Friday, October 11, 2013

Stand Still, Look Pretty

I've never owned anything Chanel until recently, when I picked up the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder SPF 15 / PA++ in N°20. I was never going to fork out $80 for it in Australia, but it was considerably cheaper at Changi Airport so I caved. I'll readily admit that I was gradually sucked in by Gisele's fresh, slightly sunkissed, naturally perfect skin in the ads, numerous glowing reviews I'd read, and the packaging. Oh yes, the packaging. I had visions of nonchalantly whipping out the gorgeous compact from my bag in a swanky restaurant bathroom and touching up my makeup. If I can't afford a Chanel bag, at least I can afford their powder.






Les Beiges had me intrigued very early on. I first saw it used by Lisa Eldridge in a video she did on Chanel's YouTube channel. She essentially used it with a kabuki brush to buff the powder onto clean skin for a sheer base. She also demonstrated a different purpose in a separate video where she uses it on top of her liquid foundation for a more all-over bronzed look and also a bit of contouring.

From what I gather, Les Beiges is intended to be more of a sheer bronzing powder that can be used all over the face for a subtle bronzed glow. For that reason, it's probably a good idea to buy a shade up from your natural skin tone. I decided that it would be more use to me as a traditional powder (i.e. to mattify any shine, set my makeup, provide a tad more coverage on top of foundation, or be buffed into the skin on exceptionally good skin days), so I went for the shade that matched my skin, rather than a darker colour.


It comes with a half moon brush made of natural hairs that's quite soft. It's convenient for travel or if you're on the go, but otherwise it's too thin and flat to be all that useful. There's a circular lid for the powder which doubles as a compartment for the brush. It's a bit annoying to have to put aside the brush and lid each time just to access the powder, but it's a necessary evil to make Les Beiges completely purse-friendly. I've been relying on my Too Faced Powder Pouf brush to apply the powder, though I'm sure any kind of larger powder/kabuki brush would do the trick.




l-r: Laura Mercier Real Sand, Bourjois 52, Chanel Les Beiges N°20

Compared to a couple of other powders I have, Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in Real Sand is creamier and denser with a satin sheen. It's also more pigmented and slightly pink-toned. Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder in 52 Vanille is much softer and smoother in texture and more of a pale beige compared to the orange-leaning Les Beiges. For whatever reason, the surface of my Chanel has sealed except for a small circle in the centre. The same thing happens to a lot of my other powders, e.g. Benefit Hoola and most of my NARS blushes, and it's super annoying (not to mention unsightly).

The main thing I noticed about Les Beiges is that it's very sheer, borderline translucent. The swatch shows what I built up with 3-4 layers and it still almost disappears into the skin. The powder itself is scented with some kind of generic-but-pleasant, indistinguishable smell — it's a bit sweet, somewhat fruity. To be perfectly honest, I didn't see Les Beiges doing anything particularly amazing for my skin. I glanced at the ingredients list and nothing looked exactly revolutionary. After all, talc and nylon-12 are still the first two ingredients. When I applied it in the morning over my liquid foundation, my T-zone still experienced shine about 2-3 hours later. Sure, my skin looks a little more polished and 'soft focus' immediately after using it, but it's not an effect that lasts, and it's not an effect unique to Les Beiges. One thing I can say is that because of how sheer the powder is, you definitely won't experience any cakiness. 

Maybe I would've been more enthused if I bought N°30 and used it as a light all-over bronzer, but overall, I'm well aware that the main reason I purchased it was because of the packaging. I wasn't expecting any miracles from Les Beiges, so I'm neither disappointed nor pleasantly surprised. Its primary function to me is to sit there looking pretty, which it does very well. Its secondary function as a powder proved far more ordinary.

46 comments:

  1. it is so sheer... packaging is so classy

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    1. It was sheerer than I expected! But yes, I love the packaging more than any other aspect of this product haha

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  2. Powders that seal... no. NO!!!!!! So annoying and, like you said, unsightly. Such a shame... though again, like you said, at least you went into this not expecting much from the powder and just wanted the pretty package; and D*MN that is a pretty package. I wonder if people ever sell empty pretty compacts like this on ebay or something hahah I would probably buy one because I'm a sad beauty enthusiast ;)

    ♥Cassie
    thriftthick.blogspot.com

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    1. LOL I was thinking once this powder runs out, I might even be able to store something inside of it and just use the compact and the mirror inside :p I don't know why some powders seal and some don't - my Bourjois one is going fine and some of my Benefit blushes (like Sugarbomb and Dallas) don't seal, but others do. Such a shame!

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  3. Amazing review, I love how indepth you get in about it, down to the scent and it's finish. I can always count on you for the best makeup reviews!

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    1. Thanks Evani! And happy belated 25th birthday :)

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  4. thanks for this review. :)
    i was curious about this compact also because of the packaging. i recently bought the double perfection lumiere powder foundation but the traditional rectangular case is too big and bulky. plus i like using a brush even for touchups. but this is intended to be a bronzer which i don't normally use..it is disappointing to hear this is a mediocre product.

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    1. It was a tad disappointing only in the sense that ideally, it would've completely blown me away - but it didn't. Far from it :p But oh well. It satiated by curiosity about Chanel. The only product that I really want to try from them is Vitalumiere Aqua. I was close to buying it but then reminded myself of the 10 foundations/BB creams I have at home, and stopped myself...

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  5. Thank you for you (as always!) honest review!
    I have to admit that, besides some of their lipsticks and a few cream blushes, the only thing that spiked my curiosity from Chanel was their foundation Aqua Vitalumiére (which I really want to get) I never had any interest about Chanel's products.
    Please take care, have a nice day!*

    beauty-with-love.blogspot.com

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    1. I totally agree with you - Vitalumiere Aqua has been on my wishlist for a very long time! However it does have alcohol in it so I'm a bit unsure about whether I'm comfortable putting it on my skin since alcohol has a tendency to be drying. Especially since my skin is like the desert right now. I normally haven't been that interested in Chanel's makeup, but I was curious to try at least a few things. The gorgeous packaging certainly doesn't hurt! :p

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  6. I am curious about this and glad I read your detailed review before running out to get it.

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    1. I remember you reviewed other Chanel base products you've tried favourably - maybe you will like Les Beiges more than me :)

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  7. I just recently tried it at chanel counter but I didn't see anything groundbreaking enough for me to pay €48.. The counter lady applied a shade darker as subtle bronzer and my exact shade as all over powder and the result was nice though not extremely nice esp with the steep price..I think I prefer it better as subtle bronzer , because it is completely matte and very natural..
    but it is chanel anyway, it may cost €€€ and people will still buy it :-D

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    1. I agree with you completely - there's simply nothing 'groundbreaking' about it, especially not to justify the hefty price tag. But it's Chanel at the end of the day - you're not really paying for the product, but more the allure of the brand and the exterior. At least it's nice to look at ;)

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  8. Great honest review! That packaging really is to die for. Its a shame it didn't work any miracles, but at least it didn't make your skin look bad or anything. I love Chanel, although I don't own anything from them... yet!

    http://bigbeautybag.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm sure that will change any time now ;) Any Chanel products that you've been eyeing?

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  9. I was wondering how the Bourjois powder compared! I've been using that one recently and thought it might bear some similarity (though I have it in 53). The way the powder seals is baffling though.
    The packaging is preeeetttyyyy. LOL I love how honest you are with yourself about why you bought it- and the swanky restaurant bathroom. YSL lipsticks were made for the same reason, I'll bet. You don't see NARS or MAC looking shiny and filigree'd.

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    1. The Bourjois is more pigmented and results in a much more matte finish. On me, it really makes my skin look mattified and almost 'flat' in a way. Like I put on extra coverage. But no powders really last on me, invariably they all just fade to nothingness (with my oiliness coming through) 2-3 hours after I originally slapped on my liquid foundation and powder over the top.

      Ah yes, still need to get myself a YSL lipstick. That was another mistake I committed during my trip. Basically I didn't buy enough high end stuff from Changi :p Haha ... I thought I would've had a bit more time on the flight back home but I absolutely did not.

      I don't have any NARS lipsticks but mainly because I haven't been attracted enough to any particular colour. Plus the packaging is largely uninspiring. At least MAC produces some truly gorgeous, well-loved shades.

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    2. I was hoping to stopover in Changi Airport on my way to Xiamen when I go to China camp in December but we're stopping in HK and from last year's experience the dutyfree there is miles away from the gates so looks like any duty free shopping will be done in Brisbane Airport, which is all but the same as DJs or Myer. I'm still in two minds about MAC- Patisserie and Shy Girl are the ones I've got my eye on but I don't think I can bring myself to spend $36 apiece on more pale lipsticks of which I have several. I'll await your post on Patisserie before I take the plunge. That, and I'm throwing out Cotton Candy and Strawberry Shortcake lip butters because they look awful. However, 1-in-1-out policy dictates...

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    3. So true - duty free while still in Australia is hopeless! Except maybe like small bottles of alcohol.

      Shy Girl is quite light, it's borderline a peachy nude so I don't know if that is what you're after. I actually adore Patisserie but I believe it's not a shade you can buy in Australia. I was going to do a post on Patisserie but I have this awful pimple thing near my lip so no pictures until that clears up haha :p

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    4. Sorry to butt in ladies- but you can buy Patisserie in Australia :) I put my name down at the Pro store near me and they rang me when it was restocked, and they shipped it to me free of charge after taking payment over the phone. I think it is a truly beautiful shade, and I was hesitant because of how pale I am but it totally works :)
      Just my two cents!

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    5. Oh wow, thanks for that info Emma! Glad to hear it's available here, even if it might take a bit more effort to procure. I was seriously considering buying a backup but I think I convinced myself that wouldn't be necessary if my track record of finishing a lipstick was anything to go by haha :)

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  10. I recently got very into Chanel makeup. It's a dangerous obsession! LOL.
    The Grass Skirt Blog

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    1. Oh no! I hope I'm not afflicted with the same problem :p

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  11. This looks AMAZING! Chanel makeup is just incredible :) x

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    1. It looks amazing but the product inside didn't live up to the exterior, lol! I haven't tried too much from Chanel but the other two products I've recently picked up from them have impressed me a bit more than Les Beiges :)

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  12. Wow. There is no denying that it looks sooooo pretty, but it's a real shame that it's not a wonder product to accommodate the elevated price tag :( I think I might look into the shades, and look to get a shade that might double up as a bronzer as it looks totally irresistible!!! xxx

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    1. That sounds like a good idea Gemma! I'm not sure why it didn't live up to the hype for me (I don't know if the current dry condition of my skin had anything to do with it), but I can definitely say that it doesn't keep shine at bay for more than a couple of hours, and even after immediately applying it, the softening/diffused effect could be from a whole suite of other, more inexpensive powders. But you can't beat that beautiful interlocking-Cs packaging!

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  13. The packaging is beautiful, as with all Chanel products! I had been tempted by this, but now I think I'll stick with the powders I already have, even though their packaging is no where near as nice!

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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    1. It's a good mentality to have regardless - if you're happy with your current powders then why not stick with them :) Or at least keep searching for something that will perform a bit better than Les Beiges. Though I guess you can't really substitute the eye candy of a Chanel compact ;)

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  14. My face powder at the moment is the MUFE HD Setting Powder so I'm okay with how translucent the powder is. But the fact that it doesn't control shine that well is a bit of a deal breaker :P At least it looks gorgeous. I can imagine it sitting on your vanity, looking super classy :) x

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    1. It definitely doesn't control shine, at least on my skin - which I wouldn't even classify as oily (at least at the moment). I take it you're pretty happy with your MUFE at the moment? At least it does the job!

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  15. "sit there and look pretty" - LOL

    I totally want TWO of these because I'm positive that I fall in between shades and that's how these sneaky Chanel people designed it! The white packaging is genius too. Totally on the later list!

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    1. I did see this on your "No or Later" collage haha :) I'm guessing N20 and N30? I love the white packaging - probably more than the usual black, but maybe just because it's a deviation from the norm.

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  16. This compact powder has a very beautiful packaging, looks very thin and slightly glossy, unfortunately most Chanel products are expensive and my student salary can not cover a product. I think it has a tone yellow / orange would not go well with my skin tone, I should probably use another tone.

    I want invite you to Join to my MOOTTA Giveaway for win "Innisfree Masks + Anklet"

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    1. It is definitely very pricey! A holiday splurge item, if you will. They do have a lighter shade (N10) which may better suit paler skin tones :)

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  17. That is chanel for you. when you actually look at the product you realize there is nothing extraordinary about it, well except for the fact that it's chanel! I really want to try out the les beiges line.

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    1. Very true! I guess it really depends on your expectations. I'm sure that you could find far less expensive alternatives to most of the products in their range, though there probably are a few standouts that really deliver quality-wise as well.

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  18. That's such a shame that it didn't really do much :c The SA in HK tried really hard to sell this to me too haha

    à la foliee

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    1. Haha at least you resisted! Good work ;)

      I've been walking around the shops these past few days and the Rihanna collection for MAC is sooooo tempting - so jel of your gorgeous purchases! :p

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  19. I was curious about this powder so I'm glad you gave such an honest review. The sales assistants were really trying to push it on me when I went on Friday!

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  20. I've been really torn about whether to get this or not. The packaging is undeniably beautiful but I'm not sure if I'm prepared to pay that sort of premium for a product that doesn't seem to last that long. That said, my sister's friend recently bought it for her wedding day and although she had to regularly touch it up, she looked flawless in all of her photos. Argh so undecided! x

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

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  21. "If I can't afford their bags, at least I can afford their powder" - THIS. lol I don't think anyone else could have worded it any better hahaha. The packaging is so beautiful, but I don't know if I have enough will power to just buy it for the sake of the packaging. It's too bad that it's just an ordinary product >_<

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  22. Absolutely love the way you think, you are spot on with so many things. I am lusting over this (finally) after not really caring for it upon the initial release. I think I am going to choose a shade darker than my skin tone as I like the idea of a light and subtle bronzer for my pale self, and as you said it is all about the packaging anyway (which makes it ever so clear how big brands make their moolah!)

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  23. haha! That's exactly why I love buying luxury brand makeup. The packaging of this is so cute! Thanks for the honest review. If I plan to buy something from Chanel, I usually book in to get my makeup done as well because the prices here are too expensive.

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  24. This product looks amazing ! I have to try it ! :D

    http://littleturtlethings.blogspot.fr/
    Turtle <3

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