My hunt for the perfect primer continues with Chanel’s White Essentiel Whitening Modeling Effect Base in Rosée.
You may remember that I was very happy with the glowing effects of Benefit’s That Gal primer, so why change? Firstly, I seemed to be getting through my That Gals at a too-speedy-for-my-wallet pace, plus the bottle design meant that it was impossible to predict when its time was up – leaving me high and dry on a few occasions! Instead, I found myself drawn to the Chanel White Essentiel Base because, unlike That Gal, it contains a high SPF of 30, essential (or should that be essentiel!) for HK’s scorching summers. Secondly, it had been developed especially for Asian skin – I’m half-Asian, I have skin, a perfect fit, surely!
I was recommended the Rosée shade for my complexion, which has a cool-toned pale pink tint to the very white fluid. [The other shades are yellow Mimosa and blue Azur]. This would supposedly revive my pale and tired complexion and add a touch of radiance that I thought might not be dissimilar to That Gal’s pinky glow. How wrong I was.
But let’s not jump the gun. I like the chunky but compact packaging and was glad it’s plastic rather than glass; too many bottles fall out of my bathroom cabinet thanks to vigorous door slamming from my auntie for glass to be a viable option in this house! After shaking the bottle (it makes a clicking sound in the old-fashioned way I remember my Mum’s foundation doing), the fluid is dispensed via a dropper-type nozzle on the top of the bottle (see photo, apologies for rubbish description). There’s a definite knack to learning how to use it, and the first few times, far too much liquid splurged out.
The liquid itself is quite runny and can be used sparingly (so far, my bottle has lasted well over 6 months; it ended up lasting well over a year!). However, that’s just about where my positives end. It requires a lot of rubbing in to be absorbed and once it has, leaves my skin feeling chalky. Looking pretty chalky too. Whatever pink there is to the fluid is null and void and rather than brightening, it’s just whitening – in the ‘seen a ghost’ sense! Yes, it’s too pale even for my milky bean curd complexion! I know some Chinese women like their face looking several shades too white for the rest of their body (hi Fan Bing Bing) but I’m not one of them and thus, there’s no chance of being able to wear this product on its own, like the sales assistant said I could, or like you can with some other primers. Then again, I suppose the ‘Whitening’ in the name should have given it away!
It also has quite a strong scent, a very artificial sweet floral scent that I’m not a huge fan of. To White Essentiel Base’s credit, it does allow your make-up to glide on super-smoothly and keeps it set for your day. Thanks to that chalky, almost mattifying effect, it seems to minimise sweat and oily patches, although the downside is that it doesn’t give a luminous radiance like the light-reflecting particles of That Gal.
Overall, I wouldn’t re-purchase this product – it’s too pricey for something that obviously doesn’t work well with my skin tone. As a newer Chanel product exclusive to the Asian market, I feel it still needs a bit more tinkering to make it great. So whilst it’s effective enough as a base and the high SPF is a bonus, there are really no other benefits… unless I need to audition as a geisha anytime soon.
Chanel White Essentiel Whitening Modeling Effect Base in Rosée, $350; see all Chanel Beaute locations in Hong Kong here