Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Revival Centennial Edition, 7 Lights Powder Illuminator, and Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother

1917 was the year that venerable Japanese beauty brand Shiseido first branched out from their bestselling skin perfecting concoctions, and decided to offer their first-ever makeup product to their growing clientele of fashionable women in Tokyo.

Long before Guerlain Meteorites, Shiseido's Rainbow Powder was a sensation for its luxurious, stylish, modular packaging and the innovation (at the time) concept of offering 7 different face powders for different effects. 

Rainbow Powders became a fixture on the vanity tables of wealthy women and the most beautiful geisha long before the rest of the modern world fell in love with the idea of color-correcting powders.

Vintage Shiseido Rainbow Powder set

Vintage Shiseido Rainbow Powder case

The basic premise of color-correction still stands today. What makes a lot of sense to me personally, is that everyone has different issues which the standard color-correcting powders today may not be able to fix with the one-size-fits-all approach where you need to swirl together a prescribed mix of shades regardless of whether you might require more or less of certain colors.

With Rainbow Powder, you are in control of how much and which colors you apply to each part of your face.

While this might feel like a hassle for some, I beg to differ because in this day and age when many people want to just slap it on and go (or even whip it on in the car), it is a reminder to be mindful; to pay attention for a moment, to know our faces. And it turns powdering into a luxurious ritual rather than a troublesome last step.

That's why I totally geeked out when Shiseido announced the launch of a special 7 Colors Powder Revival Centennial Edition (S$320) to commemorate the 100th anniversary this Feb. They've replicated the classic fabric wrapped cases housed in an elegant box, each containing a different colored powder. If you're gagging for a set, move fast because there are only 145 kits for sale in Singapore.

7 Colors Powder Revival Centennial Edition
The delicate paper seals have been replaced by sturdy air-tight ones with Shiseido's logo stamped on each, and each case has a corresponding colored tag on the outside as indication of the shades within.

The color-correcting concept is the same, and come in the 7 classic colors. However, the formula is 100% modern. 

The composition is a mix of over 20 specially selected powders, extra-finely milled so they feel light as air and blend right into the skin without looking or feeling cakey, while blurring imperfections and texture at the same time.

I had a quick test of these, and the colors are subtle enough that you don't look mad with noticeable patches of different tones on your face, but still present enough for correction. There is a very subtle trace of reflective particles in the mix but it's more to create a matte luminosity and there are no noticeable sparkles.

The powders also have a soft, vintage, chypre fragrance that is the icing on the cake. 

Heavier swatches of green, lavender, and rose powders
What I'm probably most impressed about (aside from the history and the ultra-luxe vintage packaging) is just how buttery and silky these powders feel. While I'll probably stash this away in my drawers as a treasured collectible, I can totally see myself using the white and yellow under the eyes, beige all over, the peony and pink around the cheeks, and mint and lavender for spot correction. If they made this in a jumbo pressed palette I would totally use it.

As it stands, I'm not sure when they would ever reproduce this for sale again, so I'm keeping it.

And these are just a sight to behold on your dresser.

Building on the original concept, Shiseido's creative director Dick Page has also created a new color correcting compact. Called the 7 Lights Powder Illuminator (S$76), the compact uses 7 types of light-reflecting powders for a fresh radiant look to the skin.

Shiseido 7 Lights Powder Illuminator
Unlike the traditional Rainbow Powders, this has a bit more luminosity (although it's not a highlighter) and is designed for quick easy use on the go, with no fuss or mess. The compact comes with a luxury brush in a separate compartment above the powder,

The translucent powders are designed to intercept light and give you more coverage and correction than you expect, without creating a flat powdery finish.The spherical particles also have more "slip" and a more buttery, less dry feel on the skin. Their ability to bounce light at multiple angles also gives a more radiant effect than traditional flat particles that just lie on the skin.

 Perhaps what might be most interesting to you is what Shiseido calls the "Dual Resetting Formula". This brightening powder adjusts to different skin conditions, with particles that allow it to smooth and glide over rough dry patches while absorbent particles absorb excess oil and shine, effectively "resetting" and balancing combination skin.

Now, good color-correcting powders SHOULD allow you to customize. So here are a few tips that I find works well for me.

  • You can concentrate your brush in different areas for different effects as well. The top left area gives a soft lavender/pink tone which I find good to brighten dull, sallow areas. This also is a nice soft color for highlighting the peaks of your cheekbones and nose.
  • The bottom right triangle gives a healthier warm glow and can also correct uneven skin tone by reflecting light more uniformly. You can also technically use this to very subtly bronze and warm up pale skin.
  • Swirl your brush around the middle three shades and you get a soft peachy tone which can neutralize bruised/purplish shadows around the eyes and mouth.

Of course, when you're done spot-correcting, you can just swirl your brush through all the shades for a neutral tone to dust all over the face. 

That's not the end of it though. Shiseido is also launching IBUKI Smart Filtering Smoother (S$48), a serum-primer that aims to help create poreless, perfected, filtered skin in real life.

Now if you're familiar with Shiseido skincare, Ibuki is a range that was pretty innovative when it launched a few years back.

Instead of tackling symptoms of problematic and oily skin, like visible pores, blemishes and rough texture by using the traditional harsh, drying, or exfoliating ingredients which sometimes create more skin stress, Ibuki (meaning "inner strength") aims to fix the source of the problems at their root, by calming and reinforcing skin's own natural resistance, and hence its ability to stay balanced.

Considering Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother bears that name, it's not surprising that this is a skin-treatment as well. Instead of aiming to make skin bone-dry, Ibuki Smart Filtering Smoother uses a sebum-absorption powder that targets excess shine and dissipates it without being overly mattifying.

And because it's half skincare, the formula contains Bergenia Ciliata Root extract which is used in Aurvedic medicine for acnegenic and problem skins, as well as Marjoram for hydration. It also contains the PhytoTarget compound used in the rest of the Ibuki skincare range, to maintain a healthy balance of skin's natural hydration and lipid levels.

I've yet to give this a full test run, but I'll be curious to use it around my T-zone and inner cheeks, where I tend to get a bit oilier throughout the day.

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