Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chanel Perfection Lumiere (B20) review and swatches

          Hello! Today I'm posting my review and swatches of Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation in the shade Beige 20 (B20). I've had Perfection Lumiere for a few weeks at least. To be honest, it was not love at first swipe. I had a small struggle trying to find the right color and felt unsure about the matte finish. However, lately I've been finding myself reaching for Perfection Lumiere quite frequently.

          I'll start with some general observations. Chanel Perfection Lumiere is packaged in a frosty glass bottle with a pump. I definitely appreciate the pump, after using the shake and squirt version of Vitalumiere Aqua. The glass bottle is pretty is aesthetically appealing on my counter, however it's quite impractical for travel.

          I like to apply Chanel Perfection Lumiere with my fingers. Usually I use 2-3 pumps. Like Vitalumiere Aqua, it is a relatively quick drying foundation, so I find that using fingers can apply a quicker and thinner layer. I've also tried a kabuki brush and it also works well to cover large areas quickly. A sales associate I spoke with recommended a paddle type foundation brush, however I did not have much success with that technique. It layered it on quite thickly and I did end up with a few brush lines. I think the foundation is too quick drying for good blending with a foundation brush. That said, I am not a big fan of paddle-type foundation brushes in general. The coverage is good, and most discolorations on my skin are well hidden.

        The finish of the foundation is matte and a little drying. Even with moisturizer beneath, I find that Perfection Lumiere can dry my skin and accentuate small flakes. I don't bother with powder. Over the course of the day, the finish improves as some oil is absorbed into the foundation. I have combination skin, not dry skin, so this was surprising to me. Perfection Lumiere might work well for ladies with very oily skin. I will have to re-evaluate this foundation in summertime when my skin produces significantly more oil. The plus side to the matte finish / dry nature is that at the end of the day my skin looks good (if not better) than the initial application. Also, the foundation feels lightweight (as should be expected of a high end foundation).

          Another important note is the smell. I think the smell is supposed to be some sort of green pear/peach sort of smell. It is definitely different from the smell of Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. Initially I did get a pleasant fruity smell, however the smell would fade into something quite unpleasant. The best comparison I can provide is the smell of a dentist's office. Over more time, I find that I rarely smell the pleasant smell, and the only smell I have during application is the dentist's office smell. It initially made me gag, but I've gotten used to it (sort of) after multiple uses.

          As someone who reacts to chemical sunscreens, I am happy that Chanel Perfection Lumiere has sunscreen in the form of Titanium Dioxide which is a physical sunscreen. It's difficult to find a foundation with SPF that does not contain chemical sunscreen. There is a downside to physical sunscreen blockers; they do not photograph well and may give the subject a whitish cast. I've noticed that Perfection Lumiere is NOT a good foundation for use with photographs. It's not horrible, I just think there are better alternatives, namely NARS Sheer Glow and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation (both do not have any sunscreen). I did do a small experiment photographing myself with the aforementioned foundations. Perfection Lumiere does not work as well to cover flaws in photographs, though it does look nice in 'reality'.

         On a side note, I noticed that Perfection Lumiere was featured in the makeup section of a well known Bridal magazine. It irks me because it's well known among makeup enthusiasts that sunscreen containing foundations don't photograph well. The day of your wedding is probably the most important day to be photograph ready!

          The consistency of Chanel Perfection Lumiere is a smooth liquid. It's not runny. It's not clumpy like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. It dries reasonably quickly and does not transfer very much onto clothes. In fact, it is quite difficult to wash off. I found this out when I unsuccessfully attempted to wash the swatches off my arm with soap and water. Even makeup removing face cleansers I tried (Philosophy and Lancome) were unsuccessful. Make sure you cleanse well with a cleansing oil or makeup wipe to get everything off!

         Below, I'm made comparison swatches of Chanel Perfection Lumiere and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in shades Beige (B10) and Beige 20 (B20). The swatches are thick applications of foundations. I allowed them to dry for 10-15 minutes before photographing so that you could see the dry and oxidized color. You can see from my swatches that the comparable colors of Vitalumiere Aqua (VA) and Perfection Lumiere (PL) do not correspond. It's not really a difference in lightness or darkness; it's a difference in undertone. The differences in undertone aren't necessarily consistent in each range. Chanel PL in B20 has an orange undertone while VA in B20 has a more beige undertone. The lighter shades in B10 have almost an opposite distribution of tones. Chanel VA is more peachy, while PL has a more yellow-beige undertone. I find that while both beige and orange/peach undertones look fine on my skin, I prefer more orange/peach colors. They are more brightening. For that reason, in the shade B20 I prefer Perfection Lumiere, while in B10 I prefer Vitalumiere Aqua.

        I also tried Perfection Lumiere in Beige Rose 20, since I was scared by initial reviews of the Beige tones being too "yellow". However, I find that BR20 looked almost fluorescent orange on me. The Chanel SA I spoke with told me she was wearing a BR foundation, and it looked a bit unnaturally orange on her as well (that is my personal opinion, of course). For this reason, I would recommend exercising caution when choosing between the Beige and Beige Rose ranges. From the small selection of reviews I've seen on the internet, it seems that most people end up in the Beige range.

        There are a number of great reviews of Chanel Perfection Lumiere out there. I've sorted the ones I've seen below by shade:

      Overall, I'm pleased with Chanel Perfection Lumiere. I find myself reaching for this foundation very often for everyday use. It's easy to use, has good coverage, and PL B20 is a good match for me at the moment. The fact that it doesn't transfer to easily onto clothes is good during winter when I'm all bundled up with sweaters, hats, and scarves potentially touching my face. I wouldn't call it an all-around holy grail type foundation because of weaknesses in smell, photography, and ability to accentuate dryness. I don't think this is the foundation for a one-foundation type of gal, especially considering the price. However, if you are a foundation connoisseur, it is worth a try.

         Thanks for reading! Have you also tried Perfection Lumiere? How are the different shades working for you?

Love, Dovey.


  1. Aw, thanks, Dovey! I do agree that this doesn't photograph well, but I love that it doesn't transfer and stays put all day. I am surprised it was in a bridal magazine, as well! It definitely looks white in photos, because of the physical sunscreen.

  2. Larie - :) I know! I hope there aren't a lot of girls out there that ran to buy it for their wedding!

  3. what a FANTASTIC review!! so in depth and through, great read!! i was very curious on this foundation and this answered alot of questions!

  4. Excellent review, Dovey! I have never been able to get good color match with Chanel foundation. It's either too yellow or too dark, but I am glad to hear that the sunscreen is physical, because my skin is very sensitive to the chemical type.

  5. What a great in-depth review ! Your pictures are stunning btw :) I haven't tried this foundation yet... For some reason this foundation didn't excite me as much as Vitalumiere Aqua did. But I might ask for a sample next time I visit my Chanel counter to give it a shot!

  6. Great review!! Will check into this one when I get the chance. :]

  7. Such a thorough review! Thank you for this... I was meaning to try out the Perfection foundation soon and I'm really liking the the swatch. And since it has a physical sunscreen, even better. I had no idea that most foundations had otherwise :)

  8. Thanks for the review, it's very informative! Nor sure if I'd like to pick this up for winter though, I have oily skin but it can look dry in the cold weather :(

  9. Thanks for such a great comprehensive review and great quality swatches! This foundation sounds really impressive, thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Awesome review! I completely agree, especially the part about this drying much too quickly to apply it with a paddle-style foundation brush. That would definitely lead to streaks. I haven't yet noticed an icky smell, though I might just be a strange bird who likes dentists' offices, lol! Thanks for including my review <3

  11. Loved reading your review! I have been using this for about two months and have found my ideal way to apply it because you do have to work so fast. I use a big dense brush from tarte and spray it with Fix+ from MAC, I dot the foundation around my face and with the dampness of the brush it gives an amazing finish. I love it better when it's applied that way. I have combo-oily skin and this is a great foundation match for me because others just slip and slide off my skin. :(

  12. Excellent review!

  13. This is my daily foundation!

  14. Sam Ram- I'm not actually sure what color BR 20 compares to in MAC--- maybe NC20-25 (that is a wild guess).

    J- yay!!! I'm glad you liked it

    Zuzu- I know what you mean about the match--- sometimes I feel the colors can be off too

    Tasha- thank you! I would recommend trying a sample. I still like VA a lot!

    tiffyama- great :)

    RD&L - I'm glad I mentioned the sunscreen part now :)

    Rocaille- I know, skin can vary so much during the year. Mine too!

    Penelope - thanks for reading :)

    Sarah- I'm glad you agree about the paddle brush--- as for the smell, I think smell is so personal and different to everyone. It's good that you're getting a good one :)

    Danielle- thanks for sharing your trick, that does sound like something I should try! Foundations sliding off is no good--- and you're right, PL does stay well

    Lyn and Lexi - thanks!!

  15. Hi lovey
    Your review is great.
    My makeup artist for my wedding used this on my trials but i am now a little worried out wont photograph well. Can you suggest something better? I have skin thats on the slightly drier side.

  16. Hi LLG, Thanks for the comment! Have you tried photographing it? It may be ok if you have good skin to begin with! Other options that I think photograph well are NARS Sheer Glow (though it isn't full coverage) and MUFE HD (full coverage) but can be a little dry initially


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