Armani Beauty just launched a new lipstick formula called Ecstasy Shine ($38 each for .1 oz, made in France). These are high shine lipsticks with a balmy feel with medium to rich coverage. The lighter color shades have a sheerer finish while the deeper or bright ones are one-swipe wonders on my pigmented lips. They have a finish and texture that reminds me of the first generation of sheer lipsticks Armani launched many years ago (I’m thinking around 2001-ish) but without as much slip or sheerness. Given the balm-like texture these still have some slip but they don’t disappear on my lips as quickly as some of the older Armani formulas. They feel ultra nourishing, comforting and smooth on the lips. There’s a glossy sheen and while they aren’t long-lasting like regular lipsticks or nearly as rich or long-lasting as their Lip Magnets I find they do stay put on the lips until you drink or snack. These feel so nice on the lips I don’t mind reapplying.
I’m a sheer lipstick and lip gloss lover so these are right up my alley. To me they have more of a summer feel with the color scheme and texture but as one who really doesn’t favor matte lips I’m not complaining. The color lineup is filled with timeless classics. I need to make a trip to the counter to see if I can find a good plum shade. My favorite of course is a neutral 100. I can’t help but feel 506 is a perfect fuchsia and Armani does really good orangey-reds and classic reds. As far as I can tell there’s no detectable scent once on the lips. The lipstick in the tube has a natural kind of scent that smells like an essential oil. Something you might expect in a lip treatment or balm. Once I have it on the lips I can’t smell anything. They have a similar vibe to the YSL Rouge Volupte Shines but the Armani has a little less slip, no fruity scent, and more pigment. I love both formulas but this one from Armani feels more along lines of a classic tinted balm lipstick. Bottom line: glossy, nicely hydrating and a great color range.
I featured six of the Armani Lip Magnets back in October of this year and many of you asked for more swatches of the colors that fall in the neutral zone. For those who haven’t tried these yet the Armani Lip Magnets are a unique weightless non-drying liquid lipstick that offer beautiful long lasting coverage. I’m more of a gloss or sheer lipstick kind of person for texture and finish. Even though liquid lipsticks last a lot longer most formulas tend to look dry, too opaque, flat or darken drastically on my lips. The Armani Lip Magnets are hands down the best in formula for a natural looking liquid lipstick that dries down to a soft matte finish without that dried-out look. Unfortunately for those who only wear light neutrals or nudes all the colors pull on the dark or deep side. Even the ones that fall in the “natural” category are all rather deep. The color in the tubes can look a little bit misleading in my opinion. Some of the shades look like they could be true neutrals but once you see them on the applicator and swatch you’ll find the colors are a bit on the deeper spectrum of color. Still there are some lovely shades to chose from. I’m not opposed to having a rosy lip or coral pop of color on the lips even though I tend to gravitate towards lighter neutrals. The formula is so good I think it’s definitely worth a try. I do hope Armani expands the color range into lighter territory – the formula is so unique and the perfect liquid lip texture/finish for the person who just doesn’t like the dried opaque feel or look of the traditional liquid lipstick. You can read my original review on formula in this post here. Quick take: it’s long-lasting, unscented, has a unique applicator for precise lining and the ability to fill in the lips, has full coverage, feels weightless and is non-drying.
I bought five more shades to review, I searched a number of websites and it appears 506 and 507 are on backorder until January at most retailers. You may still have luck finding it at your counters.
503 is described as a reddish peach, on me it’s a bright coral
504 is probably the lightest and most neutral out of the current lineup, but it pulls peachy and
505 is a medium-bright rose pink
506 is a soft natural rose (also reviewed in the original post), depending on your lip color it may pull more pink or rose, on me it’s a slightly deeper rose
507 is the perfect mauve plum for me, most mauves are either too red, too grey or too purple, this one is PERFECT!
The Lip Magnet lip swatches lined up side by side:
My favorite for color is still #506 with #507 tied for my perfect plum. Formula-wise these are among the best I’ve tried in liquid lipsticks because they have a soft matte finish, they don’t dry out the lips, they have a nourishing feel but don’t have any slip, they last a remarkably long time, they don’t budge and coverage is perfect. For those who don’t like scented lip products the fact that these are unfragranced is a huge plus. If Armani expands the formula to include a few lighter shades I would be thrilled. Bottom line a winning formula.
I’ve been testing out some items from Armani Beauty in skincare and just purchased a newly packaged foundation from the line. After a few misses over the spring I’ve been very nervous to test anything even though I’ve used many items from their line for over a decade. I used their Crema Nera cream in the original version for quite some time and absolutely loved it (I believe it’s since been reformulated or repackaged). I have three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line that I’ve been testing for a few months now, the new travel-size Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream and additional thoughts on the Him/Her Lip Care.
Up first are three items from the Armani Prima Skincare line. This line was designed to keep the glow in your morning makeup look fresh and stay put all day long and the three items that first launched really do work. They smooth the skin, give it a very natural glow without the greasy feel and work well with my makeup (all brands including NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hourglass).
I’m one who finds that my face makeup does indeed disappear or absorb into the skin and requires a little touch up mid-day. Foundation and powder usually stay put pretty well but I hate layers of product on my face so while I’ve tried and liked a lot of primers, I don’t think I’ve ever found one I absolutely love. Something is always wrong with primers I test, either it just doesn’t do anything for the foundation I wear, isn’t compatible with my skincare, causes an allergic reaction or it works but has that silicone feel that I really don’t like.
The Armani team sent three items over the summer and after a few bad skin reactions to their Maestro Glow Foundation and UV Primer I was terrified of trying these. I waited several weeks before being brave enough to test them and reminded myself that I had used a number of serums and creams from the line before and had great success with them. (I stopped repurchasing because of the high price points.) I’m glad I did. Thoughts on each.
Glow-On Moisturizing Balm is a moisturizer that is designed to give skin a natural glow, plump and smooth the skin. It does all the things it claims and has a very unique texture. It’s hydrating but has a very lightweight texture, almost airy and dries to a semi-matte finish. There is a very slight scent to it but it’s pleasant and disappears within a few minutes. For me it has enough hydration to use in place of moisturizer. I have normal combination skin and find it is odd that it gives skin a glow yet has a matte looking effect. Kinda like how Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks are luminous mattes. For me this is what I had hoped the Natasha Denona Face Glow Primer Hydrating Underbase to be (which turned out to be a bit too rich for my skintype).
If you’re more on the oily side or normal for that matter and find foundation disappears within hours the Armani Prima Day-Long Skin Perfector is the best makeup primer I have ever tried. It smooths out the skin and really does make foundation look fresh longer. I have not tested it in hot humid weather but I wish I had this a year ago during our summer trip to Europe to try. Last year there were days in Paris and Rome where I just gave up on wearing any makeup because the heat and humidity caused everything to slide off within minutes. In warm California weather the Day-Long Skin Perfector really does smooth the skin and prime it well for your base makeup. It has a lightweight texture that glides onto the skin. I use it over my moisturizers (La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream, La Mer Moisturizing Soft Lotion, Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturizer etc.) and it’s compatible with all of them. I have small but noticeable-to-me sized pores and this works well to smooth them out. It’s supposed to help absorb excess oil and it does help to keep the shine at bay for me.
The Lip and Eye Contour was featured earlier this week and works to smooth out lips and give them a slightly plumped effect. I have not tried it on the eyes yet. It does indeed smooth out the lip and help prime them for lip color. It does come at a very steep price tag. It’s a nice one that I like but given the price I do not know if it’s something I will repurchase once used up. It does smooth out lip lines and I suspect it will do the same for eyes. With the eye area and skincare I’ve tried a number of items (still testing quite a few). I feel like eye creams are hard to test because they take so much time to see results. If you’ve tried this on the eye area let me know what you thought.
Up next are the Him/Her Lip Care tinted shades in 2, 3 and 5. These were also featured in this week’s lip basics roundup so I won’t recap the full review. A few of you asked for lip swatches even though I felt they all looked pretty much the same and sheer on my lips. I have pigmented lips but they do seem to be darker on some days compared to others. I managed to get lip swatches on a day where my lips were on the lighter side. I swatched them heavily so you could see the color but I normally would not wear them this thick on the lips. They have a nice moisturizing balmy feel. They aren’t lightweight and you can feel them once on the lip area. If you need something weightless these will be too heavy for you. I also swatched all the colors at the counter for reference.
Shades I bought, 2 is peachy, 3 is a lilac, 5 is a plum:
Last but not least is the Crema Nuda Supreme Glow Reviving Tinted Cream which now comes in a travel sized version with a pump. When the original version came out in the large tub with a $200 price tag my jaw literally dropped and I told myself “I can’t check it out, I just can’t do it.” The most I’ve spent on a foundation before was for Cle de Peau and I did love it but never repurchased. When I saw a travel size of the Crema Nuda for $120 pop up online I was also debating the new Cle de Peau Beaute Radiant Cream Foundation which is $125. It turned out to be too pink for me (I tried O30 too pink and O40 was too dark) and at the price tag I needed an exact or pretty exact match so I passed.
Before trying the Crema Nuda I did reach out to a few beauty friends asking if they tried it. One confirmed it was good but the original price was too much. I went to investigate and a quick hand swatch had me worried because I thought I’d be in between shades. #3 looked very pink and peach when blended on my hand and #4 was clearly too dark. A kind associate gave me samples to try and said to give it whirl on my skin because they blended out differently on the face because of the unique texture.
I had a serious OMG moment when I tried #3. It did indeed look a bit peachy-pink at first swipe but a beauty blender smoothed it out and after a minute it adjusted to a perfect match. I’ve never tried anything that made my skin look so blurred and smooth as the Crema Nuda. I do wish that it came in the same shades as the Luminous Silk because the colors in that line are perfect for my skin undertone but formula is too rich. At any rate, the Crema Nuda works for my normal combination skin even though I thought it would be too moisturizing and heavy. It looks very natural with medium coverage. I do still need to layer on a bit of concealer on spots and under eyes but it’s pretty near perfect.
I thought I had mini samples of all the shades but turns out I’m missing the darkest one #6. But for reference here are the colors I did get samples of at the counter. There is a new one #4.5 which once it sets looks darker than #4 even though they look pretty close with a fresh swatch.
A few comparison swatches for reference. As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts I went to investigate what my MAC shade was because so many of you have asked. In the past years I’ve been anywhere from NC30, NC35, NC40, C3 and C4 depending on how tan I was. I stopped using the MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation because I found I was severely allergic – this was in my college days that I stopped which was over 10 years ago. I was also allergic to their Face and Body and a number of other formulas. Since then many years have gone by and I don’t know if the foundations have been reformulated but I did give the Studio Fluid Fix Foundation a try.
The girls at the store said I was an NC35 but I felt NC37 was a better match (in this formula it’s a bit lighter and less olive). I bought both so I could test and swatch them for you. As my skin gets lighter though I suspect I might be able to pull off NC30 – but I’ll have to investigate further. I still promise to have my base foundation and concealer roundup as soon as possible.
For now here are some swatch comparisons for reference, Set #1:
MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation NC35 and NC37 (I’m wearing NC37 on the face in the lip swatches above so you can see how it blends into the skin seamlessly for a good match even though it looks very olive/yellow below)
At the $120 price tag it’s still very expensive but easier for me to justify compared to $200. Plus I really like that it comes in a pump and wears well on my skin. Color options in the Crema Nuda line are limited but since it’s not a full covearage foundation I do think the shades are more forgiving. If you try it I do suggest letting the color sit on the skin as it won’t oxidize but it will adjust.
Bottom line, lots to love from the line. I’m slowly rediscovering bits – I used to be a die hard fan until they started reformulating everything and I’m still upset they discontinued some of the most amazing blush colors and the original formula. I know some will say the new one is better but I stocked up on some of the originals because in my mind those were the best on the market for a long long time.
For the skincare items, I like the Day-Long Skin Perfector the best. Even though it’s the best primer I’ve used I still don’t use it everyday simply because it’s an extra step I just am too lazy for on most days. When I do use it though it does not let me down. I highly recommend it.
Have you tried any of the Armani Prima skincare line? Or the Crema Nuda? I just saw they added more to the Prima skincare line but have yet to investigate. If you have any skincare favorites from the line let me know – it’s been years since I used their serums and creams. I suspect what I used to use no longer exists as new products have most likely taken their place.
Prima items provided courtesy of Armani for review. Other items purchased by me from Nordstrom.
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:
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.
Giorgio Armani’s latest includes a new liquid/cream eyeshadow called Eye Tints ($38 each for 6.5 ml/0.22 fl oz, made in France). These eyeshadows are all shimmery and come in twelve different colors. I ordered several sight unseen and literally gasped when I opened the boxes. They are really beautiful.
The shades above, left to right (note the tubes themselves only have numbers as labels):
Onyx 5 is a super sparkly olive green with silver and green shimmers
Cold Copper 9 is a smooth shimmer neutral tan
Senso 10 is a unique plum brown bronze shimmer
Rose Ashes 11 is a warm peachy gold base that flashes pink and rose
Gold Ashes 12 is a super sparkly cool-toned champagne shimmer
These Armani Eye Tints have a fluid texture but aren’t so fluid that they are like liquids. There is a bit of thickness to them which makes them slightly like a cream, but the texture is still on the fluid side. The color sheers out once you blend them but it is easy to build and blend. I’ve been playing with these all last week – my favorite way to apply is straight from the tube onto the lids and then blend on the eyes with a finger.
Onyx and Gold Ashes are extremely sparkly, but not quite as frosted or as pigmented as Armani Eyes to Kill shadows and not as glitzy as some of the Chanel Illusion D’Ombres. I’ve tried Gold Ashes all over the lids and it blends out really nicely for an even wash of sparkle. The other shades Cold Copper, Sense and Rose Ashes have a more finely milled shimmer. In terms of lasting power, I found these dried down to a satiny finish on the eyes after they set and lasted all day without budging. You can layer a powder shadow on top of these but if you do, I recommend working quickly with your shadows – these tend to set and dry quickly, although it’s not immediate which allows you to blend and layer, dry time is on the fast side (at least for me).
By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon (swatches)
Armani Eyes to Kill 9
I really like these, although I am partial to the Eyes to Kill Intense Shadows. I know many have found those too shimmery and too intense so if you’re looking for something softer I recommend you check out the Eye Tints. They have a smooth texture that offers light to medium buildable coverage.