Monday, January 11, 2016

REVIEW: Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

Sometimes, you place an order for a new lipstick or a delightful fragrance, and you're just as excited to receive those full-sized products as you are the free samples that come with it. This was how I felt when I placed a Sephora VIB order and added on a deluxe sample of the Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base, a multipurpose primer/highlighter product that's been lauded by incredible artists like Wendy Rowe. In fact, I was so enthralled by the rave reviews from fellow dry-skinned folks that I almost purchased a full bottle a few months back!

Let's talk about that full bottle for the moment. While this sample was free, the full bottle is definitely not; in fact, it's a little pricey: $48 for 1 oz of product. To be fair, this is on par with many high-end foundations and you do get a full ounce, but it's still a luxury product. The packaging is suitably beautiful AND functional, with a see-through container so you can see how much you've used and a pump to keep it all sanitary. This product comes in two shades: the one I have, 01 Nude Radiance, and a darker, warmer shade, 02 Golden Radiance.

Be prepared for lots of shots of my gooey nostrils. Sorry.

Burberry claims that this product can be used multiple ways: it can be used all over your face on bare skin or under foundation to give you a glow, it can be applied like a highlighter, and it can be mixed with other products (like eyeshadow) to sheer them out and amp up their shine. Having heard that this was the primer for dry skin, I decided to test it first as a primer...and if you saw this video, you know I was instantly stymied.

The above macro shot shows why. While MAC Face & Body usually has a slightly glowy finish on me, it looked much drier on top of the Burberry primer. It quickly moved in to the fine lines around my mouth and nose, which is not normal, either. Nor is it common for me to have so much difficulty blending products on top of my foundation. The Burberry primer is also full of micro-shimmer, and while I'll complain about that more later, I want to point out that you can see it through the foundation--look at the two sparkly dots above the corner of my mouth.

The glow on my cheeks is from Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl, not Burberry Fresh Glow.

Further back and with flash, it's slightly less dry-looking, but my base is still not as natural and healthy-looking as usual. A few folks on Makeup Alley suggested that the problem may be MAC Face & Body, which can interact oddly with primers and moisturizers due to its unusual formulation, so I tested it with a few other foundations. Nope, same results: it looked just as dry and awful under Buxom Show Some Skin and the NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation.

Mixing Fresh Glow with the foundation didn't seem to improve matters. It just made me look a bit less dry, a bit more sparkly, probably because it was evenly mixed with the base, not slightly covered up by it. And I absolutely cannot get behind the idea of wearing it on my bare face with nothing else. Get in the light, it turns to pure sparkle, and that's not what I want people to see.

This photo, take 6 hours after I primed with Burberry Fresh Glow, really shows why I can't get behind this product the way many have. I can count the number of times I have seen my foundation looking this patchy, dry, and disgusting on one hand.Where is the promised glow? The "youthful" luminosity? All I see is something that made me look like a zombie.

Honestly, the only way I was able to get this product to work was as a cheek highlighter. Dabbed lightly over foundation, it was decently pretty and shiny, though still too sparkly for my tastes.

Burberry Flesh Glow 01 Nude Radiance on the left, MAC Strobe Cream on the right.

Beyond the dry dry dryness of it on my skin, the sparkliness of this product is my biggest beef. The product page actually claims that this product will give you "shimmer-free, youthful-looking luminosity." Shimmer-free?! Are you fucking kidding me?! You can see the glitter particles on this as soon as you rub it on your skin! And as the above (painstakingly taken) photos show, there is absolutely fine shimmer in Fresh Glow, which is obvious in direct sunlight.

I took the above photos because I wanted to compare Burberry Fresh Glow to a similar product, MAC Strobe Cream. Both products are meant to be sheer and glowy multipurpose wonders. But between the two, Strobe Cream is the clear winner for me. Somehow, the shimmer in it is more refined--I can wear it, on bare skin and in direct sunlight, without looking like a disco ball--and the cream texture actually adds a bit of moisture to the skin. I have long promoted this product as a dual cheek highlighter and all-over skin enhancer, and the photos speak for themselves. To add insult to injury, a 1 ounce tube of Strobe Cream is $10, almost 1/5 the price of the Burberry Fresh Glow.

I wanted to love this product. I tried hard to love this product. Honestly, writing this review is a bit scary for me, because I know so many people truly adore and depend on this stuff. But for me, it was an absolute failure. Its only use is as a cheek highlighter, and even then, there are other products that are vastly superior.

1 out of 5


  1. I had the same experience as you with this sample! I have combination skin, though, and it made my oily parts extremely oily, while sinking into my dry parts. The next day, I used a sample of the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, which did a great job of adding glow, without making me look oily.

    1. I need to give the LM primers another chance. I keep hearing great things about them!

  2. I totally agree with you. Wanted to love it, hated it. Have you tried the Chanel product that's similar? I think it's called Le Blanc de Chanel illuminating Base or something. I love that one. I often wear that alone, it weirdly does give some coverage and makes your skin look really pretty. And it mixes flawlessly w other products, and works well for me as a primer. Downside obvs is the Chanel price!

    1. I thought about the Chanel--I actually scoped it out at the counter yesterday--but my problem with Chanel bases/skincare tends to be the alcohol and fragrance. They seem to load their products up with really drying alcohol, and so much of their stuff has this really obnoxious rose scent. Maybe I'll get a sample, though!

  3. Man, you were not kidding when you said it looked bad.

    1. Not in the least. I almost gave it a 2 out of 5 because it's a passable highlighter, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was maybe being gentle because it's so popular and so expensive. F that, it performs like a 1.

  4. Hi, what is your lipstick? So beautiful.