Armani describes Maestro as an easy to apply formula that smooths on effortlessly to cover imperfections. I touts "an ultra-fine oil-pigment suspension that perfects the complexion, instantly igniting skin's natural luminosity". A particularly unique feature of the formula is that it is oil-based and is completely water- and powder-free. While you would expect an incredibly oily feel based on this description, Armani promises that it is a slow-evaporating dry oil texture that feels like skin and lasts for hours.
To quote the Armani site, Maestro has "an unforgettable and unique texture created by patented Fusion Technology. The Fusion makeup technology delivers the thinnest color film that blends perfectly and corrects skin imperfections without buildup. It’s not a foundation, it’s a complexion perfector. A whole new generation of make-up that feels incredible, looks invisible and makes skin appear luminous every time. Anyone can wear it!!!” (from giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com). Definitely a lot of claims to live up to!
It comes in a sleek glass bottle with a pipette/dropper inside to dispense the product. I'm a sucker for anything with a dropper (can't explain why!) and this would definitely look lovely on my vanity table.
Here are some swatches of Maestro in Shade #3 on my inner arm (MAC NC15-20 skin tone) at various levels of intensity and blending:
|Armani Maestro Foundation #3 (L-R) applied heavily, blended partially, blended almost fully on my NC15-20 skin tone.|
And now for a full breakdown of my (ambivalent, amorous, cranky) impressions!
Colour match: The sales associate at Sephora matched me to shade #3. I would describe it as a fair-to-light, neutral-to-warm toned shade with beige and subtle yellow undertones. It really was a fantastic match for my NC15-20 skin!
Texture: This is where Maestro is unlike anything else I've tried. The consistency is quite runny and liquid, but when you blend it into your skin it feels more like a dry oil than a watery substance. Despite the sensation of oil in the formula, it really does feel weightless on the skin when blended.
Application: This is the realm that vexes me the most about this foundation. Armani recommends (as did the sales associate at Sephora) that you apply Maestro with fingers, due to the oil base and how quickly it sets on the skin. So fingers it was! The first layer smoothed over the skin effortlessly (as promised) but the end result was very sheer. Because it promised to be buildable, I quickly applied a second layer of foundation. Upon doing this, Maestro became quite cakey and patchy on my skin. It looked terrible! This happened both times I tried it out. It looked so bad that I came very close to washing it off and trying something else. But instead I persisted, taking extra time to blend it into the skin. With this added effort the finish was ultimately lovely, but without it my faced looked very uneven.
Coverage: As described above, one layer of the foundation leaves quite a sheer finish. Lovely and natural-looking, but barely there. It can be built up to a moderate coverage, but it takes some extra elbow grease!
Finish: I'd describe the finish as natural and semi-matte. It doesn't look flat, but I wouldn't describe it as dewy either. Looks like real, luminous skin!
Wear: After all of my efforts to apply this, I was really hoping that it lasted on my oily skin- and I wasn't disappointed. Topped with setting powder, this remained natural looking, even, and nearly shine-free on my skin for about 8 hours. Not an easy feat, as the majority of the foundations I've tried turn into a shiny mess after 4 hours or so.
Verdict: It's evoked in me the ultimate love-hate relationship. The end result with this foundation can be incredibly lovely (great finish, coverage, and wear-time), but the amount of effort it took for me to achieve my desired effect was beyond the amount of strife I'd normally like to dedicate to applying my base. Not writing it off, but remaining skeptical.
Here are some 'Before' and 'After' shots to give you a better view of how Armani Maestro #3 works on my skin.
First, me completely makeup-free:
And here I am wearing Maestro in the context of a completed makeup look:
And that's it! As you can see, Maestro does look quite lovely on the skin and can offer moderate coverage when a couple layers are applied. So it is definitely a buildable foundation that can be worn super sheer or more heavily, but the work it takes to build up the coverage is pretty intense!
So overall, if you are looking for an ultra-sheer finish, this foundation should be simple to use and right up your alley. If you are looking for more coverage, Maestro will deliver, but you'll have to put in a bit of work! Not effortless, but worth the work if you have a bit of extra time and patience.
Finally writing this review has inspired me to grab another sample of this from Sephora and give it another go. Since I'm never aiming for a super sheer finish, I really have to figure out if I can master layering this in a simpler, more hassle-free way. I'm hoping practice will make perfect, as the ultimate result is a lovely moderate coverage that still manages to look quite natural and flattering. Will keep you posted!
Phew! That's been a super long review. I guess that's what happens when a product evokes such adoration and contempt! ;) Have any of you tried Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup? What are your thoughts on the unique formula?
Thanks for reading! xo