Skin Perfect: A Light Fluid That Adds No-Shimmer Radiance as it Invisibly Tones Down Redness? Why YES. Please.

by Janine on 18 September 2012 · 19 comments

In one of the early scenes in Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig’s character slips out of Jon Hamm’s bed, leaving him to slumber as she applies a few cosmetics so she can “wake up” beside him looking radiant. The marvelous makeup item I met today would have been ideal — and it’s the only thing Wiig would have needed to fake a natural afterglow.

Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base ($50 at Holt Renfrew, The Bay, and Murale) nearly blew my mind when I saw it in action via Canada’s Chanel makeup pro Julie Cusson. It’s white. Like milk. Looks daunting in the bottle, like it might give you ghost-face. But a small amount smoothed onto skin is a revelation.

It’s sometimes called a primer, but it isn’t quite — at least not in a heavy silicone-y way (as Kahani noted in the comments, it does contain silicone, but doesn’t feel like it at all). It’s not quite a highlighter either — at least not in a shimmery way. And it’s not quite a colour corrector — at least not in a green or next-generation-bb-cream* kind of way.

Le Blanc de Chanel is, however, quite ingenious. A white, milky fluid with zero shimmer or iridescence, it gives skin the kind of looks-natural dewy luminosity that comes from the perfect hydration few of us ever achieve. A tiny bit goes a long way (which helps given the price tag) and feels like nothing on skin. And it’s quite the multitasker:

  • a bit applied with a foundation brush and worn alone makes skin look younger, softer, smoother and more even — you might not need foundation
  • just a bit blended over redness tones it down to a soft, healthy glow
  • just a bit blended over large pores makes them look more discreet — and stands up to oily skin
  • a tiny bit blended over dark circles before concealer can make the concealer seem more effective — and you’ll need less
  • a couple of drops mixed with a few drops of foundation makes for a sheer, radiant tint
  • a tiny bit tapped onto brow bones, cheekbones, down the centre of the nose, and on the bow of the lips illuminates the planes of the face without looking like you’ve put any makeup on at all (works under foundation and over it, too)
  • a very small amount well blended as a base under sheer-to-medium-coverage foundation can give skin a from-within glow

And don’t be afraid if you have olive, medium or medium-dark skin tones –as you’ll see here on a site called Weekend Ramblings, Le Blanc de Chanel will give your skin a natural healthy gleam too, without looking the least bit ashy.

Note: if you’re paraben-wary, Le Blanc has ’em. I’d say just use this stuff for special occasions if you’re leery, but of course, it’s up to you.

Also note: the wide-mouthed bottle comes with a spatula. In the event you misplace it, you’ll want to use a Q-tip to get the fluid from the bottle to the back of your hand or fingertips. If you tip the bottle and it comes out in a rush, Le Blanc de Chanel will be spilled milk you’ll definitely cry over.

Have you ever tried Le Blanc? How was your experience?

*By next-generation bb cream I mean cc cream — the cc stands for colour corrector (Chanel actually makes one, but it’s only sold in Asia). Essentially, cc creams are bb creams with a titch more in the way of skincare benefits and coverage. More to come on that in another post.


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Jill Dunn
19 September 2012 at 1:26 am
19 September 2012 at 2:24 am
Jacqueline Conoir
30 September 2012 at 1:15 am

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kahani 19 September 2012 at 1:35 am

Hi Janine, I don’t mean to be obnoxious but are you sure it’s silicone free? I thought I spotted cyclopentasiloxane (or cyclomethicone) a form of silicone in the ingredients list. It doesn’t have dimethicone though. As someone who can’t really use anything with silicone, I’ve developed quite a thing for silicone-free.


Janine 19 September 2012 at 8:44 am

Not obnoxious at all Kahani — you’re right! AND it contains silica. I usually look ingredients up, but this time I got a bit overexcited, I think, and was a bit bleary-eyed after a long day — whoops! I’ve amended the text, and am a bit deflated to have missed that — it would be miraculous stuff if it had zero silicone.

Funny, I was thinking it’s similar to the Smashbox Photo Finish Light Foundation Primer fluid, only a more elegant texture… and it is.

Have you tried Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiaging Primer? Or Exuberance Beauty Silicone-Free Makeup Primer? They don’t do quite what Le Blanc does, but neither of those has silicone.


Kahani 20 September 2012 at 8:28 pm

Hey Janine, totally understand – I’ve been fooled by those darned tiny-print ingredients lists too! Silica isn’t quite the same as silicone but it breaks me out in too-high concentrations so I’ve had to avoid it too.
Thing is, even if the primer promises to be silicone free I really want to try it first and Korres doesn’t carry its makeup line in Asia and Exuberance can’t be found at all. Fresh has one too – but again I have to buy full sized on faith. I’m just living without a primer for now!


Janine 21 September 2012 at 1:09 am

Confession: I don’t have a bottle of Le Blanc just yet. I’m going off the time I spent playing with the product. And yes, true that silica isn’t quite the same thing; I noticed it’s in the Smashbox Photofinish Light Foundation Primer fluid too. And it sounds like it spoils your primer fun as well :-(. The formula may also have parabens, which is a deal breaker too for some people. *sigh*

Disappointing the Korres and Exuberance aren’t available to you. Exuberance is also really pricey, mind you. I’m going to look into the Fresh one; thanks for that.

Have you tried using a super-light layer of powder as a primer base? That was primer before primer was invented… ( And Milk of Magnesia has cropped up as a DIY oily-skin solution, too; I meant to try it this summer but didn’t get around to it…


Jenn 19 September 2012 at 8:25 am

Hi Janine, love your posts! I never thought I’d end up checking a beauty website so frequently!

Quick question: Is this product acceptable for acne-full skin? I’m just about out of my other primer so this would be a great time to try something new.



Janine 19 September 2012 at 8:51 am

Hi Jenn — thanks for your comment!

What kind of primer are you using now? Did you use it daily, or only on special occasions? And what are you using skincare-wise?

I can’t give you an easy answer because problem skin can be tricky — some might have no problem at all with Le Blanc; others might. If I know what you’re already using, we might find a way to reduce breakouts so you can use a wider variety of products :-)


Jenn 21 September 2012 at 7:14 pm

Hi again!

I’m currently using Lancome La Base Pro as my primer, and I go in waves … sometimes I use it daily, sometimes I use it weekly. I haven’t noticed a difference either way as far as my acne goes.

Skin care I’m currently using up the rest of my Neutrogena Skin ID, but I’ve also tried Proactive, garnier’s older system (haven’t looked at the new ones), the dead sea spa’s facial line, and others that don’t come to mind.

I’ve never noticed anything in my diet playing a factor… I think it’s mostly stress because my skin will be reasonably good then REALLY REALLY bad. Now i opt for trying to play it down with makeup and trying to use product that won’t make it worse.

Thanks for any tips/advice you may have. I’ll try anything once!


Janine 24 September 2012 at 8:33 pm

I had genius success with Neostrata Toning Solution, which is an 8% glycolic acid toner to be applied after cleansing (with Dermalogica Clay Dermal Clay Cleanser in the AM). I used it once a day at first, then twice a day (after Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel in the PM) — and I used Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (super gentle) to exfoliate in the shower once a day. Kept my skin clear for nearly a decade. When you’re all done the stuff you’re using, think about trying that :-)


Gaëlle 19 September 2012 at 4:17 pm

Thanks a lot for the info! I was looking at this product a few weeks ago, but discarded it completely, because I first thought it was a highlighter and when I tried it on the back on my hand it was not noticeable. Now you got me interested again!
Also, I love this model’s eye makeup!


Janine 19 September 2012 at 4:46 pm

I think you’ll want to play with Le Blanc at the makeup counter for a little bit to see what it might do for you. I know that for me, it’ll come in handy when I’m sleep-deprived and severely dehydrated. *grin*

I love the eye makeup too — Chanel FW 2012.


Nel 19 September 2012 at 9:52 pm

Hey Janine,

This is a great product actually but not so fabulous if you are on the oilier side of combination/oily skin types. I was using it with their Perfection Lumiere Foundation and it would not hold up in the summer heat at all. However, it works really well if you blend a serious primer (in my case, Hourglass or MAC’s Face Protect SPF 50) and then just use the illuminating base by adding a few drops to your foundation or after as a highlighter (as you mentioned). I still set the whole thing with MUFE HD loose powder to keep from looking oily instead of glowy.


Janine 20 September 2012 at 8:22 am

Thanks for the great tips for oily skin, Nel! (A friend of mine with oily skin tried it and was impressed by its staying power, but she tried it two days ago on a clammy, no-humidity rainy day.)


kate 24 September 2012 at 7:18 pm

hey janine,
this product has been on my mind since i first read the post, havent been able to stop thinking about something that sounds so lovely! however as i live in a small town in rural nova scotia its hard to find some products on the internet (not complaining, small price to pay). however i would really like to give this a try, and idea of a place you can buy it online? checked the ones you listed but none had it available online, unless maybe i overlooked it. if you have any ideas where i could buy it online thatd be great. thanks!!


Janine 24 September 2012 at 8:35 pm

I’m looking into that for you, Kate, but I do already know that Holt Renfrew accepts telephone orders and ships all over Canada :-)


Natasha 16 October 2012 at 7:09 pm

TOTTTTTALLLLYYYY bought this tonight!


Janine 16 October 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hope you like it as much as I do, Natasha!


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