This foundation gives lovely even colour if you don't apply too much, lasts well if you set it with light powder, and looks flawless and smooth if you moisturise beforehand. I tend to paint a couple of stripes on my face in the areas where I most need product, and then I blend it out with my fingers. If I'm feeling fancy, I blend it out in circular motions with my Illamasqua highlighter brush. Both achieve pretty much the same effect. I imagine this would work well with a stippling brush too, but with a flat foundation brush I didn't have so much luck. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with this foundation. This is a great colour match for my pale skin (I wear 'Spin The Bottle') and it makes a lovely foundation: not greasy, not cakey, not obvious, and I don't feel it on my skin (unless I apply too much). It looks flawless most of the day if set with a light powder, and it is incredibly quick and easy to apply. The stick lasts quite a long time too. It's quite rich, so it's great for Winter time, or for anyone who is on the slightly drier side of normal skin. (My skin is mostly normal, but my nose can sometimes get a little oily, and my cheeks a little dry.) However, for a foundation that costs upwards of £20 and purports to have such great ingredients to promote healthy skin (soya oil, chamomile, green tea extract, and gingko) I expected an improvement in my skin in general, but it really didn't do much. I found this particularly surprising because soya oil and green tea are powerful antioxidants and chamomile is very skin-soothing. I expected to use it for a few weeks and have radiant, even skin and I was pretty disappointed. I suppose the quantities might be low, or perhaps the other ingredients cancel the benefits out. Nonetheless, since this foundation contains more natural stuff than your average make-up product I feel much better about wearing it on a daily basis - so this has become a staple in my collection. If you want a straightforward, gentle foundation that's super-easy to apply and will make your skin look amazing when it's on, then this is for you. To summarise: it does precisely what you want a good foundation to do, but unfortunately it doesn't do everything it says on the tin - and for that reason it loses a point.
I have skin that's mostly normal but can occasionally get a little flakey and oily in the T-zone (sometimes both at the same time). I'm also very fair. I've used their Rich Liquid Foundation before but found that for the daytime it's just too much and I was looking for something a bit lighter with a little less coverage for when I'm on the drier side. I bought shade 02, which is almost spot on right now, but in retrospect is probably going to be a little too light in the Summer because I tend to go a bit pink and I get a few freckles. I love the texture and coverage of this foundation: it's creamy like a lotion but it isn't greasy, and it covers well without caking. it stays on my face for a 9 hour shift if I set it with a little powder (I find translucent or light loose powder is best - I use Mac's Prep & Prime transparent powder or Estee Lauder's Double Wear loose mineral powder) with just a little blotting at lunch. I've tried applying this with a few brushes but I find that the consistency makes it streaky like paint and it's much easier to apply this with my fingers. Less is more, and it pays to use a good non-greasy moisturiser just beforehand. I personally highly recommend Lush's moisturisers because they as a company don't use any ingredients in their skincare which can't be absorbed by the skin, so if you get the right one for your skin type you should have a perfect base for make-up. I bought this foundation because they claimed that it had a base similar to that of BB cream which would condition the skin. To an extent I disagree with this because BB creams have 3 functions rolled into one: foundation, skincare, and primer. To me, this is just a lovely soft foundation that's particularly good on dry skin days. I wear it whenever my face feels tight or parched - so as you can imagine it's seen a fair amount of wear this winter! I like it a lot.
Before I start, I just want to clear something up. There are a fair few people coming on here complaining that it didn't suit their oily skin type. Shiseido actually does a foundation *just for* oily skin called 'Dual Balancing Foundation SPF 17'. Perfect Refining Foundation never claimed to be an oil-balancing foundation, and *that* is why you didn't get what you wanted. The texture: This foundation feels thin and watery when you squeeze it out, but when blended onto the skin, it covers remarkably well. It isn't cakey, it isn't heavy, and it doesn't change colour as you wear it. And if you're pale like me (Mac NW15), then you'll find that the lighter shades don't make you look orange. (I'm using "I00 VERY LIGHT IVORY" - which made me chuckle.) I blend this with my fingers: I've tried a few brushes, but I find my hands the best method with this one. And you'll need much less than you think. What it does: It evens skin tone beautifully and the coverage is a bit more than medium, but a bit less than full. If you're like me and you have a tendency to get pink or red patches or dark circles, but your skin isn't particularly dry or oily, then you'll probably love it. It feels like there's nothing there. If I'm having a really bad dark circle day then I use a bit of concealer, but on the whole this is fine by itself - and once dry, you can gently dab a little more over the top and build coverage where it's needed. I also find that it reduces the appearance of my pores and doesn't leave me with little holes in my foundation if I do have a particularly oily nose day. And just for the record: I never bother to use primer unless it's a special occasion or I have a *very* long day ahead. How it lasts: I find that I need to use a little blotting paper by my lunch break even though I set this with a powder in the morning. But provided you're not having a marathon trying on clothes and you don't touch your face a lot, this stays put all day if it's been set in the morning. However, the reports are true about it transferring onto clothes, so be careful getting changed. The packaging: People say it's ugly because they're used to the glass bottles that most premium brands use. The fact is, guys, I'm sorry to break it to you but glass is actually cheaper than plastic - so technically you pay more for bargain packaging when you use glass. Plus the squeezy bottle gives you more control over how much you use, and means you waste less when it runs out because you can tap and squeeze the last of it out. However, I'm not sure whether the particular plastic this bottle is made of is recyclable in the UK. Overall I love this foundation. It's light, it's quick and easy to apply, you don't need much, it gives you natural, even skin tone, it covers surprisingly well, and it lasts ages. I bought mine in August '11 and it feels like it's still about half full.