Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Review and Ingredients Analysis

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Shu Uemura's Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion was launched earlier in March, and I just had to review it - after all, cushion bases have been pretty much all the rage since a few years back, and I'm always happy to add to my cushion collection. And the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Cushion is pretty unique, too, as far as cushions are concerned! It's advertised as a "smart" cushion, with a new formula, new applicator puff, and new screen! So pretty much every important aspect of the cushion is new, and that's exciting.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: A "smart" cushion with a new formula, appicator puff, and wiper membrane!

The combination of innovations is supposed to give you a very even application with just the right amount dispensed, with a radiant finish, thanks to the unique "auto-wiper membrane and auto dispenser" (we'll get into that later). Even the formula itself sounds impressive - it's supposed to be "jellified" (their words, not mine) at rest, but fluid during application, which means that the product is extremely portable, and you'll always get the perfect finish.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Box
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: A bevy of innovations in the product make this quite different from a typical cushion

I'm obviously a little slow on this review (#bbloggerproblems, yes I haz them), but I figure better late than never! So without further ado, let's start at my favourite geeky place - the ingredients list!

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Ingredients
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Ingredients

Looking at the ingredients list, the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Cushion consists mainly of water, Cyclopentasiloxane, a silicone which spreads out the product before evaporating and thus doesn't remain on skin, which function as emollients), emollients (Isononyl Isononanoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone), Alcohol Denat., UV filters (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide), and humectants (Glycerin). After that, we hit the main preservative, Phenoxyethanol, so we know that everything after that is present in smaller amounts, and what we've looked at forms the bulk of the product. Obviously, the combination of silicones, emollients and polymers, is carefully done to ensure that the texture of the Cushion feels nice on skin, and that optically it sits well on skin. I also like that Shu Uemura has included a physical sunscreen too (Titanium Dioxide), because it also provides some UVA protection in addition to UVB.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: Also contains some very interesting skincare ingredients

The ingredients that appear Phenoxyethanol include some absorbents (Talc, Nylon-12), suspending agents (Disteardimonium Hectorite), and some sugars (Malitol, Mannitol), which in this case probably function as humectants. There's also a variety of plant extracts and oils (Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Zea Mays Extract, Mentha Piperita Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Water, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract, Rosa Centifolia Extract, Acer Saccharinum Extract), for those who like that sort of ingredients. There's also Pyridoxine HCL, which is another name for Vitamin B6, and you often see this in anti-dandruff shampoos, as it does have some anti-bacterial properties. In this case it could be included for its anti-oxidant properties as well. There are small amounts of Resorcinol and Ascorbyl Glucoside, two ingredients I really like, since they are pretty effective brightening agents. So from the formulation, we can see that there is definitely a little bit of a skincare element to this Cushion too, which is always a plus!

RNA is one of the more interesting ingredients in the Shu Uemura Cushion, but it might not exactly work the same way applied topically (Source)

What really intrigued me, however was the presence of RNA and RNA is Ribonucleic Acid, and is found in all our bodies. Together with DNA, is one of the key components in the encoding of proteins and that make up our body - as this site (which is a great resource, by the way) nicely explains it for laypeople, "DNA makes RNA, RNA makes proteins, proteins make us". If RNA sounds familiar, it's because it's also a key ingredient in SKII's new RNA Power skincare range, which is aggressively marketed as a super-awesome anti-aging range. But is it really effective in skincare? When we look at the context of applying RNA topically, as you do in skincare, there isn't much evidence to indicate it helps to renew your skin in the "this will repair your DNA" kind of way SK-II is claiming, but fortunately Shu Uemura isn't making such claims, although the ingredient is present. The process of encoding proteins from DNA (which does involve RNA) is complicated and takes place in the cytoplasm of our cells (as the above diagram shows), so you can't just put DNA or RNA on your skin and expect it to work (whatever you define "work" as - encode more protein in the cells of your face?). It just doesn't work that way. So I'd say this is an interesting ingredient to include, and it certainly can't hurt, but I wouldn't expect miracles out of it. However, I do side-eye some of the brands (not Shu Uemura, in this case) that are claiming this will revolutionize your skin.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Screen
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: The "auto wiper membrane", one of the brand's innovations

Anyway, now that we've poured over the ingredients list in geeky detail, let's go on to the aesthetics of the product, and how it works on skin! To do that, we'd also have to look at the innovation in dispensing the product. Shu Uemura's "auto wiper membrane" can be seen above, and basically, instead of a naked sponge that most cushions have, there is a sheet of membrane on top, which you can see above. Basically the membrane acts as a sort of filter to dispense the right amount. While I can't say for sure, I do feel like I pick up less product with the membrane.

Below, the membrane after I've used the cushion a little - you can see the holes in the membrane more clearly here. I do think this is pretty unique, and is certainly the first I've seen. I hope that we'll also see this technology in other L'Oreal brands. I believe Lancome might already have started putting out something similar, but I'm not sure about the rest. Maybe soon!

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Demo
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: The "auto wiper membrane" dispenses the right amount onto the applicator

Along with the new membrane, there's also a new sponge! Much to my surprise instead of the standard rubycell material, this is actually a very cloth-like sponge applicator. It sort of feels a little like fleece, actually, and is very soft! I thought this was interesting. Along with the new puff, Shu Uemura also recommends a slightly different application technique, too. Unlike the standard pressing and tapping method which you see with most Cushions, the Blanc Chroma Cushion is meant to be applied with a "press and glide" motion - so you press the puff onto your skin and gently glide it along the skin. In this sense, the technique is a bit more similar to the application methods for foundation method, where you move the applicator across the skin, rather than just bouncing it on the skin.

Just a little application tip though - don't get all overenthusiastic and pick up too much product with the applicator, a gentle dab will do the trick. If you press this into the cushion the way you do with normal BB cushions, you will end up with too much product.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Puff
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: Unlike a traditional rubycell material, we get a more cloth-like, soft applicator

When I tried it, I found that this does give a nice, even effect, and a very nice skin-like finish that was not too shiny or too matte. It also sat well on my skin, and didn't feel oily or heavy. It also lasted for a decent time on me, without sliding off my face, even without primer. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of my actual face with the product, because the shade that I have, Medium Light Sand 764, was waaay too dark for my NC20-ish skin, and the photos turned out horribly as a result (which is why I always say, getting a foundation match is critical for makeup that looks good!). But, I did take swatches of the product on my arm, so I hope that makes up for it!

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Warm Sand Swatch
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Swatch: Medium Light Sand 764

Above, you can see the coverage is really great - even in the "blended" swatch above, you can see that the shade still remains and covers the skin. And of course, the finish is really nice - it reflects light in a way that is similar to actual skin, but doesn't contain any visible shimmer or glitter. Below, you can see the swatches tilted at an angle, to give you a better idea of the finish. You can see how it looks realistically glowy in the "blended" swatch.

Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion Swatch Warm Sand
Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion: A great cushion with excellent coverage and a realistic finish

So, would I recommend the Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Brightening UV Cushion? I think I would. The Blanc Chroma Cushion has so much going for it - innovative application and packaging, a nice formula that provides some UV protection and has some interesting skincare ingredients, great coverage and pigmentation, and a nice feel and finish on the skin. My only grudge is that it doesn't come cheap - at S$20 for the case and S$55 for the refill, this isn't the cheapest product around, but I guess you are paying for the bevy of innovations that go into the product. If you're looking for a cushion with great coverage and finish, and some skincare benefits, or if you just want the latest and greatest in terms of cushion innovations, this would be right up your alley.
Recommended? Pigmentation Texture Application ColourLasting Power
Yes, a great cushion overall 10/10 10/10 8/10 8/108/10
The Bottom Line: The Shu Uemura Blanc Chroma Cushion is a great product overall, with excellent coverage, a realistic finish, innovative application, and a nice formula with some ancillary skincare benefits.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)


  1. Such a great review. I will definitely check this out on my next mall visit.

    Mhaan <3 | Mommy Rockin' In Style Blog

  2. I'm not sure about having sunscreen in makeup. Correct me if I'm wrong about this, but it doesn't seem we apply enough sunscreen for it to work as well as a normal sunscreen?
    Nice review btw! Luuv how detailed it was.

    1. @mb: Yes, you're right! We typically don't apply enough makeup to get the amount of sun protection labelled on the package (which I've also blogged about before). This is because in order to get the amount stated, you need to apply 2mg of product per cm2 of exposed skin, but for makeup we definitely don't apply that much, or it would look cakey! So I certainly would never recommending just relying on makeup for sun protection, and would always recommend applying a separate sunscreen underneath. But, for people who don't apply sunscreen or who are rushing out, then this is definitely better than nothing. Hope this helps!


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