Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation Review, Photos, Swatches

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.


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

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Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani #5.5 Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani #7 Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Bare skin / Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation
Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

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About the Reviewer


Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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I always loved the results you get from this, but it is so expensive. I tried the supposed dupe for this, loreal’s magic nude liquid powder, and the results were very flat and dull. Maybe someday I’ll give this a try.

If it’s any consolation, it took awhile to get through a bottle – probably 3-4 months of daily use, if not 4-6 months of occasional (2-4 uses per week) use.

Your skin always looks so amazing when you’re wearing this foundation and I’ve been waiting for you to do a review! Everyone has been raving about this foundation but I’ve always had such trouble finding the right shade from the Armani makeup collection, they’re usually too yellow or too pink. I know you have approximately NC25-NC30 skin color, would you suggest 5.5 for someone with approximately NC25 (more neutral less yellow)?

Thanks Christine, I always look to you for your reviews on foundations since you are the most thorough blogger about testing the performance!

I’d go with 5.5 over 6.5, as I think 6.5 is like, a hair too dark on me, but I am like NC27, LOL! But I wear 5.5 all the time and you can’t tell it’s too light, so I think it would work.

I’ve been using this for a while now. I really like it but I sometimes find myself longing for something with a bit more coverage. If only I could find a perfect medium coverage foundation. Perhaps I just need a better concealer.

I really love the feel of this on. This is the only foundation I’ve tried that I actually forgot I had makeup on. Usually as soon as I get home I run to the bathroom to wash my makeup off. I looked at myself in the mirror before going to bed one night and realized I still had all my eye makeup on.

I have oily skin and it doesn’t make my skin more oily, if anything I have a really healthy looking glow throughout the day, trying to set it with powder doesn’t seem to affect that. I took a picture while trying on a dress one day and my face and legs had an awesome healthy glow. I had shaved my legs with grapeseed oil and the face was from this foundation.

To the price concern: in some ways I find it about the same or cheaper as other foundations because I no longer use primer, powder and setting spray with this. It’s been sliding off my face pretty badly in the crazy humid florida summer with no primer and powder though, which is unfortunate.

I’m currently using a makeup forever full coverage concealer but it’s a little too dark and yellow for me. Also, bobbi brown corrector. I’ve been toying with trying the nars radiant creamy concealer because I keep hearing people say they like it better than clea de peau. I have some redness in my nose, cheeks and temples and I really have to use a lot of this to try to mask that.

I’ve tried Armani foundation before and I liked it but I stopped using it and swapped it out for a NARS foundation. I definitely prefer a lighter coverage and if this product wears all day than I would definitely try! The only thing that I don’t like is the applicator. I would much rather prefer a pump!

I’ve used upwards of a dozen different brushes for it since I’ve been using it for several months. Synthetic works well for this as the consistency is on the thin side compared to other liquid foundations.

I’d love to give it a try but there’s no Armani counter in my area (good thing, I can tell you) and I’m wrestling enough with the price of Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau foundation (wrestling but winning the fight!) – and at least with LdeP, I can either get it “free” with loyalty points or accumulate loyalty points buying the stuff!

I got this a month ago or so. I like it. It is very natural looking. All though I have never really managed to get product from within that stem. I just sort of stroke it against my hand.

I read so many good reviews on Nordstrom’s site that I was excited to try it but I have some areas on my face where it’s dry (psoriasis) and it really exaggerated the dryness so I sadly had to return it.

I love this foundation, both the formula and the finish, but I still have questions that (to date) no one has been able to answer about layering it over SPF. This foundation is primarily an oil. And given that oils are what I use to remove my SPF at the end of the day, I can’t help but think that the foundation itself will decrease the effectiveness of my SPF. Maybe I’m just paranoid. I do love the foundation and the drugstore dupe, the L’Oreal Magic Nude Liquid Powder Foundation. (I prefer the Armani, but the L’Oreal is close.)

But if you aren’t actually wiping the foundation off during the day, are you wiping away the SPF? I haven’t heard that oils breakdown the SPF re: efficacy, but obviously oils can breakdown makeup/product – but you have facial oils that would do the same? (to some extent). I’m by no means an expert at all, so your guess is as good as mine, but that was my thought process.

This foundation won’t break down your SPF product. It doesn’t use the types of oils that are used in cleansing oil products. This foundation is composed of pigments suspended in a mixture of 5 dry oils that evaporate at different rates so that the foundation feels comfortable all day. There is an excellent (and long!) post regarding the technology utilized in this foundation along with two FAQs with Linda Pineau and Linda Cantello. You can find the post at Best Things in Beauty 9/1/12. Anyone who is curious as to how this foundation is different from all the rest, should check this article out.

In theory, you should be reapplying SPF at a maximum of every 2 hours (which is kind of amusing when you think about it, LOL), and if one is using a moisturizer along with sunscreen, I can’t imagine the effect of these oils being any different than those in moisturizer. I personally use MPF with SPF to “touch-up” mainly to get that extra bit of protection at the end of the day (I spend most of my daylight hours indoors), as I haven’t found a facial sunscreen that doesn’t require constant reapplication.

The foundation does look flawless on you Christine. I actually went to buy this after seeing a photo of you wearing it. The artist at the counter suggested the Luminuous Silk rather than Maestro as Maestro has fewer shades and not any that suit my colour. I’m surprised at how much I love the Luminuous Silk foundation as light coverage still looks good. I hope they bring out more shades in Maestro though.

Looks great on you. I’m currently using the Luminous silk foundation but I think that Maestro might be better for my combination skin. Thanks for another great review.

This is a foundation I really like, but perhaps not so much for winter. I do like the colour range as it is very forgiving and the product does seem to meld with your skin for an incredibly natural look.. apparently the silicones doing their thing. It’s one of the best mainstream foundation matches I have ever tried. I’m a 4.0 in Maestro which works very well with my light neutral complexion. I have successfully layered this foundation over NARS TM as my skin is more mature and requires additional support in the hydration department and the two work very well together. I can wear this foundation alone, but only in the summertime when it’s quite hot and my skin becomes more prone to shine. Just as a point of reference: I have maturish combination skin. This foundation can definitely yield patchiness on dry areas, but I agree with Christine that it’s looks a bit worse upon initial application then when it has had some time to do it’s vulcan meld with your skin… I’d say an hour or so in after application. I’m not certain I will reach for this in the winter this year since my dry skin becomes a little trickier and cream foundations are easier/quicker to apply. As a foundation junkie, this is a must in my arsenal. It looks really damn good in full light, never over done and seamless and looks great in photos too.

Wow Christine you have amazing skin!
i think this foundation would probably work great for me, but it’s really expensive…
I’m curently using Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua which is very expensive too, but it’s whort it because it makes my sking look great, and i only wear foundation on the weekends so one bottle lasts me almost a year.

I took a sample of this home from Nordstrom’s and…well, it definitely showed me that the texture can be problematic because it leaked out all over my purse before I got home (from a tightly sealed container!). XD I could definitely see the viscosity being an issue if you were carrying the bottle while traveling in hot weather.

What little I had left, though, did wear very nicely when I put it on – though I do feel the shade range needs expansion AND seemed to pull warmer to my eye. The MUA matched me around a 4.0 for my summer skin, but I could only see myself wearing that on days when I get enough sun to gain a “deep” tan, which is somewhere around an NC/W17 on me (and which fades, like, within two days, haha). I’m wondering if 2 or 3 would be a better match on an N15 skin tone. I’ll have to head out and try it again one weekend. Maybe this time the sample will make it home! 😛

The sheerer application is very appealing to me, since it’s the preferred opacity for my foundations. It is very pricey, but…I could see myself loving it. It takes me quite awhile to work my way through a bottle, too, so I could get my money’s worth out of it. Considering, considering…

I believe as with pretty much any brand, the shades may vary from formula to formula. But if I remember correctly, I tried this on in the 5.0 which looked good, and I also use the 5.0 in the Luminous Silk. I agree with the review and all the hype on how this feels differently from other foundations, but my problem is that I have some pigmentation I want to cover up, and I felt as if this didn´t cover anything.

Hi Baby! I’m a 6.5 in Luminous Silk as well as the Maestro Foundation.

I’ve been using this for a couple of months now and as much as I dislike the packaging, I love love love the formula. I used to get so many compliments with Luminous Silk but I seem to get a lot more when using Maestro Foundation. And it’s not the “your makeup looks great” compliment but the “you have the most amazing skin I’ve ever seen”. So yes, MF has definitely kicked LSF out of its number one slot in my favourite foundations. Unfortunately, it’s $97 here in Australia so it definitely is a splurge but my foundations often last me 6-10months so I guess it’s not that bad 😉

I wear #10 and I absolutely love it!! It definitely does a great job at creating an even skintone without feeling like a mask. I dab a drop on my finger and apply in sections….forehead, t-zone and jaw/chin. About three drops in total. Sometimes I don’t bother setting it with any powder while other days I will use my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in “dim”. I find this foundation to be so underrated…thanks for giving it the spotlight. 🙂

Christine, can I just tell you THIS just made my day! I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this review, so a Huge Thank you! =D I knew you’re far more thorough (longer test time) with base products and skincare; I knew it was worth the wait.

At first, it was a love-hate relationship with this foundation. I love the texture, even the scent, the packaging (love the bottle, not much the dropper as it tends to get messy sometimes. I have to try to be precise just putting the dropper back in the bottle), and most especially the whole concept (total game changer). The color match held me back a bit; I’m normally NC40 in MAC and was matched for this in 7.0 (originally an 8.0!) and 6.5 for Luminous Silk. I wore the Maestro still; some days I felt glorious wearing this, others dull because of the semi-matte finish. I have to give it to GA though, it does blend well that it adjusted to my skin tone, somehow. I also have to agree about the dry patches – which was the second drawback for me. Things got better when I switched my moisturizer; my serum or any creamier moisturizer work better with this foundation.

I knew this was worth “fighting for” when I saw how it photographed – that was a wonderful surprise! Another indicator for me that despite of my (almost now minor) issues with it, a MAC MUA complimented the finish and even the color match on me, so I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

I will continue to use this and am loving it just a tad more each time. I’m waiting on a La Mer face cream, hopefully that will make things even better. Will you (re)purchase this foundation, Christine?

Yay! I’m glad it’s working out for you now – and hopefully your skincare routine just helped your skin in general, too, so everything improved 🙂

I would probably repurchase, but it’s hard for me to re-buy foundations when I know I have so many to test!

Christine, the problem comes in with the fact that everything looks good on you. Oh my gosh! I don’t know. I wasn’t all that impressed with GA foundations before and add the hefty pricetag and I think I’ll pass.

I rushed to buy this one on its release. Had to phone a store and get the SA to colour match me from another Armani foundation I used to wear, I am a 4. The texture was so weird but goes on flawless, I found for me fingers were best. But have yet to try using the Real Techniques Face Expert brush. My major problem is I get pulled in by the next new foundation and wander off. After your review I will be wearing it again at the weekend.

Spot on! I have combination oily skin, and I love this foundation for everyday wear. It blends easily, doesn’t oxidize, and (best of all) I can’t even feel it once it’s on. I also think it lives up to the claim of looking invisible. It doesn’t look like I’m wearing foundation—my skin just looks better.

Turns out Loreal’s magic nude the same product as this one. Christine, why dont you add the dupe for this? If people cant afford Giorgio Armani, Loreal’s magic nude is almost exactly the same product but you would know that already..

Hi Leah,

I only add my dupes based on products I’ve actually tried – I don’t know why I would know that, as I haven’t tried it! 🙂 If YOU know of the dupe, please add it to the Dupe List – that is what the community Dupe List is for, so we can harness the power of collective knowledge as I cannot try every single product! I couldn’t compare personall, and while they may sound similar, it is hard to know exactly how similar without having tried it. Reader @Pockykami actually mentioned trying L’Oreal Magic Nude but didn’t find the results very good. Reader @Indie mentioned that she felt Magic Nude was definitely close but prefers the Armani version.

I have a foundation question: are giorgio armani shades the same across the different GA foundation types? I have a GA Maestro foundation in 3 which matches my skin tone perfectly. Will my shade matchin GA Luminous Silk be in #3, as well?


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