With so many products that can flare up your skin, or even lead to acne breakouts, finding a foundation that doesn't irritate your skin can be challenging if you have sensitive skin. On top of that, it's important to protect your skin from UV rays, which is a major cause of irritation for many. However, searching for a foundation specifically for sensitive skin that can still provide good, durable coverage can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Japanese foundations for sensitive skin not only work wonders as a foundation, providing a dewy, moist look or a matte, clean finish, as well as keep your skin moisturized and protected from the elements. However, with so many brands to choose from, such as ACRO, Shiseido's d-Program, and ETVOS, to name a few, and different types of foundation to choose from, such as liquid, cream, or powder, it can be pretty difficult to know what to look for.
To figure this out, we gathered the 13 best-selling Japanese foundations from e-commerce sites popular in Japan, such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping, and tested them all.
We then ranked the 10 best products based on our test results and put what we learned into a buying guide to help you choose the best Japanese foundation for sensitive skin in 2022.
She's a freelance hair and makeup artist and an expert in aromatherapy certified by the Aroma Environment Association of Japan. She also pens beauty columns. She studied under Mr. Hiroki Murooka from the hair and makeup studio ThreePEACE for four years before going independent.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Table of Contents
Japanese foundations for sensitive skin are formulated with simple, minimal ingredients. The higher the number of ingredients, the greater the chance that your skin reacts negatively to a particular ingredient. However, this comes at a trade-off with durability, but this also means they're easy to remove with gentle cleansers.
Many Japanese cosmetics emphasize UV protection, as it can cause many skin-related problems, such as wrinkles, sagging skin, and irritated skin. All of the products featured in this article protect your skin from harsh UV rays.
Japanese foundations for sensitive skin have an SPF rating, which is the rating to test how much a product protects against UV-A rays, which cause sunburns and tanning. They also have a PA rating, a Japanese-invented testing protocol to rate how much a product protects against UV-B rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin and cause many long-term skin problems.
Keep these four essential points in mind when choosing a Japanese foundation for sensitive skin.
It's essential to check your foundation's ingredients and what tests they've undergone. Preservatives and alcohols are sometimes included in cosmetics for sanitary purposes and provide a light feel to the products, and these generally won't irritate your skin.
However, you may be susceptible to irritation if you have sensitive skin, so check to see if your foundation is at least free of UV absorbents and alcohol. Also, check to see if they've undergone allergy and non-comedogenic tests.
Products may still cause irritation or allergic reactions depending on the person's specific skin type, so be cautious, take a good look at the labeling, and consider doing a patch test first.
Sensitive skin can redden when dried out. To combat this, we recommend choosing either a foundation that leaves your skin looking dewy and moisturized or a semi-matte product that only adds sheen to raised areas of your face.
Liquid and cream foundations tend to leave an excellent dewy and moist finish, but recently, some powder foundations can provide similar results.
Depending on the condition of your skin, the oils found in most liquid or cream foundations can be irritating. If your skin is feeling particularly sensitive, we recommend using powder foundation. We suggest regularly checking in with your skin's condition and using the gentlest option.
We recommend using a foundation that matches your skin tone; if the tones are imbalanced, it could make your face appear larger and stand out with glaring tone contrasts.
When checking to see if a foundation matches your skin tone, swatch the foundation on your neck instead of your arm. Choose the color that blends in the best when viewed from a distance.
Protecting your skin from UV rays is a must for those with sensitive skin since UV rays can accelerate irritation. A foundation with SPF and PA is essential, even if you don't plan to be outside for long.
We recommend a higher SPF/PA for when going outdoors, and you could apply a foundation with lower SPF/PA for when you spend more time indoors. If your foundation lacks UV protection, supplement that with other products.
SPF blocks UV-B rays, which have a short wavelength. UV-B damages the skin's surface layer, and is the primary cause of sunburns and suntans.
PA blocks UV-A rays, which have a long wavelength. UV-A rays can reach deep into the skin, and while they cause very little visible damage, they can eventually cause premature aging or skin cancer.
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Flawless Ethereal Fluid Foundation
Foundation With Great Texture and Natural Glossy Finish
AquaAqua Organic Treatment Veil
Powder Foundation That Doesn't Feel Overly Powdery and Provides Natural Veil
Mineral Powder Foundation
Gentle Powder Foundation With Dual-Sided Applicator for Different Finishes
Naturaglace Clear Powder Foundation
Moisturizing Powder Foundation with Great Coverage
d-Program Medicated Liquid Skincare Foundation
Foundation With Good Coverage but Feels a Bit Thick When Applied
Timeless Foggy Mineral Foundation
Non-powdery Moisturizing Foundation With Great Finish but Low Sweat Resistance
Mineral Liquid Foundation
Mineral Liquid Foundation With Great Sweat Resistance but Heavy Texture
Mineral Liquid Foundation
Natural Foundation That’s Non-sticky but Has Weak Lasting Power
TOKIWA Pharmaceutical Co.
NOV Liquid Foundation UV
Foundation With Great Moisturizing Abilities but Sticky Texture
Mineral Flawless Liquid Foundation
Thicker and Heavier Foundation With Good Moisturizing Abilities
ACRO's Flawless Ethereal Fluid Foundation was mybest's number one recommended Japanese foundation for sensitive skin. The moment you apply this light-textured foundation, you'll see it provides a natural glossy look.
It doesn't feel too thick or thin, and the finish of this product highlights the natural beauty of your skin. It's important to note that the shades were designed originally for Japanese skin tones, so check to see if it matches your skin tone before purchasing.
This product will bring out the vibrancy of even sensitive skin so you'll be able to feel confident all day long. In our lasting power test, this foundation was prone to some fading, but not in an undesirably messy way. We recommend you apply light coats that you can layer on over time.
As the name suggests, the Aqua Aqua foundation provides your skin with a nice veil. It doesn't feel overly powdery or thick when layered, nor does it irritate your pores or redden the skin. It also blends easily into the skin and doesn't feel dry.
Hair and makeup artist, Rika Fujiwara, commented, "You can use it as a face powder on top of liquid foundation." We recommend trying out this method depending on the condition of your skin on the given day. However, since the powder is susceptible to fading as the result of sweat or humidity, frequent reapplication may be necessary.
This product's powder puff has a different texture on each side, allowing you to choose a more voluminous and soft look or a tidy and sharp look depending on your mood. We evaluated it highly for its ability to smoothly cover pores and redness without leaving the face looking cakey.
Hair and makeup artist, Rika Fujiwara, commented, "Every powder particle feels like it's been moisturized and the product produces a brilliantly glossy finish!" That being said, while the finish was perfect, in our lasting power test, it was not very resistant to sweat.
This foundation covers pores and redness effectively without feeling or looking heavily caked on. Since the powder is moisturizing, it also won't dry out even after wearing it for a long time.
This foundation is resistant to sweat and won't wear out in a messy way. It can also be washed off easily with simple soap and water without causing any irritation to sensitive skin.
This foundation has great coverage and won't cause any dryness or irritation to your skin. However, it feels a bit thick when applied. It also has a stickiness to it, so we wouldn't recommend it for those with oily skin.
Rika Fujiwara recommends this foundation even for people who don't have dry skin or worry about allergies. It's also fairly resistant to sweat, making it good for any season.
Even though this is a powder foundation, its texture doesn't feel too powdery and instead feels moisturizing. It covers pores and redness well, is made from organic ingredients, and will make your cheeks shine brilliantly.
It's great even for those with dry skin as it'll keep you moisturized throughout the day. We also found the finish to be perfect, but in terms of lasting power, it wasn't resistant to sweat. For this reason, we wouldn't recommend it during the summer months.
This liquid foundation makes your cheekbones shine and moisturizes your skin, but it has a thick texture that feels a bit sticky. For this reason, we don't recommend it for people with oily skin.
Rika Fujiwara commented on the fact that the foundation's moisturizing ingredients aren't water-based but more oil-based, which explains why it has that sticky feel to it. All this being said, we found that this foundation was very resilient to sweat. Just putting on a light coat will last you a long time without wearing off.
This foundation has a light texture and moisturizes the skin without causing any stickiness, which is a common negative characteristic of mineral foundations. It subtly covers redness and produces a clean uniform finish. This foundation also provides a natural glossy sheen.
Unfortunately, it's not resistant to sweat and therefore shouldn't be used in the summer, as the foundation is likely to wear off easily.
This foundation has good moisturizing abilities so we recommend it for people with sensitive skin whose skin tends to dry out. On top of moisturizing, this product is highly resistant to sweat, keeping your skin feeling fresh and well-hydrated.
The coverage was also highly rated, but the texture is heavy and is difficult to apply. During our tests, we had to rub it in thoroughly until it blends into the skin.
Due to the high oil content of this foundation, the texture of this foundation feels a bit dense and sticky. However, it does have a moisturizing feel when applied to the skin, keeping the skin hydrated.
This product is best for people with sensitive and dry skin. However, this product didn't show much promise in terms of sweat resistance and should be applied with caution during the hotter months.
We purchased the top 13 best-selling Japanese foundations for sensitive skin from Japanese websites like Amazon and Rakuten and put them to the test.
We tested each product for the following:
First, we tested how well the product looked on the skin, in other words, its finish.
For this test, we enlisted the help of hair and makeup artist Rika Fujiwara and had her apply all the products to our testers and judge each product's coverage and transparency.
The products that received high marks for finish either offered a natural-looking yet good coverage or had a moist and glossy finish. Powder foundations that don't feel overly powdery are best for people with sensitive and dry skin.
On the other hand, foundations that provided a dewy sheen but left a sticky residue were rated lower. While they feel moisturizing, they aren't the best for those who want to feel dry and smooth. If you're concerned about stickiness, we recommend you take further measures, such as applying face powder on top of the foundation to mattify the sheen.
Next, we tested each foundation for how smudge-resistant they are.
First, we applied the foundations onto synthetic leather. Then, we mixed horse oil with lukewarm water to simulate sweat and sprayed the leather with the substance to see which foundations held up the best.
We found that mineral foundations, generally the most gentle on the skin, had the least smudge resistance and came off the easiest. But despite this, we still think it's better than using something that traps in sebum, which can lead to irritated skin.
There are a number of great products out there for those of you with sensitive skin. But before you decide on which one to buy, check out these articles to help you make your decision.
No. 1: ACRO | Flawless Ethereal Fluid Foundation
No. 2: RED | AquaAqua Organic Treatment Veil
No. 3: TOUT VERT | Mineral Powder Foundation
No. 4: Nature's Way | Naturaglace Clear Powder Foundation
No. 5: Shiseido | d-Program Medicated Liquid Skincare Foundation
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The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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