I had an opportunity to test Chanel's new Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15 ($45). Chanel advertises that the tiniest drop of this hybrid fluid creates a fresh, natural complexion. Skin looks refined and feels refreshed, creating an exquisite makeup experience. The fluid formula has a soft, water-light texture. It comes in 10 shades, so Chanel believes that there's one that matches perfectly to your skin’s undertones, whether pink or beige.
After seeing the shades on Chanel's Web site, I know that there is no shade that my chocolate-skinned friends will be wearing. Why are they always left out? My skin has both yellow and pink undertones, depending on the location on my face (red in the middle). I am definitely a B10 (Beige - Pastel). After applying the foundation, I look very beige - nicely, beige - and my skin tone is even. Since some of the little shade squares on Chanel's Web site look odd (is anyone's skin the color of Beige Rosé - Sienne?), I think this is a foundation best chosen at a Chanel counter. I can't imagine selecting a shade without testing it.
Ever since Bobbi Brown popularized yellow-based foundation shades, I've stuck close to shades that have a touch of yellow to counteract any redness in my face (which comes and goes). Although B10 isn't pink-based, it's not yellow-based either. It's beige through and through. I am pleased that it matches my neck at the jawline perfectly.
The foundation is too "watery" to be a cream, but too creamy to be a liquid. I think I'll stick with Chanel's use of the term "hybrid" to describe its texture. It provides medium coverage, evening my skin tone, but it doesn't cover sun spots. It softens them, but doesn't cover them. I find it a little hard to blend so that it doesn't sit on top of my skin, exposing my pores. In a close-up examination, it looks like I'm wearing foundation, even after serious blending. That's not really a criticism - just an observation. Maybe that's the sunscreen in it - I'm not sure.
Vitalumière Aqua is not moisturizing. If you have dry skin, make sure to apply a heavy dose of moisturizer before you use it. Again, not a problem; that may even be a plus for most women, including those who experience the mid-day melt-off. This foundation is extremely long-wearing. On my skin, it even survived a nap with one side of my face on the pillow. When I examined my face after the nap, my foundation still looked good. One thing I really appreciate is that it stays on my nose, usually the first part of my face to lose foundation - and the part that needs it the most.
Vitalumière Aqua, like most Chanel products, does have a fragrance. I'm not sure what it is. It's not strong, like the scent of Chanel skin care; it's just there.
I'm not sure whether I will purchase Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup. I have some stellar foundations, including my favorites from Giorgio Armani, Bobbi Brown, and Clé de Peau. I'm also anticipating some other new ones (Bobbi Brown is launching an Extra foundation) that may put Chanel's on the back-burner of my buy list. That said, I think this foundation is going to be very popular. Few women share my skin's peculiarities.
Don't purchase Vitalumière Aqua online. Go to a Chanel counter to select your shade. I got my generous, custom-made samples at Neiman Marcus.
Photo courtesy of Chanel