Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation

Source: Nordstrom (not an affiliated link)

Quite a buzz it was when Giorgio Armani Maestro foundation ($62 for 1 oz) came out a few weeks ago. The most frequent rave I've heard are its long-wearing and natural finish. The latter intrigues my curiosity and at the same time concerns me a bit about the coverage.

Let's first talk about the shade range. It ain't large compared to its widely popular sister Luminous Silk but it seems to capture the color depth well. From the company's website, we know

Fair Shades: #2, #3, #4
Medium Shades: #4.5, #5, #5.5, #6.5, #7, #8
Dark Shades: #10, #11.5, #12

Shade 4.5 and 6.5 are yellow based but the first is too pale while the latter is too tan on my skin. My local Giorgio Armani counter didn't have shade #5. In fact, the girl told me there wasn't #5! Disbelieved but too tired to argue, I grabbed the samples of shade 5.5 and 4.5. So far, I've been enjoying the wear but this foundation has some drawbacks that I can't overcome (yet?).

Comparison of shade 4.5 (yellow-based) and 5.5 (pink-based)

A different lighting

Put aside the hefty price tag, here are what I like
  1. Doesn't turn orange on my skin throughout the day
  2. Dries instantly in natural finish, no need for powder
  3. Although sheer, it stays put for 8 hours without a primer or setting powder
  4. Feel comfortable, weightless like naked skin
  5. Smooth out my skin, which is a nice surprise since it's sheer
  6. Easy to apply (fingers are the best)
And what I don't like?
  1. Doesn't offer enough coverage for minor blemishes and uneven skin tone, even with 3 layers. Your skin peeks through the foundation. It definitely covers better than Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid but doesn't come as close to Burberry Luminous Sheer. I do prefer Burberry's (for many other reasons too). 
  2. I don't find a shade match (yet). Shade 4.5 captures the yellow of my skin while neutralize the redness. It's too pale though. Shade 5.5 has the right depth but too pink on me. 
I've tried several weightless foundations of new generation and they give me better coverage than Maestro in 1 or 2 layers. Because isn't designed as a full coverage foundation, I don't complain about the how it doesn't do it. But my personal preference is more coverage.
Swatches in layers to show you how Maestro builds
The sale associate told me that the company might issue more shades depending on the popularity of the foundation. I'm keeping my finger crossed! If I find the right shade, I will consider to put more effort in concealing minor blemishes with concealers instead of foundations like my current routine.

Bottom line. For now, I'll wait for better shade range. Although it wears longer than Burberry Sheer Luminous foundation, it doesn't cover minor blemishes as well. If you have good skin, definitely check it out. 

*****A side note on my skin and foundations*****
 I have medium yellow undertone (MAC NC 25-30) with some redness on the cheek and dull skin on the chin. My face skin is nearly one shade deeper than the neck. I look for a foundation that match my neck skin to create a seamless transition from face to neck. I don't classify my skin as good but I don't have break out or major skin problems. Loads of foundations turn orangy or muddy on me within one to three hours of wearing. This is the frustration of finding a good foundation for my makeup. 

Four must-have traits of a good foundation for me
  1. doesn't turn orange or muddy throughout the day
  2. dries in natural finish
  3. evens out the color and smoothes the skin (finely milled texture)
  4. covers veins, discoloration, redness and minor dark spots


  1. It would work great for people with minor imperfection, but too bad I have a LOT of *things* to cover so I guess I'll just have to pass this out~ Thanks for sharing =)

    1. Are you kidding me Janet? Your skin is gorgeous. Yes, I've seen a few looks you did recently. We girls have skew image of ourselves I guess. Anyway, if you can find a shade, a good concealer might do the job. xx

  2. I've also read on many blogs that this accentuates dry in addition to what you listed I'm not so sure this would be a good foundation match for me. I dunno though!! I'm so tempted to try it just to see what all the hype is about! Ha ha :-)

  3. I've found it a bit dry too but a moisturizer helps to reduce it. I don't get the hype either. LOL!

  4. thanks for your comprehensive review, Joanne :)
    i've been eyeing on this lately. there are simply so many glowing reviews! ;)
    this sounds like a nice foundation but not a magic potion according to your review, which would save me some money.
    i don't know why i am still searing for more foundation since i am pretty happy with that i have right now. lolz

    1. What's your favorite Lena? Finding my winter foundation is getting frustrating lately. I have the same attachment to foundations, never have enough of testing! xx

    2. i recently got bourjois healty mixt original in 51 (light vanilla) and i am so happy with the finish and the color match.
      revlon colorstay is my other favorite but the color match is a little off. paul & joe light creme foundation is my other favorite, and this one has very light finish with super blendability. :)

    3. Oooh, I like Bourjois healthy mix (my shade is 53). It's very similar to YSL Touche Eclat foundation, in my opinion. Never tried Paul & Joe foundation. See how tempting a perfect complexion can be?

  5. bummer it didn't really work for you the way you hoped! You ought to return it, haha! And i think I never talk to SA's anymore lol. i just got bobbi brown long wear even finish, and i'm really excited!

    1. Yep, totally bummer! At the same time, it helps to narrow down the foundation options tho. I think I'll order Burberry Sheer Luminous. And I need to swing by sephora tomorrow to test bobbi brown long wear. Let me know how how it works for you. xx

  6. I think this will be okay with me. I have slight blemishes that I want to hide and upon reading your reviews about it, this is ideal for that kind. I'll check on this one out...

    1. @Emily. Good for you! Please let us know how it works out for you xx

  7. I had the same problem with the maestro line not offering a good match. I also turned to 4.0 and 6.5 and had the same issues. I've tried to make Armani's foundation choices work but he seems to have left out the true light-medium yellow shade.

    1. The girls at GA told me that they were piloting the color range at that time. If Maestro becomes another popular choice like their Silk Luminous, they will add more shades to the line. I hope so. But from the ingredients, Maestro has not one but five different types of oil. I've learned over the years that I need oil-free formula which sometimes still turns orange on my skin. So all in all, I'm not that excited for new shades coming in, especially now that I find Tom Ford traceless stick foundation. x

  8. The problem with this foundation is that it contains too much alcohol, which is damaging. I look for professional reviews and ingredients on I like your reviews of Tom Ford products! I now have 4 items from him. I'm slowly exchanging my chanel products with Tom Ford. I thinking of trying the Traceless stick foundation, but I not sure it would be good for my dry skin with scaly eczema in my t-zone?

    Kinds Regards Diana

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment Dianna!!! I bookmarked the link for future reference.

      Welcome to Tom Ford beauty fan club. I'm so glad you like my Tom Ford posts as I try hard to offer fair reviews. Sometimes it's not that easy especially when I love the products so much! While I still love Chanel, I'm more drawn to the style and philosophy/approach of Tom Ford. The Traceless stick foundation is a bit dry in the drier weather and it settles more quickly than my liquid foundations. If you have dry skin including T-zone then I would recommend thorough skin prep with exfoliator and moisturizer before apply it. I'm not sure about eczema, unfortunately. I know someone who breaks out with TF Traceless Stick. The ingredients look innocent though. If you can check it out at the counter, that's probably the best.



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