Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation

I was so excited about this foundation that I saved a gift card from Christmas to buy it… and do you have any idea how hard it is for a beauty blogger to save a mall gift card for 3 months? Just about impossible. I can’t say Vitalumiere Aqua lives up to all my expectations, but I think it will be useful.

Since I started using a prescription retinoid in December, my skin has improved significantly. I’m no longer completely ashamed to show my bare face on the internets. I have some redness on my cheeks, across my nose, and on my chin, plus some acne scarring in the chin area that needs covering. Basically I just need a foundation that will even things out a bit, not completely cover significant discoloration.

In the after picture you can see that Vitalumiere Aqua covered the surface redness on my cheeks and some of the discoloration on my chin. It definitely does not cover my undereye circles (which look slightly worse in the after picture because of the angle), so you will need a separate concealer. It also layers well if you just need a bit more coverage in some areas.

I like the feeling of Vitalumiere Aqua, which is almost like a mousse. It dries quickly (probably because alcohol is the third ingredient) so I found it necessary to work in sections. The finish is slightly powdery but doesn’t suck all the life out of my face, so I guess that would make it semi-matte? I expected a much more luminous finish. It does give my skin a lovely, even texture, though.

So far everything is good, and after a bit of powder and blush here’s how it ends up:

At this point I really love how the foundation looks and feels (weightless), and especially that it contains sunscreen. The only issue I have is that after a few hours I tend to look pretty shiny. This was worst when I set the foundation with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural and best when I switched to Laura Mercier’s setting powder. And even with a good setting powder, Vitalumiere Aqua looked terrible in flash photography. Every single picture made me look like an oil slick even though my face looked fine in person.

I bought shade B10 Pastel, which is the lightest yellow-toned shade (B is for Beige). The pink-toned shades are labeled BR for Beige Rose. Both the B and BR lines go up to level 50, though the darkest shades is probably only medium-dark at best. I found that like most Chanel foundations, B10 was still a bit too dark on my face. I’d also say it’s much more peachy than beige or yellow. It looks much too dark on the inside of my arm, but I wanted to show the texture.

The most controversial aspect of this foundation has been the packaging. All other Chanel foundations come in glass bottles, and Vitalumiere Aqua comes in a plastic squeeze bottle. It does look a lot smaller than the other foundations, but it contains the same amount of product. Personally, I love the squeeze tube. It doesn’t look as expensive, but it makes Vitalumiere Aqua perfect for travel. Who needs clunky glass bottles taking up space in their liquids bag? Not to mention the danger of carrying around a breakable glass container. The only problem I have with the packaging is that all the bottles are the same shade of peachy-beige plastic regardless of the foundation shade inside. Chanel should have color-coded the bottles or made them translucent.

(click to see details)

Part of the reason I waited so long to review was that I wanted to make sure the foundation didn’t cause any skin issues, and that usually takes a few weeks. So far, so good! My mother has also been using this foundation in shade B20 and loves it. I’m not jazzed about alcohol being so high on the ingredients list, and I wish they could have used a different silicone, but otherwise it looks okay to me.

Recommendation: This is a good foundation for people who want a light finish that looks natural. The packaging makes it great for travel, and the added sunscreen will eliminate a step from your morning routine.

Price: $45
Rating: B+
Availability: Chanel

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12 Responses to Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation

  1. Justine April 10, 2011 at 8.09 am #

    It looks great, I haven’t yet tried any Chanel foundations, mostly because of the price and I am afraid of the women at their counters. I feel like I am not “good enough” for their products. ;P

    • Katie April 11, 2011 at 12.16 am #

      My mom has worn Chanel foundations on and off for 20-30 years and I’ve always admired them from afar. This is my first full-size Chanel foundation and even with a giftcard it was hard to justify the price. But not being good enough? Pfft, ridiculous! I am so sick of makeup salespeople with holier-than-thou attitudes. I mostly get that sort at Chanel and Bobbi Brown, and I’m sure both brands would be very upset to see how their salespeople treat customers.

  2. Britishbeautyblogger April 11, 2011 at 4.18 am #

    Hi there.. if your mum is coming to London, book in to see David Barton at the Percy & Reed salon and ask for the Re:Fusion treatment – he can also do the waxy nails xxx

  3. Modesty Brown April 16, 2011 at 3.32 am #

    I’m quite interested in this foundation but have wondered whether the finish would be too sheer for me. It’s really helpful to see the before and after pictures. I’m surprised to hear that alcohol is so high up the ingredients list, I guess that will mean this is out for quite a few people. I agree with you on the container, glass may look nicer but plastic is way more practical.
    Jane x

    • Katie April 16, 2011 at 11.32 am #

      I don’t think it’s nearly as sheer as people have been saying. It won’t give you super airbrushed-looking skin, but it’s plenty to cover light discoloration. My mom was told by the saleswoman that it was too sheer for her, and thankfully I made her buy it anyway because it looks great and she loves it.

      Also surprised about alcohol being so high on the list, especially when everyone expected a dewy finish. Honestly I expected a little more from Chanel.

  4. Redhead April 24, 2011 at 1.28 pm #

    I have olive skin which is prone to some dry patches ocassionally i found the texture mousse like but quite nice although the foundation was sheer it still gave fairly good coverage. I like it….i only have two days worth of sample left so will definetly buy some more x

  5. sasha July 2, 2011 at 8.13 pm #

    What blush did you use ?

    • Katie July 2, 2011 at 9.17 pm #

      MAC Pink Cult – it was limited edition with the Jeanius Collection. I think Bobbi Brown Desert Rose may be similar!

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