Designer Compact Foundation SPF 22 (Discontinued)

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Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen > Cream-to-Powder Foundation w/ Sunscreen
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Designer Compact Foundation SPF 22 has several strengths that could have come together to create one of the best cream-to-powder foundations I’ve ever seen, hands down. So what’s the kryptonite that weakens this otherwise super foundation? A sunscreen whose actives do not provide sufficient UVA protection. Considering the cost of this foundation, that’s almost unforgivable. If you can look past the sunscreen mistake, you’ll find this silicone-based makeup (in cumbersome, heavy packaging. Who said designer chic has to be weighty?) has one of the smoothest textures around, and a finish that’s so skin-like it has to be seen to be believed. Armani includes a flat, fan-like synthetic brush to apply it, but a regular sponge works better; the brush tends to apply the product in streaks, forcing you to smooth those out with your fingers. The formula provides light to barely medium coverage and has a soft powder finish best for normal to slightly oily skin. Despite how natural this looks while concealing minor imperfections and improving skin tone, it can exaggerate dry areas just like most cream-to-powder makeups. Among the six mostly neutral shades Armani offers, only number 7 suffers from being slightly ash. Finally, I disagree with the company’s claim that this provides 12 hours of moisture comfort. The only legitimately moisturizing ingredient this contains is jojoba oil, and there isn’t enough of it in this foundation to please someone with dry skin. This would have earned a higher rating if not for the sunscreen deficiency.

Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani is credited with giving tailored elegance, power, and sex appeal to standbys like men's suits, and turning Hollywood's A-list stars into fashion icons as they parade through countless award ceremonies adorned in his simple yet elegant creations. According to Armani, "Elegance doesn't mean being noticed, it means being remembered." That statement has been parlayed into the designer's makeup collection, where the products are replete with the textures, colors, and flawless application that assure your natural beauty will be memorable rather than masked.

Because Armani has always been passionate about textures, it's no surprise that his makeup (which is the main reason to check out this line) presents an impressive collection that features some of the smoothest, lightest textures you're likely to find. From foundations to powders, eyeshadows, and mascaras—even pencils—the makeup selection includes some truly stellar products. According to the brochure for Armani's makeup, the supreme textures and silky application are the result of Micro-fil technology. This supposedly allows for a precise blending and layering of select ingredients, offering a heightened sense of color that fits like a second skin.

Regardless of how that technology is labeled, almost all of the makeup contains standard silicone polymers along with ordinary ingredients like nylon-12. Of course, many cosmetics companies have their equivalent version of Micro-fil, but Armani seems to have taken it one step further, though not always toward desired results. For example, the eyeshadows, while very smooth and easy to blend, aren't much for intensity, a point the counter personnel made clear.

There are a few other instances where the pricey products aren't all they're made out to be, but this is the world of cosmetics, and although the fantasy is for every product to be perfect, that's hardly ever the reality. Still, there are many compelling reasons to explore this collection. Although not fully distributed across the United States, it has a presence in most major cities and the products may be purchased on Armani's Web site. Makeup is where it's at for Giorgio Armani's cosmetics line. The skin care was a blatant, exceedingly overpriced afterthought and is not worth considering.

For more information about Giorgio Armani, owned by L'Oreal, call (877) ARMANI-3 or visit

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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