Aka the longest-foundation-name-ever foundation. This Spring/Early Summer I've been all about beautiful base products, creams and liquids. When THREE announced their new liquid foundation I was excited as it sounded like my cup of tea! Lightweight, natural and serum-like - count me in! I hadn't tried any base products from the brand, so I asked my friend to grab me a bottle when she was visiting Japan.
About THREE Angelic Synthesis Foundation Serum
THREE is a semi-natural Japanese makeup and skincare brand, famous for their cream shadows, beautiful blushes and excellent cleansing oil. They're not completely eco, but favour naturally derived ingredients (this foundation is 83%). Angelic Synthesis Foundation Serum is available in 10 shades (reference images here) and costs ¥6,200 (excluding tax) /~$55,90 for 30ml /~1 fl. oz. of product. The foundation has SPF 38/PA+++. The aim of the foundation is make the skin look lively, moisturized and radiant with serum-like ingredients (advertised as a daytime skincare serum).
List of THREE shops in Japan - also available in the airport tax free! Global stores in Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and Singapore (list here). I personally live in EU and don't have an access to THREE shops so I've asked friends to bring back products or used a reliable personal shopper, such as @fudejapan. The lightest shade (100) is at the counter only in Japan (not sold store).
The Angelic Synthesis Foundation Serum comes in a beautiful square frosted bottle with a dropper cap. I expected the dropper to be smaller, similar to many face oils and serum bottles, but the edge of the foundation dropper is more blunt and rounded - perhaps to let out more product. The dropper doesn't squirt the product out but doses the foundation in controlled drops. Personally like to apply a couple of drops straight on my face instead of applying on my hand first.
No foundation (left) - 1 layer of THREE foundation (right)
Using the THREE Angelic Synthesis foundation Serum
This foundation is an oddball to me. I initially didn't like it, which was a big bummer as the foundation is nowhere near affordable, but I also had high hopes for THREE base products. I can quickly tell if a foundation works for me or not, so if I had tried a sample first I bet I wouldn't have splurged on the full size. Buuut I had partly bought the foundation in order to write a review because I hadn't seen one in English (and there needs to be more Japanese makeup reviews!) So, in order to make most of my purchase and to write this review, I kept using the THREE Angelic Synthesis Foundation Serum and tried to make up my mind..
I've only applied this foundation with brushes as that's my regular go-to method. I'm sorry, but I just cannot make myself to use a wet beauty sponge although I imagine one would work well with this foundation formula. I just love brushes and avoid making exceptions in order to make product(s) work.. For brushes, I recommend going for a buffing brush and only use a stippling or a paddle brush if you're quick and experienced in fast blending.
You see, I have two major issues with this foundation: it clings to dry patches and dries fast. You need to have your skin prepped, blend quickly and in an accurate manner to avoid brush strokes. Despite my dry skin type I rarely have dry patches thanks to my skincare routine - except when I reach for my retinol products. Using a retinol the night before makes THREE's foundation emphasise every pore and dry texture on my nose. Not pretty, the foundation sets fast and there you are: stuck with texture issues. I get the best application when I work my face in parts: applying a couple of drops at the time and only one side of my face. If you don't blend quickly enough you risk looking like dry mess with foundation stripes. I kind of got used to this, but as I switched to other liquid foundation I truly saw how heavy blending you need with THREE.
Those issues aside, if I have no dry patches and I blend the foundation quickly enough the look is seamless, vibrant, natural and very healthy looking. It does look very skin-like with only 1 layer, hiding most of my imperfections. On the THREE English website the foundation is described as if it makes you radiate from inside out and I can somewhat agree. After wearing the foundation for good 20 minutes I look glowing, healthy and quite pretty in my opinion. The longer I wear it the nicer it becomes! I wonder if this is due the oils of my face (which I barely have) or the foundation settling? But I'm fairly sure this is too much dew and "greasy" looking for oilier skin types. If your'e blessed with more normal skin you might really enjoy the finish.
I don't think this foundation is advertised being long-lasting, but it definitely looks nicer as the day goes on and stays in place without being sticky or moving. At the end of the day the foundation doesn't get patchy, but it does gather into my fine lines and separate especially if I have been sweating. I would prefer if foundations just magically wore off, but I guess the settling is due the long-wear formula. For the first 5-8 hours it looks good. If you wish to wear this foundation in events notice there might be a flashback from the SPF. I couldn't find the full English ingredient list, but the site says "Free of UV absorbing ingredients", giving the impression the sunscreens used are 'physical' which often have a flashback.
The shade match was perfect for me, near my usual pale-neutral complexion. In MAC shades I would imagine THREE 100 being near NW13/NC15 (my shades). Usually the palest foundations are either too dark, too white or have a reddish undertone - none of which work for me, so I was glad THREE 100 was a match without sampling it first. In Summer I get a tiny bit more color, but I can still get away with this foundation and it looks beautiful and brightening on my face.
I don't regret my purchase, but I was certainly hoping for more. THREE Angelic Synthesis Foundation Serum is probably going to be my night-out or event foundation when I need the long-wear while looking natural and radiant. As I've got hang of the application, I do love the look of the foundation after I've finished my makeup and everything is set in place. However, I don't think I would recommend this foundation to majority of people to as it's tricky to use, might cling to dry skin but look too dewy for oily skin types plus it doesn't wear off in a very attractive way. Lovers of Japanese makeup and "more eco" beauty with normal skin types might give it a go, but I highly recommend getting a sample first.
I'm going to have a little Japanese foundation series on the blog, featuring THREE, ADDICTION and SUQQU (notice how every brand is stylized in all caps? hehe), but I think I'm going to publish each review individually and perhaps do a compilation post afterwards. What is your current favorite foundation?