Mar 082014
 

Armani CC Cream07

For the past several days, I’ve been using the new Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminessence CC Cream (available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barneys and Saks)($50/ 1 oz.). This series, just released in eight (8) shades, provides glowing and moisturizing medium-to-light coverage.

Armani CC Cream01

According to Armani, there are skin care benefits in the formula:

A good night sleep in a cream. Luminessence CC Cream is a color control bright moisturizer with SPF 35. It features a triple technology on skincare for its energizing and antioxidant complex, color for its pinky “rose glow” pigments and light for its liquid mirror technology. Apply once and the skin looks as rested as a good night’s sleep.

According to the product insert, the point of this product is to use 1) the product’s color to correct and even skin tone, 2) the formula to deliver moisture, antioxidants and sunscreen protection, and 3) luminzers to impart a soft glow. Essentially, the coverage is medium toward light with one pass (and buildable on problem areas). You can trust that Armani knows how to create a buildable foundation. In my opinion, the line is one of the best at developing formulas that can be layered and this Armani Luminessence CC Cream is no exception. The product comes in an easily packable squeeze tube.

Armani CC Cream09

I used this product as my foundation, although it could be used as a color-correcting, moisturizing base. Those who want more coverage might consider using a powder foundation over this formula to increase both the coverage and overall wear time. On application, you will immediately notice a dewy glow. I powder down my forehead right away with a finishing powder. The overall effect is youthful. Here’s a quick swatch on a portion of my arm that shows you the dewiness in very bright sun. I think you can see that it creates a pretty satin sheen without any sparkle:

Friday late13

Armani Luminessence CC Cream is genius at delivering all-day moisture. I’m not sure of the magic that Armani puts in the formula, but my skin looked young, moisturized, and perfected. With a touch of layering, the product evens out my dark patches and small acne scars to invisibility. The enclosed literature suggests that it’s nice to put a little more around any areas that you want to photoshop–the labial folds, for example. The effect makes me look rested, younger, and my skin looks moisturized and softer.

Armani CC Cream14

As with many moisturizing formulas, Armani Luminessence CC Cream is not a true long-wear formula. After about the eighth or ninth hour, I started to notice some imperfections peeking through. Fortunately, this can be easily refreshed with a concealer (Armani’s Maestro Concealer is wonderful, but any will do).

Armani CC Cream11

What was surprising is how good my skin felt after removal. There are a few CC Creams that deliver is in the skincare department, and Armani is one of the top of the list. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised–bathing my skin all day in Armani sounds luxurious and it is.  It’s lovely to see a company deliver on the technology that has been promised. Armani is not kidding around.  If this product is meant to get customer’s interested in Armani’s skin care range, it is working (at least for me).

Friday late06a

The Nordstrom sales associate that I worked with matched me to Shade #4 which is a bit darker than my usual. As we are heading toward spring and summer (really, I promise!), and my arms typically pick up some color during that season, I didn’t fight back very hard. For the record, during the makeover we used a highlighter on my upper cheek and it was not too much. That’s the thing about lines like Armani–they are never too much. Packaging (click to enlarge:

Armani CC Cream05

And more of the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Armani CC Cream06

Overall, Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Control Bright Moisturizer successfully delivers on its mission to deliver skin that looks awake and alive. I love that it has a decent SPF level, and the moisturizer seems extraordinarily effective. The color corrective properties provide both medium-to- light coverage and mask color variations well. No breakouts or clogging pores. This is designed to works best on skin that benefits from a moisturizing formula, although my combination skin loved it.  I needed a powder-down and concealer refresh after about the eight-hour mark, although your own mileage may vary.  So far, one of the best–I’m loving this one.

Available at Neiman Marcus, NordstromBarneys and Saks

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Dec 272013
 

Tom Ford Stick Foundation1

I’ve been using the Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation ($78./0.5 oz) occasionally for the past year. I purchased this last January, where I got into an arm-wrestling match over my color. You can see swatches of all shades helpfully here at The Beauty Professor. I ultimately settled on #3 Fawn, although this is on the deeper side for my Chanel Cameo/MAC NC15/20 skin tone. I had just returned from a sunnier climate, and I suppose my neck and body were a bit deeper then. The reason that I mention this is that stick foundations tend to be higher coverage, and we all know what that means. The more coverage you get, the more the color match matters, and the less forgiveness you have if there is a mis-match.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation3

The rather massive and gorgeous packaging holds 1/2 ounce of product. Although this is less than a typical bottle of liquid, you do not need much of this foundation to get medium coverage (more will give you full coverage). I’m an old hand with stick foundations, all the way back to the Chanel stick foundations of the 1990’s, so my application is a bit fearless.  First of all, the formula is very, very emollient and yet long-wearing. This rather miraculous combination of attributes allows you to have controllable, all-day coverage.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation5

Your application technique matters very much with this foundation. I have read reviews that describe this coverage as “heavy” and “too much.” It is true that it is a real challenge to get light coverage with this stick foundation. On light coverage days, I opt for another foundation choice and can use this as a concealer (if at all). For medium coverage, I dot this very lightly on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. The formula is very emollient, and as your skin and fingers warm the product it is very easy to spread over my face to get medium coverage. The product can be built up over any problem areas for more coverage. The effect is beautiful. It dries down, and makes my skin look gorgeous and very Tom-Ford-fabulous. It gives just enough of a sheen to look moisturized and youthful, and stops well short of looking even the slightest touch oily.  Although this looks amazing on my combination skin, those with drier skin will truly adore this slight sheen effect.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation4

I tend to use this when I’m looking forward to a formal event, whether a meeting, all-day conference, or evening event with a strong lip.  The wear time is phenomenal. This foundation does not break down, period. I do not get breakthough-glow on my combination skin, it just does not quit. So if you are looking for a luxury look that lasts all day, Tom Ford is your man.

Long Wearing Foundations11

As you can see, Tom Ford #3 Fawn is a little deeper and warmer than a few others in my foundation stock.

Same comparisons in different light:

Long Wearing Foundations09

Overall, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation gives a beautiful effect to make my skin look far better than it actually is. I understand that the foundation does not promise skin care benefits, it just makes my skin look fabulous. So I apply my skin care and sunscreen underneath. As with all stick foundations, removal is important to fully cleanse the skin and remove all traces of the product. I use an oil remover (currently, Shiseido), a Clarisonic with a cleanser, and a toner.  I need these to fully remove my sunscreen, so this is not a variation from my usual routine.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation2

 Like a perfect pair of pumps, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation makes me look fabulous, well-dressed, and comfortable without concern for breakdown or breakouts. When I’m getting ready for an event, I’m happy to have Tom Ford along for the (usually overly long) day.

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Jun 052013
 

Chanel CC Cream first look09a

This is a first look at the Chanel CC Cream ($55/ 1.0 oz.), which has just become available to certain Chanel boutiques across the U.S. This will soon be available where ever Chanel is sold. Although this has been released internationally for some months, this is the first tube that I’ve seen in person. I was so excited to experience this product, so I thought that I can’t be the only one. I’m posting this quick overview of pictures so that you can see it with me.

Edit/updated:  My in-depth review has now been posted here.

Chanel CC Cream first look02

As far as I know, this is just released in one shade–20 Beige–at least so far. There are five primary attributes of the product:

  • Anti-aging:  Includes Rejuvencia, an active ingredient derived from marine micro-organisms to stimulate the natural production of collagen to prevent the appearance of aging.
  • Moisturizing:  Contains hyaluronic acid to help maintain skin hydration levels.
  • Soothes: Uses cornflower water to comfort skin.
  • Sun protection:  Broad spectrum SPF 30 helps to block UVA and UVB rays using physical protection.
  • Covers and perfects: essentially, has coverage in the nature of a sheer foundation

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

 Here’s the product literature (in English) (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look15

 The packaging is a travel-friendly squeeze tube:

Chanel CC Cream first look14

 The Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige runs fair and warm. Here is a comparison with Chanel CC Cream, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose (which is much pinker/cooler), Chanel Lift Lumiere in Ivoire (14) (similar, but with a bit more coverage), MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 (more coverage, lighter), and Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (darker).

Chanel CC Cream first look20

Here is the active sunscreen agent, titanium dioxide 12%:

Chanel CC Cream first look05

The additional ingredients (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look08

Additional packaging information:

Chanel CC Cream first look07a

I asked the Chanel cosmetic specialist, who was in the boutique for the weekend, whether the product had any color-reducing properties (for example, the Smashbox CC Cream advertises that it will help fade acne scars and discolorations). In other words–does this product correct permanently with skincare ingredients, or does it “correct” by covering up?  The Chanel representative said that this product is not advertised to actually correct discolorations permanently, but that it could be used with the Chanel Le Blanc line (which is designed for those purposes).

hope you enjoyed this first look. I’ll post again in a few days once I’ve had more of a chance to test this out.

Available with free ship and return at Nordstrom.com, and other Chanel sources.

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Feb 192013
 

Invisible Zinc Foundation01

One of the best things that anyone can do to prevent aging is to wear sun protection. Invisible Zinc is a company that specializes in broad-spectrum physical sun protection using ingredients formulated to look invisible to the eye. According to the company, this formulation “uses Zinc Oxide which although invisible to the naked eye still provides outstanding broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.” An Australian company, these products are are rated at SPF 30+, the highest rating available to products in that country.  This is available at Cult Beauty (use free ship code  MAKEUP25 to standard shipping on all orders over £25 except for Escentric Molecules).

Invisible Zinc Foundation04

Living in California, and sometimes traveling to sunny, humid climates, I’m quite interested in sunscreen-intensive makeup products. I prefer physical sun protection, as more stable and less irritating solution compared to chemical sunscreens (although I’ll take a product with a mix of physical and chemical. 

Invisible Zinc Foundation08

In the past, I’ve used Elta MD Physical SPF 41 as a tinted physical sunscreen that can be worn instead of foundation as well as Shiseido Sun Protection SPF 42 PA+++ Liquid Foundation. Invisible Zinc is sold in a stick form in three shades: light, medium and tan (I tested the lightest shade).

Invisible Zinc Foundation05

Invisible Zinc is a creamy, medium-to-full coverage foundation that feels pleasant on the skin. Some of my efforts to try a high-SPF foundations have not been successful–as one example, I washed off Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 before an hour because of the heavy sunscreen scent and heavy feeling on my skin. By comparison, Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield gives serious coverage but feels light. The scent is very subtle (you have to get close the tube to pick any scent up) and fades very quickly. It feels very pleasant, and allows my skin to breathe.

Invisible Zinc Foundation07

Keeping in mind that this is a functional foundation, I planned to use this for trips to the pool, beach, or outdoors for long walks. For that format, nothing beats a stick format (no shaking required!). In the convenience department, Invisible Zinc wins out over Shiseido’s liquid. I found it held up well for a good 7-8 hours before I started to feel a need to touch up on my combination skin. It’s pretty easy to pull a stick foundation out and blend in some coverage (adding my Nars 413 Blkr Street Multiple completes the look). My testing days (which were mostly  in-office days) led me to conclude that Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield gave me a pretty finish that was far better than the rougher-textured Elta MD Physical SPF 41.

Invisible Zinc Foundation09

 The ingredient list for the Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield is above (click to enlarge). For a workhorse sunscreen, I was very impressed by Invisible Zinc. I’d love to test it the next time that I go to a very humid climate, but I did find that the foundation held up beautifully in the more temperate, sunny Northern California testing ground. With the addition of some Guerlain finishing powder, I found that Invisible Zinc gave me a great look that I’d be pleased to wear any day of the week.  As an aside, the three finishing powders that I tried (on three different days) were the Geurlain Illuminating and MattifyingGuerlain Meteorites, and the Guerlain Voyage Meteorites.

Here are a few quick swipes to show how the Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield in Light compares to Chanel Lift Lumiere in Ivoire and MAC Pro Longwear in NC15. To my eye, it’s close to the MAC NC15 shade:

Invisible Zinc Foundation10

Bottom line:  For anyone interested in a great, stable foundation this is well worth it. This foundation is available in the US from Cult Beauty, which also sells several additional products from the line. (use free ship code  MAKEUP25 to standard shipping on all orders over £25 except for Escentric Molecules).

Invisible Zinc was sent to Cafe Makeup by Cult Beauty without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Oct 012012
 

Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Fusion Makeup ($62) is an exciting new step in foundation technology. This formula (the details are explained in several links at the bottom of this post), suspends color pigment in a combination of light dry oils. I literally gasped when I saw it on my forehead. It looked like…perfect skin. It adheres beautifully. Hands down, this the most long-lasting foundation I’ve ever tried. At night, it looks almost exactly as it does in the morning. It is an extraordinarily stable product on my combination skin.

The color self-adjusts to your skin tone, so combined with its sheerness there is a lot of forgiveness in the color range (swatches of all shades are here at The Makeup Blogette) (I’m using 5.0, ordered online based on those swatches).

I should emphasize that the coverage is sheer. Right now, my skin is mostly very smooth (thank you, Dr. Perricone!) I’ve been working very hard on my skin since February. There are a few small, faded discolorations that are nearly gone. Unlike Burberry’s Sheer Glow Foundation (reviewed here), I did not have much luck building up the coverage of Armani Maestro Fusion.  I found that the color built up well on my good skin areas, but even 3-4 swipes left the tiny discolorations still there.  To its credit, the foundation did not cake up, but it didn’t get rid of the imperfect color either. I found that adding a touch of concealer (such as Edward Bess Platinum or even a bit of MAC’s Perfectly Defined Sculpting Creme) to those areas gave me the perfect look. I would imagine that Laura Mercier’s Concealer would be genius for this, but mine is across the country at the moment so I went with what I had.

The foundation has an ever-so-slight glow to it all day. I’ve worn this primarily with my Guerlain Meteorites Illuminating and Mattifying Powder (I’m on my second compact of this one) as a sheer powder to mattify the look.

I’ve been wearing Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion for about 2 1/2 weeks. Once I found the concealer trick I couldn’t stop. I found my other foundations tended to look a little heavier. I’ve really loved the natural look that this provides. Plus, the stable, all-day coverage has been a blessing. I found myself reaching for it, not just out of habit but because I really preferred it. Having said that, one day I did have some peeling in one area and–oh my goodness–this foundation did emphasize that. If you have dry skin, you’ll want to sample this first before investing.

A few pointers:

  • Like many self-adjusting foundations, Armani Maestro Fusion looks terrible for the first five minutes before it sets, then the loveliness starts;
  • Only use the tiniest bit. I’d be surprised if you needed more that 3 small touches on your face. This is a thin fluid packed with pigment;
  • Try it with and without powder, to see which texture you prefer. The powder doesn’t seem to affect the longevity–the foundation lasts very well on its own;
  • The texture doesn’t change much over the day. Despite the use of oils, the soft luminosity doesn’t seem to become much oilier throughout the day;
  • Because of the differences of opinion, sample before you buy;
  • In this order:  Serum/ moisturizer, sunscreen, concealer, then foundation

This foundation has SPF 15  (click to enlarge to see the ingredients):

Additional information from the box (click to enlarge):

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion is a polarizing product–reviewers seem to have a bit of a love/hate reaction, depending on their individual experiences. If I were forced to choose, I’d put myself much closer to the “love” category. Here are some other reviews that I found helpful:

Positive reviews:

  • The Best Things in Beauty’s is here (interviews, explaining the technology, “astounding”)
  • The Raeviewer’s is here (video)(covers well, looks natural)
  • Beaut.ie’s is here (explaining the technology, “after” picture)

Less than enthusiastic:

  • Fleur de Force’s is here (good on some days, doesn’t sit right on other days)
  • Drivel about Frivol’s is here (drying, emphasized imperfections, before/after pictures)
  • Sasquatchswatch’s is here (too sheer, emphasized imperfections)

The foundation is available (with free ship) at Nordstrom.com.

This review contains an affiliate link (for questions, please see “About Cafe Makeup”)

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