Thursday, February 2, 2012

Le Blanc de Chanel - Sheer Illuminating Base

I have been using Le Blanc de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base ($45, 30ml/1oz) for several months now. It is a liquid primer that prepares skin for makeup while adding a subtle luminosity to the face. Apologies in advance for an absence of swatches. The finish is so subtle it was impossible to capture in a photograph.


The base comes with a flat, plastic spatula, designed to scoop product out of the bottle and avoid having our grubby little fingers touch the extremely wide-mouthed opening. Since I could practically dunk my nose into that abyss, I don't care for it. It's an accident waiting to happen (there'd be no recovery from a spill), and the spatula gives me something else to wash every morning. How this primer dispenses its product is its only real flaw; I would much prefer that it come with a pump dispenser, like the Rouge Bunny Rouge Metamorphoses primer or in a squeeze tube, like Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector (my favorite).

Not completely unscented, it is missing Chanel's iconic rose fragrance. I get a fleeting whiff of something clean, like crisp, white sheets hung out to dry in the spring sunshine. The scent is neither floral nor fruity, but I prefer to use unscented products on my face.


The texture has a relatively thin consistency. In fact, it feels completely unlike silicone-based primers we've all become accustomed to. The finish is natural and realistic, without tipping over into flawless--a look I tend to avoid. With no visible shimmer and a satin, almost hydrating finish, Le Blanc de Chanel is excellent for oilier skins, but because it is also a highlighter, and not just a primer, it can draw attention to enlarged pores. To fix this, I find myself adding a tiny bit of Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector in Invisible Bright over these areas. But then I realize I just added primer over primer and scratch my head.

Because of its subtle finish, Le Blanc de Chanel is perfect for wearing outdoors in daylight, to conservative jobs, and is especially beneficial for maturing skin whose bloom of youth is in slow decline. I swipe the remains from my fingertips over my collarbones. In summer, I dab it on my shoulders.

The formula helps soothe away redness and does its intended job well, which is to keep foundation in place all day. I apply this all over the high planes of my face, eyelids, and lips, bouncing it onto my skin with a barely-damp Beautyblender sponge, which greatly helps minimize the pore issue. Then I apply a very light dusting of Jane Iredale PurePressed powder in the T-zone, and I am good all day. At lunch I blot my nose with a Shiseido blotting leaf, and my skin looks as great at 6PM as it did at 6AM--even better because this primer seems to do the impossible job of drinking up excess oil while still looking dewy.


Bottom line: A nice primer, nothing special. Will not repurchase.

All photos mine.

19 comments:

  1. I HATE HATE HATE the container. Although I like the consistency and application, I won't repurchase until they add a pump. If you have combination skin, you're better off with a more mattifying primer, like the RBR product or better yet the Becca mattifing primer. I can only use this on my cheeks which are dry. I would recommend it for normal skin, neither oily or dry from my experience.

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    1. I have combo skin and Chanel doesn't turn me into a greasepit. Maybe it's because it's winter and I started using it in early fall. I might feel a lot differently if I were using this in July/August.

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  2. LOL. I got a good laugh out of your bottom line ;)

    I have to say that I don't use a lot of Chanel face products, as most of them are not paraben-free and I have an allergy. I do find it annoying that it seems like so many of their products come in jars (face creams and the like), when pumps would serve much better.

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    1. Larie, I use very few Chanel products. I am drawn to them, occasionally buy, and am almost always disappointed. In fact I tend to give away, swap, or sell, almost all the Chanel I buy, but I did like this primer.

      I really do not get that widemouth jar. It's not a pot of honey, for cripessake.

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  3. LOL @ "Old Fart Approved," too funny! The only other caveat I would add is that, if you are not porcelain pale, this stuff *will* add a slight white cast that looks pretty weird. (Nothwithstanding the SA swearing up and down that it's a universal product for all complexions, natch.)

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    1. Well, that's just bad product! Thank you for the clarification because it did not occur to me that a primer would be anything but invisible. To be fair, it is called Blanc, but still. Facial highlighters will often add some kind of color, but primer should spackle over the pores and/or sink into oblivion. I am fair, so I didn't notice a white cast, but I'd be upset if I had medium or darker skin and found I could not wear this after spending half a century on it. I don't imagine Chanel has much of a return policy.

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    2. Thankfully I only got a sample because, like you, I'm pretty much over Chanel products. They look so enticing but never seem to deliver with a reasonable price to quality ratio.

      ps, love your blog, it's always so interesting and witty.

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  4. Haha old fart approved! Love that!
    I'd love to try this out, as it sounds wonderful! But I have the Burberry Fresh Glow and LOVE it. It's divine. After I finish that one! I'm trying to be a good girl-see? :)

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    1. I do see! I see you at a counter in three months, lol. Honestly, one of the best primers I have used is Clinique's. It's $18 and you can buy it in a few 'colors,' including a brightening one. I love it, and it does a much better job with pores than this Chanel.

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  5. I have been wanting to try this. Great insight on the product. I like Jane Iredale mineral powder too.

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    1. Hi Rola, thanks! Yes, Jane will be gracing my T zone until I get so old and wrinkled I can't do powders anymore ... not that that will stop me. :^)

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  6. lol @ the last line as well! i would never buy anything that is described as an illuminating basee because i shy away from shimmery face products in general and one all over my face scares me ^^ but it sounds great altho not something i'd try >,< altho i really don't understand why they wouldn't include a pump with that?

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    1. Eek, did I write that I put it all over my face? I guess I kinda do. Five years ago I would have laughed in the face of any highlighter, but my skin is so much less oily than it used to be--I now really appreciate that glow I used to beat into matte submission. I use any highlighter now on cheekbones, brow bone (both under the brow and on the bony ridge above, down the bridge of my nose, and on my philtrum. But I don't smear it all over my cheeks and chin, lol.

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  7. Hmmm... I was curious about this at one point but completely forgot about it after I discovered Hourglass Veil Mineral. I'm going to see if I can sweet talk an SA into giving me a sample. They're stingy with it around these parts, as if they're selling gold and diamonds, not makeup. *snort*

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    1. *Bad words* I completely forgot to put the Hourglass sample in my last Rouge Bunny Rouge order from Zuneta. ><

      It used to be so much easier to get samples of things at counters before blogging took over the world! I wonder if SAs are besieged by the likes of us wanting to try something, but isn't it better to give us a 1/4 of goo rather than look down their noses at us when we return a $60 bottle of something or other? I remember returning something at Chanel that made my face slide off. The SA exclaimed, "No one has EVER returned this product before," and I sweetly replied, "If you'd given me the sample I requested and not done such a hard sell, you would not be dealing with me now at all." Bah.

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  8. I hate the container too! I do wish there was a pump included instead of a stupid spatula. After all it is a Chanel and I spent $$$ on it! I do like it though but I think I have to find a pro version to this.

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    1. Most of the other highlighters I have use a pump. I'm trying to think ... yup. MUFE, RBR, Becca. And Clinique's comes in a tube.

      I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when product development made the decision to use such a wide mouth for their container. I do prefer glass. Call me shallow but it seems like a more luxurious product, and if I were traveling, I'd decant a tiny bit anyway.

      That said, this is still a very nice product. (:

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  9. In anna karenina they put this OVER all the makeup...

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  10. In anna karenina they put it all over AFTER all the makeup

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