Clarins Hydra-Luminous Powder Foundation

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I hardly review products from the usual big department store brands. So I guess some of you may find it a surprise that I’m reviewing the new Hydra-Luminous Flawless Powder Foundation SPF 20 – PA ++ from Clarins today. Well, I was using the Shiseido powder foundation and I was curious how this new product will measure up because it is said to be a high-performance formula with a concentrate of plant essences specially designed for Asian women to provide a moist and 3D Radiance effect with long lasting comfort.

The products you see here – the Hydra-Luminous Flawless Powder Foundation and the Instant Light Brush On Perfector – were sent to me complimentary from Clarins. I only told them that I’m very fair and they’ve sent me two shades for each of the product. I wasn’t quite sure which shade to use and actually went to one of the Clarins’ counter to ask for advice. So let’s begin by looking at how the powder foundation stack up.

Clarins Hydra-Luminous Flawless Powder – Case S$20 & Refill S$55
According to the description, this product contains hydra-capsules containing plant essences of rosemary, camomile and ginkgo biloba. On contact with the skin, these plant essences are instantly dispersed, progressively diffusing their stimulating and hydrating properties to deliver a continuous action all day long. The pigment reflects all wavelengths of the light spectrum, in other words, very pure, white light. This maximum reflection highlights these areas, giving them maximum light and enhancing contours.

Shades and application
I found 01 and 02 rather close and suitable for fair skin tones. To my untrained eye, 01 Linen appears to have yellow undertone while 02 Petal has pink undertone. Typically yellow undertone works better for me but according to the Clarins’ consultant at the counter, 02 Petal is a better shade for me. I was skeptical but the pink undertone wasn’t evident when I applied though. In fact, I thought the shade was very white for my face. 01 Linen, which I later tried, also yielded about the same results. Okay, this is tricky because my Shiseido foundation was slightly darker but worked perfectly with my MVO sunscreen, which does leave a slight white cast after application. So the problem was due to the slight white cast from my MVO sunscreen.

Before and after
It took me awhile to get used to the shade but whenever I asked people around me if my makeup looked okay and if I looked too white, they always said I look fine. So I guess the best is to take a picture to compare and here is how I look before and after using the powder foundation. The second picture was taken in the bathroom so there wasn’t light reflecting on my face. The third picture was taken under natural lightings from the window in my bedroom. Noticed the difference?

Wearability factor
I applied the foundation with a rather light hand using the Everyday Minerals Flat Top Brush and I didn’t bother to conceal my blemishes. I don’t know about the 3D contouring effect, but this foundation does live up to its name in terms of delivering radiance when it comes into contact with light and still make my skin look rather natural. Even without the light, the finishing is quite dewy. Although it looks a little dry when I first apply on, but the powder seems to sink in after awhile and I was able to wear it all day long without it caking up or streaking, provided I do not use the concealer.

Instant Light Brush-On Perfector S$45
Okay, this one I have to say I don’t fancy. I wasn’t aware they were going to send me a concealer and the thing is, I’ve almost stopped wearing concealer except for special occasions. I’m for au naturel these days (read: lazy) and for the moment, I like to use the Ecobeau BB Cream Plus for my undereye area. Anyway, this concealer comes in four shades and I gave the 01 a try. It comes as a pen, and reminds me a little of the Elizabeth Arden Illuminating Pen although the clicking mechanism doesn’t work the same way.

Drying for my undereye area
The reason why I don’t like this is because it seems a tad drying as the powder creased up on my undereye area and the fine lines were all accentuated after a few hours. On other parts of the face, it worked fine though but I don’t find it very much different from other concealers really. It’s supposed to give luminosity and radiance but I didn’t quite notice that effect though. And just to be clear, I didn’t use this concealer at all in the picture you see above.

Overall summary
So I’m not in love with the Instant Light Brush On Perfector. As for Clarins Hydra-Luminous Flawless Powder Foundation, it really took me a week to get used to the product because of how it makes my face look whiter. But as I wore on, I’ve come to like it more because the finishing is quite good and I don’t need to top it off with a finishing powder to get the dewy radiant effect. While the powder is said to contain the moist factor, but I do find it a tad drying upon initial application. However, as the day goes on, the powder sinks in nicely and I don’t see any caking nor streaking. Perhaps the heart factor for me is that this powder makes me look natural and not thickly made up like some foundation powder does. It might also have to do with the fact that I use a kabuki brush for application rather than a sponge. Maybe others who have tried this can share their thoughts?

For more information on the Clarins’ makeup range, check up their website.

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  1. Joanna says:

    I’ve actually never come across a concealer that doesn’t accentuate! You mentioned Ecobeau BB Cream Plus, but I’ve realised you’ve never done a review on it! You got me slightly interested though!
    I have quite serious dark circles because I have very thin skin around my eyes due to allergy and use of steroid ointment, which also means when I use concealer, it tends to accentuate><

  2. stella says:

    have you tried YSL’s touche eclat? i like that a lot as an under eye concealer. the only thing is that YSL has pulled out of asia (?) and you can only get it at changi dfs (not sure about the town one) in singapore now

    i’m also on the constant lookout for a powder foundation; unfortunately have found nothing suitable for my oily but dehydrated skin yet; always too thick or cakey or drying

  3. sesame says:

    I reviewed it along with two other of their products here:

    It’s not a concealer but I find it quite okay to use under the eye area. In fact, it doesn’t crease up and that’s why I like it;

  4. sesame says:

    Yes I tried it maybe two or three years ago. It was okay, not bad as in it doesn’t crease up the area but I don’t like how it smells after awhile.

    Do you use the sponge for application. I find using a brush helps to prevent the caking with powder foundation. I thought the Shiseido one was good but some gals mentioned they find it oils up quicker for them.

  5. raelynn says:

    although the last picture looks a lot fairer, but the face and neck matches. i dont think you’ll have to be alarmed much because it’s not often that we are able to observe the colour of our skin under the sun/natural light.. =)

  6. sesame says:

    You’re right – as long as the face and neck don’t look too different then it should be fine. I guess I’m just not used to the fairer shade after months of looking at a darker one.

  7. pf1123 says:

    Sorry to butt in. Just to share my 2 cts.

    Another trick to prevent caking with powder foundation is to moisturise your skin very very well. I don’t use any makeup base/primer. But in the morning, I will use a lotion (as toner), serum, hydrating essence, gel moisturiser and sunblock for face and all which acts as makeup base.

    I was taught by a SA in Taipei that if caking is really bad, I can use a moisturising mask for 10-15mins before putting on makeup. But who has that kind of time in the morning on a workday? So, for myself, I wld make sure my face is well hydrated and moisturised.

    Also, for selection of powder foundation, take note of which season you buy. For what I know, Japanese brands, the spring/summer season releases has got better sebum control and for autumn/winter season more moisturising.

  8. pf1123 says:

    Yes, I agree with Raelynn. As long as it looks good under indoor artificial light, its fine!

  9. sesame says:

    I agree…foundation should work well on well moisturized/hydrated face but I suppose some of the powder foundation may also not be that great on that factor. I thought the Shiseido one was great in terms of the hydrating factor but turns out, some gals said it creases on their face.

  10. pf1123 says:

    Really? After using a kabuki brush to apply foundation, I don’t look over powdery anymore…no creases.

  11. sesame says:

    I guess it still depends on skin type. I like kabuki brushes for foundation powder though…the foundation looks more natural and the control is better. I still get creases under the eye area if the concealer is not right though.

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