Housed in a large plastic jar, which is far from the most sanitary way to package a foundation, is this lightweight yet still creamy foundation. It’s supposedly amazing because it contains “charged water” and seaweed, which are said to block environmental oxidation. None of that is true because there is no ingredient or blend of ingredients that can completely block oxidation (think suffocation), and what about internal sources of oxidation (i.e., the act of breathing) that affect skin from the inside out? Lest we forget, any benefits from the seaweed won’t last for long due to the jar packaging.
If you can get past the fantasy claims, this is a truly lovely foundation to work with. Best for normal to dry skin, it blends readily and leaves a moist glow while providing sheer to light coverage—just enough to blur minor imperfections. Future Skin encompasses the widest number of shades among the Chantecaille foundations, and most of them are great. There are some desirable shades for fair skin tones and some beautiful mid-toned neutrals, including Shea and Sand. Vanilla and Nude are slightly peach, but worth trying, while Hazel is distinctly peach and best avoided. Suntan has a slight copper cast that won’t work for many dark skin tones, but it is still worth trying.
Created by Sylvie Chantecaille, this line of makeup and skin-care products, sold at Neiman Marcus and some salons and spas, draws on Chantecaille's 20 years of experience as an employee of Estee Lauder Corporation. The fact that she worked for Lauder and helped to create and launch the Prescriptives line is impressive. Experience means a lot in the crowded, complicated cosmetics industry and it's as good a reason as any to start your own product line.
Not surprisingly, she claims her products are known for their "uniquely high concentration of natural botanicals" and their organic origins, though it takes only a cursory look at the ingredient list to see that isn't true—did she really think no one would notice propylene glycol, polyvinylpyrrolidone, methylparaben, butylparaben, phenoxyethanol, triethanolamine, and PEG-8, which are about as natural as polyester? What is true, however, is that most of the plants in these products are present in very small amounts, often listed after the preservative.
What almost every cosmetic company knows (we can't think of one that doesn't) is that you can't brag about the synthetic ingredients your products contain, even if they are the backbone of every product you make. Selling skin-care products is far easier when you use terms such as "pure," "holistic," or "wellness." Chantecaille takes this faux information one step further by saying (and we're not kidding about this) that her products are "endowed with a potent life force." Oooh-la-la! But … once you pull off the rose-colored glasses and probe beneath the hyperbole, all you are left with is a bouquet of fantasy that won't help your skin.
Even more bewildering than the natural claims is that Chantecaille asserts that their emphasis on anti-aging focuses primarily on addressing the causes of inflammation. Without question, inflammation plays a role in how the skin and the body age, and recent research is showing that it probably plays a greater role than previously suspected. Any cosmetic company that is trying to make products that reduce inflammation and its effects is a good thing—but for all their talk, Chantecaille's formulas don't inhibit inflammation; instead, many of them increase inflammation thanks to the numerous fragrant plant oils and waxes they contain. While these ingredients create lovely aromas, scent isn't skin care. Most of these fragrant plant ingredients contain volatile chemicals that create the scent; it is these chemicals (e.g., eugenol, limonene, citronellol, and linalool) that cause skin irritation that leads to, you guessed it, inflammation (Sources: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectronomy, November 2008 pages 3593–3598; Chemical Research in Toxicology, May 2007, pages 807–814; and The British Journal of Dermatology, May 2006, pages 885–888).
In contrast, there is little more than anecdotal research indicating that the problematic plant ingredients Chantecaille uses are actually healing, as the company claims.
The chief reason to explore Chantecaille is their makeup. Although there isn't a single item that doesn't have an equally good counterpart in other lines for far less money, if you're curious about Chantecaille, color is where it's at. Their foundation shade range has improved and is beautifully neutral. The textures and finishes for foundation, powder, blush, eyeshadow, and lip glosses are outstanding, as are the finishes. In short, Chantecaille has made it very easy to assemble a makeup wardrobe that makes skin look smooth, polished, and radiant, although their foundations and powders are geared toward those with normal to dry skin.
One more comment: Chantecaille has a penchant for attributing sun-protection claims and SPF ratings to various products. They do so in violation of FDA regulations on sunscreens because the company does not list active ingredients on their label. If a cosmetic company can't even get that right, then much of what they do is called into question, aside from just looking askance at their claims. Considering the price of their products, this omission is nearly unforgivable; please don't rely on the claim for sun protection, because it assuredly puts your skin at risk for sun damage. By the way, none of the natural ingredients in these products provide sun protection on their own, either. Ingredients such as vitamins C and E can, to some extent, help skin defend itself against sun damage and boost the longevity of sunscreen actives, but by themselves they're not capable of providing sun protection on a par with what's required to earn an SPF rating.
For more information about Chantecaille, call 877-673-7080 or visit www.chantecaille.com.