Product Review: Ideal Flawless Invisible Coverage Foundation by Avon

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.

She's got Talent! Alesha Dixon for Avon UK

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).

Colour Match

 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

Marketing Support

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.

Alesha is stunning and her appointment as Avon’s beauty ambassador garnered a vast number of PR mentions – which is a boon to any brand!

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!

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Product Review: Teint Idole Ultra 24H by Lancôme

A few posts ago I was enthusing about the newest foundation launches with shades for dark skin!

I will reviewing some of these new offerings over the course of the next few weeks, letting you know my thoughts based upon 3 criteria:

  • Colour Match – is it detectable?
  • Coverage and Wear – how does it perform during the day?
  • Marketing Support –   many woman of colour bemoan the fact that they are        underrepresented in the marketing and advertising of beauty products, and as a result conclude that these products are ‘not for them’.   I will assess the marketing support for each product to see how well each brand represents the markets that they are targeting.

I am a loyal MAC Studio Fix user and I have been wearing shade NW45 for years.  It  is a good match for me…just so you know what I am benchmarking the trial foundations against.

First up…

…Teint Idole Utra 24H by Lancôme

As I mentioned in my previous post, Skin Deep, Lancôme offered customers a 7 day trial of their newest  foundation.  From the adverts in the press I suspected that I would be shade 13 (Sienne)…and what do you know…I was right!

Lancôme describes the foundation as “an exceptional longwear formula featuring a unique heart-shaped flexible polymer for comfort…. in 18 shades to suit all skin tones from very pale to very dark.”

Interestingly, it was back in 2005 that Lancôme identified a need to extend its foundation colour palette.  Employees of the USA laboratories noticed they were not all able to find the right shade among those available on the market.  Too red, not dark enough, overly ash, not vibrant enough, too orangey…

Thus L’Oreal  (the parent company Lancôme belongs to) created what was dubbed the “Women of Color” association, and  these women decided to blend a shade range perfectly tailored to their specific needs with shades for every skin tone.

Lancôme soon committed to support “Women of Color” with the launch of an international study.  Using colorimetric measurements, 15,000 complexion colour points were observed on around 1,000 women. This international study gave rise to the shades unveiled in the Teint Idole Ultra 24H  range!

The new shades suitable for a darker skin tone include:

Shades 10 (Praline), 11 (Muscade), 12 (Ambre), 13 (Sienne), 14 (Brownie) range from sandy to more intense tones and these shades been developed for every mixed-race, South-American, Afro-American, Indian-American, Antillean or North-African complexion.  Shade 15 (Acajou), the darkest shade is designed for ebony-toned skin.

So that was the science…but what do I think??

Colour Match

Although Lancôme professes to have a shade for all, with only 6 shades for women with a darker skin tone,  I am not 100% convinced.

Sienne is a rich toffee colour with deep yellow undertones.

It did blend well to match my skin tone…however upon application to my face (with my fabulous BECCA foundation brush), it was slightly to dark…but I know that shade 12 would be to light, so unfortunately it was a mismatch for me.

Colour Match Score: 6/10

Coverage and Wear

The foundation provided a medium coverage, and was easy to apply.  If you do have any imperfections that require extra coverage (as I do!) you may need to use a concealer too.  The foundation has a subtle floral fragrance, which was surprising – but it was pleasant to inhale the fragrance as I applied the makeup.

It dries to give a velvety matte finish.  My skin tends to get shiny throughout the day, thus I was concerned that the liquid formulation would begin to slide, but I found that it wore well although I did need a little powder to take down the shine.  All in all I was very impressed!

Coverage and Wear score: 8/10

Marketing Support

Lancôme has backed the launch of  Teint Idole 24H with a heavyweight campaign which has been highly visible in store, outdoor, online and in the press.

 

Lancôme’s global HQ has done a fantastic job in communicating that this range is indeed for all women…and I was commenting to a friend just last week (yes…I am always talking about beauty!!), that I believe that this is the first major Lancôme campaign that DOES NOT feature a Caucasian woman!!  It is fronted by Tunisian beauty, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem and the stunning Arenis Sosa.

A fabulous campaign!

Marketing Support score: 10/10

So there you have it!  All in all, if you can find your colour match, I would highly recommend this foundation!


I think you had BECCA!

Hi Guys!!

Just 6 days until Christmas!! How are you tackling the mission that is the big ‘Christmas Shop’ ?

Well, if you are looking for inspiration, I would highly recommend a gift from the Australian make up brand BECCA!

The lovely ladies at the BECCA London office invited me to an exclusive industry event last week, which was hosted at the newly renovated boutique, located on Pelham Street in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea!

As I had mentioned in a previous blog post, I had learned about the BECCA brand when it was sold in Space NK – but this was the first time that I visited the stand alone boutique.

The interior is a blend of the sumptuous textures of descendant chocolate velvet and sparkling mirrored panelling and lighting which creates a  chic interior that is both welcoming and luxurious.

The All New BECCA Flagship Boutique (image: becca.com)

If you have to buy a present for a cosmetic obsessed friend or family member – you really can not go wrong with a choice from BECCA, as the brand has a range suitable for ALL skin tones, plus many other services that I for one would be extremely happy to find under my tree.

Game, Set,  MATCH

Stick Foundation - Almond

It was so much fun to further explore the product range.  The foundation range is fabulous – as a black woman,  I know that finding a shade that suits not only my complexion, but works well with my skin type (which is slightly on the oily side – a common feature of dark skin) can often prove to be a challenge.  I did find my match – the Stick Foundation (£30) in Almond.  It literally disappeared upon application…perfection!  I also really liked the Shimmering Skin Perfector (£33) in Topaz – fantastic for creating a dewy finish – perfect for the party season!  The water-based moisturiser has a SPF of 20+ and light-diffusing particles of shimmer that creates instant radiance and vitality.

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Shimmering Skin Perfector - Topaz

Make – Up MaestroBECCA is loved by the professional MUA – and you too can gain the skills to enhance your beauty by attending the Introduction to Make-Up Application 2  day course at the BECCA Make-Up Academy.   Perfect for the fashion aware, professionals who need to maintain a polished appearance at all times, or the busy mother who wants to enhance her personal makeup routine. Taught by a BECCA International Makeup Artist, the course focuses on skincare, makeup preparation and brush use.  During the course, attendees will also receive an exclusive 30% discount on all product purchases!!

Introduction to Make-Up Application – £480

I really enjoyed the event and will be definaitly following the brand in the New year – not only did it celebrate it’s 10th birthday this year, it was also featured as the runner up in the inaugural category for the ‘Best New Product for Darker Skin’ in the 2011 Grazia Beauty Awards – as voted for by…US!

Who’s going to argue with that?

Winning ways for BECCA


Back to Basics

I was recently contacted by the fabulous  Kay Montano (Creative Director of MyFace cosmetics and Chanel Make Up ambassador) via Twitter…yes little old me!

Kay wanted to know about the choice of foundations for darker skin tones here in the UK.  As I reflected upon her question I really was gladdened by the fact that the choice HAS got better over the years…

….I remember my first foray into the world of make up as a young and exuberant 14 year old – I bounded to the local chemist with my pocket money in hand to purchase a concealer.   Imagine my UTTER disappointment when I found  not a single brand suitable for my chocolate skin tone!

I soon realised I had to save a bit more pocket money to fulfill my desires.  I discovered  the department store brand Fashion Fair at my local Debenhams!  That marble pink compact (yes it was pink back in the day!) was my pride and joy…but the option to experience other brands were few and far between…times have REALLY changed.

Now there are a plethora of brands to chose from.  The beauty landscape has changed beyond recognition.  It may be still a challenge to get your hands on some of these brands ..especially if you live outside of London –  however most are only a click away.

The usual suspects – MAC and Bobbi Brown have a loyal – almost cult like following – but there are other brands that one can consider when choosing a foundation to suit your  beautiful black skin.

Illamasqua

Now I just had to commence my list with a British brand! Illamasqua is the brainchild of the founder of the ubiquitous GHDs and boasts an abundance of shades and textures of foundations.

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

The latest range to join the line up is the Skin Base foundation which is inspired by the cult Asian market Beauty Balm creams (also called BB creams for short!)

The BB phenomenon has traversed from the East and has exploded in the West! A number of  brands have recently launched BB creams – including  Garnier and Clinique – yet Illamasqua  is the only brand to have launched a ‘BB-esque’ product suitable for darker skins.  Skin Base comes in 18 skin loving shades – 6 of which are suitable for Black and Asian skin tones.

 Try before you buy at the flagship Illamasqua store, Beak Street, London, Selfridges Oxford Street, London,  The Manchester Trafford Centre, The Birmingham Bullring, Fenwick Newcastle, Debenhams Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff or shop  online at www.illamasqua.com

BECCA

Australian brand BECCA is like a treasure waiting to be unearthed.    With 34 concealer colours and 34 (yes 34!) foundation shades there is sure to be a colour to match your skin tone perfectly.

The brande is loved by stars such as yummy mummy Beyoncè , supermodel Alex Wek and the ever so lovely Kelly Rowland (are you loving the X-Factor as much as I am??).

BECCA Stick foundation

I became acquainted with the brand when it was retailed in Space NK (alas, this is no longer the case.),  and I love the philosophy behind the brand – to enable ‘ ALL women, regardless of age or ethnicity, to achieve a natural looking, flawless complexion’.

Visit the sumptuous Becca Boudoir at 91A Pelham Road London  or shop online at www.beccacosmetics.com

black Up

I first came across this Parisian brand in 2006 but unfortunately I was put off by the name – it reminded too much of the infamous Minstrel shows of 19th century America!

However I have recently grown to love  the brand, mostly due to the exquisite, aspirational  imagery.

black UP SS11 campaign

black Up SS11 campaign

Available at Debenhams, the range consists of highly pigmented colour cosmetics, as well as a comprehensive foundation collection.

NARS

I am totally besotted with the brand! The sexy packaging, potent colours and evocative product names (the best selling item in the range is called..err…Orgasm!) make it a pleasure to use.  Created by make up maestro,  François Nars  in 1997, the line up included a shade of foundation called Jamaica.  The story goes that this product was conceived for the supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is a close friend and muse for the artisan.  The family of shades suitable for darker skin tones has grown to include globally inspired colours such as Benares, Khartoum and Trinidad, to name a few.

NARS concealer campaign AW11

Also, the NARS Concealer used to be available in only four shades but the line has recently been expanded to included 10 different shades to accommodate a variety of skin tones.

NARS is available at Space NK, leading department stores nationwide and at www.narscosmetics.co.uk

News Flash!! 

I have heard the  one of the chicest makeup brand of all  – Chanel –  will be launching Perfection Lumiere, its newest line of foundation, this September – and it’s something to talk about! The line, will offer the widest range of shades for Chanel yet – a whopping 23 shades to suit all ethnicities. Ooh la la!

image via WWD

Perfection Lumiere by Chanel

The face of the campaign is the beautiful Trinidadian born model Alyssah Ali, who is of Indian and Spanish origin

Christine Dagousset, executive vice president of fragrance and beauty for Chanel in the U.S. told Women’s Wear Daily, “This foundation was designed to be universal. Chanel’s creative director for makeup, Peter Philips, counts perfect skin among the most important features a woman can have and, since joining the brand in January 2008, had made it his goal to create a ‘perfect’ foundation: one that adjusts to the skin needs of every ethnicity and stays in place with a flawless finish.”  The company’s current leading foundation line Pro Lumiere offers only 6 shades.  The new launch will premier in the U.S …hopefully Chanel will bring the range to the UK and Europe too!!

image via WWD

Alyssah Ali for Chanel AW11

This is SO exciting, as for too long many of the leading designer makeup brands have been inaccessible to women of colour.  In my eyes this launch will mark a sea change in the beauty industry.   I will certainly do a review on this product!

Until then, a bientôt!