Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation (& comparison to other fluid foundations)

I love the Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation SPF 18 – $39 for 30ml (department stores) – it is my ideal everyday foundation.  I alternate between this and BB creams for a typical weekday when I don’t need high coverage or a super long wearing foundation.

Firstly, the packaging – it’s SO compact and sleek in a lightweight but sturdy plastic bottle. I love bringing this for travelling. There’s a nozzle to dispense the product and it doesn’t leak everywhere.

Swatch left, blended right.

The foundation itself is a runny liquid, which needs to be shaken up prior to use, but it offers a surprisingly decent amount of coverage.  I could categorize this between light and medium coverage, and it’s buildable if I want to apply additional layer to certain areas for more coverage.  The shade I have – i20 Natural Light Ivory – is a dead-on match for my skintone (around MAC NC25).  Because of the watery nature of this foundation, I apply this with my fingers and can achieve a streak-free application with ease.  The foundation has a soft satin finish, not dewy but not a flat matte.

One negative about the Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation is that is contains alcohol in the formula, in the form of Alcohol Denat – it’s the 5th item on the ingredient list. This may bother some people but it’s never bothered my skin (there is quite a bit of debate about this topic online).

What I’m further impressed with is how affordable this foundation is – $39 for 30ml isn’t that expensive when I compare the quality with other department store foundations.  There are a host of light to medium coverage, fluid foundations on the market, some of which I’ve used:
Chanel Vitalumière Aqua [not shown] $50 for 30ml – probably one of the earliest offering in the fluid type foundation was Chanel Pro Lumière (now discontinued), which was the predecessor of the Vitamumière Aqua.  I’ve only ever tested this in store and it feels nice, but it’s overly fragranced, and expensive.

MAC Face & Body $32 for 50ml – I enjoy this for weekends or casual days when I want to look like I’m not wearing any foundation – it’s a very sheer coverage but wears well through the whole day as it is meant to be rub resistant when applied onto the body (it’s popular for runway shows).

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide [not shown] $59 for 30ml – I tested this at Sephora and could NOT for the life of me find a suitable colour match even with 24 shades to choose from.  The colour selection all looked like cartoon skintones – too peach, too yellow – really odd shade selection.  And the messy, leaky tube really turned me off.  Why is this more expensive than Chanel?

Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid $44 for 30ml – I liked this but have decided to stop using it (even though it’s still about half full).  The shade I have it in, 2CN1 Pure Beige, is just too dark and orange on me.  Also, the foundation smells a bit like paint.  This foundation is alcohol free so it may be a good option for some.

L’Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder – at the drugstore end of the price spectrum, this one is decent. I have it in 318 Natural Buff and it’s also too dark for me.  It has sheerer coverage compared to the Shiseido, and the lasting power isn’t good either. When this foundation launched, it was purported to be a dupe for the Giorgio Armani Maestro foundation (ingredient lists are almost identical).  Maybelline Dream Wonder Liquid Touch is also essentially the same thing in a different package – did you know that L’Oreal owns both Armani and Maybelline? Yup.

I enjoy the Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation so much that I already have a back-up in my stash, ready to go when my current bottle runs out.

Box and ingredient list.

s  perfect shade match for me (and wide selection of shades)
s  easy application (fingers)
s  lightweight, skin-like finish
s  doesn’t cause breakout (on me)
s  decent sun protection factor
s  compact, practical packaging
s  reasonably priced for a department store foundation

s  contains alcohol

Stash worthiness: 9/10

19 thoughts on “Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation (& comparison to other fluid foundations)

    1. Oh wow, thank you! I was nominated also by Bree on Monday. I’ll have to combine your questions since they’re both interesting! Thanks so much – I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!


  1. I’ve been in a conundrum whether to buy Shiseido or Estee Lauder. The shades I want in EL are not available in where I am so I can’t really try them on and would have to buy online.
    Can you please elaborate more why you stopped using EL and like the Shiseido better?


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi NIsa, thanks for stopping by!
      To answer your question – I stopped the EL partly because the shade match wasn’t as good for me as the Shiseido. Also, the EL wasn’t providing the coverage I wanted – it is more sheer and applies slightly streaky compared to Shiseido which applies very easily and flawlessly. I also noticed that EL would allow shine / oiliness to come through faster than Shiseido (although neither are by any means matte or oil controlling formulas). I would say the main advantage EL has over Shiseido would be that it’s alcohol-free. So if you’re sensitive to alcohol, you may want to opt for EL instead. Hope this helps you!


      1. Thank you! It actually helps a real lot!
        I tried on the Shiseido once and I really liked it. I love NARS TM for daily use but I want something a bit more substantial for special occasions, but still not looking too “done”. I was curious of EL because it’s alcohol-free, but I don’t mind a bit of alcohol anyway and Shi didn’t give me any reaction (my skin is prone to hives, stinging and Seborrheic dermatitis-so fun!).
        I’m off to get it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I will have a look into this next time i am in town. Sadly, it is still similarly priced to the Chanel (here in the UK) Chanel is £33.00 and Shiseido is £29.50. Still,it does come in under the £30 mark which is good in my book! I think I may be the only one but I love the smell of the Chanel haha! I’m going to have a swatch soon and let you know how I get on! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, you’re right. The Chanel foundation really is similar to this and it’s less expensive! I need to try this out before purchasing a new Chanel one just to see if it’s a good fit for my skin. I always hear that alcohol is so bad for your face, but in this foundation, it sounds just like the Chanel one! What’s the problem? Flawless skin?! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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