In its 125th anniversary year Avon announced the launch of the new Ideal Flawless foundation range last November, whilst simultaneously announcing that Alesha Dixon would be the brand’s Beauty and Empowerment Ambassador.
According to Avon, Ideal Flawless boasts “an exclusive patent-pending formula, with skin matching pigments – that lets the light pass through” , thus trumping normal foundations in producing “an invisible veil of coverage to enhance and not hide the skin”.
The foundation comes in 16 shades and Avon has produced samples of all of the shades, which are what I tested and which are available from your local Avon Representative.
I have to admit that from the colour swatches that I saw in print prior to trying the range, I was convinced that there would not be a shade suitable for me…
….so how did I fare?
(Just a reminder that I am reviewing the product based on the following criteria: Colour Match, Coverage and Wear and Marketing Support).
Despite being 125 years old, Avon has adapted with the times and is very much a 21st century business, with a massive social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet the Avon brochure is still very much central to the direct sellers’ business model and it was in one of the brochure that I first saw the colour swatches of the two darkest shades; Sable and Earth and came to the conclusion that there was not a shade suitable for my skin tone as they both looked rather light…..
….well how wrong I was! Earth has a very orange undertone and upon application it seemed that it was the wrong shade because of this tonality, but as it dried, the foundation oxidised and became quite dark – in fact too dark for my skin tone.
I am assuming that this was due to the colour matching technology. I was not impressed by this dramatic alteration, I would have expected the adaption to have been far more subtle, given the boast of the advanced formulation. As a result, Earth is woefully misrepresented in the brochure and thus it really is essential to try a sample prior to purchasing.
Sable has a more yellow undertone, far too yellow for me upon the initial application. Once again the product ‘adapted’ as it dried and the colour contrast was minimised, but still it was by no means perfect….
…and perfection ladies is really what we need to strive for. Watch this video created by a US Avon Representative.
Personally, I think that the foundation used on the black model is not a good match – the contrast between her face and her neck and chest is far too evident. The foundation is too dark. This is just one of the challenges we face as dark skinned women when selecting a shade of foundation. The colour of your foundation needs to match your neck and chest area as well as blend into the skin of your face.
Colour Match: 5.5/10
Coverage and Wear
I did wear both of the foundations to test the coverage and wearability (I stayed in all day mind you!). I found that the coverage was light to medium, and did not sufficiently conceal my darker blemishes…although to be fair to Avon, the amount of product that you get in the samples is only enough to just about cover the face once…I am sure that if I were to have more product and was able to apply a second coat I may have achieved better results….but I could only work with what I had!
The foundation did blend well, but I found that as it dried it felt tight on my skin, not as malleable and flexible as I would have expected.. The finish was matte and it did stay but the tight sensation remained throughout the day.
I was quite disappointed with the performance of the product on the whole – the oxidisation and the overly dry finish reminded me of the foundations of the early 90s, before much of the technologies and scientific breakthroughs we are accustomed to today had been discovered and incorporated into the latest range of foundations on the market. Avon is one of the the largest cosmetic company in the world and spends millions of dollars on R&D, yet this product for me just felt a bit…well…old school.
Coverage and Wear: 4/10
Avon can redeem itself with the marketing support that accompanied the launch of Ideal Flawless...to an extent….
As fore mentioned, central to the high profile campaign is the Avon brochure.
Avon launched the product with additional supporting material such as Facebook and Twitter campaigns, YouTube videos and press ads – something which I haven’t seen Avon invest in for some time.
I wanted to love this campaign…I really did…but I have to admit that it just seemed a little ‘light’…if you get what I mean….
I think that it would have been wonderful to have seen an Asian and dark skinned black model accompany Alesha, to truly demonstrate the breadth of the colour range to the end consumer.
Ah well…never mind!
Marketing Support: 6/10
So for me Avon’s Ideal Flawless is, unfortunately, a no – but if you have tried it do let me know what you think!
I was browsing through the current issue of Marie Claire magazine and I came across the latest Marc Cain SS12 campaign ad.
The model’s afro-esque hair style really caught my attention.
The next day I travelled to central London and as I was exiting Oxford Circus tube station, the new Benetton SS12 ads also caught my eye – again beautiful models – black and white – sporting afro-inspired hair!!!
Natural, afro hair is on the up and up and is being fully embraced by women of colour in droves Recent research conducted by the market research agency Mintel, showed that the natural resurgence in the US has resulted in sales of relaxer kits dropping by 17% over the last 5 years (Black Hair Care US- August 2011, Mintel).
Many African – American celebrities are staunch advocates of wearing their natural hair and Oscar nominated actress Viola Davis’ natural style garnered numerous column inches and commentary as she steeped out onto the red carpet at the recent awards ceremony. My Twitter timeline went CRAZY!! Tweets and retweets flew across cyberspace as natural hair bloggers and vloggers, beauty critics and others commented and congratulated the actress’ stylish mane.
One thing I love about being a black women, is the many choices we have in how we can wear our hair – be it chemically relaxed, in its natural form or accentuated with weaves and extensions. For me, what is more important is the fact that we have the CHOICE to express our individuality, personality and sense of style in the way that feels right to us.
For the month of February, another poster child for the Naturalista’s, Solange Knowles, was British Vogue’s ‘Today I’m Wearing…’ Photo Blogger of the month.
Two of my favourite looks of the month are shown below – her unique, individual style is the epitome of today’s empowered black woman.
On the 27th February, the singer Elisabeth Welch (1904 -2003) was commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque in south-west London. She is the second black women to have received this hounour (the first was Jamaican born nurse, Mary Seacole).
Born in New York, Welch had a rich cultural heritage through her father John, who was Native American and African-American and her mother Elisabeth, who was of Irish and Scottish descent, however like many African-American performers of her time, found greater success in Europe than in the United States.
After starting her career in New York, Welch performed in popular clubs in Paris and London, and, later, in British films.
She settled in London in 1933, which remained her home until she passed away just a few months shy of her 100th birthday.
The 1930s saw Welch become a trailblazer for black women in Britain. It was the decade where Ivor Novello wrote songs for her; Paul Robeson was her leading man in films; and Welch enjoyed popularity as a cabaret star of London’s cafe society.
In 1931 she introduced the famous torch song “Stormy Weather” to British audiences. Watch her singing it here many years later in 1980 (more about this performance is written below).
In 1934 she was the first black broadcaster to be given her own radio series, Soft Lights and Sweet Music, by the BBC. Her many radio shows include two guest appearances on Desert Island Discs.
In the later years of her life Welch stopped the show once again in the 1970 musical, Pippin, made new records, and also gave what was perhaps the most startling appearance of her film career in Derek Jarman’s Tempest (1980), at the end of which she sings a typically poised version of Stormy Weather surrounded by a chorus line of leaping, high-stepping sailors. There were those who thought she was the best thing about that controversial interpretation of Shakespeare.
In high old age, Elisabeth Welch continued to sing with great aplomb; recordings from the mid-1980s indicate greater maturity of interpretation than ever. In 1992 stars gathered at the Lyric Theatre in London to pay tribute to Elisabeth Welch in the Crusaid Concert; where she was given an unprecedented five standing ovations.
She was also known for her style and class as well as for her voice.
Recreate her classic old school, glamorous look.
Create a smooth matte base with Studio Fix compact foundation by MAC (£19)
For decades, a red lipstick paired with strong black eyeliner has been the vanguard of makeup for any showbiz starlet. Accentuate the eye by sweeping a golden eyes hadow across the entire eye, right up to the brow bone. I like Silent Night by NARS (£16.50).
Line the eye with a liquid eyeliner pen for ease of application (Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen in black is ideal, £8.99 ).
Curl lashes and then apply lashings of thickening mascara. I love High Impact mascara by Clinique ((£16) for its intense black pigment.
A show girl must have ruby red lips – and in my opinion Ruby Woo by MAC (£13.50) works well with a lighter skin tone such as Welches, but for a darker tone such as my own, I prefer a deeper red with blue undertones – my all time favourite is Russian Red by MAC. Apply with a lip brush, blot – then apply a second coat.
Finish with an illuminating bronzer, such as the cult classic Shimmer Brick in Bronze by Bobbi Brown (£30.50).
Who will be the next black woman to be recognised in this way? I hope we do not have to wait to long to find out!