Sofina Primavista – Liquid Foundation UV

image taken from Sofina official website

For those not familiar with Sofina (link to Japanese website), it is a subsidary brand of Kao. I knew that Bioré is part of the group but was surprised to learn Kanebo (umbrella of 6 other brands including Lunasol), Molton Brown, and Jergens are also in the family!

Primavista is marketed as a range of natural looking foundation that takes 5 years off your appearance. They have a liquid, cream, creamy compact and a powder foundation. In Japan they have Primavista Dea, which is formulated especially for ladies over 50. I picked up the liquid and powder, also one of their primers, the Multi Cover Base.

Information from the little leaflet: Both foundation contain what they call ‘Face Lamp Powder EX’ – what I take as a kind of luminising or face brightening formula, that gives an even better result in terms of hiding imperfection and evening out skintone. Their ‘close-fitting’ formula makes it ideal for those days when your skin suffers under stress, or PMS hormonal changes. All in all a product you can count on anytime of the year. Moisturising and won’t dry out the skin with 10 hours of colour-true long-lasting wear. SPF 25 PA++ (PA targets UVA in Japanese sunscreens).

Comes in 7 shades, pink ochre (1 shade), ochre (3 shades) and beige ochre (3 shades). Knowing I would be more tanned, I got their darkest, which is ochre 07.

Originally I wanted to write about all three products in one post but it was getting really long. So I’ve split it up and this post will only be on the Liquid Foundation UV. Read about the powder foundation here and the ‘Multi Cover Base’ here.

The liquid foundation is housed in a tube with 30g of product, which I can report after looking at all my other foundation, is the standard amount you get nowadays. Some companies are just more talented in making their bottles look bigger I guess? You also get a sponge and a plastic case to put it in which your makeup bag will thank you for. The tube opening is small and it’s very easy to control the amount you need. It’s also more hygienic. The foundation is gel-based, is pretty thick when you squeeze it out but it spreads easily and the texture is light and doesn’t feel heavy on the face. No fragrance.

Coverage and Finish
Light coverage (buildable) that stays very natural and looks and feels just like skin. I would say it’s a velvet finish, not dewy nor matte. Bourjois healthy mix is more dewy. If you find a good colour match this one can give you that no-foundation look. It won’t cover serious flaws and you will need a concealer for dark circles if you have them, but it does make the skin look more smooth and polished. However if you have dry patches or flaking skin this will accentuate the area.

I find that I get the best result with a primer underneath. It seems to adhere better to the skin and smoothens pores. Now it could be the primer (also from Sofina) that is performing superbly and not the foundation, unfortunately I don’t have a second primer to test this.

The Wear
The foundation wore well until I took it off, at which point I got 8 hours of wear. The colour does stay true as well. It isn’t drying at all and is very comfortable on the skin.

Summing it up
I think this is a nice year-round foundation that would suit someone who doesn’t have any major skin problems and has normal/combination, and maybe even not-too-dry skin. I don’t think it’s the best foundation for oily skin types because it doesn’t control oiliness and you will need an oil control primer or something else for that. As mentioned before you will need a concealor for dark pigmentation. (But what foundation doesn’t, unless you don’t mind the thick, masked look?)

I do think however that a lot of Japanese foundation are designed to work with a makeup primer. Every makeup range has one or two. Within the range Primavista has an oil controlling one, a multi-coverage one and they just released a moisturising one for the cooler seasons ahead (this is also why I think it’s a good year-round product. It’s not drying to begin with but if you do need that moisture boost you can get that here). The idea is to pick a primer that suits your needs, fine-tuning what you get from your foundation. It’s quite smart really when you think about it. …. Unfortunately I’m not quite there yet, meaning I still think of primers as something extra of foundation rather than its necessary partner. Maybe I will change my mind soon, who knows.

All this is to say that I have mixed feelings about this product – because with the right primer this is truly an excellent foundation [check the photos at the bottom of this post]. On its own though, it’s more like a tinted moisturiser that gives better coverage. Still good but not exceptioal … But I will say that I am now curious to try the same primer with all my other foundation and see what kind of difference it makes. I may be converted and report all foundation suck without a primer haha.

For now, I think there are better liquid foundation out there at this price point (25-30 euros). I guess you’ll have to blame me for not embracing the whole primer/foundation thing.

For those who are looking to buy this online and you don’t have a Sofina counter nearby:
FYI my face is still lighter than my body. If I’m matching to my body, 07 is far too pale. Actually 07 is really light for a ‘dark’ shade. It’s been a while since I got matched at MAC but I would hazard a guess that 07 is around the range of NC35 or 40? I really don’t know for sure. But I know I can go even darker if they have one available. If this helps anyone, I just bought Bourjois healthy mix serum in 56 (I wore 53 before summer*) which is a pretty good match for me now. The 07 is slightly lighter than 56, see pictures below, especially the second one.

Also take a look at the Sofina Primavista website. Ochre 05 (shade in the middle) is the standard natural shade that would suit most people. I was matched this before I requested a darker shade. In theory then, 05 should match people who wear Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B30 (sable), Bourjois healthy mix serum 53. I also wore EL Double Wear light in 1.0 but their colour selection is really dismal (worse than Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua) so take that with a grain of salt.

* before you think I jumped 3 shades, there is no shade 54 in the healthy mix serum. 55 follows 53.

Swatches on the back of my arm:

… wow comparatively the bourjois has so much more red in it.

Blended out. Again these are done on the back of my arm and I probably should have slapped on some moisturiser before the pics … unfortunately you can’t really see the dewiness in the Bourjois. But it’s more noticeable on prepped skin. The Sofina appears to be more light-reflective doesn’t it? But it has no shimmer or illuminating particles that I can discern.


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