I have not historically had the greatest love affair with Chanel foundations. Since Chanel discontinued what was one of my favourite foundations, the Chanel Pro Lumiere, I've tried several since, and none of them have really floated my boat in the way I hoped they would. In fact, I've tried the Lift Lumiere, the Perfection Lumiere, the Vitalumiere Aqua, the Perfection Lumiere Velvet and the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation - none of which would even make my top 10 to be brutally honest. When I heard Chanel were bringing out a new super full coverage, long lasting foundation, I wasn't terribly keen and I didn't think I would bother with it. However, on a recent citybreak to London and more specifically, a browse in the Selfridges flagship store on Oxford Street, I visited the Chanel counter for a peruse and somehow magically left with one foundation in hand and £37 lighter in pocket (isn't it just gas how that happens...). I've tried it out at least seven times over the last fortnight because I really wanted to put it through its paces so I can give as informed a review as I possibly can and now I feel like I am qualified to share my thoughts.
Firstly, if you are not familiar with the latest release, this newest foundation was a bit of a landmark for Chanel in that not only is it supposed to be super full coverage and give you a perfect matte finish from morning to night, but it is also the first of their foundations to come in 16 shades whereas their other foundation lines have notoriously few shades (circa 4-8). I typically take the shade 20 in Chanel foundations i.e. the second palest shade but the 20 in the Le Teint Ultra Tenue was miles too dark for me, so I ended up going with shade 10 Beige. The sales assistant at the counter said her advice to folks who use other Chanel foundations would be to go down a shade for the new Le Teint Ultra Tenue foundation - which makes me wonder about what the folks who are paler than I am would do given that I've been demoted to the palest shade and I wouldn't say I am ghastly white. When I asked the sales assistant as to how she would describe the foundation, she looked at me confidently and said she only had two words to describe it, "Double Wear" - an obvious nod to the full coverage, long lasting extreme foundation, the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. I love a bit of Double Wear for a night out so I bought it there and then on the spot, despite my previous reservations and poor experiences of Chanel foundations.
The foundation has the typical Chanel foundation packaging (exactly the same size and shaped bottle as the Perfection Lumiere foundation), comes with a built-in pump and contains 30 ml of product. It has the same typical Chanel foundation smell, which I don't think is particularly offensive but I would still prefer it was not there. The texture is not very thick when you squirt a pump out but one of my hugest bugbears with this foundation is that as soon as it is pumped out of the bottle, be it on to the back of your hand as I like to do or onto a brush, it starts setting straight away, it is like cement. Applying it to your face and blending it out is like a race against the clock - literally with every stroke of the brush (and a kabuki/flat head kabuki is my favourite foundation application method) you can feel it sticking and setting on your skin, and when it is completely buffed out and applied, it just sits on your skin like a mask - in my experience, I never (despite my best efforts) feel like it is truly blended in. You would think that this is a sign of longevity and that as soon as the foundation is applied that it will not budge but that is not the case. This foundation is heck of a lot of work to apply - be in on naked skin, primed skin, moisturised skin. I even tried bouncing a damp beauty blender over my face after I had applied it and I found it just lifted the foundation from my face.
I don't mind the colour on my skin tone at all - it's not too pink which I like and not too yellow which a lot of Chanel foundations can be in my experience. Considering I have the palest shade, I wouldn't say it's terribly pale - I take a MAC NW20 for reference. I feel like the foundation did a good job at unifying my skin tone, covering up areas of redness, but I don't think it's the most full coverage foundation ever despite the claims (even though it is extremely thick and does set down on your face almost immediately) - I'm not necessarily complaining because I got more than enough coverage to keep me happy but if you were looking for a super full coverage foundation, I wouldn't point you in this direction. Because of the thickness of the foundation and the speed with which you have to buff it into your face before it sets, this foundation can look very cakey very easily. The finish is completely matte - there is not a bit of radiance or luminosity to this foundation.
Now I really, really want to talk about the longevity and wear time of this foundation because to be quite honest, it was the most disappointing aspect for me. Because this foundation makes you work so hard to apply it before it sets like cement on your face, I would expect the reward to be long lasting foundation that will not budge. I've tried this foundation on it's own, with hydrating primers, silicone primers, setting sprays, and nothing I do to it can stop it from drying up and clumping around my nose, chin and either side of my forehead. I have dehydrated skin but treat it on the daily with all the hyaluronic so I never have foundation evaporation issues generally but this foundation just loves disappearing off my face. I think the reason for this is that it dries down so dry that it just falls off your face during the day. I never have foundation longevity issues usually so this is a huge disappointment for me, and when I put on my foundation, I really need it to last the whole day, I just don't have the luxury of time to constantly be checking and re-applying it. I imagine if you had oily skin that you would need to constantly be blotting and I don't think you would have too much foundation left on your face at the end of a long day if that was the case.
Overall, this is an avoid from me unfortunately, I would never in good conscience recommend this to anyone because I quite simply do not rate it at all. It's not worth the price tag (a saucy €50 in Ireland), it's too much hard work to apply and all that hard work doesn't even pay off because it won't last anyway. This has been compared to Double Wear but in my experience, I have found that claim to be outrageous - I am a fan of Double Wear and it applies and performs a hundred times better than this Chanel offering. I'd highly recommend trying out a sample of this before purchasing a full size. I've found myself bitterly disappointed with a Chanel foundation for the last time, there is no way I am going to succumb for their next offering. In terms of cosmetics, I have never been overly impressed with any Chanel offerings (aside from the Soleil Tan de Chanel which is beautiful) so I don't know why I keep going back for more.
Have you tried the newest Chanel foundation yet and if so, how did you get on with it? Is there any makeup brand that keeps disappointing you time after time?