21 Nov 2012

Shu Uemura Face Architect Illuminating Moisture Fluid Foundation

Yum... but... hang on, or is it...

Shu Uemura Week - the turn of a foundation!  This foundation gets a lot of love from makeup artists and YouTube gurus.  According to Shu Uemura, this is a "liquid foundation, designed to achieve an illuminating glow finish [...] and conceal skin imperfections".

Per the (badly translated!) note that comes with the foundation, the "Glow oil complex enhances the glowing effect to illuminate your skin" and the "Foggy Cover Powder and Adhering Flake Powder gives soft-focus effect".  I like the sound of glowy oils and foggy powders.  The adhering flakes I can do without though... onwards!

I... think I like it.  I'll explain more after the jump.


This purports to be a buildable foundation from medium to high coverage.  This is a pretty accurate description.  It does sheer out, but it is better used as it is intended, as a medium coverage foundation (if you are looking for a similar type foundation but with a lighter coverage, I recommend something like MAC Face & Body foundation).

Used as intended, it gives a flawless coverage.


This foundation has a dewy finish.  A very dewy finish.  A strongly dewy, very glowy illuminating finish.  If you like that particular kind of (dewy) finish, you'll like this.  It most categorically is dewy.  It also definitely has a beautiful illuminating glow.  And did I mention how dewy this is?!  You can powder this down and you'll wind up with a lovely, slightly glowy, velvet finish foundation.  Otherwise, on slightly oilier skins, this will seem slightly tacky.


This is a comfortable feeling foundation, once powdered.  I get a standard eight hours of wear out of this.  Un-powdered, it can transfer, quite notably.  It has a reasonably strong smell, but it is not offensive and it does fade reasonably quickly.

I didn't particularly find that wearing this over a primer prolonged its last-ability by much, but then again that might be down to my own skin (combination).  It didn't oxidise on me or cause breakouts

Patchiness...  here's the thing with this foundation.  One one day I'll wear it and love it.  On another day, it's a bit tacky (powdered or otherwise).  On another day, after the magical eight hours has passed it bunches on any dry patches I have, on another day it doesn't.  My skin isn't that schizophrenic, so it must be the foundation!  I'm therefore not entirely sure if I like this or not...

Shades & Undertones

The shades available are either yellow (warm) or neutral (beige) undertones.  As far as I'm aware there are no pink undertone shades available (note that these "warm" and "neutral" designations are per Shu Uemura.  Don't forget that warm/cool/yellow/pink descriptions can change per foundation manufacturer.  For more information look here).

The shades/undertones that are available are:

#784    Fair beige - warm (yellow) undertone
#774    Light beige - warm (yellow) undertone
#754    Medium beige - warm (yellow) undertone
#524    Medium dark caramel - neutral (beige) undertone
#564    Medium light - neutral (beige) undertone
#764    Medium light beige - warm (yellow) undertone
#554    Medium sand - neutral (beige) undertone
#734    Rich beige - warm (yellow) undertone

I'm #774 / Light Beige...

I use #774 / Light Beige and it's quite considerably yellow-based, in fact this needs to be emphasised: the warm (yellow) undertones are really very yellow.  So be careful with picking a shade lest you wind up looking jaundiced :-)

Best Applied With

Per Shu Uemura, this can be applied with fingers, a sponge or a brush.  Personally I love the #18 brush for application of this foundation; it's a really soft natural fibre rounded brush, not the usual synthetic paddle brush or buffing brush (the European version of this brush, that is; the Asian version is slightly different).  That said, a flat paddle brush and a buffer brush work fine too.  Personally, I've found that the foundation is a little too thick to use with a stippling brush, and I'm not personally crazy about using a sponge with this (that's not to say it doesn't work, I just find that a more flawless finish is achieved with brushes).  Fingers apply this quite thickly; I don't like using fingers with this foundation.


This is a heavy fluid formulation, not quite a cream.  It's essentially oil-based, and contains lots of glow-making and moisturising ingredients like glycerin, macadamia seed oil and soybean oil.  It also contains alcohol and silica and skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) spheres.

Best Suited To

As this one is oil-based, forgetaboutit if you've got oilier skins.  Although it is supposed to work with "all skin types", it'll just slide right off an oilier skin, and prior to sliding off, that dewy look I mentioned before will make you look like Deep Fat Fryer Face (not a pretty look).  If you have sensitive skin, this will work fine for you.  I haven't tried this out on anyone other than myself to-date so I can't comment on its usability or efficacy for more mature, or younger skin types.

Dryer skins should theoretically benefit from this foundation, up-to-and-including combination skins, as long as you powder your oilier areas.  But I have had issues (not consistently mind) where it can bunch on dry areas.  I would say it's really just suited to "normal, perfect skin".

Flashback, SPF, Price

In terms of flashback, there's no SPF in this foundation, but as some of the shades may contain mica or  titanium dioxide, there may be flashback (there doesn't appear to be with my shade).

This one ain't cheap, at €41 for 27ml it's not going to be one a lot of people will bother with.  That said, a little really really does go a long way with this stuff (one good pump is far too much for my face).  As always with foundation, try it before you buy it.  Get a sample and see if it works for you.  At its price, I don't think it's worth a flutter to "see".  I am hesitant to recommend, unless you'er on the very slightly dry side or the very slightly oily side of "normal" skin, am inclined to feel it's not an "absolute must-have".  But if you like a dewy med+ coverage foundation, have normal skin, and don't mind the price, sure, this should work for you.  Personally, I'm still scratching my head about it...

More information can be found on this foundation here (the US Shu Uemura site) - for some reason it's not showing up in a search on the UK site, however it is definitely available in Ireland.


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