Oil change This foundation is full of oil—and it’s fan-freaking-tastic

Remember when, way back in August, I mentioned there was a foundation I was obsessing over—but that I couldn’t tell you what it was just yet?

That was partially because it didn’t hit stores until September, but mostly because I wrote about it for FLARE’s October issue, and it’s considered a bit impolite to scoop oneself on such matters before the magazine lands on newsstands. (The article’s up online too, if you want to have a read.)

Since the coast is clear now, I can tell you: out of all the products I tested (the premise was “2012′s top beauty innovations”), there was no contest with this one. No contest!

It’s incredible.

I want you to meet Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Skin Perfector:

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup This foundation is full of oil—and its fan freaking tastic

He’s so special that he gets his very own post. And we’ve been together non-stop since we first met in July. I feel a bit bad about that, because I had so many skin-perfecting prodz that I loved… but this is such a game-changer, and so different from anything I’ve used before, that there is just no going back.

So the deal is that it’s an oil. A thin, runny oil with pigment in it.

WUT? Well, think of it as something in between a traditional creamy or liquidy foundation and a lightweight BB cream or tinted moisturizer. The problem with most foundations is that while they contain a high proportion of pigment (15 percent), they’re an emulsion of about 80 percent oil and 20 percent water, which can be tricky to spread and can give a mask-like effect. Meanwhile, BB creams are 80 percent water and 20 percent oil… but only 4 percent pigment, so they can’t do that much to correct skin tone.

The Maestro is different—a brand new category, really—because it’s 60 percent oil, with 11 percent pigment. That means it’s less greasy than normal foundation (YES, even though it feels like pure oil), a lot easier to spread and blend, and you get great coverage without any powdery, fake-looking finish.

I mean, you can’t really even call it a foundation.

Ever since my dalliance with the oil-cleansing method, I’ve been a bit nervous about putting oils on my face. But I’m happy to report that this oil (a dry oil) has not only played nice with my skin, it’s also completely non-greasy… so don’t worry about it making you shiny if you have oily skin. It simply melts right in and doesn’t look or feel like you’re wearing ANYTHING. Except that your skin is more perfected. And it doesn’t cake or settle, like in those tiny creases underneath your eyes. Plus, it has SPF 15.

There are 12 shades and you only need two drops, so that makes the $68 price tag (it’s at Holt Renfrew) a bit less scary. I, for one, will be buying some when my press sample runs out—and trust me, there are VERY few products I can say that about.

Tell me:

Are you excited about the concept of a pigmented oil?
Have you tried the Maestro yet?
What other foundations are currently rocking your world? (Urban Decay also has a good one out this fall… although it still doesn’t hold a candle to this guy!)

Get the products


Nomadic D
Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 1:36 pm

I am SO glad you reviewed this! I’ve been seeing it online here and there and am totally fascinated. I think Armani cosmetics are amazing in general, huge fan of the LSF foundations and the Face Fabric in particular, but this really did seem like something groundbreakingly exciting. I may be buying a bit into the hype, but you just egged me on even more. Dying to try it!



Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 3:47 pm

The hype is REAL, yo! You’re right that foundations are totally Armani’s expertise… this one is seriously like nothing I’ve ever tried before. Plus, the oils are supposedly good for your skin!

Let me know what you think if you try it…


Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 2:19 pm

I’m going to Holt’s TODAY. So excited :-) I think all the BB’s I’ve been collecting are going to be feeling very neglected.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 3:48 pm

I know, I feel a bit bad for my BBs, but I always reach for this now. It’s so much easier to apply and I like the effect much better.

Come back and let me know what you think!


Friday, October 5/2012 at 2:35 pm

SO. I went to Holts and the lovely MUA there applied it to my whole face (along with some powder, blush and the Maestro concealer) and I was SOLD. I definitely recommend going to try it out. Yesterday I wore it all day, and then applied a little more at night before going out. It’s definitely buildable and gives a a matte finish with an ‘inner glow’. You will totally need to either wear powder, or touch up with powder later in the day, if you have oilier skin, which I do. It is so super lightweight, yet provides a a really nice amount of coverage. I am definitely using less concealer than I do with my BBs. Because of the price point, I will continue to use my BB’s for more casual days, but I am totally a convert.


Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 3:27 pm

I can’t wait to try it!!!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 3:48 pm

Let me know how you like it if you do!


ana p
Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 4:20 pm

This sounds amazing. So, since it’s an oil, would you say it’s hydrating too? Like a BB? I love the idea of eliminating some of the prodz I put on my face. Thanks!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 4/2012 at 6:54 pm

I wouldn’t say it’s super-hydrating because it’s a dry oil. However, the oils are good for your skin so you are getting some benefit there… although they’re not greasy or detectable at all after you apply it. Depending on your skin type you might be able to get away with just wearing a serum underneath. I usually do that, but in winter I’ll probably need moisturizer as well.


Wednesday, October 3/2012 at 6:40 pm

It would be nice to see some before/after shots.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 4/2012 at 6:58 pm

It would be… alas, I’ve never done swatches here. You can check out the shade selection on the Armani website: http://www.giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com/Maestro-Foundation/A300,default,pd.html?dwvar_A300_color=2&start=1&cgid=foundation
I have shade #4, which surprised me as I’m usually at the lightest end of the spectrum.


Thursday, October 4/2012 at 3:45 am

it would be really fab if you could show some swatches, or before and afters so we can see how it looks on skin.
pretty please


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 4/2012 at 7:01 pm

Hi! see above… I hope that helps a bit. I’m a terrible photographer so I don’t know how much you’d gain from seeing my before & after! You really do need to experience it to understand how amazing it is!


Thursday, October 4/2012 at 6:08 pm

This looks fun…definitely want to try! Just wondering, should it replace my traditional foundation/tinted moisturizer, or is it meant to go on underneath?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 4/2012 at 7:02 pm

It’s meant to replace your foundation or tinted moisturizer or BB. Not meant to be layered… there’s enough pigment that you’ll probably only want to add concealer on top for any blemishes/dark circles etc. And powder if you wear it.


Thursday, October 4/2012 at 9:42 pm

Hi there, great review! I admit I miss your weekly best of videos, any thoughts to bring them back?

My main question though was what kind of sunscreen do you wear under this? Do you find it effects performance? Thanks!!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 11/2012 at 9:15 pm

Aw thanks! I hope to start them back up again at some point – just been crazy busy ramping up the site with all the new changes.

This foundation has SPF 15 in it but you could definitely layer another one underneath if you wanted more protection. (In the winter in Canada, you might not need to bother, but I’d recommend that for sure in the summertime.) I wore it this summer with SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 and it worked great – that’s my favourite sunscreen because it’s so lightweight and non-greasy.

I can’t say the same for the Eminence Organics sunscreen I wrote about today (http://beautyeditor.ca/2012/10/11/5-fall-skincare-finds-that-are-totally-rocking-my-world-right-now-cleansers-serum-eye-cream-and-more/). That one tends to ball up a bit if you put much on top of it.

I’d say in general the Armani would work best with a chemical sunscreen as you don’t get the balling problem… for zincs and titanium, best to test them first to make sure. Also give it 5-10 mins to absorb into your skin before you put on the foundation.

I hope that helps!


Saturday, October 13/2012 at 2:27 am

I ordered this foundation in 4.5 after using up my sample. Love it!


Monday, October 22/2012 at 1:36 pm

I’m looking for a new foundation and was considering the Teint Touche Éclat. I have dry skin and am starting to get crows feet around my eyes. Which one do you think is more suitable?


Tuesday, October 30/2012 at 5:12 pm

I love the Giorgio Armani foundation. It is very much like the Veil foundation at Sephora. I have drier skin and find the veil a bit more moisturizing and I like that it is paraben free with an SPF15. My skin looked flawless with the Armani Foundation. A little bit of the Nars moisturizer and you will be left glowing with a fresh flawless face!


Sunday, November 4/2012 at 10:51 am

This stuff truly is amazing! I never heard of it until stumbling upon it on your site… And I am SO very glad that I discovered it!! Pricey, yes, but it only takes a teeny tiny amount, and the bottle will honestly last me at least a year, no joke. Although it is a dry oil product, it is not at all moisturizing. If you have dry/flaky skin, I honestly wouldn’t recommend this for you, unless you use a really good moisturizer first. I have combination skin and use a great moisturizer and this stuff is just amazing, it melts right into your skin and blends flawlessly, seamlessly. No need for setting powder either. The coverage is relatively sheer, but it is buildable. You could certainly use a setting powder for extra coverage and staying power. But without powder, I feel this lasts throughout my 10-hour day. It also seems to be water resistant. Bottom line, I love it, and highly recommend it! The nice thing is that if you try and don’t like it, the Giorgio Armani website accepts returns for a full refund.


Saturday, December 22/2012 at 2:10 pm

It is a shame that companies bring out products that are so high priced that the average person cannot buy it. Maybe this sounds like sour grapes to anyone but the price of $62.00 for a bottle of makeup is not in my price range.


Wednesday, December 26/2012 at 3:07 pm

I’m soooo excited about this! I I’ve ALWAYS had a problem with this kinda of stuff! I luv anything natural looking, but BB cream just doesn’t rlly cover anything that much for me, and foundation can be too cakey looking sometimes. I’m going to get this as soon as I can, cuz I need something new.


Sunday, December 30/2012 at 8:12 am

Adriana you will love this product! I have drier skin and wrinkles around my eyes. I have started using the veil primer underneath and my skin looks flawless. It still looks great with just the foundation. I have tried every product trying to get a really smooth flawless glow and I must say that nothing beats this combination!


Saturday, March 9/2013 at 11:14 am

So I FINALLY got around to checking this out after finishing up several bottles of other foundation and when I went to the counter the salesperson must have repeated the words “very light coverage” about 20 times. I am looking for a medium coverage and I know this is a completely new concept and type of makeup but is she right? She seemed very adamant about it so I passed.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, March 9/2013 at 12:33 pm

I wouldn’t say it’s very light – I would say it’s medium. You definitely get more coverage compared to most BB creams, for example. But less than a regular foundation. Does that help? My other favourite foundation is the MUFE HD one – it’s more high coverage.


Amy Green
Sunday, April 7/2013 at 4:54 pm

I have VERY dry skin and quite bad eczema on my face and neck. Would this provide enough coverage for me and is it likely to give my skin enough moisture?


Dana Dixon
Monday, April 8/2013 at 6:36 am

I am fascinated by this foundation but I can’t see how I can put a foundation full of oils on my combination / oily (or just plain oily in the summer!) skin. I am so desperate to try this though – anybody with similar skin tried this successfully? Also, does anybody know how dark the shades go? My skintone is probably similar to Gabrielle Union (as a reference point).


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