The packaging is identical to that of the Chanel Teint Innocence Cream Compact. I adore that the compact is easy to travel with and throw around, not cumbersome at all! It is a lightweight black plastic 'tin' of sorts with a separate interior compartment for the foundation. The foundation comes with a standard white sponge, but it is quite useful when on the go. The only troublesome bit is that the cover for the container of the foundation refuses to stay securely shut. It lifts easily, which will dry out the product slightly even when the outer clamshell is shut properly. It is not a serious concern, but I felt compelled to mention it so that you could watch for the lifting of the lid if you decide to purchase this foundation. And according to my Chanel SA, the Vitalumiere Aqua Compact is unfortunately not refillable, just as with the Teint Innocence Compact.. a shame, since we are paying a premium for the clamshell packaging.
The discontinued Teint Innocence Cream Compact only had an SPF of 10 and was made in France. The new Vitalumiere Aqua Cream Compact has an SPF of 15 and is made in Japan. The TI compact was best at sheer even though buildable to medium, the new VA compact is perfect at medium. The new VA compact has noticeably more pigment so you can use less product to even out the skin tone, diminishing freckles, but not completely covering them. The directions will instruct you to apply with a dry sponge only.. just do not use a wet sponge or wet brush, is all. As I mentioned, the dry sponge method is fine but I found that a smaller, dense natural hair brush like Tom Ford's Cream Foundation Brush was the best application method to achieve well blended medium coverage. It looks great when applied sheerly, too, takes very little effort. The formula is indeed hydrating, but it also feels fresh and relatively light against my relatively normal skin. I do lean dry-combination, so I am not a fan of overly luminous foundations because my nose is always the first to get excessively oily, but this cream compact formula makes my skin luminous without too much 'glow' on any one part of my face (and that is without use of a primer).
The Vitalumiere Aqua Cream Compact also does not take any extra effort to blend out streaks, which was my main gripe with the Teint Innocence Cream Compact's formula. The previous formula was ideal for use under the eyes and in the center of the face since it had enough pink to counteract my dark circles and provide a natural brightening effect, but it required a good primer to cover evenly all over the face. Also note that I was much fairer when I purchased the TI compact, the fairest I've ever been. Furthermore, setting powder was also a must to keep it from slipping around the corners of the eyes, mouth, and nose. The new VA compact lasted a 6 solid hours when set with La Mer's Loose Powder before it started to noticeably fade, excellent numbers for a hydrating compact makeup! The TI compact only last four hours before separating. The new VA compact did not splotch while fading, but I have not tested it alone so these observations will be most helpful to those with relatively normal or dry-combination skin who always set foundation with powder. I do not have any dry spots at the moment, so I cannot attest to how good or how bad it will look on dry/very dry skin, my sincerest apologies.
Now for the colors. Generally speaking, those of Asian descent will require a yellow-based foundation. The Beige color range of the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Cream Compact is now the best of all the Chanel foundations for those with yellow undertones, something the otherwise perfect Chanel foundation range lacked. The Beige Rose shades - pink tones. Perfection Lumiere's launch last year alleviated the demand a bit, but it was not enough. The shades of this new compact were intended to mirror those of sister foundation Vitalumiere Aqua Skin Perfecting Liquid Makeup, but I did not find that so at all. That made me very happy because I had been worrying that the colors would be too pink! So as much as I love the liquid formula for when I need a long-lasting matte finish, the cream compact is ideal because of the color match. See the comparison swatches of the VA Cream Compact and the VA Liquid below, both in B30.
B30 in the Liquid is significantly darker than in the Cream, the Liquid is noticeably cooler/pinker on my face!
Bottom Line: This is the best cream compact makeup for my skin tone and combination/sensitive skin that I have ever encountered. And not quite relevant but the worst? Smashbox Camera Ready Foundation.. it looks flawless for one hour, then separates unevenly all over the face and looks like a splotchy, greasy messy even before lunch - with or without primer and/or setting powder. Fork over the extra money and splurge on the new Vitalumiere Aqua Cream Compact if you are looking for a cream compact. Oily-combination and oily skins should stick to the Vitalumiere Liquid, as it controls oil best.
P.S. And because I know people will ask, the current Chanel foundation line-up in order of my preference:
1. Vitalumiere Cream Compact
2. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Liquid & Perfection Lumiere
[Tie - I like the VAL in the summer for the oil control & the PL in the winter for the luminous semi-matte finish]
4. Chanel Vitalumiere [Lovely smooth & hydrating formula, only wish it lasted longer on me - 4 hours]
5. Chanel Lift Lumiere [Comfortable, but doesn't quite enhance my skin. Luminous and blends easily]
6. Chanel Mat Lumiere [The finish is more a demi-matte, VAL is more mattifying yet equally long-lasting in my experience]
7. Chanel Double Perfection Powder Compact [I can never find a color match with this powder. I'm either too tan or too pale, it's frustrating! I prefer the discontinued Mat Lumiere powder compact. I now stick to Cle De Peau's powder compact if I want one with SPF, better color matches for me, since the formulas are relatively similar.]