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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Sep 022010

Giorgio Armani Beauty’s Fall 2010 Night Viper collection includes a limited edition eyeshadow Maestro eyeshadow quad ($59).  Packaged in the sleek and delightfully sturdy round packaging, these four shadows are placed in a striped pattern with a full, usable mirror:

These eyeshadows carry through the blue theme we’ve seen in so many lines this year–Estee Lauder’s Blue Dahlia Palette, Bobbi Brown’s Denim & Rose collection, and others.  The Armani blue swatches as a deep-toned color with a hint of gray and a touch of purple.

Photographed in warm sunlight with flash

The overall impression that these arm-swatches give is neutral-to-cool.  I found that on my fair, warm (NC15- Chanel 1.0) skin, the entire Armani palette applies as very cool.  This is because the highlighter shade is so extremely cool in its tone.  I cannot emphasize enough that this highlighter becomes shut-the-door, out-of-control dramatic on warm skin–indeed, Armani Beauty describes the white shade as “silver.”  Those with warm skin will want to ensure that their brows are well-manicured to go with this highlight shade.

Photographed in shade with flash

This last shade borders on a very cool-toned taupe, and is appropriately described by Armani beauty as an “icy brown.”  The blue is described as the “star shade” of the palette–indeed, it seems the most multidimensional and interesting, and it seems the other colors are designed to set off this deep blue shade.

When applied to the eye, the dark brown shade is a light-absorbing, shadow-creating cool brown.  It can give you a dramatic socket.  The blue is pretty, it’s deep enough and mixed with other colors to be modern.  I like layering it over the khaki (which is a grey off-gold),  or using the blue just in the center of the eye near the lashline for a little color.

All shades are shimmery but not as shimmery as the Steel Black Eyes to Kill Palette that I recently reviewed.  Also, note that the texture of this Fall 2010 Maestro quad is harder and similar to the formerly-introduced Armani quads in the same configuration.  They are workable with a stiff brush, or by using sufficient pressure with a standard brush.  If you are looking for buttery soft, look elsewhere.  If you are looking for something of an average softness, look at Armani’s Eyes to Kill line.

Because of my warm skintone, this palette is pure drama.  Although I love to wear cool shades for that effect, the Fall 2010 Maestro is particularly cool.  Those who are warm toned and fair will want this for the very formal or evening occasions, rather than for everyday.

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