Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Vapour Organic Beauty Swatches, Review and Look

Vapour Organic Beauty is a green brand (cruelty-free, certified organic ingredients, minimal recycled and recyclable packaging) which has been garnering raves for the past few years, mostly for base makeup. What made me sit up and take interest quite recently was the introduction of new, extra-pale shades of foundation and concealer to the lineup, as well as a more pigmented lip/cheek cream formula (Aura Stain) -- their earlier ranges seemed a bit too tasteful for me ;D

My nascent stash: Aura Multi-Use Blush Stain in 209 Impulse, Illusionist Concealer in 000 and Atmosphere Luminous Foundation in 090. In the UK, Content stocks a smaller selection of Vapour products, at the usual high post-import British prices (£20 for the concealer vs. $22). I acquired my products from Spiritbeautylounge via American friends. Mentioning this now to establish that I'm judging these products based on their more reasonable US prices.

Nitpicky aesthetes might be annoyed by the difference in packaging between these different products -- it's not just a colour/looks thing either, the stick foundation tube (right) is flimsy plastic while the concealer (middle) is much heftier and sleeker, with the stain (left) somewhere in between. Picky noses should be aware: these are unscented, which is not the same as scent-free; they have a definite, lingering nutty/waxy scent, from the ingredients used.

On to the products!

A solid, almost balm-like cream in stick form, which offers medium coverage but can be sheered out to light. Less emollient and not quite as easily spreadable than RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up, it is however a very comfortable formula on my dry skin, and I think its more cosmetically elegant lustrous skinlike finish would appeal to a wider range of skintypes than RMS's unctuous...unguent (which even I would reserve for deep winter).
Having tried all my brushes and sponges, I find the heat from fingers really does help to meld this formula into my skin; as a final step, a damp Beautyblender sponge patted all over the face will take off any excess, sheer out the coverage further and blend this into the persnickity invisible-to-me standards to which I hold all bases.

Currently main skin concerns are just dullness and unevenness -- both sallow and red tones courtesy of ravages of central heating / bouts of cold. There's a hint of a pimple between my eyebrows which I was carefully cultivating last week, thus delaying this review... but it ended up going away on its own :/ Sorry about that. 
Face bare of makeup but with usual layers of skincare -- any 'glow' you see in this picture would fade within 30 minutes without help from makeup.

One layer of Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 090 smoothed out with fingers evens out my skin and adds enough of a glow that highlighter becomes optional.

After damp Beautyblender bouncing and 5 minutes to 'set', the initial glow settles into a softly lustrous, step-up-from-satin finish, which stays put all day on me without the need for setting, neither fading back into matte dullness nor transferring.

In conclusion: a comfortable, clean, no-frills (or water!) formula which hasn't dried or irritated my skin over a month's use despite the inclusion of silica in the ingredients list. It's the perfect level of coverage to even the skin out without making me look unreasonably polished, which is exactly what I want from a base most days. Alone, this doesn't work concealing magic on skin texture or pores the way excellent Japanese formulations do (can't hold a candle to Shu Uemura's Nobara stick*, for example), but it neither emphasises nor exacerbates any fine lines or flakes, and has become my go-to, everyday foundation, requiring neither priming nor setting.

*too dark and too dry for me for most of the year :(

This feels like a much more expensive product than the Atmosphere Luminous Foundation (and it is, at 3.3ml for $22 vs 9.63g for $34), but was less successful for me. While feeling more creamily, smoothly blendable than the foundation, and running paler too, it is sheer -- too sheer for blemishes and the wrong tone for my undereye circles.

Before: the pimple by my eyebrow I was cultivating for this review would not cooperate, but anyway... *tiny violins* wearing the Vapour foundation only [see what I mean about no magic on pores? :(] and have waywardly curled lashes. 

After two very heavy layers of concealer -- seriously, this stick would last a month if used this profligately.

Again, a very comfortable texture which doesn't really exacerbate textural issues such as chicken-skin bumps under eyes or dryness at the outer corner. It does however bring out a little extra flake around my healing spot (it is tiny and you may need to click to enlarge :P) without really mitigating the redness. As an undereye concealer, it is too pale -- I prefer to go a shade darker and pinker for better correction and to mimic natural dimension -- and too sheer even to cope with my circles on a good day.

In conclusion: nice texture but far too sheer.

COMPARISON SWATCHES: Foundation and Concealer
foundation swatches Illamasqua Skin Base 02 Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory Shu Uemura Nobara stick 584 Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 090 Vapour Illusionist Concealer 000 Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up 11
Illamasqua Skin Base 02
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory
Shu Uemura Nobara stick 584
Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 090
Vapour Illusionist Concealer 000
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01
RMS Beauty 'Un' Cover-Up 11

foundation swatches Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Lady Fair Shu Uemura Nobara stick 584 Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 090 Becca Compact Concealer Meringue (both sides) Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-02 Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01 Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory
Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Lady Fair
Shu Uemura Nobara stick 584
Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 090
Becca Compact Concealer Meringue (both sides)
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-02
Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer SX-01
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory

Apologies for the random, slightly repetitive nature of these -- they were made upon makeupalleyer requests. It shows that these Vapour shades are genuinely pale, landing towards the light end of my personal base wardrobe (the darkest of which, Laura Mercier Soft Ivory, is still a step paler than MAC NC15).

An intensely pigmented, blendable, glowy formula (a v. generous 10g for $25) in a perfectly pitched true, bright red. I like my red blush clownish, especially in winter, but it can most definitely be sheered out for a barely-there healthy glow -- its unusual brightness coupled with a lack of pink tones makes Impulse a flattering choice for those of us who naturally blush a fevered cool red, especially in cold air.
Again, despite containing silica, this stain doesn't dry my cheeks out, perhaps because the Vapour base of waxes and oils act as enough of a buffer. Having tested it on some obliging oily-skinned friends, I can report that it lasted without fading all day on them, either. While marketed as multi-use, the texture and oily/nutty/waxy scent made it a bit unpleasant for me to wear on lips.

Swatches are applied with fingers, and semi-blended (not at full opacity, but nor sheered out either); picture in natural sunlight! Remember that?
blush swatches Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita  Jouer Dahlia tint Besame Crimson Cream Rouge Vapour Aura Stain Impulse RMS Beauty lip2cheek Modest Addiction Revenge Cheek Stick
Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita -- the only powder here, and closest to but more muted than Impulse
Jouer Dahlia tint
Besame Crimson Cream Rouge
Vapour Aura Stain Impulse
RMS Beauty lip2cheek Modest
Addiction Revenge Cheek Stick
(more red blush swatches here)

In conclusion: made of win. I'm contemplating the other three shades.

Vaporous Look, ho ho
Inspired by:

How could I resist the impulse to show off these products with this faded out placement?
BASE Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 090, Illusionist Concealer 000. Shu Uemura Seal Brown brow pencil.
BLUSH Aura Stain Impulse
LIP Aura Stain Impulse blended out with Illusionist Concealer 000

swatches Aura Multi-Use Blush Stain in 209 Impulse, Illusionist Concealer in 000 and Atmosphere Luminous Foundation in 090

EYE Shu Uemura M White 907, Fyrinnae Candy Coated as main colour with Purgatory to darken lashline. GOSH white kohl and Max Factor False Lash Effect 24 Hour mascara.


  1. Hi lovely! The foundation looks amazing on you! I want to try it!
    Would you consider 090 to be more warm- or cool-toned?

    1. Hi :D It's sliiiiightly on the pink side of neutral (but a cool pink, not a warm orangey pink).

  2. I would love to revisit this foundation. When it first came out, the shade selection was very limited. It looks like the range has expanded. I like the glow factor in this foundation.

    1. It's a very modern minimalist kind of formula ;)

  3. Very nice. I'm tempted to try the 100 myself, although the online swatch from the company looks yellowy. (Despite their claim about it being cool.) Spirit Beauty has a pretty good sample program.

    I wish Shu's availability wasn't so random here. There are three shades of Nobara on the American Shu website. (754, 764, and 564).

    1. The blog swatches I've seen of 100 seem yellowy too. Though honestly I'm not sure you'd have a Nobara match either -- 584 is still yellower than neutral.

  4. The foundation is an excellent match for you, and exactly the kind of texture I like too. The blush is also beautiful. I know what you mean about the packaging - it annoys me a bit that some of them have metal inner tubes and some plastic!

    1. I've sliced off bits of the foundation for friends and the plastic tube is rattling alarmingly! :/ It would make more sense for the concealer to be in a lighter tube (it's smaller and would hold together better anyway)

  5. right, I'm officially banning myself from your site. The blush looks AMAZING. I think this would suit my winter Scottish skin perfectly, thanks for the great review.

    There's also a very good review of the concealer and foundation at the lovely Vicky's site

    1. You're not going anywhere, missy!

      Thanks for introducing me to that blog; it's wonderful :)

  6. So glad you reviewed these! I never would have tried the stick fdn had I not seen your rave on MUA, and I'm happy to report that my dry skin loves it. Now I'm curious to try the blush stain. Also- huge YAY for popsicle lips!

    1. yay! :D Although I still think my version looks more like sharpie (chewing on) than popsicle lips...more practice needed.

  7. A good example of the Baader-Meinhof syndrome here! I discovered Vapour while randomly selecting a sample from an e-seller recently and the brand keeps popping up. My sample was a mauve lipstick, which I only tried once but was rather please with. Good to know the rest of the range is worth a look.

    1. synchronicity :D
      I am very curious about their lipsticks but Content haz no testers :/

    2. My sample came from Naturisimo. They're £1 each, so it's not a bargain but useful if you want to try them.

  8. I found the concealer too sheer as well but I now feel tempted to get the stick foundation after reading your thoughts ;)
    I think your look is beautiful, the outer colour application on the eyes is great, wish I had the skills to do that x

    1. <3 I think the foundation works better as a concealer than the concealer too :)
      I bet you do :P It looks much harder than it is.

  9. OK, I'm definitely getting the foundation, esp. b/c it looks winter-skin-friendly. It's possible 90 will be a tiny bit too light for me, but I'm willing to risk it, - besides I may go a little paler now that my skin seems under control enough that I don't need days 'off' from SPF anymore.
    Thanks for this review !!

  10. Okay, I know I say this ALL the time, but it is SO unfair that there are people like you out there with such PERFECT skin and lashes (and hair)!!! Whyyy?!! :P

    Anyway, I have a few things from Vapour to try and so far, I am very impressed. I have the classic Multi-Use blush in Spark but haven't gotten a chance to test it out yet. Now I can't wait! :D

  11. OH GOSH. Godsend page. I too have deathly pale skin, and it's so good to see some examples. I have the Laura Mercier Soft Ivory in the mail, but am curious about the Shu Uemura Nobara Stick. I really like the consistency of stick foundations although I've never found one pale enough.
    Do you know of a good website from which to order Shu Uemara? I'm in Australia and am finding it very hard to find the pale shades online, let alone a website which ships here.