Here’s a rather unfashionable admission: French does nothing for me. France I love, especially the countryside – I’m as susceptible to the promise of Provencal life as the next daydreamer. The language, however, leaves me stone cold.
I could cite several reasons for this dislike of the gallic tongue but I’m afraid they’d be lies – this feeling is rooted entirely in an especially awful episode during my teen years. It was my GCSE oral. I hadn’t revised nearly enough and that coupled with my poor grasp of the language lead to The Incident, which I will herein faithfully recall despite it making my toes curl.
There we were, teacher and I, either side of the examination desk, tape recorder between us. She started with the usual – my name and age, to which I managed reel off answers with relative fluidity. She then asked the simple question of where I liked to holiday. My answer began ‘dans mes vacances…’ and trailed into nothing. Truly. Nothing. My mind had gone blank. I couldn’t conjure up a single French word. She motioned at the recorder, then at me, signalling to say something – anything! And I did. In English. With a French accent. Seriously. I did that. After The Incident I quit French, focussing on blessed, beautiful English instead.
How does this relate to Chanel? Simple really – I recently realised that despite loving each of these foundations, I’d purposefully discounted their frou frou French names. Les Beiges, Vitalumiere – they tried to demand French of me, to which my response was a resounding non (this one word remains and has served me very well indeed).
Instead I navigated them by feel and finish – deciding that of the Chanel foundation range, these three comprehensively covered all occasions, despite my having very little idea of what the good people at Chanel had intended them for. If you also can’t speak French (or just want a bit of help on choosing a new base), here’s my guide to all three //
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua SPF 15 / This oil-free foundation is ultra lightweight and ideal for normal/oily skin as it slides on like water – with no greasiness. A pea-sized amount can almost be massaged into the skin to just make it look a little more uniform and juicier, though it can be layered for more coverage.
The Finish / The word glossy springs to mind – though don’t think that by this I mean greasy. It’s more smooth, healthy, springy skin that looks happy. Over time, it’ll be slightly gobbled by oily skin, though does a good job of hanging on for longer than most of its ilk.
The Packaging / Really good for travel/slinging into your handbag as it doesn’t leak, is lightweight and won’t smash as it’s made of plastic.
The Finish / This is ‘your skin but a whole lot better’. This means it finishes to a touch more luminous, a lot more even, and a bit airbrushed. It’s a proper foundation and demands to be worn as such – though I sometimes use it down the centre of my face and blend it out into something sheerer if I want a bit less.
The Packaging / Beautiful to display with a nice pump to dispense the foundation, but a total pain in the backside to travel with – just don’t.
Chanel Vitalumiere Loose Powder Foundation with Mini Kabuki Brush SPF 15 / This mineral foundation can be dialled up to full coverage base (almost mitigating the need for concealer), or worn as a dusting over a very lightweight foundation to even everything out further/bring down excess shininess (I really like to do this as it doesn’t make me look flat as some powders can).
The Finish / Oh lord. I wish I could jump out the screen and whisk this all over your face right now to disabuse you of any thoughts that mineral powder foundations are chalky. They’re not. Or, rather, this one absolutely isn’t. It’s glossy, supermodel skin in a pot. And it looks amazing on camera, in case that’s your thing.
The Packaging / Delightful little pot to behold, easy to pat your brush on the net and get a little product (though I always find there’s some wastage as a result of powder puffing into the air). Don’t love the mini kabuki – it works well at first, but is virtually ruined by washing – you’ll see what I mean. I apply it with any old buffing brush I have to hand instead.