|Above: Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream Foundation in Natural Beige.|
**UPDATE 7/19/13 I have swatched ALL 8 shades of this foundation formula HERE!
My love for foundation knows no bounds...the fact that a little jar can hold the promise of skin perfection is just so alluring! In turn, I have tried an insane amount of formulas. During my search, I have discovered many options that I find delightful...from Tom Ford and SK-II to Hourglass and even Revlon, foundation has come a long way from the thick and powdery options offered to our grandmothers. Despite having formulas that I adore, however, I have resigned myself to the fact that I should likely always be "on the hunt" for the next best release to integrate into my rotation.
|Above: The foundation, like all Sensai products, comes in luxe silver packaging.|
Enter Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream Foundation, which I picked up at the Kanebo counter at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills about a month ago. Retailing for $80, this foundation offers both cutting-edge skincare (it is designed to moisturize and firm the skin) and phenomenal, skin-like coverage!
|Above: The full ingredients list...there is no added scent (thankfully!) and the sunscreen is physical (titanium dioxide).|
Boasting a 50% moisture content, this foundation glides on the skin with ease (I apply with a Beauty Blender...my video at towards the bottom of the post demonstrates the process!) and leaves a finish that melds with the skin instantly.
I deem this foundation medium coverage that is buildable to full. Despite the fact that it contains mineral oil, I find that it is in no way irritating to my extremely sensitive skin...not a single breakout and, if anything, my skin has become smoother and clearer with regular use! If feels light and breathable upon application and, even with the mineral oil content, does not slide around as the hours pass.
|Above: I use the spatula to transfer the foundation from the jar to a little sample container for easy access.|
I also appreciate that the foundation, which comes in a sturdy glass jar, also includes a little spatula for scooping out the foundation, which I decant into a sample container each week. This cuts down on the inherent mess and potential contamination that can spawn from opening a jar and touching the product regularly.
|Above: The Cellular Performance Cream Foundation is almost like a gel-cream hybrid in terms of texture. It reminds me a bit of Chantecaille's future skin (the one in the jar) but with MUCH better coverage and lasting power.|
The cream formula is utterly luxurious. I find it similar to the SK-II in terms of look and texture, but the Kanebo Sensai is more emollient and truly becomes "one with the skin" with minimal effort, whereas the SK-II, while lovely, has a more matte, "foundation-esque" finish. It is high-definition in nature...seamlessly blending and virtually imperceptible to the naked eye! Additionally, the lasting power is quite formidable...I get 8-10 hours of oxidation-free wear that only necessitates a couple of powder touch ups throughout the day.
Compared to some other foundations I adore, this has:
- Equal dewiness but more coverage than Koh Gen Do Aqua
- Equal skincare properties but more glow (less matte) than SK-II Cream Foundation
- Better lasting power and more HD qualities (though the glow is on par) than Face Atelier
- Less lasting power but more skin care properties than Revlon Colorstay Whipped
- Equal lightness but more glow than Dior Airflash
- More glow and slightly less lasting power than Hourglass Immaculate
- Equal coverage, less shade options but a touch more believable glow than LMdB Classic Flawless
- Less coverage but more glow than By Terry Cover Expert
- Equal glow but less coverage than Armani Maestro
- Less SPF, equal lightness, equal lasting power and more coverage than Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact.
Although there are only eight shades in this formula (which cater to light and medium to medium-tan skin tones only...at least at this point!), I am quite impressed with the natural and realistic undertones this limited spectrum embodies. I have found an absolutely perfect match with Natural Beige, which is suitable for N 23-25 and NC 23-25 skin tones. It has semi-yellow undertones (rather than rosy) but also contains enough neutrality to mimic the complex dimensions of the face.
I was able to get samples of two additional shades (Warm Beige and Amber Beige) to swatch and juxtaposed them against two similar shade options from the Dior Airflash line (also spectacular!).
On a completely unrelated side note, I am so glad that Dior released the shade #201 Linen in Airflash recently...it is perfect for NC 23-25 skin and, up until now, the only yellow-undertone option was #301 which is much better suited to NC 30 skin. Review of this formula in its new shade soon!
Above and below: Swatches of Dior Airflash and Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream Foundation in direct sunlight. All of these shades fall in the NC 23-35 range...from top to bottom:
1. Sensai Amber Beige: NC 35-40
2. Sensai Warm Beige: NC 27-30
3. Sensai Natural Beige: NC 23-25
4. Dior Airflash #201 Linen: NC 23-25
5. Dior Airflash #301 Sand: NC 27-30
Below: My video review and tutorial of this foundation as well as images of the foundation on my face in various lighting, makeup and time-of-day situations...
|Above: Coupled with NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder.|
|Above: Alone with minimal makeup...this picture best depicts its inherently dewy finish.|
|Above: With Serge Lutens Teint Si Fin Powder in O40 dusted lightly top.|
|Above: At the end of an 8 hour teaching day...this formula holds up remarkably well!|
|Above: Mid-day in humid heat at the Getty Villa in Malibu.|
Bottom Line: I love this foundation...the gorgeous medium coverage, skin-conditioning ingredients and dewy, yet lasting wear. The only drawbacks I can think of for this formula are that it is a bit pricy, the shades are limited (though the ones that exist and extremely well-executed) and it is also quite difficult it is to find in stores. As far as I know, it can only be purchased stateside at the Kanebo counter at Neiman Marcus (if you know of other options, please list them in the comments!). Those caveats aside, I highly recommend this foundation...if you are looking for flawless coverage and a truly skin-like finish, this is the one to try! **Update (4/04/14) Currently only available at Bergdorf Goodman