Saturday, January 30, 2016

Shu Uemura Blanc:Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Foundation SPF50+ PA+++ Review

The cushion foundation that looks natural but has so much coverage that it negates the need for concealer? Shu Uemura's Blanc-Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Foundation SPF50+ PA+++ actually does just that for me.

This foundation feels light on the skin, gives a beautiful believable glow (almost exactly like Lightbulb foundation but much lighter and non-oily on the skin), has hefty sun protection, and an applicator that I like more than any other one that comes with cushion foundations on the market right now.

If you're like me you probably think "what - ANOTHER cushion foundation?? Isn't that so 2012/2013? Well I guess so if you are in Asia, but the trend is still alive and well in the West right now, which is why a lot of the large beauty conglomerates have only just started launching their own versions. 

Shu Uemura's was pretty interesting to me from the get-go because the delivery mechanism is quite different from most. Most cushion compacts will vary only in terms of whether you get a sponge (LANEIGE, Lancome, L'oreal, Innisfree and everybody else) or a metal plate (VDL, Givenchy).

Blanc-Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Foundation (SG$20 for the case, $55 for the refill) launches in March 2016 with 6 shades in Singapore, has a double-layer sponge and mesh to help control product dispensation, and I kinda like the surface because it has a "wiper" technology which helps the product sift out in a neater and more controlled manner. While it's not as hygienic as metal plate cushions which completely block the product off from the air, this still feels a touch better than an exposed cushion.

Shu has a strong focus on applicator tools though. Most of its recent foundation releases have been centered around specific applicators like the Lightbulb foundations.

This is no different. And here's one of my favorite parts. 

The Blanc:Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Foundation comes with an ultra-soft flocked puff, more like the ones you use for powder than typical stiff rubbery pads used with cushion compacts. This puff (SG$8 for a replacement) is much more pliable so you can get into tight corners, and the flocked surface also doesn't drag your skin, or leave you with circular rings around your pores... all things I dislike about typical stiff cushion puffs. The best thing is it blends product out much better as well.

You still apply in the typical patting motion - no pulling and dragging across the skin. And it also washes out easier than those hard, dense cushion puffs. It's a complete win in my book already.

I'm actually tempted to try this with other liquid foundations to see how it works with those!

Now the formula!

This uses an interesting clay-based technology that allows the product to be a pudding-like gel at rest, but liquefies instantly when applied. gives a glowy, dewy finish, and REALLY looks like skin. You can build and build to about 2-3 coats and it still looks real, but honestly you won't need to build much. 

Press your puff in the sponge very lightly each time so you don't over-dispense product. The first time I used it I had to take a sheet of tissue to wipe product off my face cos there was just way more coverage than I needed.

When I was cropping the before-after images, the "After" image looked so retouched (I assure you I did not retouch my skin at all) that I had to double-check if I accidentally turned on some filter in my camera. I left the image in a higher res, so you can click to expand and see the pores and skin texture etc for yourself. I wore zero concealer, and no powder either.

That is how good it is at covering discolorations. My mole almost completely disappeared, and some old pigmentation from previous acne is completely hidden. My skin also looks visibly brighter and creamier, because of a bismuth oxychloride (a natural mineral) pigment blend which brightens the skin without imparting any shimmer.

Where I will say it is not brilliant is at covering or smoothing over flaky skin. This will emphasize them so you might want to grab a pair of tweezers and lift off any obvious flakes after applying this.

The formula contains nylon powder to diffuse light and conceal pores, as well as amino acid coated pigments which can hide discolorations extremely well. It also contains brightening actives found in the blanc:chroma skincare range, to help treat dark spots and prevent new hyper-pigmentation with regular use.

Really close-up!

I would prefer that this come with PA++++ protection instead of just PA+++ as that's the maximum UVA protection, but I wear sunblock daily anyway so this is just a bonus. If you are thinking this can replace your regular sunblock, please remember that it will only be better than any lower level protection you currently use (e.g. SPF30 PA+++), and definitely better than no sunblock at all. But you will need to wear a pretty heavy layer all over, including your lids, if you want adequate protection from a foundation - so I never ever recommend replacing sunblock with makeup.
My one true complaint for this product is that "jelly" formula and the oil content in the ingredients makes it not that great for oily skins or for lasting in humid heat This is a fantastic special-occasion foundation that I highly recommend if you are going to a dinner-party or a photo-shoot where you will not be sweating or rubbing your face.

This is not great for

  • Textured or blemished skins which need a matte texture to hide an uneven surface
  • Oily skins that need an oil-free base which can last for hours
  • Times when you know you will be in the heat and sweating or dabbing your face
  • People who are sensitive to bismuth oxychloride - some skins will experience a bit of an itch when using foundations with bismuth oxychloride; if you are not sure make sure you try this on before buying
That said I do like this foundation a lot. The glow is BEAUTIFUL, especially if you appreciate that dewy Asian "gwang" popularized by Korean actresses. And the amazing thing is just how much coverage it can give with just a tiny dab of product. Skin looks rested, plump, smooth and healthy, and if you wear a cream blush and top up concealer only where needed, you look like you rolled out of bed with goddess skin. But use a light hand when you apply powder or you can cause it to grab and get a bit patchy and cakey. I personally prefer to wear this all on its own without setting powder, but I also will not wear this when I need something to last for a whole day without touch-ups.

Shades seem to run slightly deeper than usual; I usually wear 564 but for Blanc:Chroma Cushion Foundation that shade is a little too deep and a bit more orange than usual. I need to mix it with a little 764 to get the correct shade. I do personally like this a lot more than the Lightbulb foundation because it gives all the coverage and glow with a super light feel.

Click image to see Shu Uemura Blanc:Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Foundation ingredients


  1. Great review. The coverage is perfect, and your skin looks fabulous. Now if they'd only sell it in the States ...

    1. I believe Shu does sell a lot of their products online at! The only thing is the launch dates might be different, and you wouldn't be able to test the shades before purchasing, which is a bummer...
      564 in this range is about NW25, and 764 is between NC20-25 if that helps as a reference!

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  2. I want this! It looks stunning on you. On the shu uemura usa site, they neither have yet this cushion foundation nor its release date. What color would you suggest for a very pale nc20? I think 764 may be a slightly too dark for my winter face :(

  3. I want this! It looks stunning on you. On the shu uemura usa site, they neither have yet this cushion foundation nor its release date. What color would you suggest for a very pale nc20? I think 764 may be a slightly too dark for my winter face :(

  4. I finally bought it today. Tried it and it is exactly as you have described it. Great coverage alone or with powder. But will melt in hot humid weather. Wear it indoors.

  5. I finally bought it today. Tried it and it is exactly as you have described it. Great coverage alone or with powder. But will melt in hot humid weather. Wear it indoors.

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