Those of you following along have seen my recent quest to find the best foundation. I've been migrating from my long-standing favorite to something new and it's been an epic quest that has taken me to beauty counters far and wide. My deep search turned up lots of great experimentation, plenty of gems along the way and a few disappointments as well. Little did I know that my very first stop to the Chanel counter a few months ago would yield what I now deem as the very best of the best.
First, a bit of background. I have combo skin that's drier on the cheeks and oilier in the t-zone. I'm not looking for full coverage, light to medium is preferred. I'm also somewhat fair skinned with a light olive complexion with yellow-undertones. Those pinkish colors some lines are based upon simply won't work for me. I tan very easily, but I'm a slave to sunscreen so my face stays fairly pale, tipping me towards the lighter end of most color spectrums.
Since I'm shifting from a tinted moisturizer I discovered that most true foundations felt uncomfortable to me. Many are are too thick, too dry and often too opaque for my taste. Even the "new breed" of lightweight foundations largely turned out to be a bit different from what my skin really craved. Besides, if I'm wearing this product all day it only makes sense that my color coverage could serve as a treatment of some sort as well.
So... what did I discover I loved? A CC cream AND a super lightweight foundation. Chanel to be exact, and I consider each of them to be a big surprise since they were products I initially thought weren't for me. In fact, my first trip out to find what was new and different on the scene led me to my Chanel counter at Neimans. The makeup pro on duty took no time to match me up with what she deemed to be my perfect shade and Holy Grail product. I resisted, turned off by the pedestrian squeeze bottle applicator. All the other Chanel products come in glossy pump top style bottles with frosted or clear glass. But I have to admit... she nailed it.
Who can resist coverage, sun protection and a daily beauty treatment in one? Not this savvy babe! Chanel CC Cream adds an extra dose of moisture and SPF that I love. And the foundation? Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. It does not come in a chic bottle (boo!), but the miraculous liquid inside is enough to completely sway me and win my devotion. Pair this with their Base Lumiere and brace yourself for surprisingly flawless skin that looks like you - only so much better - and lasts all day.
So... why two products, you ask? Excellent question.
In the process of searching for my skin soulmate I learned a lot about makeup in general. While I considered myself a cosmetic expert of sorts before, it became clear to me that technologies in this arena evolve quickly and I needed to up my game. It also became apparent that much like a jacket or dress wardrobe, one foundation (or tinted moisturizer or CC cream) would not be enough to prepare me for all occasions. Some days (or events) call for a more "finished" look and would require an upgrade to my normal dewy "my skin by better" appearance.
Some days that CC cream is the solo star of the show. The result is a brighter look (it's a shade lighter than the foundation) with a more diffused, velvety matte finish. Other days I crave the dewy look that Vitalumiere Aqua (against all that I originally believed to be true) delivers. My favorite look, however, is a combination of the two. Together they achieve the perfect match for my skin color and my desired "dew" factor. I squeeze a tiny dot of both on the back of my hand and blend with my favorite brush for a look that is so realistic looking it almost fools me into thinking my natural complexion is perfect. (It is not!) Pores are diminished. Tone is even yet natural looking, I look healthy and radiant. This duet is that good!
Note: the CC Cream is limited to just three colors. I happen to be a near perfect match for Beige Clair 20. They also have JUST released Beige 40. Previously, the only other shade was Rose 30, a pinkish tinted cream. For Vitalumiere Aqua I was paired with Beige 20, a color I insisted (to every makeup artist who reached for the shade) was too dark. But it actually works. Neither of these products oxidize over time, so the color stays true all day. But mixing the two seems to lend staying power and creates a texture that is absolutely perfect for me.
Another valuable lesson? Primers are miraculous but very difficult to select. I grew to love very few and loathe many others. Details make all the difference, and in this case that means I needed some convincing to realize that a loose powder would be necessary as well. Ewwww, I thought. Powder? Yes. Powder. I chose Chanel's Poudre Universelle Libre in the lightest shade. This isn't your great grandmother's powder puff (although admittedly she had a system that worked). Imagine a barely there veil of micro-fine mineral powder. A featherlight dusting of this with a kabuki brush acts as a miraculous last step to ensure that your flawless face is going to look "selfie ready" all day long. Note that this is a completely invisible powder that doesn't leave you chalky or powdered up. A tiny bit goes a long way and I just lightly dust the center of my face and around my eyes for an airbrushed finish.
FRESH FACED ALL STARS
Remember those Tilbury products I fell hard for a few weeks ago? I still love them. In fact, Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder has landed a permanent spot in my makeup-meets-skincare arsenal. I'm discovering there will be seasons in Texas (I'm looking at you, Spring & Summer!) when Light Wonder is just too hydrating (humid days are one example). On drier days (think: all fall & winter) this magical tube of moisturizing-Beyonce-beauty-enducing-fluid is exactly what I reach for. Sadly, right now (note: we've had more rain this spring than I ever recall seeing in Dallas. Ever.) it leaves me feeling just a tad too wet and dewy. In addition, I'm cycling off my retinol products for a few weeks which is likely affecting the dryness of my skin. Don't count this magical tube of goodness out for me.
I can tell you this: on days when I wear Light Wonder, I am greeted at the end of the day by a plumper, firmer, smoother face with pores vanquished. It absolutely lives up to its skincare meets makeup claims. This tube of color is beyond AWESOME and if I'm being honest with myself, I'd be a fool to ever let this run out. For reference, I wear a color 04. I stand by my words that it is a miraculous skincare-meets-makeup product that each of us should own.
Just writing it out makes me realize it's likely less about her product and more about my current skin situation. I LOVE this stuff and on days when I am in a hurry, Light Wonder Foundation easily replaces my moisturizer, primer AND foundation. I absolutely love it and am beyond happy to have discovered it. Consider this a mainstay in my "get glam" arsenal.
MORE FRESH FACED ALL STARS
So... what about all those other products I tried? Guerlain, Sisley, NARS and more. Many of them were amazing, and a few of them are still in my repertoire of awesomeness. In a few upcoming posts I'll share the best of my recent discoveries and my thoughts on them. There's so much to share and so much wisdom to impart. If I can save you some time on your journey to a flawless face, I'm happy to do so!