Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Powder SPF 15

What seemed like just another face powder from Chanel didn't originally spark my interest. Sorry, Gisele isn't one of my favorite faces. What finally brought me around was the big puzzle that seemed to surround the new powder. It seemed to elicit either an 'I love it' or 'I really don't get it' reaction from reviewers. On a whim, I thought, I'll order a couple of shades to play with and see.

The big question 'what is it?' is really quite simple to answer. It's a face powder that you can use for a variety of things, much like many powders. Setting powder, finishing powder, sheer bronzer, these all come close to the mark. What's key to bear in mind is its inherent sheerness, especially if you use the accompanying brush which picks up very little product at a time. They probably mean for you to purchase a shade that's slightly darker than your regular compact to achieve that "healthy glow" effect. I think when they say 'belle mine' they are referring to a sunkissed glow that equates to a look of healthfulness. It isn't a tan or a glow that can be achieved with sparkles but a touch of warmth that makes you look like winter doesn't exist, and it's a look that I like very much.

If we start with packaging, there are things to like about Les Beiges. It's distinct from all the other square, black compacts that you may already own from the brand because it's not black so it will be easy to single out. It's almost the same size compact, just a little bigger, and it comes with its own brush that's tucked inside.

I have light to medium complexion, more an NC20 perhaps, although my neck and chest are always a little darker especially in the summer. I typically end my makeup with a quick sweep of bronzer to even this out. I picked No. 30 for general purposes and No. 40 for a more bronzed effect.

How I work with No. 30: I apply foundation and sculpt in some contours with a cream product. After I'm done with my eye makeup and brows, I take a fluffy round brush with natural hairs and generously swirl it around the Les Beiges compact and I apply it like I would bronzer. I start at the hollow of one cheek, buff in a circular motion going up to the side of the face and up to the temples. I do the same on the other side. With one last dip into the compact, I work from the jawline and sweep the residual powder all over the perimeter of my face, ending with a quick swipe down each side of the nose. With the same brush, I would apply blush on the apples of the cheeks to get them to blend in seamlessly with the subtle contours I've created and if I had to, I would run the same brush through some Meteorites to make highlights stand out more. Just to clarify, in case there was some confusion about the supposed "glow" that this product has, I really don't detect any sparkles from it. Not on No. 30 or No. 40. Which is why if I wanted subtle sparkles, I would hit the tin of Meteorites. Les Beiges is for a hint of color and it seems to work rather well for that purpose.

I thought Les Beiges photographs beautifully despite the SPF in the product. I couldn't detect any white cast in my pictures. If anything, the look was subtly well-blended and lightly contoured. It looked really good but I can't tell you if my new glow was simply a result of the combination of products used or if it truly can be attributed to Les Beiges. But I will say that Les Beiges used by itself does not yield the same results for me. I cannot skip the foundation and say it looks awesome. I need coverage to even out my skin and this works merely to give the look cohesion and warmth. I like it for precisely that warming effect as opposed to whitening, which many powders tend to give. 

Working with No. 40, I felt like I really was working with a bronzer. The color really shows up on me to the point that if I applied the exact amount as No. 30, I think it looks a little dirty. It requires much more effort to blend it in properly. However, if I finish with my regular compact or loose powder over the areas that need to lighten up, it works out alright. I look like I have a tan, not a mere healthy glow. I can use it but if I knew better, I would not have bought it.

Is Les Beiges worth it? To someone who would buy bronzer in the $50 region, the price tag shouldn't be a big deal. What matters is whether or not you can find a shade that works well for whatever purpose you deem this powder to have in your arsenal. I am pleased with the effects I can achieve while using No. 30. It isn't the same as my other powders. And although the texture is not as smooth as some other powders that I own, its winning quality is that it's easy to control the warmth it gives to the skin. I like it but could I live without it? Certainly.

Les Beiges reminds me of the Diorskin Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder from last year although the color of that powder wasn't great for me. It also calls to mind an old Shiseido powder called the Multi-Shade Enhancer. I had one in Sunset Glow. Both products were sold as bronzers and they were both quite sheer. The Shiseido was sold as a refill pan and you can buy the case with the brush separately. I remember buying it mostly for the case, because I wanted to carry a brush when most powders came with a puff. I also remember a Sephora associate attempting to dissuade me from purchasing it because she felt that it didn't show up on the face at all. With multiple pan-dipping, it would show up on me but it did tend to lean peach because the largest strip was a peach right in the middle. Les Beiges is a lot better for me than either the Dior or the Shiseido. With No. 30, I think that they got the shade just right. It looks naturally sunkissed. Finishing powder, sheer bronzer, whatever. It works. To me, it's a keeper.

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