Shu Uemura has released The Lightbulb Foundation in the U.S. ($55) (online only). This foundation is said to provide a “multi-glow oil complex” for a natural glow with high coverage.
The foundations comes packed with a lightbulb-shaped sponge for application. The round, wide end is designed to encourage a glowing finish. You are supposed to use the wide end with a tapping motion to set a glow on the cheeks and down the center of the face. The narrow end is a “glow controller.” This smaller pointed side is said to be good for buffing the foundation into the skin to provide a more satin texture. As an aside, I used this sponge for a few trials, and it worked well. I also used a sponge from my Chanel powder foundation compact, and I got good results with that as well
I concur with Shu’s description the this foundation is high coverage, and gives a lit-from within glow. The glow is not the same glow that you get when you add a liquid luminizer to a standard foundation. Instead, the foundation seems to provide a healthy, lit-from-within look that is somehow in the pigment of the foundation even when matted down to a satin finish. There’s definitely some kind of magic in this formula. Here is the pointed, narrow end of The Lightbulb sponge, which comes to a gentle cone point at the end.
The heavy coverage comes at a price, however. This is not a “lightweight” foundation–I definitely felt it on my skin throughout the day. It doesn’t feel like it completely dries down. I certainly recommend powdering this down, not only to tame the glow but also to minimize its transferability.
I should note that, like many modern foundations, Shu The Lightbulb takes a while to settle onto my skin. I gave it a good 15-20 minutes until this somewhat thick product really spread and settled. Until then, I could see pores that I didn’t know I had, and it looked a bit mask-like. If this happens, don’t panic. Maybe do your nails or answer some emails, give it some time to warm to your skin. It changes quite a bit during the first half-hour. Below, you can see that the pump bottle is a nice touch.
I also had problems with Shu’s The Lightbulb wearing well throughout the day. It’s not advertised as a long-wearing foundation. Without a base or primer, I got breakthrough glow by 10:00 a.m. on my combination skin. By the end of the day, there were several of my skin flaws showing through the foundation that I had applied at about 7 a.m. that day. Ingredient list:
With the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer and topped with the Guerlain Meteorites powder, I had a vastly different experience. Of course, I got the same high coverage and lit-from-within glow as before. However, I did not get breakthrough glow until very late in the day. Also, the high coverage lasted well into the evening without any movement. I really loved the look of the Shu The Lightbulb Foundation with this combination. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should note that the Lightbulb foundation still felt a bit heavy compared to the some of the super-lightweight feeling foundations that I’ve tried in the past. In other words, despite the vastly improved longevity, I still could feel the Lightbulb foundation on. Some don’t mind that, but some do and so I wanted to let you know my experience.
I ordered Shu The Lightbulb in 774, which runs toward yellow. Something told me that I should have gone with the more neutral 574, but that one was out of the stock on the day that I ordered. As you can see, Shu 774 is much yellower than MAC NC 15, and certainly yellower than NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville. For the record, Shu’s number system is as follows: the first digit tells you how pink or yellow the foundation is: 1 is the most pink; 9 is the most yellow; 5 is neutral. The second digit refers to how dark or light the shade is (the higher the number, the lighter the shade).
Overall, I think this foundation is going to be a bit controversial. In addition to the online-only aspect for U.S. buyers, I think that some will love the coverage and look. For me, a good primer was necessary to ensure longevity. The dry-down issue is going to be a factor for some, as well as the overall feel of the foundation. I will say that, set properly with a good primer and powder, this gives fantastic coverage and the texture (once it settles in) does give an outstanding look. As ever, these are just one beauty blogger’s thoughts, and so you experiences might certainly vary.
In the U.S., Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Foundation is available online only at Shu Uemera’s website.
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