The "Les Beiges" collection of makeup from Chanel is all about enhancing beauty in a natural-looking way, but this powder went on so sheer that it left us wondering why you need to spend so much money for such a minimal difference.
The finely-milled pressed powder blends on seamlessly with a lightweight texture that briefly absorbs excess shine. The "Healthy Glow" part of this powders name stems from the tiniest hint of radiance (so subtle that you really have to look closely to see it) and its non-chalky finish.
Out of the available shades, 10 and 20 are on the fair-to-light side, and the rest have tan tones, catering up to medium-dark skin. The colors are complexion-flattering, but you get such little coverage and color payoff that this functions more like a setting powder.
Both of the salespeople we spoke to pitched this as an ultra-sheer powder that can also be used as a bronzer, depending on the shade you choose. In either capacity you would really have to layer this on to get noticeable coverage and color, but if super-sheer and "natural" is what you're after, then this delivers.
A low point of this powder formula is the amount of fragrance it contains. While most brands are leaving fragrance out of their makeup, Chanel continues to add it, yet for a product applied all over your face, fragrance can be a problem for all skin types. See More Info for the details on why daily use of highly fragrant products isn't the best way to go for great skin care.
On the plus side, at least Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder SPF 15 provides broad spectrum sun protection, but we highly recommend pairing it with another product rated SPF 20 or higher (see More Info to learn why that's important).
This product lives up to its promise of natural-looking coverage and is suitable for a variety of skin types: just don't count on it for anything more than that.
The compact comes with a half-moon brush and built-in mirror for added convenience. A full-sized powder brush is preferable for normal, everyday application, but the included brush is soft and good enough quality for use on-the-go.
- Natural-looking finish; no chalkiness.
- Finely-milled pressed powder textures meshes well with skin.
- Complexion flattering shades.
- Provides broad spectrum sun protection.
- Not much color pay off or coverage.
- SPF 15 is below the recommended minimum.
- Amount of fragrance poses a risk of irritation.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can impede healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your cosmetic products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin. (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135 and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22.)
A growing body of current research has demonstrated that it's better to use a sunscreen rated SPF 20 or greater to ensure adequate defense against the sun's aging UV rays. SPF 15 is an option, but only if you're willing to apply liberally and your skin will be seeing five hours of daylight or less. While this powder will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients, we strongly recommend not relying on it alone for the best sun protection. Applying it over a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 20+ will take far better care of your skin. Plus, this layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you're not applying liberally.
Strengths: Sleek and occasionally elegant packaging; the sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection; a handful of good cleansers and a topical scrub; some impressive foundations with sunscreen; an assortment of good makeup products including concealer, blush, mascara, eyeshadow and bronzer.
Weaknesses: Expensive, with an emphasis on style over substance; overpriced; overreliance on jar packaging; antioxidants in most products amount to a mere dusting; no products to successfully address sun- or hormone-induced skin discolorations with research-proven ingredients; mostly mediocre to poor eye pencils; extremely limited options for eyeshadows if you want a matte finish.
The history of this Paris-bred line is steeped in fashion, jewelry, and fragrance firsts. The image-is-everything fashion sensibility and fragrance know-how have been loosely translated to Chanels ever-imposing skin-care collection, now divided into several categories, although most of them have overlapping, overly exaggerated claims and over-the-top pricing. The company likes to mention its research facility, referred to as C.E.R.I.E.S. (Centre de Recherches et d'Investigations Epidermiques et Sensorielles) as a way to give credibility to its products and the formulary expertise of Chanel's team of scientists, but its studies are not necessarily the kind of independent research that shows up in medical journals.
Founded in 1991 and funded by Chanel, the goal of this research facility is "to help provide a scientific foundation for the design of skin care products and to promote public awareness of the principles underlying maintenance of healthy, attractive skin." Examining Chanel's often lengthy ingredient lists reveals that they believe healthy, attractive skin requires mostly standard, banal ingredients coupled with lots of fragrance and just a smattering of anything resembling state-of-the-art ingredients. Designing skin-care products whose purpose is to reinforce healthy skin doesn't involve strong scents, irritants such as alcohol, or sunscreens whose SPF ratings fall below the standards set by major health organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology and corresponding international academies as well. Furthermore, their N 1 products claim to increase skin's oxygen uptake, something that essentially puts skin on the fast track for more free-radical damage, and no one at C.E.R.I.E.S. seems to have any idea about how to treat acne-prone skin. (Well, let's face it, acne is never fashionable.)
Just like most Chanel skin-care products, the research facility and its ties to the dermatology community make it sound more impressive than it really is. Chanel's influence on fashion and luxury accoutrements is legendary and ongoing; but their skin-care products simply cannot compete with what many other lines are doing, including Estee Lauder, Clinique, Prescriptives, Olay, Dove, Neutrogena, and many others. Considering the couture-level prices, too much of Chanel's skin care is average, and that doesn't look good on anyone.
For more information about Chanel, call (800) 550-0005 or visit www.chanel.com.
Chanel pulls out all the stops to present their makeup in the most flattering light. Many of their products are deserving of the best status, but, frustratingly, an equal number disappoint, seeming to coast on Chanel's name and attention to upscale, designer-influenced packaging rather than providing true quality. For example, few companies have foundations with textures as varied and state-of-the-art as Chanel. However, most of their foundations with sunscreen are formulated without essential UVA-protecting ingredients, even though Chanel clearly knows about this issue, as evidenced from their numerous skin-care products that do contain avobenzone or titanium dioxide. Neglecting adequate UVA protection while going on about how the product creates younger-looking skin is not only inaccurate, it's harmful to your skin's health and appearance.
Beyond inadequate sunscreen, Chanel's eye and lip pencils have extraordinary prices, but ordinary to poor performance, and most of their "we're trying to be unique and clever" products don't do much to prove they're worthy of purchase. It's hard to ignore that much of what Chanel does well other lines do just as well (and sometimes better), and with a more realistic price range to boot. However, the overall situation is better than standard but well-dressed formulas with shamelessly affluent prices, because although it's not inexpensive, the best of Chanel's makeup is truly outstanding. What's needed to establish consistency is an overhaul of the many products that have fallen behind formula-wise. We doubt Chanel will reevaluate their pricing for the better, but given that, the least you should expect is stellar performance from everything you buy that bears the iconic double C logo!
Note: Chanel is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Chanel does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they dont test on animals unless required by law. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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