Giorgio Armani have just launched their 'complexion perfector' Maestro Fusion Makeup* which is made entirely of water-free oils and pigments. Oils have had a bad rap, so don't baulk at this if your skin is on the oilier side (it's still non-comodogenic, I haven't had any breakouts, oils are GOOD for oily skin!*). In fact I think this might actually suit slightly oilier skin types best, as I'll explain.
I'm going to get a bit scienc-y on you as this is the USP of the foundation. Traditional foundations are usually emulsions with water in oil-containing fillers but Maestro is made up of 5 oils. These oils are volatile, semi-volatile and non-volatile; volatile meaning they evaporate, and they do so at different rates to leave a fine film of pigment on the skin and leave the skin feeling comfortable all day. One of these oils is lotus oil which is popular for it's anti-free radical effects. The oils means this applies and blends beautifully, but the evaporation (like a dry oil) means it feels dry as soon as it's blended and leaves a semi-matte, satin finish that stays that way all day. It's quite magical.
This is easily the lightest foundation I've ever worn, and by that I mean it feels light on the skin. It's also lightish coverage but will build up to a good medium without ever looking or feeling heavy (I blend it out with the Real Techniques buffing brush, but it works just as well with hands - it's simply personal preference). I'm sure I've said this about my favourite foundations before, but this actually looks like skin. It's available in 12 shades and I have 4.0 which completely disappears into my skin. I think due to the formula and the way it seems to mesh with your skin tone, 12 shades should cover just about everyone. I was also impressed with the longevity for such a liquid, slippy product. After a good 6-7 hours of wear on my skin where it looked exactly as it did when I applied it. I found I didn't need to powder after application or blot during the day. In fact I quite enjoyed the little hint of glow along my T-zone after about 3 hours wear.
Any cons? Well, yes.
I had problems with the foundation clinging to dry patches. I have combination skin but don't generally suffer with dryness, just dehydration. So I was surprised that, when applied, it clung a little around my nose and as it settled over the next couple of hours it slightly highlighted any other drier areas (healing blemishes and the like). It's a shame, as it's the only give away that I'm wearing any kind of base as Maestro completely disappears like nothing I've tried before. I think for me, this little glitch is tolerable as it's such a tiny area of my face and the rest looks so incredibly natural - but it's worth thinking about if you suffer from dry patches. It's also worth noting that if you aren't a fan of silicones, the first ingredient is dimethicone.
It's also one of the most expensive high-end foundations I've tried at £36, but in some ways the new Armani Maestro foundation is a game changer. I'm no beauty expert and I certainly haven't tried every foundation out there, but I've never come across anything like this. Even if you don't think this is for you, I'd pop down to the counter just to have a feel and perhaps try it on your face.
Available at Selfridges and www.armanibeauty.co.uk now and nationwide from 1st October.
*Not all oils - go and ask Caroline Hirons. She'll know.