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Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation ($62.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a lightweight foundation with buildable coverage and a natural finish. Giorgio Armani Beauty really pushes that it is about getting the least amount of product with the most amount of bang; it’s supposed to “[look] invisible and [make] skin appear luminous.” It’s available in twelve shades. The brand says #2, 3, and 4 are best for fair skin tones; #4.5, 5, 5.5, 6.5, 7, and 8 for medium complexions; and #10, 11.5, and 12 for darker skin tones.

I’ve used up an entire bottle of #5.5, having first used it around late November/early December, and recently finished it about a week ago. It usually takes me quite awhile to really determine if I love or just like a foundation. #5.5 is slightly light on me (but forgiving enough to be worn), while #7 is definitely too dark.  There are some I fall in love with right away; others I never want to wear again, but usually I fall in the middle and waffle. Maestro had a unique texture (to me), because it almost felt like a silicone primer and foundation in one; it has that velvety-smooth, mostly matte finish and feel once applied to the skin. The actual texture is thin and very liquid, so it is easy to apply a very sheer layer of coverage or build up without getting too much coverage (if undesired). It feels a bit like a dry oil, so synthetic brushes, sponges, and fingertips tended to be best for application in my experience. It is lightly scented with something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it; I did not notice the scent when applied or as I wore it, but it’s not scent-free in the bottle.

The brand recommends applying three drops in the palm of your hand, though I’m not certain what constitutes a drop, because you can fill the entire stem with product and really get all of it out, or you can do small squeezes and get small drops out. Three drops arhalf of what I need, and a whole stem-full is more than enough–so don’t be afraid if you’re bewildered and find yourself needing more than three drops! I’m not keen on the droplet applicator. I’d rather a pump or an open bottle, as the cap with the stem attached to it wobbles around if you just want to get some directly out of the bottle, so you can get bits of foundation on the surface it’s lying on. Dropping it directly on the face was also a 50/50 proposition where it would dribble down my face and land on my shirt. So, most of the time, I filled the stem and then squeezed it on the back of my hand. I would have much preferred a pump, though. I haven’t traveled with mine at all, but I have heard some people have had issues with the packaging surviving travel.

The coverage is light to light-medium, with almost medium coverage possible with layering, but overall, light to light-medium coverage, and it had a semi-matte finish. It wasn’t a totally flat, dull matte finish, but it was still quite matte. Between the finish and texture, I felt this was most appropriate for normal to oily skin. On drier skin, especially if you have any visible signs dryness, it can accentuate dry patches or flakiness. I only experienced this when my normal-to-dry skin was at its driest and did not find it a problem for most of the time I wore it. The other thing to note is that when I did have some visible dry patches, while initially accentuated, after twenty to thirty minutes, they were less noticeable than they were initially, so there appeared to be some hydration coming from the formula itself. It has alcohol denat. as the fourth ingredient, which is drying in high concentrations (it is often used as an antiseptic and a solvent), but in my experience, appeared to be offset by the other ingredients as my skin did not get drier, so your mileage may vary and consider your skin and what it is/isn’t affected by (note: I am not a chemist, esthetician, or scientist!).

It’s a comfortable, long-wearing foundation, too, and you don’t always get supreme comfort with a longer-wearing product (which are often tight-feeling). With Maestro, it typically lasts me between eight and ten hours, without a primer or setting powder. With setting or finishing powder, the wear is usually more consistent and closer to ten hours with no patchiness or visible fading. Maestro photographs very well for me, and it performed well at evening out the complexion, hiding mild to moderate post-acne marks or scars, and refraining from settling into fine lines.  I would not recommend using this as your sole source of SPF; you’re not going to get the protection needed based on amount applied.

Ingredients

Active Ingredient: Octinoxate 3%

Cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone, isododecane, alcohol denat, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, phenyl trimethicone, acrylates/polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate copolymer, peg-10 dimethicone, disteardimonium hectorite, fragrance, nelumbium speciosum flower extract, limonene, benzyl salicylate, synthetic fluorphlogopite, linalool, benzyl alcohol, propylene carbonate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, disodium stearoyl glutamate, water, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower oil, butylphenyl methylpropional, aluminium hydroxide, hexyl cinnamal; may contain: iron oxides, titanium dioxide

8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
93%
Total

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Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation & Remedy Concealer Pen

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation
Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation

Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation ($48.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a gel-based formula that is “anti-aging, long-wearing” and “awakens your skin to its ideal radiance and clarity.” The coverage is supposed to be buildable from natural to full coverage, and it is supposed to have “supreme hydration.”

I tried Ivory Medium (14), which is most certainly not my shade (it appears to be the second lightest shade in the spectrum). I’ve included a photo below, but it’s a very sheer application so that most my natural skin tone can come through more and ended up having to apply loose powder (in a shade just darker than my natural skin tone) to make it presentable. Ivory Medium has a soft yellow undertone and a natural satin finish. It’s a little lighter than my forearm, which is light-medium. The very first thing you absolutely need to know is that this foundation is heavily fragranced–one of the most perfumed formulas I have tried. I don’t even remember Chanel being this scented. It smelled like stale flowers to me, but I’m not keen on floral scents (there just seemed to be something off about the scent, though), and I loathed wearing this foundation for every second because of the lingering, all-day scent.

From afar, the foundation looks fine, photographs nicely without any flashback. It has a lightly thickened liquid consistency that spreads evenly across the skin and has a wet, cool feel. It’s completely unforgiving to dry patches, though, and I thought maybe it would be more forgiving after a few hours (because this is touted as hydrating), but it just got worse. I have normal-to-dry skin, but this accentuated any dryness to the point where anyone talking to me would notice the foundation clinging to each piece of imperfect skin. Part of this seemed to be ensuring not to apply more than a light layer of product, and the best way to apply this was with a sponge (like a Beautyblender) over a brush, as most brushes seemed to give it a rather streaky finish. I was able to build to about medium coverage, but it starts to look thick and slightly caked on the skin.

It wears eight hours well, and then it starts looking faded/patchy in places (beyond just the drier areas) after ten hours of wear, so the wear-time was good. I wouldn’t say much longer than average, and I live in a dry climate (California), so I can’t say I’ve tested this under extreme conditions.

Marc Jacobs Bright Idea Remedy Concealer Pen ($39.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as “an all-in-one eraser, brightener, and corrector.” It’s available in nine shades, and the one I tried was Bright Idea, which is a universal shade. It’s a pale pink with warm, pink undertones. It worked well to camouflage dark under eye circles and smudges (I’m wearing it on my left eye, which is on your right). The consistency is thin, not as thin as water but still quite liquid. It offers light-medium to medium coverage, and it takes a few minutes to really set in place. I would recommend applying, and then checking as you continue to do your makeup or get ready to blend the product again, because it will settle into creases as it sets. Once I’ve let it set and blended away any initial creasing, it doesn’t settle into my fine lines for the rest of the seven hours it wears well. After seven hours, the darkness seems to come back slowly but surely over the next few hours. It comes in a click-type pen, and the applicator is made out of palladium, so it is cool to the touch.

8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
4
Application
82%
Total

Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer

Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer
Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer

Guerlain Les Ors Meteorites Perles Light Diffusing Primer ($71.00 for 1.0 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “sheer, luxurious makeup base” that utilizes gold pearls to brighten, illuminate, and help set makeup (but it can also be worn alone, if so desired). It’s ever-so-slightly peach-tinted with white, pink, and gold micro-shimmer (or pearl, if you like).

Products like this are hard to review, and they are always difficult for me to convey their true effect, because it gets lost in photos–in the sense that with softened, diffused lighting, I’m already getting the benefit of having nice lighting to begin with. I find in the horrors of everyday lighting that varies from room to room, place to place, the improvement is much more marked. There’s absolutely a difference, as the skin has a softer, smoother appearance that’s slightly brighter–fresher in a way–and any foundation I’ve tried it over lasts an extra hour and a half to two hours (I’ve tried this with Guerlain’s own Parure Gold, Parure de Lumiere, and Lingerie de Peau; as well as Make Up For Ever HD and Giorgio Armani Maestro). As a bonus, this seems to slightly minimize bits of redness that I get around my nose and on my cheeks on my normal-to-dry skin.

Unlike a lot of primers on the market, though this has silicone-based ingredients in it, it doesn’t have that velvety, silicone-like feel, but it still does a great job of holding makeup in place. It’s also nice on its own, because it doesn’t have a matte, flat finish. It’s not a liquid highlighter by any means, and it works all-over the face because the pearl is barely-there. The texture is thin, water-like (but a bit thicker than pure water), and easy to spread and blend out on the skin. It dries down in thirty seconds or so. I’ve worn it alone a few times, and I’ve mixed it with my moisturizer and applied it that way. The only thing I’d say is that if you’re already using a slew of excellent smoothing products (like foundation, setting and/or finishing powders), at some point you’re just not going to get skin that looks any more than it already does. For instance, using pressed Meteorites gives me a similar radiance, but the primer extends wear of my base makeup more so than the powder does alone.

Also In This Review

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Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder

Hourglass Radiant Light Ambient Lighting Powder ($45.00 for 0.35 oz.) is described as a “golden beige powder.” It’s a subdued, light-medium peach-orange with golden shimmer. Because of the type of product it is, it sheers out considerably to mostly translucent powder that adds warmth and radiance. NARS Miss Liberty has a similar coloring but has larger shimmer/sparkle. Chanel Lucky Stripes is more pigmented and works as a bronzer/highlighter. See comparison swatches.

The texture is very soft and finely-milled; feels like silk and blends out smoothly, but it is a very soft powder so there is some excess powder that gets dislodged while brushing against the surface. Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powders are supposed to mimic different types of light, generally giving skin a softer, smoother look with subtle glow Radiant Light is supposed to “[enhance] the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth.”  That’s exactly what it does:  it gives skin a gentle warmth while having a soft-focus effect that makes skin appear smoother than it actually is.  Because this is a powder, for my normal-to-dry skin, it also sets my foundation and prolongs the wear of my foundation by an hour (like a setting powder), even though it’s not claimed to do so. I suspect on very fair skin that this may be like a soft bronzer.

Radiant Light
Radiant Light
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder
Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder

Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder ($34.00 for 0.26 oz.) is supposed to be a “silky, weightless finishing powder with a luminous, demi-matte Naked finish.” It’s designed to set your makeup and reduce shine, so it can be used after you’ve applied your foundation initially as well as later on during the day as a touch-up powder.

Urban Decay recommends Light for shades 0.5 through 3.0; Medium Light for shades 2.0 through 4.0; Medium for shades 4.5 through 6.5; Medium Dark for shades 6.0 through 8.0; and Dark for shades 8.0 through 12.0. I used Medium over 4.0 in the photos, for reference. I applied it using Urban Decay’s Good Karma Finishing Brush. The texture is soft, incredibly finely-milled, and feels like a silky powder as it goes onto the skin. Applied over Urban Decay’s Naked Liquid Foundation, it made the resulting finish more matte and definitely more “blurred.”

It boosted the wear of the liquid foundation by another hour, so I was able to get eight and a half hours of wear before my t-zone started to show some fading, which started to be noticeable after nine and a half hours of wear. If used to touch-up, then the foundation looks mostly intact even after eleven hours of wear. I liked how well it softened the look of my normal-to-dry skin without appearing powdery, but I did miss some of the subtle luminosity of the liquid foundation, so I might opt to use this more as a touch-up powder a few hours into wear (personally).  The powder was supposed to have a luminous and demi-matte finish, but it read rather matte when I tested it.

Medium

Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Foundation

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($39.00 for 1.0 oz.) is supposed to be a “weightless” and “invisible” foundation with a “luminous, demi-matte finish” and “buildable coverage.” There are eighteen shades to choose from with shades ending in zero indicating a warm-toned shade, and shades ending with a five are for cooler complexions.

I used 4.0, which was somewhat too yellow on me (compared to my natural skin tone)–I’m actually curious whether 3.5 or 4.5 would be a better match for me. I ended up blending all the way down my neck to help it match my skin better. It is also more forgiving, because it is a lighter coverage formula, so it does sheer out. The consistency is thin, liquidy, but it doesn’t feel watery or runny. It’s easy to apply, spread, and blend out without using more than you need. While it is naturally a sheerer foundation, it does build to light-medium coverage and covers my natural redness, a few acne/post-acne marks, and evens out my skin tone overall. You can definitely see the impact foundation has in the before and after photos!

The foundation dries down (without using powder) within ten minutes or so, and what you see in photographs is a semi-matte finish where there is enough luminosity in the finish that it doesn’t look flat. It’s not sticky, and it’s comfortable to wear because it doesn’t feel heavy or mask-like. It’s supposed to have “light-diffusing spheres for a soft-focus finish,” and what it actually translates to is smoother-looking skin, even if you don’t really have it. On my normal-to-dry skin, it wears well for seven and a half hours, then it starts to fade around my t-zone, but it looked rather nice even nine hours later–it didn’t turn patchy or fade too noticeably.

See more photos & swatches!