Shu Uemura Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation

Shu Uemura, Face Architect, FluidThe announcement, several weeks ago, that Shu Uemura would be withdrawing from counters in the U.S. filled me with panic. And the rate at which my sole Shu counter (in Neiman Marcus) has been clearing out did nothing to abate my nerves — so little time left to swatch the line before it disappeared forever!

Knowing that time was not on my side, I tried to think which swatches would do the most good. I decided to make foundation my top priority. So I’m starting with Shu’s Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation — mainly because there are the most shades of this formula (and I think it will do the best job of illustrating Shu’s somewhat odd naming conventions).

Shu foundations are numbered. The first digit tells you how pink or yellow the foundation is: 1 is the most pink; 9 is the most yellow; 5 is neutral.  The second digit goes from black to white.  A second digit of 0 has the most black/is the darkest; a second digit of 9 is the lightest.  The third digit tells you chroma — whether the undertone of the foundation is blue or violet.
Shu Uemura, Face Architect, Smoothing, Fluid, foundation, swatches
Shu Uemura, Face Architect, Fluid, Color BarTo slice the information a different way, Shu’s website groups the shades by skintone descriptors.  I don’t know if this helps or just makes the subject more confusing, but: In the Fair/Light category: 784 (fair beige, warm undertone), 774 (light beige, warm undertone), 974 (light honey, warm undertone). In the Medium Light category: 165 (medium light peach, cool undertone), 164 (medium light peach, cool undertone), 365 (medium light amber, cool undertone), 964 (medium light sand, warm undertone), 764 (medium light beige, warm undertone), 564 (medium light sand, neutral undertone). In the Medium category: 355 (medium amber, cool undertone), 345 (moderate amber, cool undertone), 554 (medium sand, neutral undertone), 754 (medium beige, warm undertone). In the Medium Dark/Rich category: 734 (rich beige, warm undertone), 934 (rich honey, warm undertone). And finally, in the Deep/Dark category: 524 (deep sand, neutral undertone), 504 (dark sand, neutral undertone).

Face Architect Fluid is a water-based, sheer-to-medium coverage, buildable foundation — which is to say it’s medium coverage, but could be applied more sheerly with the right tools/technique. Its finish is natural and semi-matte. Face Architect Fluid is $42.

I asked a former Shu employee (now reassigned to YSL) to match me to a shade, and with a jawline swipe, he recommended 774. I feel I should mention that even though it’s early in the summer, my arms are already darker (and probably more red/pink) than my face — the unavoidable consequence of spending so much time outside. Foundation swatching never seems to provide enough information; still, I hope these help somewhat.

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13 Responses to “Shu Uemura Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation”

  • Steelnpurple says:

    Ok I’m really impressed by the numbering system by the looks of it! Great selection of light shades! Very interesting..!
    Sucks that this brand is not sold here.. Might find it online though.. :)

  • Glad to see this- and thanks for the explanation on the color numbers- though I won’t bet on remembering it! I’m hoping there’s still time for you to get around to swatching the Nobara foundations, I’ve heard some good things. Of course, I suppose I could get my butt up and head down to Nordstrom myself, but….

  • ocelot1 says:

    thank you so much for doing this Karla! i was wondering if anyone was gong to do swatches of Shu before they go away :( I dont have wasy access to a counter, so I need to order Shu I want online regardless :/ Again, thanks you for everything you do and I hope you do more Shu swatches :D

  • Catherine says:

    So THAT’s what the last number stands for! Thanks for the info! I’m actually wearing 754 right now. Love it. :D

  • lazeny says:

    I switch among 964, 764 and 754, depending on the weather and how tanned I am. The SA suggested 764 but I have a very yellow undertone so 964 is the perfect match for me. Shu’s fluid foundation are the best I’ve tried so far, it’s too bad that Shu would be pulling out from the US stores. It’s hard to know your foundation shades by just looking at the description on their website.

  • steph says:

    Thank you so much for these swatches! Are you going to swatch the glow-ons too? I can’t find any decent swatches of those anywhere :(

  • Ann says:

    Thank you so much for swatching these, I had given up hope that I’d ever get to see Shu foundation swatches that could actually help me pick my color. I’m most interested in the Nobara Cream Cover Foundation, so if you get a chance at all to swatch these, I would be eternally grateful.

    I know what you mean that foundation swatches never seem to give quite enough information. The one thing that I almost never see that would help me the most, would be if the swatcher picked the color that was the closest match for her, and did a swatch with it un-blended on one side, and then fully blended on the other side.
    I think that helps show how natural the foundation is, what the finish and coverage are like.

  • m says:

    ty. this is helpful. apparently i got interested in this line a bit too late.

  • makeupjunkie says:

    This is the best review of face architect that i’ve read! Thank you for the swatches. I use 764, and I absolutely love it because it’s light and not sticky, and makes my face look flawless.

  • blushfully says:

    I just purchased my first Shu Uemura cream foundation today in shade 974, hopefully it’ll be good for my winter days =) I wonder if I should’ve gotten one that start with 7, but I guess we never know until we try…

    Love this post! Very helpful, very much! Shu Uemura is still available here in Australia. Actually, just about the time it closed in US, it arrived in my city.

  • julie says:

    Hi, what shade are you in Mac, just so I can get an idea of the colour match. Much appreciated Julie

  • Silvia says:

    I can not find the shu uemura 734 foundation – any suggestion where to buy it or what could be a good substitute? Thank you

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