Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk foundation is golden hour bottled up in a sophisticated little package. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to coverage and finish, no matter what your skin type is.
Leaves a natural-looking glow
Satiny, non-shiny finish
Lightweight but substantial texture
Coverage is customizable
Will be on the pricey side for some
There's a reason why Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation is so highly rated—its impressive formula has worked wonders for those of us who suffer from regular breakouts.
Whether you opt for the best non-comedogenic foundations or not, anyone plagued with oily or acne-prone skin are generally of the belief that they need either a matte, drying formula or a thick high-coverage base, with anything even uttering the words glow, medium-coverage, or lightweight going straight on the no-go list.
But Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk foundation turns all preconceptions on their head with its one-size-fits-all formula that has been adding an unblemished radiance to the makeup looks of all skin types since the year 2000 (cue JLo’s Waiting for Tonight flashback).
Echoing another industry great, François Nars, who once said “makeup shouldn't cover your skin, it should enhance your natural beauty, not mask it,” Giorgio Armani deconstructed foundation technology in a time when heavy foundations were all the rage to make natural, luminous skin accessible to everybody. And with its non-comedogenic formula that simultaneously moisturizes all skin types and provides seamless coverage without blocking pores, this is one product that deserves its icon status even two decades later.
The Luminous Silk is slightly pricier than some other foundations on the market, but if your card can be convinced, it’s one formula that’ll have even the most dubious of overdrafts admitting defeat.
- Coverage: Buildable medium coverage
- Shades and inclusivity: Comes in 40 shades and suitable for all skin type
- Added extras: Micro-fil™ technology, glycerin
- Vegan friendly: No
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation: Key ingredients
This formula truly is one of a kind with a patented "micro-fill" technology that can't be replicated.
The unique technology comes from the way that the brand processes the formula's raw materials and the fact that they leave out the fillers that are commonly found in foundations. It employs light-reflecting particles to sculpt and brighten the skin, while the infusion of a transparent powder that looks white but goes on skin clear gives the formula its glowy finish.
A quick skim through the ingredients list also unveils a cocktail of fatty acids, which work to improve moisture and elasticity in the skin’s barrier (i.e. prevent dehydration and wrinkling), protect against environmental damage (bye bye pollution face) and regulate oil production (shiny T-zone who? We don’t know her).
While silicones do have a bit of a Marmite reputation, we were glad to see them included (alongside a bunch of other emollient additions), as some of them can be essential in softening and conditioning the skin as well as ensuring even application of products, hence the foundation’s silky finish.
And just in case we hadn’t already won over all of our oily-skinned pals out there, we did also spot the addition of Isododecane in the formula, a texture-enhancing ingredient that lends itself to a lightweight, matte finish. Who said luminous had to mean shiny? It means this is also one of the best foundations for acne-prone skin.
How is the coverage and staying power?
This foundation means business when it comes to coverage, which is one of the reasons foundation wins in the BB cream vs foundation debate. With just one layer, any uneven texture and pores are smoothed over comfortably—without catching any spots or dry patches you might have. One thing we really loved was that even though it fully concealed red patches and blemishes, you could still glimpse freckles and beauty spots through the medium coverage —and that didn’t change even with a second brush-full of product.
Leaving no pore behind, it imparts an almost airbrushed finish onto skin in a way that leaves it looking completely natural but somehow flawless—it’s basically a real-life filter.
The staying power is truly impressive too. In a move that we didn’t see coming for such a velvety lightweight foundation, the Luminous Silk stayed put from our first whiff of flat white all the way to that satisfying glug of cab sav. We’re not sure which we enjoyed more, the first sip of red or the moment our smug faces noticed the glowy reflection in the bathroom mirror (obvs the wine).
As for its USP, the luminosity left behind is more a natural radiance that mimics a healthy complexion sporting a subtle tan, than a greasy, overly-shiny, or Edward Cullen-esque finish. It’s basically golden hour in a bottle.
- What does non-comedogenic mean? We break down the basics.
- Non-comedogenic v oil-free foundation: which is best for oily and acne-prone skin?
- Here's how to clean a beauty blender properly
What is the packaging like?
The Luminous Silk even looks the part, with its subtly twisted silhouette that boasts a satiny matte finish to reflect the formula inside and a simple but sophisticated black lid emblazoned with the brand's designer logo.
And unlike some cheaper mid-range offerings that often come without a pump, leaving you to pour the formula onto your hands—inevitably drip it all over your cream carpet—this bottle comes with a sturdy pump that operates smoothly to give you complete control over how much formula you use.
Who should buy it?
Anyone who’s as obsessed with the healthy, barely-there glow of a certain stateside-based former Duchess (yes, we mean Meghan Markle) as we are should opt for this beauty. It’ll do wonders for a whole spectrum of skin types, from oily and combination to extremely dry or dehydrated. While oilier skin types may cringe at the thought of the luminosity claimed in the foundation’s luxe-sounding name, the almost sheer formula gives a satiny finish to all skin types. This comes with a natural-looking glow without leaving a shiny residue behind —something previously unheard of for anyone who suffers from excess sebum.
Even mature and sensitive skin types can benefit from this weightless formula thanks to the addition of humectant glycerin that penetrates the skin’s barrier with an infusion of moisture to care for it while leaving the complexion radiant and dewy. And again, while that might sound like a no-no to oilier skin types, all skin needs moisture no matter what your concern is. If anything, packing on the hydration can actually help oily skin balance its sebum production leading to a surprisingly grease-free finish.
How to apply Luminous Silk
Armani Beauty recommends using a foundation brush to sweep the formula across different parts of the face.
“The innovative fine translucent effect was achieved because Giorgio Armani Cosmetics was the first make-up brand to apply fluids with specific blender brushes that build up layers of foundation from soft to strong with high precision,” says the brand.
“Use a Blender Brush to apply for a radiant finish,” they advise on their website. “Add and blend more product to achieve desired coverage.”
Aleesha is acting deputy editor for My Imperfect Life, where she looks after the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was shopping writer for woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing new products, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, exploring different wines, attempting new languages and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter after spending a year living in Madrid.
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