The best Japanese foundation I've ever tried! Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 review

Thursday 3 November 2022

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

Finding an ideal foundation can be tricky, and I have to admit - finding a product that fits me 100% feels like an impossible task. Ordering makeup from Asia can take a while, but I found a great Japanese foundation at Douglas. Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 is not your regular foundation, but a lightweight formula that reminds me of... tint! 

I'm not joking, finding an ideal foundation is the worst. This year I already spend a lot on Dior which later turned out to oxidize and get orange. That's how I ended up at Douglas Poland where I was introduced to Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15. And no, this post is not sponsored. I thought that if I already repurchased this product then I have to introduce it to you.

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

About Sensai 

Sensai is a Japanese skincare & makeup brand. The brand was launched in 1983, and in 2019 Sensai returned to Japan. The brand is also available in China, but for many years Sensai was mostly present in the European market. Not every Japanese brand is available in Japan, just like many products from popular Japanese brands are present, not present in Europe or the USA. I believe Sensai belonged to Kanebo, but then Kanebo was acquired by Kao that's why now Sensai is one of Kao Corporation's brands. Sensai is all about its ritual called Saho - if you're a fan of double cleansing then be ready for double moisturizing and double application. Saho is a way to achieve silk-like skin. You might think that Sensai has a fixation on silk because Sensai focused on researching Koishimaru Silk.   

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 - Packaging  

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 comes in a box made out of FSC-certified paper. Inside the box, you can find an elegant tiny bottle with Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15. This foundation is sold in 30ml bottles and they do look very small.   

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 - Texture & Scent  

Before you use this formula - shake it well! It's a milk-like formula with pigment. It does have a powdery scent that can remind you of a bit of silk.   

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 - Ingredients  

Water (Aqua), Methyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, Talc, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butyl Acrylate/​Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Nylon-12, Boron Nitride, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sorbitan Isostearate, Glycerin, Alumina, Methyl Methacrylate/​Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Trifluoropropyl Dimethiconol, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydrogenated Lecithin, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silica, Acetyl Glucosamine, Mica, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, BHT, Tin Oxide, Hydrolyzed Silk, Methicone, Tocopherol, Dioscorea Panthaica Root Extract, Silk Powder, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Sorbic Acid, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499)  

Water hides in a cosmetic products under names such as Aqua or Eau. It's a solvent, but it's not your regular drinking water. Water in skin care needs to fit some standards. It should be clean and free from minerals, microorganisms or other substances. Usually, water makes up the majority of the content of the product. Methyl Trimethicone is a volatile silicone, a type of silicone that evaporates right after product application. It works as a solvent in the products. Dimethicone is silicone and polymer. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate or Octinoxate is a non-stable UVB sunscreen agent. Titanium Dioxide is a mineral (or physical) sunscreen agent. It protects your skin from UVB and UVA II radiation and might cover some lower waves in the UVA I spectrum. It has a typical white colour visible on the skin, unless it's a nano version then this white tint might not be visible at all. This ingredient has a second task - it works as a pigment. Titanium Dioxide works perfectly for skin that needs visible protection like skin with melasma, nice that white pigment works as a barrier or protective film on the skin. It has one additional task, it makes products stay fresh a bit longer. Talc is an ingredient which you can find in many makeup products. Similar to silica, it absorbs the sebum. Dipropylene Glycol is a solvent with moisturizing properties. Phenyl Trimethicone is silicone and an emollient. It improves the texture of the product and makes it easier to spread on the skin. Phenyl Trimethicone leaves a delicate film on the skin to prevent your skin from TEWL. It's easy to remove it with cleansing products. This ingredient is useful in haircare products since it makes it easier to maintain your hair. In sunscreen, it makes products more resistant to water (it makes sunscreen more waterproof). Cyclopentasiloxane is a dry emollient and volatile silicone. It has a bad reputation since people nowadays are scared of silicones. Don't be scared, Cyclopentasiloxane doesn't leave a heavy film on the skin since volatile silicones are evaporating after touching your skin. They help with the application process of the product. If you want your skin or hair to have a silky feeling - go for this one. It's a lightweight substance that won't cause you acne. 

Butyl Acrylate/​Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer absorbs sebum. Nylon-12 is a polymer that creates a silky texture and makes your skin look better. Boron Nitride absorbs sebum, that's why it's so popular in makeup products. It disperses the light and thickens the formula. Boron Nitride adds a satin finish to the makeup product and in lip products, it helps spread the product. PEG-10 Dimethicone is silicone, it's mostly used in skincare as an emulsifier but it can have some mild moisturizing properties. Lots of people are scared of silicones even if silicones used in skin care product has to fit restrictive norms. Silicones have a positive meaning to your skin - they make products easier to spread, make the formula more elegant and even protect skin and hair. Sorbitan Isostearate is an emulsifier. Glycerin or Glycerol is a humectant. Its origin can be natural or synthetic - depending on the product. It protects TEWL (transepidermal water loss) and naturally occurs in the skin. It's one of the NMFs - natural moisturizing factors. It's practical in hair care. Glycerin won't clog your skin or irritate it just the opposite - it protects your skin from irritation. Alumina or Aluminum Oxide absorbs sebum and prevents your makeup from caking. It's also a thickener. Have you ever seen a thickener made out of hectorite - a white clay? Meet Disteardimonium Hectorite - it works as a stabilizer, gives your skin a sheer look, and in sunscreen formulas, it makes your UV protection even better. Aluminum Hydroxide is an emollient, but it can be used as a colourant or... a tiny help for your sunscreen. Aluminum Hydroxide is a coating for Titanium Dioxide. Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate is an anionic emulsifier. Fragrance (Parfum) is a scent composition. It can cause allergic reactions. Hydrogenated Lecithin is a version of lecithin. It works as an emollient in the formulas. Synthetic Fluorphlogopite is a synthetic version of a mineral called Mica. This ingredient has a variety of uses - from thickener to create pigments. It reflects the light, and it's more delicate than regular mica. Lots of brands choose Synthetic Fluorphlogopite instead of Mica. Silica is a mineral-natural ingredient. It's popular in makeup and skincare. It can absorb sebum or thicken the texture. Acetyl Glucosamine is a precursor of Hyaluronic Acid. It's an ingredient that helps with skin brightening and elasticity. Mica is a mineral, and it works as a pigment. It reflects light. There's a controversy around this ingredient - mining this ingredient isn't always going along with proper work conditions. 

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

Alcohol is an immense topic in skincare. Alcohol can be good or bad for your skin, but sometimes the amount makes a poison. Alcohol, after all, is a prominent solvent. It makes active substances penetrate the skin deeper. This effect has its cost - the skin is getting a bit irritated. Some substances can be dissolved only in alcohol. This ingredient has antibacterial properties. It works as a preservative by preventing microorganisms from growing in the product. It has some awful sides too - it can dry your skin, mainly if we use it in large amounts. Sensitive skin is not a fan of this ingredient. Butylene Glycol is a common ingredient in products. It's not only a solvent. We use butylene glycol because it helps with the penetration of active ingredients, protects products from drying and moisturizes skin and hair. This ingredient can prevent hair loss and make your hair stronger. BHT or Butylated Hydroxy Toluene is quite a controversial ingredient. This synthetic substance is an antioxidant and preservative - in skincare up to 0,1% in a product. You don't have to be scared of this preservative. According to CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review), it's a safe ingredient. Tin Oxide is a pigment, it adds a pearly shade to the makeup product. Hydrolyzed Silk is a source of alanine, glycine and serine. It's a humectant that makes your skin and hair look soft. It has antistatic properties. In Sensai, Hydrolyzed Silk is nothing else than Koishimaru Silk. Methicone is silicone and a dry emollient. Tocopherol is an antioxidant known as Vitamin E. It's an oil-soluble vitamin that fights free radicals and makes UVB protection and natural lipid barrier stronger. It's good to mix it with vitamin C for better effects. Oily skin might react with pore-clogging to vitamin E. It is not true that vitamin E works as a preservative or helps with scars. Silk Powder absorbs sebum and makes your wrinkles less visible visually. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that we shouldn't be afraid of. There are strict norms for this substance in our beauty products. Chlorphenesin is a synthetic ingredient used as a preservative in cosmetics. Sorbic Acid is a preservative. Cinnamyl Alcohol is a scented alcohol that can be sensitizing. Citronellol is a scent ingredient. It adds a rose/floral scent to the product. It can be sensitizing. Geraniol makes products smell like geranium. It can be sensitizing. Hexyl Cinnamal is an aromatic aldehyde. It naturally occurs in chamomile, and it adds a jasmine/floral scent to the product. It can be sensitizing. Iron Oxides (Ci 77491) or Iron Oxide Red is a red or even brownish-red pigment with UV protection properties. Iron Oxides (Ci 77492) or Iron Oxide Yellow is a yellow pigment. Iron Oxides (Ci 77499) or Iron Oxide Black is a black pigment.   

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

How does Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 work?  

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 is available in 9 different shades: LS101, LS102, LS103, LS202, LS203, LS204, LS204.5, LS205 and LS206. I use shade LS101 Light Beige since it's the lightest shade available, and sadly not every store has it. The only good thing, Douglas has shade LS101 on sale sometimes because it's so rare to see people buy it. I'm not joking with you, there's a huge difference in shade between Artdeco - an affordable brand that many of my pale friends choose and Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15.   

Sensai has a Virtual Make-up try-on option on its website as well as a foundation finder. I prefer to check the foundation on samples since sometimes foundations like to oxidize. I tried the Virtual Make-up option, and according to this app, my match is LS204 Honey Beige. I only wish I could show you how LS204 would look on my skin - LS101 is the best match I could ever find at any drugstore. I'm not even testing cheaper brands available in Europe since they are no match for me. What about high-end brands? The choice of shades available in Scandinavian countries or Asia can be different from Western Europe or Central Europe. In Polish Sephora you won't be able to find Nars foundation in shade Siberia, I believe Mont Blanc or Ohio is the lightest shade, and maybe Ohio would fit since it has cold undertones, and I'm somewhere in between but on a colder side.   

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

So since you know how it's a great match, let's talk about the formula itself. I hate heavy makeup, and somehow every single time I go to the drugstore to find a foundation - I bet I won't find any sales/beauty assistant who's going to tell me "Estee Lauder Double Wear is bad", it's like Estee Lauder has its fan club in each drugstore. Even my family members are all about this foundation with small exceptions - we have Japanese foundation/bb cream half. I'm surprised how Shiseido and Sensai are quite popular in our family. I haven't tried Sensai mascara and powder, but according to my sister-in-law, they are worth a try.   

If you're a fan of heavy makeup then Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 is not a product for you. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 instead of covering your skin with 10kg of plaster, delicately hide your imperfections to create natural, silk-like skin with even skin and texture. I like how well it works with redness, and how it fits oily skin. Some time ago I was watching Polish breakfast TV (actually I was getting my hair done and a friend sent me a message to check it) in which a "makeup artist" told elder women that heavy foundation is for teens because they have "ugly" skin. As an esthetician, I feel disgusted that TV allows content like this! The heavy foundation is neither for teens nor for elders, but we use heavy foundations for photoshoots, special occasions, etc.   

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 is an everyday foundation. Sensai recommends applying it with a brush. I would easily apply it, but I prefer to use an air puff or beauty sponge to apply it anyway. I tried to apply it with a dry and wet brush, and for me, a dry brush works better. Not every person will enjoy Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15, but I do.  

Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15

Where to buy Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 and how much does it cost?  

I bought me Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 at Douglas where it normally costs 235 PLN which is about €50 for 30ml. You can find it cheaper at Notino, but they don't have shade LS101 available.   

Overall, Sensai Luminous Sheer Foundation SPF 15 is a foundation that I started to like even if at first, I was scared of even looking at this brand since it sounded expensive. It turned out that even €50 is not that bad if the foundation works great and matches your skin well.   

If you have pale skin and the price is not a problem, you might want to test this one (still, I recommend asking for a tester/sample first). If your budget is limited then I would recommend sticking to Kbeauty and J-beauty since these two markets have a bigger choice in different price ranges.   

Have you ever tried Sensai?



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