Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup SPF 15
Category:Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Chanel describes this liquid foundation with an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen as "next-generation makeup." It has some very good attributes to support that claim, but there are also formulary drawbacks. It contains alcohol and a strong fragrance, which are irritating and the alcohol causes free-radical damage, which isn't anti-aging. On balance, this foundation is a mixed bag and is not preferred to those on our Best Products list or even others from Chanel.

  • Water-light, super-smooth texture is perfect for normal to oily skin.
  • Blends readily and sets to a sheer satin glow that softly enhances skin.
  • Sheer, almost translucent coverage, but layers beautifully for increased coverage as needed.
  • Provides broad-spectrum protection with an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen.
  • Range of shades is best for fair to tan skin tones, and offers mostly neutral colors (the only shade to avoid is BR30 Beige Rose).
  • Expensive.
  • Overly fragrant.
  • Skin-damaging alcohol is among the main ingredients (see More Info for details on why alcohol is bad for your skin).
  • Depending on the shade, the formula tends to separate easily, and shaking the contents doesn't solve the problem.

More info:

The amount of alcohol in this foundation has the potential to cause irritation and free-radical damage, which hurts skin's healing process and its ability to produce healthy collagen. Between the alcohol, fragrance, and one of the sunscreen actives, this foundation stands a good chance of causing irritation. It is a poor choice for sensitive skin.


Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 6%; Titanium Dioxide 5.6%; Other Ingredients: Water, Methyl Trimethicone, Alcohol, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Acrylates/Polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Polymethyl Methacrylate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, C9-15 Fluoroalcohol Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Parfum (Fragrance), Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Methylparaben, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipropylene Glycol, Polyurethane-15, BHT, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Tocopherol, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben May Contain: Ultramarines, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Mica

Brand Overview

Chanel At-A-Glance

Strengths: Hmmmm… sleek and occasionally elegant packaging; the sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection; a handful of good cleansers and a topical scrub; some impressive foundations with sunscreen; an assortment of good makeup products including concealer, blush, mascara, eyeshadow and bronzer.

Weaknesses: Expensive, with an emphasis on style over substance; overpriced; overreliance on jar packaging; antioxidants in most products amount to a mere dusting; no products to successfully address sun- or hormone-induced skin discolorations with research-proven ingredients; mostly mediocre to poor eye pencils; extremely limited options for eyeshadows if you want a matte finish.

The history of this Paris-bred line is steeped in fashion, jewelry, and fragrance firsts. The image-is-everything fashion sensibility and fragrance know-how have been loosely translated to Chanel’s ever-imposing skin-care collection, now divided into several categories, although most of them have overlapping, overly exaggerated claims and over-the-top pricing. The company likes to mention its research facility, referred to as C.E.R.I.E.S. (Centre de Recherches et d'Investigations Epidermiques et Sensorielles) as a way to give credibility to its products and the formulary expertise of Chanel's team of scientists, but its studies are not necessarily the kind of independent research that shows up in medical journals.

Founded in 1991 and funded by Chanel, the goal of this research facility is "to help provide a scientific foundation for the design of skin care products and to promote public awareness of the principles underlying maintenance of healthy, attractive skin." Examining Chanel's often lengthy ingredient lists reveals that they believe healthy, attractive skin requires mostly standard, banal ingredients coupled with lots of fragrance and just a smattering of anything resembling state-of-the-art ingredients. Designing skin-care products whose purpose is to reinforce healthy skin doesn't involve strong scents, irritants such as alcohol, or sunscreens whose SPF ratings fall below the standards set by major health organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology and corresponding international academies as well. Furthermore, their Nº 1 products claim to increase skin's oxygen uptake, something that essentially puts skin on the fast track for more free-radical damage, and no one at C.E.R.I.E.S. seems to have any idea about how to treat acne-prone skin. (Well, let's face it, acne is never fashionable.)

Just like most Chanel skin-care products, the research facility and its ties to the dermatology community make it sound more impressive than it really is. Chanel's influence on fashion and luxury accoutrements is legendary and ongoing; but their skin-care products simply cannot compete with what many other lines are doing, including Estee Lauder, Clinique, Prescriptives, Olay, Dove, Neutrogena, and many others. Considering the couture-level prices, too much of Chanel's skin care is average, and that doesn't look good on anyone.

For more information about Chanel, call (800) 550-0005 or visit www.chanel.com.

Chanel Makeup

Chanel pulls out all the stops to present their makeup in the most flattering light. Many of their products are deserving of the best status, but, frustratingly, an equal number disappoint, seeming to coast on Chanel's name and attention to upscale, designer-influenced packaging rather than providing true quality. For example, few companies have foundations with textures as varied and state-of-the-art as Chanel. However, most of their foundations with sunscreen are formulated without essential UVA-protecting ingredients, even though Chanel clearly knows about this issue, as evidenced from their numerous skin-care products that do contain avobenzone or titanium dioxide. Neglecting adequate UVA protection while going on about how the product creates younger-looking skin is not only inaccurate, it's harmful to your skin's health and appearance.

Beyond inadequate sunscreen, Chanel's eye and lip pencils have extraordinary prices, but ordinary to poor performance, and most of their "we're trying to be unique and clever" products don't do much to prove they're worthy of purchase. It's hard to ignore that much of what Chanel does well other lines do just as well (and sometimes better), and with a more realistic price range to boot. However, the overall situation is better than standard but well-dressed formulas with shamelessly affluent prices, because although it's not inexpensive, the best of Chanel's makeup is truly outstanding. What's needed to establish consistency is an overhaul of the many products that have fallen behind formula-wise. We doubt Chanel will reevaluate their pricing for the better, but given that, the least you should expect is stellar performance from everything you buy that bears the iconic double C logo!

Note: Chanel is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Chanel does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Great foundation

Yes, it's pricey but you get what you pay for! This is my favorite foundation for summer, covers well and very light on your skin. It actually gives your skin a healthy look without being too "dewy" or shiny. I've tried a lot of foundations and this one is my absolute favorite. Fragrance is minimal, my skin is sensitive and have never had any issues with this foundation, I've used it all summer and no it doesn't separate, I make sure I shake it up well before I use it.

Reviewed by
Great especially in the summer

Great foundation that is really light on the skin BUT gives good coverage. For such a light foundation it's covers brilliantly but doesn't look thick & heavy on your face. You just look as though you have perfect skin & it stays put ALL day. The other big plus is that you don't need much & it looks good put on with either fingers or a brush. Great foundation & a must have in the summer especially in the UK where we have wet heat which means you sweat to high heaven (or should I say glow Lol)

Reviewed by
favorite foundation

This was among one of the first foundations I tried when I started wearing makeup in college. I have oily skin so I hate anything heavy on my face. It's super light and comes in several different shades from the regular beige colors to the beige rose (has a hint of pink in it, looks as though you have blush on). I always got complimented on how flawless and glowy my skin looked. Definitely a favorite.

Reviewed by
Michelle t.

In addition to my first comment regarding Chanel foundation Vitaluminere Aqua Ultra Light Foundation I also wanted to comment on the fact that I have very sensitive skin and even though it contains alcohol and fragrance after one month I am getting daily compliments on my skin at 68 years young.

Reviewed by
Victoria S.
I love this foundation

This foundation is light but covers well. It us a bit expensive however I have spends hundreds on different high end and drugstore foundations looking for a foundation for my needs. This foundation does not feels heavy, cause my skin to breakout and I have finally found a shade that let's my skin breathe and glow through. I am so pleased with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua ultra light I can't praise it enough.

Reviewed by
Victoria s
Amazing Foundation

I love this foundation. It has a light to medium coverage with a satin finish. Your skin still shows but it evens everything out. Concealer is needed if you have very dark under eye circles or any spots. This is a foundation for those who don't like the feel of foundation since it is so light. I have sensitive acne prone skin and this has caused no issues. I think skin care and bases are the items to spend more on so I feel the price is appropriate for the quality you get.

Reviewed by
Erin B
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