Despite the lovely, French-infused name, this thin-textured, matte finish liquid foundation is one we simply cannot recommend. This is chiefly because one of the main ingredients is alcohol and this combined with the fragrance makes for a foundation that's likely to cause irritation. See More Info for details on why a higher amount of alcohol in makeup is a problem.
The alcohol helps create this foundation's absorbent matte finish and lightweight texture, but there are other ingredients that can do that without posing a risk of irritation.
It's good that this provides broad-spectrum sun protection and is easy to blend, but again, there are other foundations that have the same benefits without you needing to compromise—or spend too much, as this is a pricey liquid foundation!
As for the shades, they're mostly too pink or peach, especially the ones for light to medium skin tones. The darker shades fare better, but overall this just isn't the foundation to run out and buy.
Alcohol in makeup causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
A long-wearing liquid foundation to create a radiant, flawless complexion with a smooth, satiny finish.
Active: Titanium Dioxide 2.92% Inactive: Water, Methyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Alcohol, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, VP/VA Copolymer, Propylene Carbonate, Fragrance, Saccharide Isomerate, Sodium Chloride, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, BHT, Smithsonite Extract, Geraniol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.
Strengths: Incredibly smooth powder textures that are easy to apply and enliven skin; great powder blush and bronzers.
Weaknesses: Expensive; most of the products are fragranced (some highly so); disappointing primer and mascaras; average concealers and highlighters; few options without shine (shine is definitely not for everybody).
Like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Dior, Givenchy has established a global fashion empire that includes makeup and skin-care products (which are not reviewed at this time). While these French design companies know a great deal about fashion, their venture into makeup is more about style and packaging flamboyance than it is about the products' actual performance; that is, far more form than function.
Givenchy's sleek, chic packaging and designer prices are, for the most part, below par and not worthy of their cost. Adding to the less-than-stellar product selection is the fact that Givenchy products contain noticeable fragrance, which makes them even less desirable, at least for the long-term health of your skin. Fragrance (especially from multiple products worn at the same time) can cause irritation that hurts your skin's healing process and its ability to look and act younger.
Of course, there are some great products in this line, but despite our enthusiasm for them, they offer nothing that hasn't been done just as well (or better) by many other lines, whose prices aren't based on a couture fashion house's reputation. Still, if you're a Givenchy fan or a curious observer, you should know which products are worth your attention and which ones you can gloss over. Givenchy makeup is supposed to have something they refer to as "Prisme," which is meant to describe the prismatic, light-reflecting effect they've added to all of their products. You'll hear a lot from the Givenchy salespeople about the delicate interplay of color and light, but when you cut through the marketing mumbo jumbo, all that these products contain is shine, and it's the same shiny ingredients every other company in the world of makeup is using.
It's important to keep in mind that too much shine will only make the wrinkles you have look worse. While you'll hear that shine reflects light from wrinkles, you can easily dispel that notion by testing a shiny product over your wrinkles, and seeing how the shine makes them stand out, not soften.
Givenchy also carries on about the pigment technology they use, but it isn't unique to their brand. There are many different pigment technologies cosmetic formulators can use, and to one degree or another, all of them are responsible for the improvements we've seen in makeup over the past decade. Lines from L'Oreal to Giorgio Armani, Clinique, and Revlon all use modern pigment technology to create great makeup. In the end, choosing Givenchy is an option, but if you go that route, it's more important than ever (especially for your budget) to know the facts about what you're getting.
Note: The collection of Givenchy makeup reviewed on this site is representative of what's typically seen in U.S. Sephora stores that stock Givenchy.
For more information about Givenchy, call +33 (0) 1 73 02 60 00 or visit www.parfumsgivenchy.com.
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