May 3, 2012

Foundation Review # 35 : Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid

I wasn't really planning on getting this one, because I had heard a lot it was very similar to Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. More on that comparison later, but it turned out my skin cannot tolerate the alcohol in VA anymore, and as sad as I was to have to leave my Holy Grail foundation behind, I was glad there was I supposed dupe I could get my hands on - especially as Invisible Fluid does NOT contain alcohol.

What the Brand says.

See no makeup. Feel no makeup™.
First-ever IntuiTone™ technology guarantees your true-to-life shade and keeps it real in every light.
Fresh, flawless, radiant. Ultra light, ultra breathable, oil-free.
It will change how you feel about makeup forever.
In long-lasting shades for every beautiful skintone.
Weightless, buildable coverage. Air-infused with every shake.
Blends so perfectly for the look and feel of bare skin-only better.
Lasts all day. Controls excess oil. Won't clog pores.

Shake well with each application for fresh, perfectly blended makeup.

FORMULA FACTS : Oil-free, Dermatologist-tested, Ophthalmologist-tested, Fragrance-free, Non-acnegenic.
The PackagingThe product comes in an opaque plastic bottle, which is a very good option if you're a/ clumsy or b/ travelling a lot - but it's also very important as you have to shake the product really well, and that wouldn't be easy with a glass bottle.

The bottle contains 30 ml.

My experience with the product.
Finding the right shade can be difficult, so I definitely recommend doing it in store. For this product, Lauder has developed a range of shades which lean either cool, warmer or more neutral. I think this is very good to have those options, unfortunately most countries don't cary all the shades, and so you might have to compromize between depth and undertone.
I got the lightest shade available in my country, 1CN1, which is supposed to lean quite neutral but is tad bit peachy in my opinion - nothing I can't work with, though.
EDIT : after double checking in Summer daylight, I have to stop fooling myself and admit that this is a bit too dark. It actually looks perfect when I wear a light layer of fake-tan. Not a perfect match, then, although as I said I work with it (ears and neck need to be done!)

No kidding, you really have to shake this a lot, as it is the case with all water based foundations. If you don't, you'll get a liquidy greasy separating version of the product that won't be very pleasant to use. You always need to shake much more when starting a new bottle (same thing happened with Chanel VA), then it gets easier. The formula is liquid, not very runny but not very creamy either.
With this kind of bottle and nose, it's very easy to control how much you pour out. I don't find you need much product to cover your whole face, but I have always applied this with hands, as I heard -and feel- it is what works best with this kind of formulation.
The coverage is light but buildable to medium, so you will get rid of little imperfections but might need concealer for undereye circles and redness or discoloration.

Wearing Invisible Fluid, with a bit of Studio Sculpt NC15 concealer under the eyes and around the nose.

The finish is satin, not completely matte but not very dewy/luminous at all in my opinion. I can see why this would work for oilier skins, indeed. But I haven't experienced any issues with this being patch on dryer areas (which I had moisturized, though). If you want a more luminous finish, you'll have to spritz some Fix + or similar product to add some dewyness.

Not wearing any highlighter, so the light glow comes from the product.

This lasts very well on me through a working day, which is the ultimate test in my opinion.

My conclusion, and a little comparison with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.

If I am totally honest, I would still say that I like VA just a little bit better, for 2 main reasons: the formula is a tad bit more gel like, which I enjoyed (but it's fragranced, and that's not suitable for everybody) and the finish was a bit more luminous, which is something I enjoy.
But on the other hand, I think that the Lauder formula is more suitable for every skintype and that not adding fragrance and not using alcohol is definitely a better choice. I also find that, even though the finish is less glowy, in the end Invisible Fluid lasts a bit longer on me and that's always a good thing. It stills look like a second layer of skin and that's what you're looking for when using this type of product.

Color wise, it's very weird: Invisible Fluid 1CN1 looks much darker than Chanel VA in B10 when swatched side by side, BUT, the Chanel foundation oxidizes and get much darker while Invisible Fluid pretty much stays the same once applied.

So for me, from now on, given the impossibility to wear VA anymore, Invisible Fluid is going to be my everyday foundation (alternating with my Nars Tinted Moisturizer that I love, but that covers less than Invisible Fluid). I would definitely recommend it to anyone who tried Chanel VA and didn't get along well with the formula, or had issues with oxidation.


  1. Thanks so much for the review, very in depth! I have VA, and was thinking of grabbing this as well. But maybe now I shall give it a skip!

    Sharleena xx

  2. Maybe you should give your skin some real rest and test again the VA in a couple of months (Spetember,).
    your skin barrier may still be a lil upset for your past weeks of god knows what happen. I do not think that after wearing this stuff for so long it suddenly give you bad reactions. Skin takes time to heal, as you know I battle for at least 6 months to partially cure my chin acne.
    If it still upsets your skin THEN let it go for good.

    1. I know, you're right! My skin is probably still too dry right now and too sensitive, but indeed, I can try again in a few months. In the meantime I needed a replacement product anyway :-p

  3. I have tried samples of both Chanel VA and the EL to compare and I have to agree on the longevity front 100%, which for me is a deal-breaker: I do like the Invisible Fluid quite a bit more than the Chanel, but then I think my skin is definitely oilier than yours :)

  4. I was never able to use the VA because of the shade range, but as a former Lauder girl I always keep an eye on their range- their So Ingenious foundation was awesome- I used it on everybody! I'm still upset that they got rid of it, and I guess secretly hoping they'll bring out something similar in the future. This doesn't sound like it, but it may still be something worth checking out!

  5. I am looking for myself a new foundation and since you are a foundation freak (lol!) I am checking your every foundation post and making notes about them. I am glad I started from new dates to older dates. My skin is oily so I don't mind the alcohol content in VA but oxidation is a real turn off for me! I went back and read your VA post and read this one again as well, what I am trying to find is, does VA oxidize or not?

    I read lots of good reviews about VA and never read anything about oxidation, but I realized now that only you and Muse mentions oxidation in foundations, most writers just skip that (maybe they don't have that problem?!)..

    1. Hi Casey23. First of all, I need to reassure you that I still love VA and wear it a lot, it is still one of my favorite foundations EVER excepted when I'm getting dry and the alcohol is an issue :) But I love the result.
      I don' t know if it really oxidizes, I mean it's not getting darker during the day. What mostly causes oxydation in foundations is the powders they use in it (like talk) and there isn't any in VA. BUT what is true is that it sets darker once it is applied- but that happens quite fast, like within 10 mins. So you need to pay attention to that when picking your match, just wait 10 mins and check in natural daylight. Other than that, I don't experience it getting any more darker through the day.
      I must also say that VA has at least one shade lighter than the EL Invisible, so even whit this darkening thing, it can still be a better option for fair skins.
      Hope this helps!

    2. OK that is new I didn't know the cause of oxidation. Well, we learn a new thing everyday :) My skin is not fair, it is nc30 so I don't think I will have an issue about finding the right shade but I hate that after 2-3 hours I see some blackening on my nose/t-zone that is what i am running away from.. Thank you sooo much for detailed explanation. Btw I loveed your blog gonna read every post of yours day by day!! Take care..

  6. Thank you so much for this review! I purchased Invisible Fluid online, based on swatches from other bloggers, and I definitely got the wrong shade (I got 2cn2). It looks perfect, even a little too light when I pump it out on the back of my hand, and by the time it's on my face it's unusably dark and orange looking. I can even see that whatever is left on the back of my hand is much darker and orange than when I start.

    I know the formula is supposed to do this to some extent, but I don't think any of the color charts or swatches I've seen accurately show the final color of the foundation. It's a real bummer, b/c I don't know anyone to give this to, and I can't use it.

    I've tried Vitalumiere, but not VA. I found Vitalumiere (shade 20Claire) to have a perfect amount of coverage and finish, but it's too yellow for me. Are the shades in VA any better in you opinion?

    1. Vitalumiere and Vitalumiere Aqua are very different in texture and finish. VA is more suited for normal to oily skin, while Vitalumiere is very moisturizing and better for normal to dry skin. VA has a luminous finish too, though. The good thing is that VA has a larger shade range than the regular Vitalumiere, and the BR shades are perfect if you want a less yellow shade.


I love getting comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts!