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Monday, 10 September 2012

Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation Review / Swatches

Maestro Fusion Makeup is a brand new formula from cult bassists Giorgio Armani and my review of it is brought to you by Selfridges' early release [available nationwide from October 1st] and helpful provision of samples, and my inability to resist anything touted as a foundation game-changer. Which comes in a wee glass dropper bottle!

It's like, all SCIENCEY, but there's a delicate wisp of silk too, for the laydeez. [Surely I am not the only one to extrapolate from this that their next foundation will be called Impressario Cold Fusion and the ad will feature tassels? And an elephant.]

If my tone hasn't tipped you off, in my opinion this foundation aint no game-changer. In fact, there are only two things stopping me from calling naked emperor altogether:

  1. The texture feels like the most cutting-edge of dry oils from high end skincare brands -- with more glide than even a very dry neat oil like jojoba (technically a wax blah blah shush) -- and applies like a dream. It's literally 'effortlessly blendable', blending seamlessly as you apply. I generally dislike using my fingers for makeup application, but they worked beautifully with this formula; I honestly think you could load this stuff into Homer Simpson's makeup gun, shoot yourself, and get a perfect finish.
  2. It adjusts to match my skintone. Just like the copy promised. Making this my first match in Armani since they discontinued the palest shade of Designer Cream 4? 5? years back.

Bare 
I like to review foundations hot on the heels of a breakout so the current gauntlet (thanks, stress & summer flu!) consists of: spots on cheeks, both fresh and just-healed, volcanic cyst in middle of forehead, flaky nose and cheeks, usual unevenness/sallow patches.


Armani Maestro Fusion #2

A great example of a light-as-air texture failing to translate as a natural-as-skin finish. Despite offering only light-medium coverage [even the sallowness around my mouth and the faint red marks on my cheeks are still visible, not to mention the brighter spots] Maestro still looks like foundation. Texturally, it actually emphasises ....everything, highlighting the flakes on my inner cheeks and bracketing my nose (while not covering the redness at all?!) and picking out every strand of peach fuzz [look near my jawline in the second picture]. These flaws were much more obvious in reality than my camera would have you believe, and I don't give any makeup bonus points for how it looks in photos. Failin' as blogger, I know....

More seriously, it is not only cosmetically but also physically drying (alcohol denat. is fourth on the ingredients list), leaving my skin tight and itchy by lunchtime and with red and peeling patches after washing it off at 5 pm. Other sensitive-skinned folk may wish to note inclusion of fragrance and botanicals among aaaaall teh cones.

So obviously this formula is not for me. Which isn't too heartbreaking as regular readers may know that I do not enjoy sheer foundations, much preferring to use a miniscule amount of full-coverage stuff sheered out myself on a beautyblender sponge or to skip foundation altogether and prime/spot conceal as necessary.

Still think the colour shift thing is pretty nifty though.
From jaundice-face immediately after application....

....to a perfect match ten minutes later
Note: Maestro's coverage didn't miraculously improve in this ten minutes; I added Becca compact concealer Meringue over spots and Burberry Sheer pen 01 under eyes. 
[Other makeup Addiction Arabian Nights eye kohl, Concrete Jungle eyeshadow, Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Mascara Volume // Addiction Faithful // RBR Gracilis]

I cannot explain this witchery; perhaps one of you wise readers could? Or chime in if Maestro also changes up on you, or if it doesn't, or if you love it and it's your new baby and I can go suck a goat. Y'know, the usual.

The magic does not happen on my arm with a heavier swatch, so Armani Maestro 2 remains definitely yellower than Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, Illamasqua Skin Base 2, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory or Bourjois Healthy Mix 51, although (only) Bourjois is a little darker than the Armani.
foundation swatches Armani Maestro Fusion 2 Shu Uemura Nobara stick 784, Illamasqua Skin Base 2, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory, Bourjois Healthy Mix 51

More comparison swatches by request: MAC Studio Sculpt NC15; Armani Lasting Silk, Luminous Silk and Maestro 2 and MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC15. Which illustrates how inconsistent these letters and numbers can be even within a brand.foundation swatches Armani Maestro Fusion 2, MAC Studio Sculpt NC15 Studio Fix Fluid NC15, Armani Lasting Silk 2 Luminous Silk 2

27 comments:

  1. I just tried a sample of #3 from Selfridges today as well and it didn't knock my socks off, probably because my skintype is too oily to work well with this type of oil-based foundations. Still, it was an interesting concept to explore. Love your wonderfully detailed foundation reviews!

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  2. I am so happy to see this review. I have been so hyped up and eager to get this after all the reviews I've been seeing. I really don't need another sheer foundation though. It seems like all of mine are sheer. What are your fave med-full coverage that you think would be best for dryer skin? I don't have a single fuller coverage in my collection!

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    1. Bearing in mind no foundation ever makes flakes look *good* imo...
      I do like Suqqu Frame Fix Cream, Laura Mercier Silk Cream and Shu Nobara.
      I never set these with powder and in autumn/winter I would prep underneath with a moisturising primer (my fave is Suqqu Makeup Base Creamy, but Shu SP works a pinch) and/or mix the foundation with a highlighter (RBR liquids or RMS cream).

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  3. Interesting to read a non-rave Maestro review. One other review mentioned that the formula tends to emphasize dry patches. My skin is dry and sensitive but I still plan to check this out. Also, the companion concealer is on my list to try as well. However, I"ll be insisting on samples before springing for a full size one now. I'm attracted to this one for its sheerness and ease of application with fingers, no brushes and sponges.

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    1. Those are excellent reasons to try it, Nikki, do let me know how you like it. I really enjoy the texture.

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  4. now I am even more curious about this foundation. I have a sample sitting in my drawer. I love the eye makeup you did, I am wearing something like this for the past few days. Since I am 'tan' I think #2 would be a great match now / Claire

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  5. I heard somewhere that this contains a blend of volatile and non-volatile oils, and so when you apply, the volatile ones evaporate, hence the setting and changing color situation.
    You put words on what I am thinking about UD Naked: " light-as-air texture failing to translate as a natural-as-skin finish" and that I was unable to put in verbiage. Can I quote you?

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    1. :*
      The only other foundation I've experienced this reverse-oxidisation thing with was the older Lunasol Water Cream formula (pre 2010). I must google up a ingreds list for that to compare now...

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  6. Not gonna lie Driveller, I choked so hard from laughing on this one! Also got a summer flu ¬_¬
    Looks glorious, I think I might try this and hold off from buying Face Fabric!

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    1. >:C
      Ach, I know you are another woman who gets man flu.... >.>

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  7. impressive colour-changing, I fancy giving this a go.

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    1. It seems a few other makeupalley folk have experienced this colour-shift but others don't -- v freaky phenomenon!

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  8. Fabulous and witty review (as always)-- it is so nice to see that not everyone is waxing poetic about this foundation. There is so much hype surrounding it that one would think that it is the universal Holy Grail foundation to beat all past, present and future foundations!! It's very nice to have a reality check in the midst of all of the effusive gushing about this product! That said, I am curious to feel it and see it, but I have a suspicion that it may not work for me for many of the same reasons that you so lucidly enumerated! Thanks for yet another brilliant review! <3

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    1. ty for your lovely, thoughtful comment! :D

      It feels a little isolating to be "meh" about the Hot New Thing but foundation is one of the most personal-preference-laden after all.

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    2. Oh Kate-- You are so very welcome, but I was simply stating the truth!!

      Your "meh" review is precisely what was needed in the midst of all of the Maestro Madness!! I think that so many people are taken by the unique texture and effortless ability to spread across the skin that they may be too seduced by these things to be scrutinizing it as heavily as they should be for a new product that promises to revolutionize the world of foundations. Of course there are scores of people who love this foundation, and it works gloriously for them, but I think that all of the fervor has caused many people to assume that this is the "it" foundation for everyone. I know that I have done this with certain hyped products in the past-- only to realize, after the dust settles, that it was just "meh" and not a good match for me to boot. Again, this is not to say that the many people who love it are wrong for loving it, but I don't think that Maestro is the panacea in the world of foundations. I have two samples of Maestro that I have been trying, and my first alarm went off when I realized that this modern day elixir is ostensibly one pigmented pot of silicone-- I'm actually rather surprised by how many and how much silicone is being used in this product. I had been hoping that this new technology was leaning into the whole dry oil revolution, rather than using yet more silicone-- which certainly accounts for the extraordinary texture, but this aspect certainly is not revolutionary. I found my color match to be fairly accurate, but I have to agree with you that it REALLY accentuated the flakies that I am having right now in a couple of areas-- in fact I would actually argue that it has actually exacerbated them. I'm going to keep wearing my samples, but I think that this is ultimately going to be a miss for me. I really wish that this formula had far far less silicone in it!! Again, thank you for your brilliant detailed review!!

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  9. Which foundations do you love using then, or what newly released ones do you approve of? I tried this and it emphasized my flakies too. Llamasque skin base also emphasizes my flakies. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Tam.
      I dislike both those foundations too :)
      The recent release that most impressed me was Estee Lauder Invisible.
      See above for my reply to Perilously Pale :)

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  10. I have very very oily skin. And after seeing reviews and reading ones such as this would you prefer it? I'm stuck between this one and the Lasting Silk.

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  11. Thanks so much for the review! And the humor :-) Finally someone who isn't on the Maestro Fusion = HG bandwagon. I tried the #2 and #3. I absolutely LOVED the perfect color match! Being fair-skinned that's always a Herculean challenge. And it feels super light. But, really, this stuff is so freakin' drying and flat looking. Couldn't get past the instant emphasis of every tiny hair or mark on my face. Ugh! Had to return it. For Fall/Winter I'm into the reformulated Diorskin Nude Glowing (010) and the YSL Le Teint Touch Eclat (BR10 purchased from Harrods b/c they don't sell BR10 in the states). I also like to mix those two. A little yellow, a little pink, a lot of glow. Old standby's are Lancome Teint Idole Freshwear (1C) and Chanel Mat Lumiere (Ivory 14) -- on me both are stay put matte and non-transfer. So nice. I just don't get the Maestro foundation hype. Doesn't work for me at all. Maybe in the summer when I'm less sensitive/dry? IDK. It's just thin, highly pigmented, one-dimensional, fast drying liquid blah. I was so bummed!

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  12. You are so gosh darn readable D':
    Just came across your blog and gotsta say, you're pretty cool lady! You're like, all pretty and funny and smart? What's up with that?

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  13. I have been testing this product for the last month and trying to like it but in my opinion it fails in all areas. It left my skin looking flat and matte and although I was personally matched to two shades by an Armani artist, both shades left my skin looking pale and ashy. Not impressed in any capacity, especially after I got a blemish the day following application.

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  14. Hi Kate,

    I wonder if you could give a description regarding the shade on the Bourjois vs Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation?
    I've been eyeing the GA foundation, but was unsure on the shade. I was hoping 2 might be a match, but I couldn't be sure as I will order it online.
    How would the Bourjois 51 compare to the GA LuS foundation? And could you let on whether it's the Serum or Foundation healthy mix that you are using?

    Thank you in advance.

    Much love,
    Cassie

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    1. Hi Cassie, I don't use either Armani or Bourjois (both too dark and warm, even in summer). I swatched here for comparison purposes.

      This is Bourjois Healthy Mix (original). It's maybe a tiny hair darker than Armani Luminous 2 and slightly more pink-toned (but still on the yellow side of neutral).

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    2. Thanks so much! That helps a lot. :) Really appreciate your reply Kate.

      Hugs
      Cassie

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  15. My experience with Maestro is exactly as you described; I only wish I had read this B4 I ebayd my n0n-returnable purchase..boohoo. For me, using Argan oil under Maestro helps keep it believable. I think 5.5 is very peachy- a slightly lighter version of MAC ProLongW NW25. But I'm very happy cuz now I can trust your other suggestions! My next purchase will be the Vapour AtmosLum Foundation-thx for the link- they have samples!!! I love that your writing makes me smile- your incredible accuracy and obsessive style is perfect! Thx! Molly

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