Designer Lift Smoothing Firming Foundation SPF 20
Last Updated:12.19.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This is a very good liquid foundation with an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sun protection is assured, but in terms of lifting or firming skin, the formula cannot do that. For the most part, this contains a similar roster of ingredients you’ll find in most modern liquid foundations. Armani includes some vitamin E (tocopherol) and a tiny amount of the cell-communicating ingredient adenosine, but these won’t do much to firm skin and they absolutely cannot correct sagging. The company claims “12 hours of lifting action” but really the only lifting that occurs is when you pick up the glass bottle to dispense the foundation!

Designer Lift has a silky, elegant, fluid texture that provides medium, buildable coverage and sets to a soft, semi-matte finish. Like all of Armani’s liquid foundations, this blends beautifully. The smooth, almost weightless finish improves skin’s appearance without sinking into lines around the eyes or magnifying large pores but it is not quite as natural-looking as Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation.

The shade range is mostly impressive, though the majority of colors skew toward being yellow-toned rather than true neutrals. That’s not necessarily bad, but it can make finding an exact match trickier. The best shades are those for fair (but not porcelain) to light/medium skin tones, and consider the slightly peach shade 8 carefully. The darkest shade, 11.5, is a workable option but is also slightly red with a copper undertone, which limits its appeal. Shade 7 is a great example of a classic beige with just a hint of pink.

Be aware that the shades go on at least one notch darker than they appear in the bottle, and, as the Armani makeup artist explained to us, the colors tend to oxidize (darken) during wear. We noticed this as well, and in fact were told that the company was likely going to tweak the formula to correct this color issue.

This missed our highest rating due to the inclusion of fragrance chemicals known to cause irritation. Although they’re not present in a high amount, their inclusion isn’t a pro and can make this foundation iffy to use around the eyes. This foundation is best for normal to oily or combination skin.

Note:Although this foundation provides broad-spectrum sun protection on its own, you must apply it liberally and evenly to get the stated level of protection. A sheer or spot application will not provide the amount of sun protection the label indicates. If you’re not likely to apply this foundation liberally, we recommend applying it over a moisturizer with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater and setting your foundation with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater.


Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%; Titanium Dioxide 1.9%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Fragrance, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Magnesium Sulfate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cellulose Gum, Silica, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Sorbitol, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Methylsilanol/Silicate Copolymer, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Aluminum Hydroxide, Alumina, Hexyl Cinnamal May Contain: Iron Oxides, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Titanium Dioxide

Brand Overview

Giorgio Armani At-A-Glance

Strengths: Outstanding foundations; superb powder textures; a brilliant shimmer fluid; perfect bronzers; some excellent lip color options; a neutral palette makes this line a must-see.

Weaknesses: Expensive; the skincare is underwhelming, especially given the cost (though the claims sound good!); some of the SPF-rated products do not supply adequate broad spectrum protection; most of the mascaras aren't as impressive as they should be.

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 www.giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.

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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Fantastic foundation!,

This is by far my favorite foundation. It goes on smooth and blends beautifully. It also is a perfect color match for my fair skin. If you give it a try I don't think you will be disappointed..

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