Saturday, September 1, 2012

Giorgio Armani Beauty Maestro Fusion Makeup

About a year ago, Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani Beauty's dashing Celebrity Face Designer and National Director of Creative Artistry, told me that Mr. Armani was working on a new foundation that was "made for me." After Tim told me I was going to adore it, I starting waiting, and as it turned out, waiting and waiting. I was dying to get my hands on it - not only because I think Armani has created some of the best foundations on earth, but also because Tim knows my preferences and always knows what I will love.

At long last, Maestro Fusion Makeup ($62) has launched, and along with it came a concealer (more on that this weekend). I was privileged to test and wear Maestro Fusion Makeup for the last 10 days (courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty), and I have already developed unqualified love for this new wonder-foundation. It's really a new makeup category as light as water, but waterless, imparting no makeup feel, but a moist sensation.

Ten years ago, Giorgio Armani created the new face of makeup when he created Luminous Silk Foundation, a lightweight, silky fluid that imparts a natural glow. Since then, weightless textures you can blend and layer to enhance your radiance have become the signature Armani glowing look and feel.

The expectations of women have always been at the heart of Giorgio Armani Beauty research. The quest for simultaneous transparency and coverage in a foundation seemed, until now, practically unsolvable. However, here we are in 2012, after eight years of research, with a new, revolutionary face makeup, Maestro Fusion Makeup with SPF 15.

Maestro is dubbed the Revolutionary Complexion Perfector for good reason. Its unforgettable and unique texture was created using Armani's patented Fusion Technology. Its ultra-fine oil-pigment suspension perfects the complexion with a fluid so light, the only way to know you're wearing it is to look at the remarkable appearance of your face. There's no "makeup feel" at all. Guaranteed!

The high-slip fluid spreads evenly over the skin for a blendable, faultless complexion. It will make your skin look like a professional makeup artist had perfected it - perhaps air-brushed it. Maestro instantly ignites the skin's natural luminosity.

Linda Cantello, Armani's International Makeup Artist said, "It's not a foundation. It's a complextion perfector. A whole new generation of makeup that feels incredible, looks invisible, and makes the skin appear luminous every time. Anyone can wear it!"

Traditional foundations are usually emulsions with water in oil-containing fillers. Those fillers can produce a visible masking effect. Maestro was created with five state-of-the-art principles, delivering a result never seen before.
  1. A water-fee and powder-free base
  2. Totally non-comodogenic
  3. Five time-released oils that evaporate gradually
  4. Smart pigment technology
  5. An easy, fast, fresh, and flawless application with an unforgettable sensory feel
The Fusion Technology delivers the thinnest color film that bonds perfectly and corrects skin imperfections without buildup.

Let's focus on the five oils. Oils are necessary for pigments to spread on the skin's surface. Giorgio Armani Beauty evaluated the different oils using the criteria of density, volatility, nutrition, and blending. Five volatile, semi-volatile, and non-volatile oils were selected one by one to create a precious, clear mixture that is totally miscible with a time-release characteristic.
  • The oils evaporate at different rates, providing an optimal combination of application slip and non-greasy feel, but with a feeling of hydration and comfort all day.
  • The volatile dry oil awakens the skin with an immediate feeling of freshness.
  • A cushiony oil provides a featherlight, glide-on, textural sensation and a perfectly even distribution of the complexion-perfecting pigmented film.
  • The non-volatile complex, including extracts of lotus oil, which has free-radical properties and hydrating agents, remains on the skin's surface.
Maestro is literally a new face makeup category. I'll contrast traditional foundation with Maestro next.

Traditional foundations often have an emulsion of 20% water and 80% oil, permitting a unified spreading of the fluid in order to avoid spots of color. However, they are highly pigmented, with 15% pigments contained in a powdery phase that can create a mask-like effect. The pigments produce a high surface tension, making the formulas hard to spread evenly. BB creams, all the rage, usually contain 20% oil and 80% water, allowing a rapid penetration of the formula and a fresh feeling. However, they have very low pigment percentages (about 4%) that barely correct skin tone. BB skin perfectors are almost like primers; they smooth the skin's surface.

Maestro is not like a traditional foundation and more like a skin perfector in the sense that:
  • It contains water-free oils: 60% time-release translucent, non-greasy oils for a fresh feel, a non-greasy finish, and pure color;
  • It offers an 11% pigment level for perfection of the skin's appearance and tone, with no powder or makeup effect;
  • It has low surface tension for fast and easy application.
Additionally, it offers skin surface penetration due to soft particles selected to provide the thinnest correcting film and an extraordinary sensory feel.

Here's a look on at Maestro on an electronic microscope. You'll probably have to click on this image to enlarge it for optimal examination. It shows that fine lines and blemishes blur away with a bare-faced luminosity.

Here are the results of tests by 60 women aged 20-50 with all skin types. After testing it, I'm in the 100% perfect group.
  • Blends into the skin on application: 100%
  • Easy to wear, you forget you are wearing makeup: 100%
  • Easy to apply, gives rapid and perfect makeup result every time: 98%
  • A pleasure to use: 95%
  • Natural makeup result without a makeup feel: 95%
The eliptical-shaped bottle and luxurious, black lacquered dropper deliver the Maestro Fusion Makeup drop by drop for customized application. The first time I used it, I assumed I might need a few drops. As a result, I wasted some (which I consider a tragedy). One drop would have covered my entire face. You should have seen me trying to recover what was left in my palm by pouring it back into the bottle. The liquid's ultra-fine texture immediately blends into the skin on application. It's easy to apply, build, and wear, yielding rapid and perfect results with each application. You can use your fingers, foundation brush, or sponge to apply it. Use a saturated sponge to avoid wasting it.

The "smart pigments" infuse the skin with natural color. They are so fine and pure that rays of light will not be absorbed on the skin. They provide a surface that reflects light, a perfect 360-degree radiance. It might seem paradoxical that only a few shades can cover the full range of skin tones - from the palest of pale to chocolate - but it's possible because of the transparency of the formula. There are 12 shades available in the U.S., one for everyone. I have no idea why the rest of the world got only nine.

I'm going to share with you a Q&As with Patricia Pineau, Communications Director of L'Oréal Research, and Linda Cantello, but I'll do it at the end of this feature. I am a #2 in Luminous Silk, Designer Lift, Designer Shaping Cream, and my old favorite Hydra Glow. I'm also a #2 in the new Maestro. I find it hard to believe that one fairly small drop of Maestro covers my entire face. It literally disappears into my skin, but leaves my skin tone even and luminous - not shiny luminous, simply "with life." It does not cover a few dark sun spots on my face. Nothing does except heavy, gloppy concealers. I've learned to live with my spots.

This is the most revolutionary "foundation" I've ever worn. Even women who prefer heavy foundations are likely to be stunned by the natural effects of the Maestro formula. It provide a perfect base for blush, bronzer, and other products in powder or cream form. Simply put, it's astounding.

Here are those Q&As, abridged slightly. The first is with Patricia Pineau.

What was the inspiration for the Giorgio Armani Laboratories' researchers when they created Maestro?
The expectations of women are contradictory when it comes to face makeup. They want a light, velvety, silky film, but also coverage that hides imperfections: transparency and coverage. Researchers developed a formula that is easy to apply, extremely thin with a perfectly unified distribution when applied, and that covers imperfections.

How were the researchers able to satisfy expectations that seem impossible?
With an exceptional formula that replaces water, usually contained in foundation formulas, by a specific harmony of oils. Five oils were selected out of thousands according to different degrees of volatility to compose the Maestro formula. With the volatility of these oils, we have lost the mass effect, so it feels like nothing has been applied on the skin.

How can this formula be so thin, but covering?
Maestro is relatively fluid. Just a few drops on the skin, delivered by the dropper, allow a very thin film that's truly pleasant to apply. The oils deliver a perfect finish and a homogeneous distribution of all the pigments.

What type of skin is Maestro for?
This new face makeup category is perfectly adapted to all skin types. The oils contained in the formula don't leave any greasy film on the skin. Therefore, this product is even adaptive for oily skins.

Linda Cantello brings her makeup artistry skills to the fore in her Q&A.

How is Maestro different from other foundations?
It's not a foundation! Lots of people have asked me what makes it so special and different. It's actually a completely revolutionary, new face makeup category: a complexion perfector, in the most amazing sense of the word.

You're a professional makeup artist, why will Maestro be a key product in your makeup case?
It is so easy to apply - just a few drops and you have a matte and luminous finish. Maestro matches every look and every need. From the most nude or classical makeup to the most sophisticated and daring looks. Every woman can now have a professional makeup artist finish all day long with just a few drops. No makeup can look good without a good canvass.

How does it feel?
It is very sensual; it just feels incredible and fresh, but at the same time, it's featherlight, just as pleasant as a moisturizer. [Note from me: I can't feel it at all. I do feel my skin care.] I think women will love to apply it. When I used it on the model in the backstage of the Maestro campaign, she said it was magical, and I thought she was right.

How does Maestro complete the Giorgio Armani face makeup range?
Giorgio Armani foundations, and more than ever with Maestro, are like his clothing. You notice the woman and her great skin. Giorgio Armani has envisioned his foundations like his fabrics, the best quality, cutting-edge technology, true color - they all come together to flatter and enhance, rather than disguise.

What is your advice to select the right shade?
The formula is so thin and the distribution of pigments so homogeneous, that it is actually very easy to match any skin tone. Only a few shades will fit all the skin tones in the world. The Giorgio Armani teams in the points of sale will help find the right shade for you.

There you have it: one of the most exciting beauty introductions of 2012. It will be available this month at Giorgio Armani Beauty's Web site and at counters in fine department stores. I'd recommend you check it out.

I can tell you first-hand that Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie has it for sale. Call the Armani counter at (202) 966-9700, extension 2241. There's a gift with purchase too.

Photos courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty


Anonymous said...

Do you think it will be ok for very oily skin?

TheDiversePhD said...

As a scientist I appreciate when companies show 'hard facts and results'. I am very intrigued by this foundation and may try to find a sample in my shade to try.

amy said...

Thanks for this indepth treatment. I wonder how the coverage is. I suspect it's sheer. I keep reading words like "perfect coverage," but I suspect that it's either layer-able (is it?) or it is used in connection with a concealer.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous, I think so, after using it. I think their "suitable for all skin types" is fact-based, not hype.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Beauty Scientist!

I like to see facts too. Although the sample of 60 testers was small (compared to a drug, for example), it was normal for a beauty product. I think the percentages were extraordinary.

I can't stress enough how different it is.

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there Amy!

Yes, it's sheer. That said, it has the most amazing capability to take the red out of the center of my face. It does not, however, cover my two small dark "freckles," which are really sun damage.

I suspect Tim knew how much I'd love it because he knows I really like to look like me but better, not like I'm sporting the best new makeup on the market.

Eileen said...

Hi Anonymous,

I'd certainly ask for a sample. Jessica of the Canadian blog Beautezine reviewed it and loved it. She describes her skin as oily, acne prone, and sensitive. In her review she said she had no breakouts despite her skin being particularly oily this summer and her before and after application pictures will give you a good idea of the level of coverage. She highly recommends the foundation.

Hi Amy,

See my comment to Anonymous above and then check out Jessica's before and after application pictures to see the level of coverage. It is impressive.

Hi Charlestongirl,

Thank you for this beautifully done and thorough description of the product. After the long wait for this new formulation to come out, I'm thrilled that you love it and are recommending it. Since we both have dry, sensitive, mature skin, if it works for you, it will work for me :-) Armani foundations have been well represented in my foundation repertoire for years, but it sounds like this new concept is going to blow the others out of the water. That one foundation can be perfect for such different skin types as yours and Jessica's is just amazing. I can hardly wait to try it out for myself.

Anonymous said...

Why do they to put SPF 15 into foundations? Everyone knows today that is not nearly sufficient protection. So why do they even bother?
Would prefer foundation without lame spf so I can use my own suscreen.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Eileen,

I can't imagine it clogging anyone's pores. You are absolutely right - you're going to love it. :)

bisbee said...

Thank you - I'm calling to order tomorrow!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

Because most of us prefer it.

Charlestongirl said...

Have fun, Bisbee!

Gail said...

Hi Anonymous, I too prefer foundations without SPF because of my sensitivity to most. Do you by any chance have the full ingredient list for this foundation CG?

Charlestongirl said...

Yes, but it would take me forever to type it. Do you have a particular ingredient that interests you?

I could try to scan it tomorrow at my neighbor's house. Not sure it will scan well with a black background, though.

LilyBiscuit said...

Great post! I want to try this one. I've been so frustrated trying to find the correct formulation for my fair, oily skin. What primer is recommended with this, if any?

Becca @ The Beauty Sample said...

This foundation seems out-of-this-world divine! But, even though they claim oily skins can use it, I am still doubtful that it would hold up on my very oily skin--especially in hot weather like this. Still, I'd love to stop by a counter and give it a try, if only to feel the amazing texture on my skin!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi LilyBiscuit,

The only thing to do is try it. Order it from Nordies if you don't have a counter nearby. That way, you can return it if it doesn't work for you. I think it should.

Charlestongirl said...

Becca, same for you. Try it! Because of the way this absorbs, I doubt it will melt off. However, I'm not an authority on oily skin.

Claudia said...

wow, not only do I have to get the LMDB glow mask product you featured the other day but now I have to run out an get this also! I appreciate you pointing out that is is sheer but does cover some red as I do have mild rosacea. Hopefully it will be available out here on the west coast soon. You are all lucky out there on the east coast as you seem to get everything well before we do. I guess it is fortunate for us west coast ladies to have Charleston Girl in the inner circle so she gets to try things out for us and give us a true opinion about new products. Thanks again

Eileen said...

Hi Becca,

Check out Jessica's review on Beautezine. She has oily, acne prone, sensitive skin and she loved it even though she said her skin had been especially oily this summer. It's certainly worth a try.

Hi Anonymous,

I share your opinion that SPF 15 is pretty "lame". I always use SPF 50 on my face and décolletté (love Chanel's SPF 50). I guess something is better than nothing, though; especially for those women who haven't adopted the sunscreen habit. Personally, I'd rather use my own sunscreen since I have issues with certain chemical ones. I like to choose that which will work for me without irritating my skin rather than having to use the one that the company decided to use.

Hi Claudia,

I'm on the West Coast (So Cal), too, and have always wondered why we get things later than the East Coast. It's not like I live in the boonies. I live in Ventura County and have easy access to all kinds of upscale shopping in the Valley, the Westside (Beverly Hills, etc.) and the OC.. You'd think we'd get everything first! At least we have Charlestongirl to whet our appetites :-). Isn't she the greatest? As soon as she reviews something new and wonderful, I start bugging my favorite SA's as to when it will arrive. LOL

Anonymous said...

I was going to tell you how amazing this is. I got it early. BTW, IT COVERS! Because it's so thin, you can easily layer it and it won't cake. It really blurs Imperfections like a heavy duty foundation would do, without the heavy look and feel. This thing is genius!

Also. I had to say you're wrong about Tom ford fall. It's glorious! The shadow quads are divine and unique, the gloss is sex in a tube, and the pink lipstick is pretty and fresh! Brightens up your face. Haven't tried blush, not into the nail stuff. Oh, and the cream shadow is a liner, not like the summer shadows.

Anonymous said...

And it is available in the west coast! It's at saks bev hills, neimans in topanga, and nordies in topanga too.

Eileen said...

Hi Gail,

I almost forgot you! If you go to, they have the complete list of ingredients for Armani's Fusion Makeup. I had checked it earlier because I was interested in what sunscreen agent was being used. I have very mild rosacea but still have to exercise caution.

Charlestongirl said...

Gail, wasn't Eileen a genius to know to look there?

Charlestongirl said...

Claudia, you should get them soon. Have hope!

Nina said...

I received a generous sample from my local NM GA counter and must add my 2 cents. This foundation is truly not like any I have ever tried before. It is quite sheer and sort of color-adapting but somehow manages to "cover" or blur any redness or imperfections. It looks like you have perfect skin. Although I really like it, I think if you have very oily skin, you might not like the feel of it. This is one foundation you really must sample first because it is so different. I love the dropper bottle design - the SA told me you are supposed to use your fingers to apply, not a brush, btw.

Unknown said...

I am so excited to try this!

Gail said...

Yes, she is a genius! Thanks Eileen!

Anonymous said...

If only L'Oreal didn't find it necessary to test on animals. I'll stick to Chanel.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

I said it was disjointed. I don't think I implied that the pieces weren't nice, although their price continues to leave me scratching my head. :)

I like to see collections that hang together. One year, my beloved Armani put out a collection (the word used loosely) that was disjointed. It had no coherent theme. Even the expert reps were at a loss for how to characterize it. It was a little of this and a little of that. This is how I view TF fall.

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there Nina! I heard that fingertip thing too, but I've tried all three ways, and that was my least favorite method of application. Perhaps the fingers warm it, but I don't think it needs warming. I actually like me sponge the best. The finish comes out flawless.

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there Nina! I heard that fingertip thing too, but I've tried all three ways, and that was my least favorite method of application. Perhaps the fingers warm it, but I don't think it needs warming. I actually like me sponge the best. The finish comes out flawless.

Charlestongirl said...

Morning, PP!

You must get a sample!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

We need a law prohibiting it. Even companies who claim they do no animal testing are using ingredients that were animal tested. The whole practice should stop everywhere. I guess we need a worldwide ban.

Clarisse said...

I was looking forward to your review, Charlestongirl knowing this foundation was something big...
Now I must go to an Armani counter next time I am in Paris to know which shade to buy (Here we can buy it on the Sephora website but can't send it back if the shade doesn't suit the skin...!so I'll be on the safe side and wait until mid september)Thanks for your great review:-)

stellaglo said...

about the sunscreen...i'm guessing it's chemical. i can't seem to get the beautezine article to load so i'll ask you to deal the death blow to my foundation the SPF ingredient oxtinoxate or similar? thanks.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Clarisse,

I think you'll love it. Definitely look for it when you go to Paris.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Stellaglo,

It's 3% octinoxte.

Eileen said...

Hi Stellaglo,

If you are sensitive to certain chemical sunscreens (I am) then a very handy site to know about is Type in the name of the product and you can access a full ingredient list if it has been made available. In the case of the new Armani Fusion Makeup, a complete list of ingredients is posted.

chica said...

CG thanks for this incredible post! Foundations are a dreaded thing...but this sounds wonderful.
If you have a chance, could you tell me how this layers over moisturizer or spf? I find some foundation ingredients aren't compatible with moisturizers and spf and they "pill" on my skin. I suspect this is quite moisturizing on its own but I always wear a base coat of high spf (La Roche Posay Anthelios spf 60) and then a smattering of foundation over it.

Jane said...

I tried this on my neck and hand (I was all decked out in foundation already) at Tyson's NM, but the SA walked away before i could ask any questions. Do you find that it wears well throughout the whole day?

Charlestongirl said...

Jane, I'm sorry to hear that. Next time you are in the department, ask for Loula Ayoub. She will ensure you are served well.

Yes, this foundation wears all day on my skin. That said, those who have trouble with fading foundations might want to wear a primer.

Cathy said...

Hello, thanks for the details. Is #2 shade a pale yellow? I can only wear pale yellow and my best color match for foundation is Sisleys oil free foundation in 0 or porcelain, I live hours from a counter so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks

Norig said...

It's at Bloomingdales Soho too!!

camilla said...

Hi! You just have to help me :)
I can't get swatches from this foundation since I live far away from everything and in the wrong country, so I need to get it right on my online order..
I am fair with very yellow undertones. My friend has the #2 which I tried and while it looks almost like my skin it is a tad too white on me. I wish it was a teeny bit darker and more yellow.
I think I'm a NC20 but am not sure. The PERFECT match for me is Shiseidu Sun Protection Liquid Foundation in SP30. I'd love it if there's a match among the armani shades. Do you think #4 or #4.5 would be a better match for me or are they too dark?

Sasha said...

On oily skin: I was able to try this today at Neiman Marcus, I have fairly oily and sensitive skin (I have reddish nose and cheeks). This is the first time my redness looked completely corrected and covered and I didn't have any sort of green corrector on. It looked a little too pale at first but then after a few minutes it didn't feel like I had anything on and the color blended perfectly. (I'm around MAC NC20 and I was matched with 5 in this). I checked myself in the mirror 5 hours later (without putting on any powder or oil control anything) and my skin had the same glow it did when it was first applied and I didn't look or feel oily. I will probably try my sample with powder and UD's Deslick to see the texture difference but I didn't feel like I needed it. This is going to hydrate your skin so it doesn't need to produce more oil. I was hesitant when the SA put it on me for the oil, but it's amazing and lovely.

kathleen said...

I just picked this up at Neiman's. I love it. Thanks for the tip

Unknown said...

I would like to know comparison between giorgio armani, channel and Tom Ford FOUNDATION AND PRIMER. Can you advise? thank you

Unknown said...

I have been using this product since last year and cant live without it. Since I moved to Canada I have not been able to find one. I live in Edmonton, Alberta.

Please help.

Abiyeler said...

The informations are so lovely and so usefull so thank you very much. Be sure i will use all of them keeping in my mind.Have a goog luck.