Armani Maestro Glow Nourishing Fusion Foundation and Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer

This is the season of glow foundations and many of you have been anxiously waiting for my review on the new Armani Maestro Glow Nourishing Fusion Makeup Foundation SPF 30 ($64 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) and the Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer ($64 for 30 ml/1 fl oz). I’ve been putting these to the test for a few months now – I appreciate your patience as it has taken me a long time to post this review. I had very high hopes for both as I’ve been a fan of a few Armani foundation formulas. The description of the Glow Foundation seemed absolutely perfect described as a bi-phase foundation that gives a rich glow with a thin silky texture. It’s infused with oils and pure pigmented to nourish the skin. As soon as I saw it launched, I stopped by my local Nordstrom for a shade match, after trying a few shades I found 5.5 was the best for me. At the counter the artist also applied the Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer which has Broad Spectrum SPF 50. I explained my hesitation with white sunscreens because they almost always leave a white cast on my skin. She assured me this one did not have any residue or white cast and she was right.

The combination of both resulted in a very natural luminous glowy look. The formula of the Maestro Glow is very sheer but it evened out the skin to a soft dewy glow. Even with powder foundation set on top, it looked natural and glowy without being too greasy. Coverage-wise it’s too sheer for my personal taste, but it still evens out the skin. By the time I got home I saw tiny little red bumps surface on my face. I thought it was possible the cleanser and toner she used to remove my makeup caused it (it’s often something I react to). So I let my skin clear up for a week before I tested the new foundation and primer just to make sure.

Quick thoughts on the Maestro UV Primer – it disappears completely on the skin but makes the foundation apply better and smoother. Not just the Maestro Glow but a number of other formulas as well.  Unfortunately both the primer and foundation caused a really bad allergic reaction on my super sensitive skin. Tiny little red dots and bumps form along my cheeks and forehead. I tested both on my face for 4 days to make sure and my skin just got worse. After that I took another week break from both to let my skin heal and tried the foundation separately, hoping perhaps I was just allergic to the primer. No luck. I’m allergic to both formulas – so for these I have to give them a thumbs down which is a shame because the finish and look of both is really really good. It looks like skin but better and even though these are very hydrating and moisturizing I found the formula wasn’t too rich for my normal combination skin and the lasting power was pretty good. I haven’t tried every Armani foundation formula, but the ones I have tried didn’t cause any allergic reactions – however it’s probably been at least 4-5 years since I’ve tried one of the regular foundations and since I haven’t kept up on new launches I don’t know if the formulas of any have changed.

In case you still want to check these out  a closer look at both and swatches. For the Maestro Glow foundation since it’s bi-phase you have to shake it up to mix the oil and pigment:

Both come in a dropper style bottle:

Comparison swatches below to:

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation (review here)
Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation (review here)
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints (review here)
Becca Aqualuminous Foundation (review soon)

Ingredients on the boxes:

Because the formulas don’t work for my skin, I can’t give these a positive review. In testing these I tried application with a beautyblender sponge which I found was better than any foundation brush. After the last round of testing it took my skin around 2-3 weeks to heal completely and for the bumps to disappear. If you have very sensitive skin you may want to do a patch test first. I do recommend you read other reviews though because this new formula has worked on a number of other people. Depending on your specific skin type your mileage may vary. Allergic reaction aside, if my skin didn’t get bumps I still would give this a lukewarm review – I personally need coverage for foundations. I don’t need 100% full coverage but something that can be built up to medium is what I look for. The Maestro Glow is sheer – it’s not transparent, but just a tiny bit too sheer for my taste.

Have you tried either of these yet? Do you have a favorite Armani foundation formula? I purchased both of these from Nordstrom but you can also find these at all Armani retailers now. I’m undecided whether or not to return these even though Nordstrom has a good return policy. One of my friends has super dry skin and loves all the Armani formulas, I’m going to ask her if she want to give these a try.

(P.S. Gray Malin’s Prada Marfa prints are on sale today and tomorrow!) 

  • I've tried and reviewed the Maestro Glow and I absolutly adore this foundation. What a bummer it hasn't worked for you :/

  • Hi Sabrina, thank you for your review despite the products not working for you! I recently tried out Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Foundation and I think I might be allergic to it because my skin is showing red bumps around my nose, chin, and forehead. When you had your reaction to these Armani base products, did you do anything specific to help your skin clear up, or did you just use your normal skincare routine? Thanks!

    • Hi Sheila – when my skin gets a reaction I usually just try to keep things to a minimum with skincare. I stick to the normal skincare routine to help return it to the normal state.

      Too bad about the Charlotte Tilbury ๐Ÿ™

  • I've never tried the original foundation but love the idea of one with a glow!

    http://www.makeupmusicbooks.com

  • If they made you break out, I'd return. I've been using the foundation for about a week…no bumps, and I like the look. Not much coverage to be sure, but at my age, I find I do better with that than a heavier look. I use concealer to take care of whatever needs more help. When you get older (almost 65), less is more!

  • I haven't tried them yet but I aim to. Sorry to hear about the reaction I won't be surprised if I have a similar issue.

  • Deb

    That's a bummer Sabrina. I don't use Armani foundation or really much of anything from the line. But I was intrigued by the UV primer and I'm so glad I got it. I'm a very fair red head, easily prone to burning, so I'll take all the SPF I can get. The UV primer is wonderful under my makeup. I still use Tatcha sunscreen first, but it's nice to have additional UV protection in a primer since I always use one. In case anyone is wondering, the primer plays well with both the Tatcha sunscreen and my Geurlain foundation. Which isn't always the case when mixing products from different lines.

    • I'm glad to hear it worked for you! Wish it didn't cause a reaction for me because I really liked the way it felt and looked with other foundations.

  • I like how milky the primer seems but I would totally return them if I were you, I hate it when bad reactions happen.
    Erin | http://www.erinelizabethmiller.com

  • Oh wow these look really awesome thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Beauty Candy Loves

  • I have this problem with GA foundations. I tried this one and immediately had a break out. (I have super dry, sensitive skin) I loved LSF and it looked beautiful on, only to cause small bumps. I also adore Charlotte Tilbury magic cream and Natasha Denona hydrating primer, but if I use them more than once a week I get those little hard bump type breakouts. I hate it too, they look and feel so good on my face!

    • Awwww … sounds like we both have super sensitive skin. I hate that too when it looks great but then causes bumps ๐Ÿ™

  • Such a pity :-/ I also have and wrote a review on Armani Maestro Glow and my normal to dry skin in late thirties loves it.

    http://www.lawoftaste.com

  • If I could hazard a guess, you likely reacted to the chemical sunscreens used in both formulations. I had a devil of a time with Estรฉe Lauder's EE cream for that same reason.

    • Yes – you're probably right!

  • Thank you for your bravery in trying these products! I have super sensitive skin and all kinds of allergies and trying new foundations always makes me soo nervous … you never know what kind of reaction you might have and how long it will last, ugh. I've always been intrigued by Armani's foundations but have never tried any precisely because someone told me she had a terrible reaction … they do seem very nice for those who don't have such issues!

  • Anonymous

    If you look at the ingrediens list on the foundation, alcohol denat is the 4th ingredient and fragrance is in the middle of the list. This high concentration of alcohol and fragrance is very irritating for your skin.

  • Bummer these didn't work for you! I find myself too lazy for biphase type of foundations lol although this one did seem nice at first glance. My Charlotte tilbury one just arrived so I'm excited for that, and I am wondering if I should pick up the Becca!

  • aww hun that really sucks that you had such a bad reaction to it, i decided against it as i had heard it makes those with oily skin look greasy ๐Ÿ™

    • I can see how that might be, it's hydrating so I do think it's probably better suited for those with dry skin.

  • I, too, had high expectations on this foundation. I just bought it and used it once. My skin react badly to the product as well. It was tight and red and suspect it's due to the high alcohol content. What a shame as I was really excited to add this to my collection.