Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup

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


Eileen said...

When I went to the Chanel counter, it seemed like I was in-between the B10 and BR10, so the lovely SA gave me several sample packets of both colors to try at home. When I applied one shade on each half of my face, as the foundation dried, it became obvious that I'm a B10 (very light, neutral beige). So, you're right to advise anyone interested in this foundation to actually visit the counter to try out the shades because this is one of those foundations that adjusts to your skin tone as it dries.

The good news first: It's "finger paint" and can be easily applied with just the fingers. Once set, it imparts a long-wearing, translucent finish that looks like velvet. It is sheer but it can be easily built up under the eyes, around the nose, etc. It doesn't settle in fine lines and creases.

The bad news: It doesn't provide much coverage for sunspots, surface capillaries, and the like. It can be easily built up, but because it is not moisturizing, it can look a bit chalky unless you have a very good moisturizer on under it. Now, here comes my biggest criticism. Like you, Charlestongirl, no matter how much care I took with blending it, it grabbed on unevenly and looked like it was just sitting on the surface. I use Chanel's SPF 50 as my final prep step, so there shouldn't have been any
compatibility issues.

Bottom line: I think this would be nice for someone with oily skin who isn't looking for much coverage.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Eileen. Sounds like our impressions of this foundation were very similar. I did like the velvety look, but didn't see that it was so much better than CdP that it would merit a purchase. AND, I just got a sample of CdP's new foundation, which I'm anxious to try.

I agree, this is a great foundation for oily skin, and perhaps even combo skin. For dry types, there are better options.

Soni said...

Awwww, I'm feeling some trepidation now about this new foundation. I was SOOOO looking forward to it, but after reading these honest reviews (thank you!) I am a little hesitant. Although on the flip side, I want to try the CdP foundation that you were raving about. =)

Charlestongirl said...

Sorry, Soni! It was a bummer to figure out that this foundation may not be target to my "age group." :)

Eileen said...

Oh, Charlestongirl, you have to stop teasing us about the new CdP foundation! We're all waiting eagerly to hear what you have to say about it. I hope you won't be keeping us waiting too long :-)

Charlestongirl said...

By Friday, Eileen! Tomorrow morning, I am going to a Fresh event with the wonderful Jawn Marques. Between that and therapy, it will be a busy day.

Nikkia (Silver Lips) said...

Great review! Now i'm even more sad that they don't offer darker shades. I think I may write Chanel and ask why? Because I really wanna try out this out. Thanks for sharing.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi gal!

Nikkia, I just don't understand why so many beauty companies brag about their range of shades, but "totally forget" that there are African Americans (heck Africans too), Hispanic women, women from Barbados and the rest of the islands, women who make up a huge percentage of the world's population, who can't wear the shades designed for women of European heritage. What gives? Some of my fave cosmetics companies are leaving money on the table. Why would smart business people do that?

Write that letter! I'm sure my readers (me too) would be curious to learn the answer.

Anonymous said...

I just purchased this on Saturday and am usually a very light color in most lines, but purchased BR30, and when i read other reviews was certain it would be to dark even though it looked great at the MU counter. well i was wrong and it is the perfect shade. i adore this foundation and have 50+ dry cheeks with minimal oil on the T-zone. had no problems with any grabbing and it blends like a dream. i have alot of redness in my cheeks and with a 2nd coat it covers it beautifully. This stuff is wears beautifully and looks good 10hrs later. i did not need to powder over it. I am totally in love with this foundation and while i have at least 8 others on the shelf, this may be the "one"!! To echo your review, it has to be put on your skin to be sure of the color and we are all different in our foundation loves! P.S. love your blog, cannot start the day without it!

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Anonymous. That's really sweet!

I knew there would be women who would fall in love with this foundation. I'm glad you are one of them! Enjoy! Isn't it exciting to find a foundation that's perfect for you?

Leah said...

Hi! I just surfed over from The Non Blonde and have to second the criticisms about this foundation.

I tried a sample first and liked it (I'm Beige Rose) so I bought a bottle. I think it's actually a shade too pale but it just doesn't look good on my skin. It was very obvious I had foundation on and it almost dried kind of patchy. I was a big fan of Chanel's Teint Innocence liquid foundation for years and I'm devastated they discontinued it.

I've been wanting to try Aramni though so I may go that way since the new Chanel just isn't going to work. Wah wah.

Charlestongirl said...

Leah, I fear this foundation is going to have as many detractors as fans. We seem to be divided into two camps, with few in between.

I also felt I could see it sitting on my skin. I don't see that with my Armani faves, so I guess I'm an Armani kind of gal. I think Chanel has had better foundations. That said, there's a skin type (probably oily as Eileen said) that is likely to love this one.

That's not me. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

I had to return this foundation, it's a totally disappointing product. What do you expect, asked me a SA when I was returning my bottle, it's just water! I don't know if you tried your CdP yet, but as for me, every foundation is a disappointment compared to Cle de Peau. I've tried and still use from time to time ALL the high-end brands foundations but nothing comes close to Cle de Peau.

Charlestongirl said...

You just reminded me to go wear my CdP sample! I misplaced it, but I think I know where I stuck it. Gosh, thanks!