When was the last time you applied foundation and wished the process would never end? For me—and this is a first in my makeup application history—it was on Valentine’s Day evening, when I tested Giorgio Armani Designer Lift Smoothing Firming Foundation ($65) with the Designer Foundation Expert Shaping Brush ($51) before the BF and I went out for a romantic dinner.

Trying out new makeup for the first time just before an important occasion is never a good idea. But chica, I had nothing to worry about.

A Fab Foundation

A Fab Foundation

This could be—truly—the best foundation in the world. I have never seen anything like it and I see everything. If you’ve ever eschewed foundation—too gloppy, too masky, too cakey—this one will change your mind. Your skin will look matte, pearly-luminous, firm, flawless, supple, and totally natural. How is that even possible? Matte and pearly-luminous? Crazy Town!

A Fab FoundationSo I asked Giorgio Armani celebrity makeup artist Tim Quinn to explain how this formula is so silken and light yet provides such great coverage with such a little amount of product. I also  wondered what makes the brush so sensational.

Here’s what Tim said: “The Micro-Fil technology takes its cue from the remarkable durability, weightlessness, and strength of stretch fabrics. The blue pearlizer adds a brightness which enhances the lifted appearance without adding weight. The ample coverage is achieved with a minimal amount of product – smoothed into the skin with the designer shaping brush, which allows for smoother, more seamless application than the traditional makeup sponge.”

I’ll explain in English.

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The deal with this foundation, which works—surprisingly—on any skin type, is that each of the 10 shades, from Light 2 to Dark 11.5, address whatever’s imperfect, adjust it with two soft-focus optical fillers (satiny and matte powders), and literally enlighten you by reflecting light. The pale tones have a blue-tinged pearlizer (which gives that refined pearly-osity) that counters yellowish complexions. The medium shades have a touch of pink pearlizer to freshen the skin. And the dark hues have a golden pearl that gives radiance and brightness to the skin. Ge-ni-us.

Meanwhile, there’s something called Micro-Fil, the technology Quinn referred to. You know how airy rayon and jersey T-shirts stretch and breathe and feel good on your skin? That texture is what this is, like a second skin. Plus it’s got a 20 SPF, and you know my SPF preoccupation. What can I tell you? It’s spectacular.

Oh, and the brush. I have brushes, I don’t lack for makeup supplies. But this one blew me away. It feels substantial in the hand and the tapered brush is made of marten hair (aka red sable, aka mink). Pricey because it’s the best—uniform, strong, thick, and elastic. You’ll never go back.

When the BF saw me that night, the first thing he said was, “Wow. You’re glowing. Your skin looks so smooth.”

“Must be because I’m so happy,” I said.

I think my new relationship with the Armani foundation and brush had a little something to do with it. But we won’t tell him. He’d never understand.

Lagniappe:A Fab Foundation Always set your foundation with a translucent loose powder. It not only reduces shine and prolongs the daily life of your makeup, it won’t alter the color of your skin. Along with my fave Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder,  I couldn’t live without my Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($22).

This ice-white, micro-fine, silica-based powder is like air. Even when you touch it, you can barely feel it. It’s perfect for anyplace that’s dark, red, or uneven—eyelids, undereyes, nose, chin. It also smooths out lines and wrinkles without any dryness. And don’t be put off by the color; it disappears on contact. Magical stuff.