A new base from Shu Uemura is something that’s well worth sitting up and taking note of, so when I heard about The Lightbulb, I sat up, took notice and fired off a lot of emails to the press office.

Shu Uemura Lightbulb foundation

And it’s a paradox, this product: it promises high coverage, yet it’s fine and fluid. Lightbulb is long lasting but hydrating, and not flat and matte. Instead, it delivers a really, really glowy finish, the result of which you’re supposed to be able to control by use of a companion sponge, sold separately.

At €41.50, it comes in 14 shades, many of them yellow-toned for Asian skintypes, though there are some pink-hued shades on offer too. I’ve got shade 974 Light Honey, which is the palest. This is quite yellow-toned, but because it’s pale, I find it works fine with my complexion. I favour a pink-toned base, but if the colour is pale enough, I can get away with one with a yellow base shade, I’ve found.

Given the claims and promises for Lightbulb, it’s fairly clear that it’s Shu Uemura’s entry into the new lightweight longwear field pioneered in the last couple of years by brands like Lancome with Teint Idole Ultra 24h and Clarins with its Everlasting Foundation.

So while I wasn’t initially sure if it’d do my dry skin justice, I turned out to be completely and utterly wrong: if anything, this is too glowy. I know. Too glowy. Can there be such a thing? If there is, then this is it: it’s kind of making me consider using powder again – and I never set my foundation.

Shu Uemura Lightbulb foundation swatch

Hand swatches of Lightbulb – blended out on the right

The glow-factor is where the sponge comes in: it’s one of those snowman-shaped ones and each end has a different use. One end is designed to absorb foundation: this should be used to tamp down glow on the t-zone; the other side is treated to buff up the glow so you can basically use it to polish the foundation and add even more light. It’s a smart idea, but you’re paying extra for it.

Me? I’m applying with my fingers and then buffing in with a brush and that’s plenty glowy enough. It really is a lovely base and gives great, non-drying coverage; crucially without any horrid cakey effect. I can happily wear this on my dry complexion day-in, day-out and it causes no problems whatsoever.

In fact, the only real issue I have with this is how hard it is to buy here: Shu’s only sold at Brown Thomas Dublin, and while several beauty brands have just gone online on the website, it’s not one of ’em. Still, here’s hoping.