Cushion foundations have been making a circuit around Western markets for the past couple of years. To someone familiar with Asian, particularly Korean beauty, cushion foundations are no longer the hot new thing in the makeup scene. Markets outside our continent that try to push their rendition of a cushion compact or BB cream as the best and most innovative release to hit the cosmetics industry warrant eye-rolls I’m not afraid to dish out.

At first, the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation seemed like one of those. The notion of a gel foundation did pique my interest though, as most cushions tend to be soaked with a cream formula instead. In the name of truth and beauty, I gave the cushion a whirl, to see whether it could steal my heart.

Testing information

Duration: One week
Climate: Tropical, sunny and humid
Skin type: Combination, with an oily T-zone and prone to dryness everywhere else
Skin tone: M.A.C NW20

What it promises

The Les Beiges Gel Touch Foundation promises to make your skin look fresh and glowy, handle outdoor beauty all year round, and be comfortable to wear. Eight hours is how long it’s stated to last on your skin. This particular formula is made with 56% water, hyaluronic acid, and kalanchoe extract, which is a plant that has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

It has SPF25 and a PA+++, which isn’t the best for the scorching demon weather we have in the tropics, so sunscreen should be worn under. Each compact comes with 0.38 ounces (10.8 grams) of product.

chanel les beiges healthy glow gel touch foundation cushion review
The full ingredient list.

Shade range

I was happy to see that the range wasn’t limited to fifty shades of white and light tan. Instead, the line did include some warmer and darker hues, in both neutral, yellow and pink undertones. The brand could do with expanding its repertoire further, but it’s a good start in a positive direction. There are a total of 10 shades currently on the Chanel UK website, but only seven are available locally. Sad!

I tried N°20, a neutral light beige shade with a hint of yellow.

chanel les beiges healthy glow gel touch foundation cushion review
The foundation.

Packaging

Nothing less than the pinnacle of sophistication was expected from the packaging of a Chanel cushion, and the Gel Touch Foundation did not disappoint. Instead of the usual black Chanel compact, this cushion comes housed in a lacquered black and cream case, with a standard mirror and a standard stiff sponge puff.

The compact

When I first opened the gorgeous case, and peeled off the safety seal, there was a spread of foundation awaiting beneath. It almost looked like a cake, and there was no porous sponge helping to keep it soaked up. Instead, there’s a fine mesh where you’d expect a cushion. It’s definitely something unique.

First impressions

It has a thin, serum-like consistency and feels cooling upon application. The first time round, I tried it with the accompanying sponge, and this delivered a sheer amount of product across my face. At one point, I was squinting at the mirror to examine whether the foundation was even there. This has a light, non-buildable coverage, and you can’t feel it on your face at all, which might be a positive for some. But when it came to pore coverage, it was a huge miss.

My main areas of concern are my nose and chin. Though I did use a pore minimising primer (Benefit’s Porefessional) beforehand, I could still see what should have long been hidden behind a layer of foundation. We won’t even go into how little it did for blemishes. This is definitely for those good skin days, when you want to just inject a hint of life into your skin before heading out.

I did experiment with layering my usual BB cushion (Sulwhasoo’s Perfecting Cushion Intense) atop the Gel Touch Foundation on the areas where I needed a hint more coverage, and that seemed to work out pretty well. Setting my oilier T-zone with a loose powder (Kat Von D’s Lock-It Setting Powder) helped to keep the area more matte as well.

Chanel mentions you can apply this with a brush, which I did, and this did give the slightest bit more coverage.

chanel les beiges healthy glow gel touch foundation cushion review
The components.

Wear test

Despite it feeling barely there, I loved the radiance it gave my skin. My face looked healthy and alive, which is a lot to say for a weekday morning. After a brief stint in the sun though, I did notice the foundation breaking up a little around my nostrils and on the sides of my nose. Nothing a quick dab with a sponge couldn’t fix, but it’s never the best sign when foundation starts to crack. It wore well for six hours (not the full eight as promised) in dry, air-conditioned air, without becoming too cakey.

Verdict

This is a product best suited to people with clear, balanced skin. Also, calling it a foundation is a tad bit of a stretch, given how little coverage it delivers. If you’ve got blemishes, spot concealing is an option to make this work. I did enjoy how comfortable and hydrating it was, especially on my drier areas, but my T-zone didn’t count itself a fan if I wore the Gel Touch Foundation alone. Thankfully, this didn’t veer into bad shine territory, but it would’ve if I had a long day outdoors. If you’ve got dry, or normal skin, then this makes a chi-chi buy that’s perfect for “natural” makeup days. Those with complexion troubles, though, might find this a hard miss.

Rating: 6/10

The Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Get Touch Foundation is available at Chanel Beauty counters for $88. The refills are priced at $66.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.