Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Albion Gel Mask Foundation Review

This Albion Gel Mask Foundation was recently featured in Lisa Eldridge's Japanese makeup video. Naturally, she made it look heavenly, offering full flawless coverage. I purchased this in Singapore back in March, where it retails for S$92 (for 30ml), a significant markup compared to the retail price of 6000yen (about S$67) in Japan. It is currently available on Adambeauty.com for US$66 but with only one shade (030) in stock, as well as Ebay where it is going at close to US$100.

The premise of this foundation is that it supposedly envelops the skin snugly in a translucent makeup coat like a deeply hydrating gel mask, making the skin soft, bouncy and clear. The texture is fresh and hydrating with no hint of powderiness, with a beautiful and longlasting finish. Available in five shades, it also has SPF25 PA++. This came in second in the liquid foundation category in Voce magazine's 2014 Autumn/Winter Best Cosmetics awards.

The air-tight pump packaging is well-designed and feels luxurious, despite not being made of heavy glass. I actually prefer the plastic packaging as it is much more travel friendly, albeit being twice the size of Shiseido's Perfect Refining Foundation. The texture is a creamy gel. I purchased this in 030 Pink Beige, which on hindsight is a tad too pink-toned for me. It looked more neutral than pink-based when I swatched it in the store. It was only after reading the box did I see that the shade name in Japanese was 'Pink Beige'.

As you can see from the pic below, I have a lot of redness and brown pigmentation on my cheeks. After having tried this foundation several times over a variety of bases and with different application methods (e.g. fingers, beauty blender sponge, brush), each time the experience was frankly disappointing, particularly in view of the high price tag.

The main issue was that this did not glide well over skin with enlarged pores and acne scars. Quite a bit of effort was required to get this looking evenly applied. As the day wore on, the foundation was also prone to some patchiness and caking. There was oil breakthrough on my T-zone and cheeks within two hours. After I blotted the shine off, my enlarged pores looked rather obvious. This probably works much better for someone with a more flawless complexion but it just did not play well with my skin issues. It has an average rating of 4.7 stars (out of 7) on Cosme.net with reviews being quite polarised, but that is typical for most foundation.

For this look, I'm wearing the purple and pink shades from the Urban Decay Vice Limited palette over MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extend Eye Base and Etude House Color In Liquid Lips RD302. The Color In Liquid Lips has a nicely slick and superbly well-pigmented texture but requires a super steady hand for precise application given the vivid hue. It also stains off on everything that it comes into contact with, so it's rather high maintenance. I purchased this directly from EtudeHouse.com, with shipping from Korea to Illinois taking just over two weeks.

The list of ingredients includes mineral oil, alcohol, silicones and parabens, in case you are concerned about any of these elements. Parabens do not bother me but it is surprising to see mineral oil in a prestige brand formulation and alcohol given that this foundation is designed to be hydrating.

Below are comparison swatches with some of the other foundations that I own. From left to right:

Armani Luminessence Color Control Bright Moisturiser #2
Suqqu Frame Fix Liquid Foundation 101 (discontinued old formula)
Guerlain Blanc de Perle Essence Infused Brightening Foundation 01 Pale Beige (released Feb 2015)
Guerlain Parure Pearly White Fluid Foundation 01 (released more than 3 years ago)
Albion Gel Mask Foundation 030 Pink Beige
Rouge Bunny Rouge Liquid Foundation 025 Almond Milk Parfait
YSL Fusion Ink B20
Burberry Luminous Liquid Foundation 04 Trench (seems to also be discontinued)
It Cosmetics CC+ Light
Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid Touch Foundation 15 Ivory.


2catsinjapan said...

Last year when it was released I ran over to the Albion counter and swatched until I was blue in the face. The lightest shade was still a good couple of tones too dark.
The ladies gave me generous samples and after testing them at home, I thought it was a very disappointing foundation. Sticky, heavy, unpleasant on the skin, emphasized every pore and wrinkle, even in places I didn't know I had them. I decided not to blog about it. But if Albion ever releases a lighter shade, I might give it a try again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iris,

I just bought this foundation last week. Frankly this was not in my purchase list until I watched Lisa Eldridge video.

The color I bought was O30 which suit my NC25 skintone. As for the foundation quality, I will rate it as average as it causes oiliness and shine after 2-3hrs of wear. Also I now have a few spots breakout which seldom happens with other foundations from Guerlain, Lancome, Dior and Chanel. Although I am Asian, but somehow I have no luck with Japanese foundation.

Haru said...

Aww, sorry to hear that it did not work out for you as well. Japanese foundations are hit and miss for me, they used to make the best powder foundations but Kanebo discontinued my favourite brand (Revue). I think this Gel Mask Foundation is better suited for dry and normal skintypes.

H 2catsinjapan,
It must be so frustrating for you trying to find a suitable shade in Japan, as their shade selections are not much better than the Korean brands. I can usually wear the lighter Ochre shades and do miss their generous sampling practices! It's the only country where I don't feel awkward asking for a sample.

Unknown said...

This is off topic but I saw on Instagram that you got rid of some of your makeup that was 3 years or older. When should you throw away lipsticks, blush or eyeshadow in your opinion? I have a lot of Paul& Joe lipsticks in those beautiful cases.

Haru said...

I discard lipsticks that are 2 years old or as soon as there is a noticeable change in scent. As for blushes and eyeshadows, I discard those in cream form after 2-3 years while powder blushes and eyeshadows are fine for several years as long as there is no change in appearance, texture and scent. I have many eyeshadows that are more than 5 years old but I no longer use them as I have much newer ones to play with. I hold on to some for sentimental reasons but I also discard those that I no longer like or know I will not touch again.

Unknown said...

Thank you

christabel said...

It looked so good on Lisa that I rushed out and ordered it! Also was disappointed with it but that could have something to do with a wrong colour choice. As my skin is very much like yours what foundation is your current favourite - and what do you consider holy grail? Please tell me!

Haru said...

hi Christabel,
I'm still in search of the holy grail but the recent ones that I tried recently that impressed me are Guerlain Blanc de Perle liquid foundation (but this comes only in 4 shades) and Ellis Faas Skin Veil. Both are very easy to blend, do not emphasise pores or dry patches and look very natural. For drugstore options, Bourjois and Rimmel are the best (but stay away from Bourjois Happy Light).

Anonymous said...

I tried this at Albion counter and like that it sort of blended into my skin (my hand,specifically). They didn't have any sample sachet for me to try,luckily I didn't buy it on impulse. Now reading your review, I knew it wouldn't suit me.