top of page

Testing Out the Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation Range


As a Japanese favourite, it’s no surprise Shiseido carries its luxury status across the pacific. Our expectations were high for the updated Synchro Foundation.

Rectangle 39.png

08 MAR - 2021

After trying many sheer, lightweight foundations it was time to up my coverage to something that could take a little more impact.

Georgia: If a foundation is sheer or lightweight in coverage, chances are, I will like it. Even on a night out, I prefer to let my skin breathe as I have always found full coverage foundations to be heavy and clog my pores - not exactly what I want from my makeup when I’m already splashing out on skincare.

When Sophie emptied her drawer of foundations that were too light for her, I was instantly drawn to Shiseido. I remember seeing the brand throughout my mum’s MUA bag, and knowing the cult following Shiseido has in Japan, I was eager to try.

What Shiseido promises is this. The Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation, NZD$71, has a lot of technology and claims. The weightless formula, with ActiveForce™ technology, synchronises with the skin and self-refreshes for a 24-hour ‘just applied’ finish. I will let you know now that I definitely did not forgo sleep to test out this claim - sorry to disappoint. The skin should look and feel fresh all day, feeling weightless and breathable regardless of the medium and buildable finish. Shiseido claims the foundation provides all-day hydration and is smudge-proof, transfer-resistant and I’ve also seen MECCA market this bottle as water-proof! Synchro Skin is available in 30 shades, but unfortunately, not all shades are available in New Zealand.

In terms of packaging, the bottle is stunning. The heavy, frosted glass gives a luxurious touch. I think Shiseido nailed their packaging updates, as now, the range has a cohesive feel.

I gave this foundation a few different applications to really give it the best test run, especially since I don’t usually use a heavier coverage foundation, I didn't want to judge based on first impressions.

Application 1: I call this the ‘classic Georgia’ application -5 minutes in the car, no brushes and only the mirror in the sun visor (disclaimer: I am not the one driving). First impressions were how a little goes a long way, and it was definitely medium to heavy coverage. I didn’t anticipate this consistency and was a little heavy-handed. The foundation did, however, blend well with just my fingers for application, as did the Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Concealer, NZD$57

On my skin, it looks natural, but not as fresh as I would like it to be. I’m used to sheer formulas with a dewy finish but this one is definitely heavy-duty and on the more mattifying side. As the finish is matte quite heavy, and as the day progressed, I could see it seeping into my pores and fine lines.

Application 2: It was time to give the Synchro Skin a real go, no quick applications and definitely a proper primer. I roped in my new favourite Synchro Skin Soft Blurring Primer, $71, two foundation brushes, a flat brush and a buffing brush. The key to application here was using a flat foundation sponge to really press the formula in, this worked a treat for getting rid of fine lines around my eyes. To finish, I set with the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder, $78.

There was a huge difference in wearability. And this mostly comes from my love of sheer foundations - I just need to remember that not all foundations allow for a quickie on route. I was fresh faced all day, with only a few small areas creasing (grab that foundation sponge for the road!).

Rectangle 25.png

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Concealer, $57

Rectangle 38.png

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation, $70

Rectangle 25.png

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Concealer

What Shiseido Promises: A smudge-proof, sweat- and crease-resistant concealer, that camouflages dark circles, blemishes and other imperfections in a weightless, 24-hour wearing formula. The curved, doe-foot applicator holds the perfect amount of product and hugs the contours of the face for an ultra-smooth application.

Georgia: The concealer really saved the Synchro Skin line for me. Where I had applied concealer during my first application, the foundation did provide that flawless finish Shiseido talks about. The two formulations really work seamlessly together. The doe-foot applicator makes it easy to dab and then blend in with a sponge or fingers.

The concealer wore quite well throughout the day without oxidising, and without seeping into the fine lines around my eye area. The best trick is to ensure you powder a little over the concealer if you have hooded eyes - anything on my lash area tends to migrate down if my skin gets a little oily.

Unfortunately the shade range tends to lend itself towards a light to medium skin tones with only eight shades to choose from.

Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact

Sophie: As the medium-coverage version of the Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation, the cushion compact is a solid favourite. I’ve always loved Shiseido foundations - Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation, NZD$69, and the Synchro Skin Glow Cushion Compact, NZD$59, were my absolute favourites for a while. I went through quite a few compacts and so did my Korean friends. If you’re into a dewier complexion, the Cushion Compact is glowy while having good coverage and isn’t heavy at all. A few months ago, it had a package revamp and now comes in a popping red case.

The Self-Refreshing version gives the skin a matte effect compared to the Glow formula and provides more coverage but is also a bit thicker in consistency due its longwearing properties. The packaging is slim with a slick matte black look.

I used the Synchro Skin Correcting GelStick Concealer, NZD$47 under my eyes and brushed a light coat of the Synchro Skin Invisible Silk Loose Powder, $79 on top. This just makes sure all of the coverage is locked into place to amplify its longwearing power and soaks up all the oils to prevent shine throughout the day. If you’ve got dry skin, I suggest you skip the powder step.

The GelStick Concealer is medium coverage and perfect for the under-eyes as it glides on with a weightless feel and gives the skin a mild soft focus blurring effect. For stubborn blemishes, the Self-Refreshing Concealer is like its liquid foundation partner - full-coverage, water-resistant and smudge-proof for hard-core partying. It’s a real champion.

"I just need to remember that not all foundations allow for a quickie on route."

Final Verdict

Georgia: Despite the good reviews, the Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation failed to work for me. I loved that the colour didn’t oxidize as it set, but the finish and texture really let it down.

I have read a few positive reviews where MUA’s have created their own concoction with the Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation with other foundations, so that is possibly something I will have to give that tip a go. Many of these reviews came from people who liked full coverage, glam looks but if you’re like me who prefers a foundation that’s like a second skin, then this foundation probably isn't for you.

Although I feel the foundation doesn’t quite live up to its claims, I do like the Synchro Skin Concealer. It works really well with my favourite foundations, Estee Lauder Double Wear and Sisley Phyto-Teint.

I recommend popping by a stockist and asking for a sample of both before you take the plunge.

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact, $59

Sophie: I’ve been using the Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact for the past few days. When I topped it with the Invisible Silk Loose Powder, the texture of the foundation didn’t change much but I noticed my skin felt a very slight tugging from the powder soaking up my skin oils. If you have oily skin, I think this powder would work wonders but for those who are on the drier side, I would powder only the undereyes. By midnight, my makeup was still absolutely flawless like I had just applied it. If you’re looking for no nonsense fool-proof application with longwearing medium to high coverage in your foundation, then the Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact would be a 10/10 for this criteria.

I also wore this foundation to an outdoors Sunday session without the powder and it looked just as flawless as when I used it with the Invisible Silk Loose Powder. There was no tugging and my makeup was perfect at the end of the night.

If you want a foundation with a luminous finish, I strongly recommend you try the Synchro Skin Glow Cushion Compact. When I recently tried it out, I layered the Shiseido Tone Up Primer Compact Spf 24 Pa+++, $79 underneath; a lightweight blurring primer that smoothes out pores and uneven textures whilst also brightening the skin. ‘Tone up’ is a term used amongst Asian women to brighten and lighten their skin by a shade to counteract sallow yellowness. If your skin is looking dull and unhealthy, the Tone Up Primer will give it the extra wattage power it needs to look healthy and bright.

I’ve never used a primer in a cushion compact form before so it felt a bit foreign to apply a cushion compact in a smearing motion to disperse the product but I finished the application by tapping the product into the skin. You end up using a tiny amount of primer and creating a thin veil to prime it like a canvas. I think it makes a good pair with the Synchro Skin Glow Cushion Compact as it amplifies the luminous quality of the foundation. My skin looked super balmy and radiant. In terms of longevity, it lasts a full day but doesn’t have the long-wearing power of the Self-Refreshing foundation.

Both foundation formulas in the cushion compact form are absolutely amazing - the one that you opt for just depends what kind of texture and finish you’re looking for.

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png

6d5b79696bd52fa264a733f30d5b73c4 1.png