May 292012

This is a somewhat imperfect review of Chanel Vitalumeire Aqua Foundation ($58), introduced about a month or two ago. This foundation is a medium-coverage cream foundation sold in a luxe round compact. I found that it gave a flawless finish, particularly when applied with Chanel’s Blending Foundation Brush #7 ($54) (review forthcoming).

When applied, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua feels like air, there is no heavy foundation feeling or any oiliness. I find that cream foundations like this look amazing for formal occasions, whether for work or social activity. It provides an airbrushed finish. There is a very slight “silicon” feeling to the foundation. It lasts well throughout a long day and holds up beautifully without a powder. No breakout for me.

Here are some swatches of most of the shades (B50 and  BR32 are missing, but I’ll try to fill in the gaps throughout the week). As you can see, the “B” tones are warmer, and the “BR” tones seem to have a touch of cool rose.

And now for the imperfect part of the post–a beauty confession. I was matched to B30 at a mass make-over at a local department store, although I realized it was too dark I went ahead anyway. As frustrated as I am with myself, now that my overly generous sample has been used (it lasted about five days), I may exchange my untouched full sized B30 for another more appropriate color.

Thank you to Tressa from Nordsrom Seattle for patiently sending me these samples for us all to enjoy. To be clear, Tressa took no part in the color matching for me, or my own personal decision to cave to the makeup artist’s inaccurate recommendation.

Onward and upward, and I hope you learn from my mistake.


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  27 Responses to “Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation and Swatches”

  1. That’s too bad about the colour match! >.<

    I was contemplating getting this foundation as I loved the original Vitalumière foundation, but I think I'll wait for Winter to roll through again.

  2. I have the same problem – I am pale (BR 12), but MUAs too often pick too dark foundations and concealers for me 🙁
    I use Vitalumier Aqua and I love it, so maybe I should try this one 🙂

  3. Bummer about the bad shade match. At least you can return it and have now had the chance to try swatches. Thank you so much for the swatches. I have been waiting desperately to see the B10 and BR22 swatches. I wonder how they compare to BR12 in the Vitalumiere Aqua liquid? I was hoping there would be a BR12 shade in the compact and fear that BR22 will just be too dark. It doesn’t really look much darker than B10 in your swatches though? UGH these are the times I really wish I had a counter closer than 2 hours away!

  4. Sorry the color didn’t work out, but thank you for the confession. I’ve done the same thing and felt stupid afterward. It’s somewhat comforting to know that others do this too, especially someone I consider to be more makeup savvy than myself. We’re all in this together and it’s good to remind each other that it’s okay to say no to the makeup artists and SAs if we disagree. There’s always something else we can purchase to make it worth their time and effort, but it doesn’t do anyone any good to come home with things we know we’ll be returning even before we finish swiping credit card.

  5. Will you now get BR22?

    • Great question– probably although I might try it on my cheek next to B20? I haven’t done that quite yet

      • Amy, I’d love to hear which you end up liking. I have been a very obvious B10 in all of the various new Chanel shades but I have an accidental suntan from a trip to California (couldn’t bear to stay covered every day as we have been drenched in rain in Seattle) -and find I need a deeper color. Spent a bit of time at the Chanel counter today and never realized how difficult the choosing would be: B20 vs BR22 in Perfection Lumiere, Vitalumiere Aqua, Vitalumiere Compact. The sales women almost always seem to push the pink and I often end up looking like I am wearing calamine lotion; choices made in the department store seem destined to fail. Is it the lighting?!

        • Katie, Perfection Lumiere is a foundation that sort of settles into a color after a few minutes. I’d get a sample next time and wear it for at least 1/2 hour before decided, full face and walk around to get different lighting (especially outdoor shade, which is a good test at least in my opinion). I was surprised to find that I wear BR in Perfection Lumiere–their B shades are quite golden. Also, I’ve noticed that the paler my skin, the cooler it looks. If I pick up color, it starts to go gold/warm. It’s a little like buying a bathing suit–sometimes you can’t look at the number of the tag, you have to go by what fits. But definitely judge for yourself, I’ve not had great luck relying solely on SA’s without my own scrutiny. For Vitalumiere Aqua liquid, I tend to be best at B10 (my skin is really pale now, and B20 is a lot darker).

  6. The same thing happened to me not long ago. I was matched to a wrong color of Double Perfection Matte powder makeup. I know exactly how you feel. Lately I’ve been going to the counter & trying on shades (right/left side of my face) and then walking around the mall and outside to determine what the best choice of product is.

  7. It looks like we’ve all had that mis-match experience. I have naturally rosey cheeks and SA’s and MA’s are always pinking foundation shades for me that are too dark. The Chanel MA originally tried matching me to BR 42! Then BR32. And finally, BR22. Her comment? “Wow! You really are light.”

    I have been really happy with this ultra light cream foundation. I use my Tom Ford cream foundation brush to apply it and get good coverage with an airbrushed look. It’s light to the touch, moisturizing, and has a “real skin” natural glow that is very flattering. I think it definitely one of the better cream foundations out there.

    By the way, that Chanel blending/stipling brush is the best! I use it to apply cream blushers and highlighters. Even in its prime, my old MAC stipling brush wasn’t half as nice as the new Chanel. Love it!

  8. This happens to me all the time. I am quite pale and MUAs frequently want to match me darker and/or pinker than I am. This happens probably 8/10 times. I have no idea why this is, although I’m sure it has something to do with the horrific dept store lighting. MUAs have even refused to try lighter shades on me because they are certain they will be too light. This is why I now loathe trying new foundations in dept stores and only do it when I’m feeling adventurous. Don’t feel bad, you are not alone!

  9. Nice review! I think BR10 is more my match. I can’t wait to get a closer look.

  10. I am quite pale, but more of a neutral tone than anything else, and I constantly get matched to the wrong shade and end up buying the wrong shade in the heat of the moment. I worst is that I usually try to “make it work” so I miss the timeframe for returns. So often, there is not a match in the line, but the sales associate insists that there is. The worst is the jar of Laura Mercier Creme Smooth in Porcelain Ivory that I have sitting on my makeup table; it’s too dark and too pink, but I tried to make it work over the course of several months! Sorry for the random tangent. Just thought I would share my story, since you are definitely not alone in giving in to sales pressure even when you know that you know better.

  11. can you show a picture of how it looks on you?

  12. Thanks for the review. How does the Vitalumiere Aqua compact compare to Vitalumiere Eclat compact? Do you prefer one over the other?

    • The new Aqua feels lighter to me, so I prefer it. The Eclat felt a little bit “foundation-y” to me.

  13. Your swatches are so helpful! Unfortunately in my country they don’t sell B20 in any of the newer Chanel foundations, no idea why as it surely would be a popular shade. 20 in the older ones is perfect for me. So I always have to settle for B10, B30 or BR20 and most of the time, it doesn’t work. With VA I can wear BR20, but with the compact it looks very pale and very pink? I already tried B30, it is too dark and orange. A comparison with other Chanel foundations would be very much appreciated.

    • Jane–a comparison of B20 with other Chanel shades? Or BR 20?

      • This is getting confusing 😛 There is no BR20. There is B20 or BR22. The zero at the end means it is a Beige and the two at the end means it is a Beige Rose.

        • I think it is the same in different countries! Or maybe the BR20 only exists with the fluid.

        • Hi, I hope you don’t mind my poking in. Both shades B20 and BR20 exist. It’s just that different colours are available in different countries. For example, as well as the Beige (B) and Beige Rose (BR) shades, Canada also has two Amber Beige (BA) shades whilst Asia has one Beige Ochre (BO) shade.

          I understand why a certain shade line (BR, B, AB, BO) might not be available in certain countries, but if they are, why only offer one or two of them? Those of us in the UK can only get BR shades from 22 and up whilst we get all the B shades and one deep Ambre Beige shade (62).
          This thoroughly confuses me as the British people are some of the palest and pinkest people I’ve seen! Of course this is a generalisation, but my point is that such shades would be successful here, yet we only get two of them in deeper tones.

          I don’t understand Chanel’s thought processes as to the shades they make available in each country. If they offer a shade line, shouldn’t they at least offer the full spectrum of tones within that line? Doesn’t Chanel realize how much they are limiting their own sales? The poor shade matches I have here is the reason I haven’t gone into their foundations yet, much as I would like to.

          To add to the confusion in labelling the different types of shades, Chanel is inconsistent in this even among their own foundations.

          In some foundations they are straighforward and label according to type of shade and depth i.e. B10, BR10, BO10, BA10 are all different. With other foundations, I’ve noticed that’s it’s the second number that counts and they don’t change the beginning letters so the previous shades I just listed would be B10, B12, B11, B14 (not sure if all of these exist by the way, just trying to demonstrate the pattern they use).

          Basically, I figured out that:
          Beige is always Bxx
          Beige Rose is either BRxx or Bx2
          Beige Ochre is BOxx or Bx1
          Amber beige is BAxx or Bx4
          (By the way, the “x” just indicates a single number for the shade.)

          It’s no wonder we can get so confused! I’ve certainly had experiences where I’ve felt pressured to buy colours too dark for me. I ended up with two different foundations where one was two shades too dark because the makeup artists in both cases refused to to try a lighter shade on me after I asked, even though I knew better. I was more inexperienced then though, so I bought them. Luckily, my sister is quite a bit more tan than me, so they went to her. I had a third experience where the makeup artist put on a powder so dark, that I looked burnt! I refused to buy it and walked away.

          I know better now and do insist on lighter shades or walk away. When they listen and do use the lighter shades, they are surprised almost every single time, exclaiming that it is indeed a better match! So everyone, just listen to your instincts. The makeup artists are there to help us, not dictate what we do. After all, it is our money we are spending and we can choose to take it elsewhere.

          So long! I hope I didn’t bore anyone.

          • Awesome comment! Thank you for your thoughts.

          • I think in Germany the second palest pink shade is sometimes labelled BR20 or BR22 or just 22. It is very confusing. And it makes no sense that they assume all people in the second palest shade are pink or are fine with going a shade lighter or darker. With VA fluid I’m lucky because the shades are fairly neutral and I can get away with BR20 or B30 in summer or B10 in winter but with Perfection Lumiere the shades are more pink or more yellow and nothing we have fits me. I figured out (thanks to the swatches on this blog) that with VA fluid B20 is almost the same as B30, so it not worth ordering from the UK, but with Perfection Lumière they are different and B20 would be the only shade that would match me.

          • Jane, I wonder if there are country-specific ingredient concerns that drive these decisions. Anyway, thank you for the information! It really helps international (and US) readers to understand more!

      • Whatever you have at your disposal is helpful. I remember you did something like that for the Perfection Lumiere?

  14. I’m posting this late but I want to thank you!!–I was researching the shades for this foundation and I must thank you for your swatches. I hate going to a dept. store to shop for foundation, the MA”s always pick the wrong dark colors, they always want to “give a glow” as some have put it and they take the lazy route to correctly color match, the old fashioned way like Prescriptives used to do. This way I am thoroughly informed and can tell the MA to back off when I want to do it myself. It’s my face, I know what works. I have returned so many foundations and concealers because they were too dark. THANK YOU!!

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