this is Shiseido’s first go at the cushion game 😉 I haven’t tried the original Synchro Glow liquid foundation but heard great things about the cushion compact, so I had to try it out for myself. It’s actually become my go-to foundation for work because of its fabulous coverage. As you may of heard, my acne has flared up over the last couple of months, so coverage is what I need. I’ve never been a fan of matte foundation finishes however, so I really didn’t want this foundation to disappoint. And as you guessed it, it doesn’t 😉

SHISEIDO’s first intelligent cushion compact, to go. Just tap it on to give skin instant hydration and enhance its healthy glow, for a look of flawless freshness. Like it belongs to your skin. 3 ESSENTIALS IN ONE:
  1. Revives skin’s luminosity; Taking advantage of light technology, it gives skin a polished glow with transparent collecting polymer and Super Hyaluronic Acid.

  2. Protects skin; Specially selected natural ingredients provide skin-supporting powers. Mother of Thyme Extract helps prevent skin damage caused by oxidation*, and Hypericum Perforatum Extract helps prevent skin roughness.*

  3. Responds to your skin; Formulated with Advanced Sensing Technology, it creates dynamic synchronization with your skin, optimizing light, oil and moisture to maintain skin’s beautiful look as skin conditions change throughout the day.*In vitro tests

The cushion in the cushion compact is like your traditional Korean cushion – its a soft porous sponge that has been drenched in product. If it had been one of those ‘mesh sponges’ (shudder) I wouldn’t have bothered trying it. The mesh sponges look awful and feel awful (like sandpaper or those metal scrubbers you use in the kitchen for cleaning heavy duty pots). Why make a cushion foundation if you aren’t going to use a real cushion?!? Anyhoo, luckily Shiseido have sticked to tradition with this one and gone with the trusty sponge!

The formula of the foundation is super creamy and I have two of the lightest shades available – Neutral 1 and Neutral 2. Cushion foundations tend to have a more limited shade range compared to liquid foundations because the formulas are traditionally ‘see through’ and quite sheer. From what I can see, there are 5 shades available in the Shiseido cushion line, which is ok but limited nonetheless. Even Korean makeup brands are extending their cushion shade options, so you can see that even Asian makeup brands are catering to their overseas clients – which you need to do if you are going to sell your brand globally. Let’s hope Shiseido takes note of this, especially since the coverage of the Shiseido Synchro Glow Cushion is described as medium. It’s very smart that the lightest 3 shades of the Synchro Glow Cushion are neutral shades (N1, N2 and N3) because they should be compatible with those of us with pink or yellow undertones (if you have fair skin) and balance your skin tone. The deepest two shades in the line are described as being ‘golden’ (G2 and G3) however I don’t know how deep the shades are and if they are yellow toned, but I suspect they are. N1 is the shade I first got my hands on (the lightest). It was summer when I got it, so it probably wasn’t the smartest move because low and behold, it is too fair for me. Update I cannot get away with wearing N1, even in Winter. It is way to light for me and it looks like it has a white base. I thought because I can get away with Sulwhasoo’s Perfecting Brightening Cushion in the shade #17 (the lightest beige shade) N1 would be ok, but alas, it isn’t. It will be perfect for those of you who have a porcelain to fair skin tone. It almost has that ‘white base’ look to it (see a swatch further down in the post). N2 is the perfect shade for those of us with a ‘light’ skin tone.  In summer my skin tone can move between light and medium and N2 works brilliantly for me in this role. There is a bit of a jump between N1 and N2 though.

It’s very easy to get an even layer of product on your skin using the cushion puff. You don’t need a lot of product in order to get that ‘medium’ coverage from the foundation – and that is brilliant! It’s exactly what you want from a product which describes itself as lustrous and natural. You don’t get a natural finish if you use to much of any product. The ‘glow’ of the foundation doesn’t come from shimmer or let alone glitter, it comes from the natural slash dewey finish it imparts. I say it’s satin slash dewey, because this very much depends on your skin type. My skin has been moving between dry and oily, which has not been easy to manage… when my skin is dry, the foundation doesn’t cling to dry patches too much, but makes it look healthy and smooth with a satin finish. It can look like it is ‘sitting on top’ of my skin if it is very dry, but do note that I have been using a tretinoin, which is a hardcore acne treatment. There’s still a nice sheen to the skin and some bounce however. When my skin is more oily, I definitely see the foundation becoming more dewey throughout the day. I don’t see this as a negative but it’s something to consider if you have combination to oily skin. It doesn’t break me out, which is another important factor.

I’ve been wearing my Synchro Skin Glow Cushion to work a lot because using a cushion compact and puff in the mornings is so fast and simple. And the coverage is GREAT – but that I’ve already mentioned 😉 It is a buildable foundation but it won’t give you a full coverage look you are used to, because of it’s bounce-y and satin texture, yet, you do get that perfected finish. It covers up any redness very well (the neutrality of the shades helps with this) and post-acne pigmentation. It’s only down fall is that it is very transferable. It doesn’t set or stay in place on it’s own. A good setting powder is a must and I use a dedicated makeup setting spray if I know it’ll be a long day. I think this is just a trade-off you have to endure if you want that bounce-y, hydrated look (unless you are ok with a good coverage foundation having that powdery, true matte finish – and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a different effect).

Above: No makeup. Lots of post-acne pigmentation/inflammation and redness. 

Above: Skin tone evened out and perfected 🙂

The puff you get with the cushion foundation is like your ‘standard’ cushion foundation puff (I think Korean cushions are the ‘standard’) it’s smooth and soft. The puff picks up a good amount of product and applies the foundation well. You can easily use the puff (in a dabbing motion) to blend out the foundation and also apply it to tricky areas around the nose and eyes. The kicker for me, if that’s a good way to put it, is that you have to buy the cushion case/compact separately to the cushion foundation refill. A case should come with the foundation and you should be able to buy refills separately also. So I find that a bit annoying. Also, you get only one foundation refill in each ‘pack’ (Korean cushion cases come with TWO refills). One Shiseido cushion refill comes with 12g of product and retails for $52 and the case costs $20.  So $72 for 12g of product :O In comparison, a Hera UV mist case with two added refills (coming in at 15g of product each – so 30g of foundation in total) costs roughly $65 from My K Beauty. The price of the Hera cushion on YesStyle, ranges from $60-$70. The prices are different, depending on the Hera cushion version and whether it’s limited edition. It’s safe to say, Shiseido’s offering is twice the price.

Swatches from bottom to top: Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion in #21 Medium Pink, Hera UV Mist Cushion Cover in #C21 Vanilla Cover, Shiseido Synchro Glow Cushion in N1, Shiseido Synchro Glow Cushion in N2. As you can see, the Hera cushion in shade #21 Vanilla is very similar to the Shiseido cushion in N2. 

Tip I was always stumped in regards to how to clean cushion compact puffs. Using a puff on your skin and dipping it into the foundation sponge time and time again, will transfer oils from your skin (and possibly bacteria) to the foundation. I’m not a germaphobe, but even I don’t like the sound of this! They are hard to find here in Aus, buying new ones is costly and not very environmentally friendly. Soap doesn’t work well as I found out, but you know what does? Daiso’s Puff Sponge Detergent! And it’s also only $2.80 😀 You need to use quite a bit of it and wash, rinse, wash, rinse (until the rinsing water runs clear – no need to dry the puff in-between washes and rinsing) but it works and you will have a totally clean and stain free cushion puff ready to go in no time 🙂

Will I repurchase the cushion when I run out of the shade N2? I’m not sure. I love the coverage and finish the cushion foundation gives me, but the price for 12g of product does send chills up my spine. I have a lot of backup Sulwhasoo & Hera cushion refills to get through first and a NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, which also provides you with great coverage and a great finish (review coming soon!). I would repurchase the cushion refill once some of my other stocks have been used up. So who knows when that will be… Shiseido has done a great job with this product, I just wish the price measured up with the amount of foundation you get, as this will hold a lot of people back from trying it and that’s a shame as it’s a beautiful product.

Is this a foundation you would try? Do you love cushion foundations as much as I do? Let me know in the comments below!

Catch ya next time Beauties,

Beauty Bee~

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