• Top 11 Best Japanese Liquid Foundations in 2021 - Tried and True! (IPSA, KATE, and More) 1
  • Top 11 Best Japanese Liquid Foundations in 2021 - Tried and True! (IPSA, KATE, and More) 2
  • Top 11 Best Japanese Liquid Foundations in 2021 - Tried and True! (IPSA, KATE, and More) 3
  • Top 11 Best Japanese Liquid Foundations in 2021 - Tried and True! (IPSA, KATE, and More) 4
  • Top 11 Best Japanese Liquid Foundations in 2021 - Tried and True! (IPSA, KATE, and More) 5

Top 11 Best Japanese Liquid Foundations in 2021 - Tried and True! (IPSA, KATE, and More)

Why do Japanese women have such beautiful skin? A lot of it starts down at the roots: skincare, diet, genes. However, some of it is surface-level: makeup and, specifically, foundation. And out of all the foundation that’s out there, liquid—high-end and drugstore—is prized because it’s both versatile and hydrating.

So in order to tap into those beauty secrets, we ordered the 11 most popular Japanese foundations from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also consulted three experts, who looked for the following:

  1. Finish
  2. Ease of Application
  3. Coverage

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese liquid foundations.

Experts featured in this article

Mutsuki
Chie Kato
Rika Fujiwara
Keelyn Young
  • Last updated: 06-07-2021
  • 14,904 views
Table of Contents

Why Should You Get a Liquid Foundation?

Why Should You Get a Liquid Foundation?
If you’ve been keeping up with beauty trends at all these past few years, then you’re probably already looking to get on the “semi-matte finish” and “dewy skin” bandwagon. And the easiest way to join is through using a liquid foundation.
It’s right in between powder and cream foundations and, by virtue of being liquid, maintains a good balance between hydration, coverage, and longevity. It’s also versatile; with a liquid, you can achieve a no-makeup look, or you can look like you’re ready for a night of clubbing.

Liquid is also good for keeping you hydrated during the colder, dryer months. Even members of our oily-skinned crew turn to liquid foundation during fall and winter! So as the skies become grayer and the chill starts setting in, more and more brands are turning out new products—just another sign that liquid is here to stay.

Top 11 Best Japanese Foundations

Now to introduce the 11 best Japanese foundations available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from 1.0 to 5.0. Some of the prices have been converted to dollars from the original Japanese price for easier viewing.

1
IPSA Liquid Foundation 1

IPSALiquid Foundation

0.85 oz.

$38.38

Japaneseイプサ リキッドファウンデイション
Finish5.0
Application5.0
Coverage5.0
Overall Ranking5.0
2
ADDICTION The Skincare Foundation 1

ADDICTIONThe Skincare Foundation

1 oz.

$45.15

Japaneseアディクション ザ スキンケア ファンデーション
Finish5.0
Application4.0
Coverage4.0
Overall Score4.0
3
SK-II Cellumination Liquid Foundation 1

SK-IICellumination Liquid Foundation

0.83 oz.

$68.89

JapaneseSK-II セルミネーション リクィッド ファンデーション
Finish3.0
Application4.0
Coverage5.0
Overall Score4.0
4
RMK UV Liquid Foundation 1

RMKUV Liquid Foundation

1 oz.

$79.00

JapaneseRMK UVリクイドファンデーション
Finish4.0
Application4.0
Coverage4.0
Overall Score4.0
5
Coffret D’or Nudy Cover Moisture Liquid UV 1

Coffret D’orNudy Cover Moisture Liquid UV

1 oz.

$46.05

Japaneseコフレドール ファンデーション ヌーディカバーモイスチャーリクイドUV
Finish3.0
Application4.0
Coverage4.0
Overall Score3.0
6
Macchia Label Clear Esthe Veil 1

Macchia LabelClear Esthe Veil

0.85 oz.

$81.68

Japaneseマキアレイベル 薬用 クリアエステヴェール リキッドファンデーション
Finish3.0
Application4.0
Coverage4.0
Overall Score3.0
7
KATE Liquid Foundation Secret Skin Maker Zero 1

KATELiquid Foundation Secret Skin Maker Zero

1 oz.

$52.61

Japaneseケイト リキッドファンデーション シークレットスキンメイカーゼロ
Finish3.0
Application3.0
Coverage5.0
Overall Score3.0
8
Ettusais Oil Block Foundation 1

EttusaisOil Block Foundation

1 oz.

$34.50

Japaneseエテュセ オイルブロック ファンデーション
Finish4.0
Application3.0
Coverage4.0
Overall Score3.0
9
INTEGRATE Real Fit Liquid 1

INTEGRATEReal Fit Liquid

1 oz.

$49.06

Japaneseインテグレート リアルフィットリキッド
Finish4.0
Application4.0
Coverage2.0
Overall Score2.0
10
Anessa Perfect UV Liquid 1

AnessaPerfect UV Liquid

0.74 oz.

$29.11

Japaneseアネッサ パーフェクトUVリキッド
Finish2.0
Application1.0
Coverage4.0
Overall Score1.0

Compare the Best Japanese Liquid Foundations

Image
1
IPSA Liquid Foundation 1

IPSA

2
ADDICTION The Skincare Foundation 1

ADDICTION

3
SK-II Cellumination Liquid Foundation 1

SK-II

4
RMK UV Liquid Foundation 1

RMK

5
Coffret D’or Nudy Cover Moisture Liquid UV 1

Coffret D’or

6
Macchia Label Clear Esthe Veil 1

Macchia Label

7
KATE Liquid Foundation Secret Skin Maker Zero 1

KATE

8
Ettusais Oil Block Foundation 1

Ettusais

9
INTEGRATE Real Fit Liquid 1

INTEGRATE

10
Anessa Perfect UV Liquid 1

Anessa

Name

Liquid Foundation

The Skincare Foundation

Cellumination Liquid Foundation

UV Liquid Foundation

Nudy Cover Moisture Liquid UV

Clear Esthe Veil

Liquid Foundation Secret Skin Maker Zero

Oil Block Foundation

Real Fit Liquid

Perfect UV Liquid

Features

A Perfectly Balanced, Highly Recommended Liquid Foundation

Dewy Foundation that Hydrates like a Moisturizer

Good Coverage with Just a Thin Layer

Feels Light on the Skin and Gives You a Natural Dewy Finish

Decent Coverage, Lays Out a Flawless Look, and Gives You a Natural Glow

Spreads Easily and Feels Amazing on the Skin

Perfect if You Want a Matte Finish

Good for Oily Skin, but Dehydrates Dry Skin

Feels Light on the Skin, but There’s Not Much Coverage

Use It to Spot Conceal

Price$38.38$45.15$68.89$79.00$46.05$81.68$52.61$34.50$49.06$29.11
Japaneseイプサ リキッドファウンデイションアディクション ザ スキンケア ファンデーションSK-II セルミネーション リクィッド ファンデーションRMK UVリクイドファンデーションコフレドール ファンデーション ヌーディカバーモイスチャーリクイドUVマキアレイベル 薬用 クリアエステヴェール リキッドファンデーションケイト リキッドファンデーション シークレットスキンメイカーゼロエテュセ オイルブロック ファンデーションインテグレート リアルフィットリキッドアネッサ パーフェクトUVリキッド
Finish5.05.03.04.03.03.03.04.04.02.0
Application5.04.04.04.04.04.03.03.04.01.0
Coverage5.04.05.04.04.04.05.04.02.04.0
Overall Ranking5.04.04.04.03.03.03.03.02.01.0
Link

Products That Didn't Make The Cut

And why they didn't make it.

Products That Didn't Make The Cut

Cezanne UV Liquid Foundation is a waterproof foundation, so it holds up against sweat and humidity. But that’s kind of where the benefits end. 


Even though this foundation felt heavy, when we tried it out, it didn’t look like we were wearing makeup at all. And though it’s labeled as a UV foundation, you aren’t going to get much mileage out of that SPF26 PA++ rating.

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

We borrowed the expertise of hair and makeup artists Rika Fujiwara and Mutsuki, as well as the former fashion retailer and Instagrammer Chie Kato to help with our tests.

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge
〈Chie Kato, Rika Fujiwara, and Mutsuki〉
Beauty Gurus

{Left: Former Fashion Retailer and Instagrammer Chie Kato}
She used to work in fashion as a retail clerk (also the time when she started her blog). After she got married, she quit her job in in the fashion industry. Now, as a housewife, she's still very active, Instagramming daily about fashion, cosmetics, and hair. She has over 100,000 followers.

{Middle: Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist Rika Fujiwara}
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.

{Right: Hair and Makeup Artist Mutsuki}
She's a popular freelance hair and makeup artist who can turn anyone into an idol. Her creations are known for being girly and exquisite. In the industry, she has a huge following who can't get enough of "Mutsuki Magic," which brings out the innate beauty of actresses and models, leaving them doll-like yet natural.

How We Tested The Liquid Foundations

We gathered 11 popular Japanese liquid foundations from Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme and tested them for their finish, ease of application, and coverage.

Test ①: Finish

Test ①: Finish

We had all of our experts apply the foundations to the backs of their hands. They then determined whether the foundation left you with dewy, translucent skin or if they left you looking a bit cakey.

When it Comes to Finish, High-End Brands Come Out on Top

When it Comes to Finish, High-End Brands Come Out on Top
The high-end brands all did well on this particular test. It’s not like there weren’t any high-performing drugstore cosmetics, but when it comes to finish, it seems like you just can’t beat high-end brands.
We know that you might feel your heart twinge just a bit when you look at those department store prices. However, for most of these products, a little went a long way–so they may be expensive, but you could also say they’re cost-effective.
Rika Fujiwara
Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist
Rika Fujiwara
If the foundation spreads well even when you use just a dab, then even a thin layer of makeup can leave you looking put together. Pretty cost effective, I'd say.

Test ②: Ease of Application

Test ②: Ease of Application
Next, we asked our experts to talk about how easy each foundation was to use.
They looked at things like texture and how convenient the packaging was. Our editors also got in on the testing, so we also received some general opinions.

Pumps are Easy to Use and Softer Textures are Great

Pumps are Easy to Use and Softer Textures are Great

You never have to worry about too much foundation coming out of a push pump. You can also just throw a pump bottle in your purse and pull it out for reapplication throughout the day, so we really love them.

We also found a few foundations that were really thick or ones that were dewy but also pretty sticky. You can imagine how a thick foundation would be difficult to apply, but sticky makeup is quite troublesome as well.
Chie Kato
Former Fashion Retailer and Instagrammer
Chie Kato

It's easy to control how much comes out of a push pump, and they're easy to carry around. If you get a more liquidy foundation that spreads easily, you'll be able to make do with smaller amounts, so you could also say they're gentler on the skin.

Mutsuki
Hair and Makeup Artist
Mutsuki
Estee Lauder has bottles with wide lips, so if you use them as is, it'll be difficult to control how much product comes out. Make sure that you don't apply too much.

Test ③: Coverage

Test ③: Coverage
Finally, our editing department took a look at how much coverage each foundation offered.
We applied drops of foundation the size of a grain of rice to letters printed on a piece of paper; we then spread out each grain and made note of how well they blocked out the print. We also tested the foundations out ourselves to see if they’d really work on our blemishes.

Almost All Our Liquid Foundations Excelled in Coverage

Almost All Our Liquid Foundations Excelled in Coverage
Almost all of the liquid foundations we tested did well. They blocked out the print, and they hid our blemishes.
However, runny foundations tend to go on thin, so you won’t be able to get much coverage out of a rice grain-sized drop.

How to Choose Japanese Liquid Foundation – Buying Guide

Our three experts provided us with valuable insights on how to choose a liquid foundation.

Think about What Kind of Finish You Want

Think about What Kind of Finish You Want
Most liquid foundations come out to a dewy finish. You can also look for products with a no-makeup look or semi-matte finish.
Basically, the more watery a liquid foundation is, the more natural of a look you’re going to get. On the other hand, if you’re looking to cover blemishes and pores, you’re going to want something more creamy.

Get Something Suited for Your Skin Type

There’s a million makers out there and a million bottles of foundation, each formulated for a certain skin type. Here’s how to figure which are suited to you.

Dry Skin Calls for Smoother, Hydrating Foundations

Dry Skin Calls for Smoother, Hydrating Foundations

If you have dry skin, your first priority should be hydrating it. To that end, foundations with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and botanical oils are a good choice.

And while you need some staying power to ensure your foundation doesn’t break up along your fine lines, if the foundation is too long-lasting, when you wash it off, you’ll also strip your skin of important oils

Keep that up for long enough, and there’s a good chance you’ll dehydrate your skin even further. Make sure to do everything in moderation.

Oily or Acne Prone Skin Needs Sebum Controlling Foundation

Oily or Acne Prone Skin Needs Sebum Controlling Foundation

If you have oily, acne-prone skin, then your priority should be getting a foundation that can soak up excess sebum. If you do, your makeup will last longer since there’s less oil to wash everything away.

Recently, Japanese cosmetics companies have been talking about what's known as inner-dry skin. That’s when your face is oily on the surface and dry within; to put it another way, when you dry it out too much, your skin sometimes overcompensates by secreting copious amounts of oil.

In the case you do have inner-dry skin, you want a hydrating foundation. However, thick foundations with a bunch of oils will only make things worse; look for something that packs moisturizing ingredients and can control oil at the same time, like a serum foundation.

Pick out a Foundation that Matches Your Skin Color

Most Japanese foundation is made for Japanese skin, so note that the makeup palettes we offer are going to be lacking for other skin tones. In any case, when you try out makeup, don’t do it on the back of your hand. Do it on your jawline—where your face meets your neck. Here are some other things to keep in mind.

Know Your Undertone

Know Your Undertone
The thing about net-shopping is that you can’t try anything on, which is, unfortunately, the best way to test for color. The next best way to find out what shade of makeup to buy is to know your undertone

If your veins are blue, you have a cool undertone; if they’re green, you’re warm; if they’re in between, you’re neutral. Most Asians—and by extension, many Japanese foundations—have warm or golden (often referred to as ochre) undertones.

In Japan, people with very pale skin tend to do well with beige or neutral undertones. In general, it seems that if you burn under the sun, you’re likely to have cooler undertones. On the other hand, if all the sun does is give you a nice tan, you probably have warmer undertones.

Go One Shade Lighter if You Have Oily Skin

Go One Shade Lighter if You Have Oily Skin
Do you know how bananas darken over time? Turns out foundations do this too, in a process known as oxidation. Ingredients in foundation can react with humidity and the oils on your skin, turning your makeup into an unflattering shade of orange. 

If you have oily skin, your foundation is more likely to oxidize; that’s why it’s usually safe to go a shade lighter.

Liquid foundation is particularly susceptible to sebum, so you need to be extra careful when picking one out. Of course, if you go too light, you’re going to look too pale. Never stray more than one shade away from your true skin color.

Interested in Other J-Beauty Products?

Interested in Other J-Beauty Products?

There are a ton of other amazing Japanese beauty products out there, including makeup and skincare items. And if you like what you read here, how about learning more about other Japanese cosmetics?

Summary

We invited three experts, purchased the 11 top selling bottles of foundation, and tested them all.

Liquid foundations are wonderful because they balance coverage and moisture. Everyone has different skin types and different priorities when it comes to makeup, though—so next time you’re looking to restock your makeup arsenal, make sure you keep us in mind!

Author: Yukina Matsuda/Translation: Jasmine Li

An Expert-Recommended J-Beauty Lotion

If you're looking for more skincare help from amazing Japanese brands, then why not try this ultra-hydrating lotion recommended by beauty content creator, Keelyn Young? It's perfect for fall and winter when the harsh weather can really be drying for your skin.

Expert's
pick

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    The Japanese skincare routine has quite a few steps. There’s cleansing; then the first step after cleansing is toning. To help you ease into Japanese skincare, we ordered the 26 most popular toners from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited a specialist and had her compare the following:1. Application (How It Feels on Skin)2. HydrationThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese toners. We also consulted our specialist about skincare–for example, we asked about how to properly put on toner and the order in which we should apply toner, lotion, and essences. We share all this information at the end of the article, so stay tuned.
    Cosmetics and skincare
    28,195 views
  • Top 23 Best Japanese Whitening Serums in 2021 - Tried and True! (Haku, SK-II, and More)
    Top 23 Best Japanese Whitening Serums in 2021 - Tried and True! (Haku, SK-II, and More)
    It’s a buzzword in Japan: translucence. It’s similar to Korea’s glass skin–skin so pure that it’s nearly transparent, resembling layers of frosted glass. In the Western world, think "glow" or "dewy finish." In order to respond to that aesthetic, cosmetic companies–both drugstore and high-end–here have been coming out with scores of whitening serums, essences, and ampoules.As always, it’s difficult to tell what kind of skincare is effective and what isn’t. That’s why, this time around, we ordered the 24 most popular whitening serums from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited a skincare specialist and had her compare the following:1. Hydration2. ApplicationThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese whitening serums, essences, and ampoules. See why we picked Chifure's Whitening Essence VC as our top choice and more!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    43,142 views
  • 10 Best Korean Serums in 2021 (Innisfree, Sulwahsoo, and More)
    10 Best Korean Serums in 2021 (Innisfree, Sulwahsoo, and More)
    Want to make your skin glow? Korean serums are mild, lightweight, and contain a high concentration of active ingredients that can help all skin types. Some common skin-nourishing ingredients are ginseng, green tea, and aloe vera. Korean skincare also utilizes more unique ingredients, like snail mucin, placenta, and propolis! Check out our buying guide, which we prepared with the help of aesthetician Devan Jesmer, where you'll find all the necessary information regarding Korean serums, and our top 10 highly recommended products. Innisfree's Green Tea Seed Serum is our top-ranking product because it absorbs quickly, soothes irritated skin, and prevents signs of aging. If you want to know more, don't forget to check out the rest products on our list!
    Cosmetics and skincare
    16,561 views
  • Ipsa White Process Essence OP Review - mybest
    Ipsa White Process Essence OP Review - mybest
    Ipsa White Process Essence OP is a product that promises to protect your skin from darkening as well as make it look more lively. It's also supposed to feel pretty refreshing. On the other hand, some reviewers claim they wished it moisturized their skin more, or they didn't experience any of the promised effects.That's why we decided to purchase it for ourselves and test it. We gauged its moisturizing ability and how it felt to use along with a slew of other whitening products. Here's what we learned.
    Cosmetics and skincare
    807 views
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