Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink Foundation B20 and BR50 Review, Swatch & Comparison

One of the most talked about new foundation launch of 2014 must have been YSL Encre de Peau Fusion Ink. The first buzz appeared online early this year and it was released in August to September around the globe. I have been testing it over 6 weeks now, and I am ready to shade my thoughts with you on this beautiful sunny Saturday before I am off to the city for some shopping. 

Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink Foundation

As soon as I was back from holiday I dropped by the counter to check out how YSL Fusion Ink is like. The first impression was that it felt close to Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation, which I found to be very innovative but at the same time very drying on my normal to dry skin. Maestro always left me with dry flakes and I couldn't make it work regardless of how much I moisturized my skin prior to application.

After this first encounter, I was not sure if it would work on me. The big buzz created when the foundation was launched had its effects too, Breuninger counter had no samples to share. Later that week I was kindly send a PR sample in shade BR50. It is very dark for my NC20 complexion but I was just back with my summer glow and some sun kissed skin, so I took the chance to apply BR50 for a whole day. You can see me wearing BR50 here. The shade is really dark but I was very surprised to find out that it didn't dry out my skin and it lasted very long. Those were the two things which were crucial for me before pulling the trigger, so I went to the counter and purchased B20, which is almost a perfect match for me.

Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink Foundation B20 and BR50


If you read reviews, as much as there is rave about the formula of YSL Fusion Ink, there is rant about the packaging. From hygiene point of view, customers (including me) prefer packages that is one way, meaning, whatever goes out of the container, should be getting me. It can be a pump dispenser or a simple plastic tube to squeeze (a la Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, which I am also not a fan of, but it keeps things clean). It was one of the moments at the counter when I thought "I don't know what got inside this bottle so let me rather not put it in my face.

As much as I don't like the idea of using other peoples Fusion Ink, I can come to terms with using mine, which was purchased by me and used only by me. For the make-up artists out there, I can imagine that a product looks hygienic is more of a concern.  

Since the formula is very thin and liquid (which is a good thing for the application) I imagine that it is a hard thing to come up with a one way dispenser. I thought since it is so liquid, they could use something like sponge tipped applicator of concealers. Or would you find it even more gross? Jury is out there, if you have ideas, right them down, maybe we can influence a repackaging of the product since the formula is heavenly...

Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink Foundation Applicator


I normally wear Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B20 during most of the year and switch to B30 if I am tanned or mixed these two. At the end of the winter I am sometimes as light as B10 or a mixture of B10 and B20. I have a samples of Diorskin Star 30, which was alright right after the holiday but it is now a bit dark. I picked up YSL Fusion Ink B20 for my match and I am very happy with it. It is just slightly lighter than my complexion, which gives me room for shading and contouring. As you see Chanel B20 is just a tad darker than YSL Fusion Ink B20. I like them both because of their natural undertones. I find most of the foundations to be too pink or too yellow on me. If you also have natural undertones like me, you will find something to match your skin on YSL range.

Now as for Germany (and I am guessing Europe as well), not all the shades are available at every counter and online. B20 is one of the exclusive ones but I was glad that Breuninger Stuttgart is one of the privileged counters which carry all the shades. The testers are usually BR50, which is too dark for most of the population in Germany but I was told this shade is the best seller, which also explains why I received it as a PR-samples on the first place. The lovely SA at Breuninger Stuttgart *waves*, he told me that most of the women do like that the foundation brings some "sun kissed" look on their faces so they go for BR50. Whether it is the choice of the customer or the brand, I find it rather odd. Do you now anyone who uses 3 shades deeper foundation to look tanned?

In total there are 21 shades, from 10 to 70, each having R(rose, cool undertones), D (dore, warm undertones) and natural. For examples for someone with lightness of 20, can select between BR20 (cool undertones), BD20 (warm undertones) and B20 (neutral undertones). Not all the shades have all three options available and there are some in between shades (like 45) available at some countries.

Swatches of Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink Foundation and comparison to other foundations

Formula and Application:

I found the best way to apply Fusion Ink is

Step #1: Give it a good shade

Step #2: Put out the applicator and dispense some product at the back of your hand or directly on your face. I like swiping the applicator directly on my face especially close to problem areas like rednesses or pigmentation. This way I get a bit more coverage around there and can get along with less concealing.

Step #3: Take a buffing brush and distribute the product with circular motion around the face. I especially like Duo-fiber brushes for this, I use one from Chanel or Hakuhodo.

Note: If you like to swipe the product directly on your face, make sure you do it carefully. A few times I ended up with foundation stains on my clothes. I don't think this has to do with packaging but about the applicator. My side of a sponge tipped applicator came at that moment *winks* (like under eye concealer). What do you think?

I would classify Fusion Ink as light to medium coverage on the first layer, medium coverage on the second layer. I think it builds up very well and never looks like a mask. It lasts long and doesn't dry out my skin. I use my normal moisturizer underneath. After the application, I recommend to wait a few minutes before all the oils evaporate and the foundation takes its lovely velvety finish. Then if you fancy, you can add a bit of a finishing powder to prolong the staying power even longer. On my dry to normal skin, I don't get shiny spots at the end of the day but since it is not drying on me, I imagine that combination to oily skins must take an additional step in setting or reapplying the foundation during the day. It is a trade-off ladies and I am happy that this one works on mine just right. 

The formula has many silicones which doesn't bother me, but for those of you who doesn't like that, probably you wouldn't like Fusion Ink. It also has SPF 18 and a little bit of a perfume smell, which doesn't annoy me and it is not noticeable after the application.


Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Isododecane, Alcohol Denat, Vinyl Dimenthicone/Methicone, Silsequioxane, Crosspolymer, Phenyl, Trimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Water, Propylene Carbonate, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Silica Silyate, Fragrance, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, Aluminum Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol.

Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink Foundation application tips
Make sure to check out Amy's review here. Her thoughts on foundations are always very insightful. Also check out Stacey's well written review on this for combination skin.

Final thoughts: Yves Saint Laurent Encre de Peau Fusion Ink looks very natural, blends so well, works great for normal (to dry) skin and can be build up without looking heavy or like a mask. I only wished the applicator had a little sponge on so that it wouldn't stain my clothes early in the morning when I am rushing and that more counters would have the whole shade range. It became my go to foundation at the moment and I highly recommend checking it out, especially for normal complexions who are not too much concerned about oil control.

EDIT: Following reader comments below, there are ladies with oily skin who like the oil control. It is also mentioned if you are sensitive to alcohol or if you have very dry/mature skin, it may not work for you. Try to get a sample to try out before if you can. The foundation works very well for dry to normal, normal to combination range.

You can see me wearing it in almost all of my FOTDs, for example here, here and here.

Have you tried YSL Fusion Ink yet? How do you find it?

Disclaimer: YSL Fusion Ink BR50 was sent to me free of charge for consideration. I have purchased B20. I am not paid for this review, all opinions are honest and my own.


  1. I'm confused now cause I read an article that said this foundation has a NASA technology (I'm not kidding!) to oil control, or rather say, sweat control, so is geared towards normal to combination skin type, as I could be drying for dry skinned gals. it was a Vogue article... That is why I never even bother trying it...

    1. Hi Andrea,

      I have dry, mature skin and thought this was a total fail. There is quite a bit of alcohol in the formula which evaporates to leave pigment on the skin (same concept as the Armani Fusion). It might not be too problematic in the beginning since those of us who have dry skin tend to use a lot of occlusive moisturizers, but the amount of alcohol in the product will eventually catch up with us. I was given a delux sample and after about 5 days of use, my skin was beginning to look parched. I took it back and, when I told the SAN that it was drying my skin out, she said that she had gotten quite a few complaints/returns from women with dry skin or sensitive (the alcohol again) skin. So, if your skin is truly dry, I think you can safely trust the Vogue article and give this one a miss.

    2. Hi Andrea, hello Eileen,
      I haven't read about NASA but I have read quiet a bit reviews of the oily ladies saying this didn't do the trick. I guess though if you have too much oil, nothing can stop you from shining. The comment below from Jessi tells she has oil and she is very content with the foundation, so I believe this one is good for her as well.
      Then on to dry skin, thanks so much to Eileen again for bringing in her knowledge and experience. The formula has alcohol, that is right (it is listed above within the first five ingredients). I don't have particular sensitivity to alcohol, it might be the reason why it worked for me. Also as I have mentioned I have dry to normal skin (even a bit of shine on my forehead) not truly dry as Eileen's. Hence this bottle works very well on me, I use it everyday since 6 weeks, no complaints. I have invested in a full bottle of right shade and I am loving it. If you have dry skin Andrea, I would try out a sample like Eileen did to find out if it works on you.

  2. I do own this in shade BR30(I was surprised to be matched to this as I am a NC/NW20), but it gives me warmth and does not wash me out. I prefer the texture to the Armani, as you start better for normal/dryish skin. I admit to just using my fingers to blend, usually its a Beauty Blender or a Real Techniques Face Blender brush. But it seems to go on flawless. Really like this foundation.

    1. The formula of this foundation allows to be able to wear darker shades without looking too fake. It is a matter of choice but I like my foundation a tad lighter. If I am between two shades (here I was between B30 and B20) I go for the lighter one and warm up my complexion while contouring. I have tried fingers, it didn't work all that well for me for a reason. It is really flawless :-) you are right!

  3. I have very oily skin and try every foundation marketed for my skin type...this is one of my top three. I actually do not need to reapply this foundation throughout the day. While the oil control is good to very good (nothing totally controls my oil) it almost doesn't matter because when I blot, the foundation is not removed. Some formulas that I have to blot at around 4 hours end up breaking up as soon as the paper hits my face-this stays. Definitely try it if you are oily and needs something that lasts. Feels light on my skin too which is a plus.

    1. Hi Jessi,
      thanks so much for leaving a comment. It is great to hear that it works for oily skin. I have read some reviews that it didn't work al that well, hence I have written that it is maybe not all that good for oil control. I have written an edit up to invite oily ladies to try the product out ;-)

  4. hi sara! i really wanted to try this as i used to be a huge fan of ysl. i should underline the word 'used". i will never put alcohol and fragrance on my skin. it's getting harder each year to find a foundation for my skin...combination, sensitive, acne-prone, must use sunscreen. i'm barely a b10 in chanel. i've been using jane iredale's amazing base close to 20 years. i'm using the shade light beige mixed with ivory. so, i buy 2 mineral powders and mix them which comes pretty close to matching my skintone. i'm thinking trying clinique and going to sephora to use their color matching system. anyway, i'm getting tired of trying countless foundations. it seems the new foundations coming out all have fragrance and alcohol. xo.

    1. Hi Wendy,
      you are right most of the foundation in the market have fragrance and alcohol which makes it very hard for those of us with sensitive skin. I am sorry that this one is no exception. I hope you find a right match for your skin soon.

  5. Hey Sara, thanks for the review! I actually got a little sample the other day. Even though the shade definitely won't fit, I might give it a go one of these days when I have nowhere to go! I am pretty sure I won't purchase this because of the packaging though. It'd be great if they could put a pump on it, or at least package it the same way as GA Maestro!

    1. Hi Sunny,
      do you really like GA Maestro packaging? I have to say I don't. It is messier than this one, that droplet gets covered with foundation which runs all around the clothes. For the ease of use, I prefer this one by far. Also the other one is not one way, so I don't see anything more hygienic about Armani Maestro. That said, they couldn't invest more thought on packaging with YSL because it seems it is the reason why some people won't invest.

  6. I held back on purchasing this one due to the packaging and Dimethicone. I tried it on the back of my hand in store and was really impressed with the coverage, though. And it's so lightweight, too! Wonder why the PR sent you such a dark shade. Do they not read your blog and see what you look like? LOL.

    1. I see your point about Dimethicone and packaging, though I don't find packaging so bad if you are the only user of the foundation. We use concealers in this type of packaging all the time.
      As for PR-sample, you know BR50 is the most used shade in Germany and it is also the shade of the small samples? I was shocked when I have heard that but it is true. I believe BR50 was one of the standard shades they sent out for consideration hence I got mine.

    2. Ahhh gotcha! Thanks for clarifying! :)

  7. Sounds like a great formula! Seems like it's better suited to more skin types than the Armani Maestro. The packaging is a let down though, if I ever get this, I may dispense it into my hopefully-soon-to-finish Maestro bottle :)

    1. Hi, I have written Sunny above too, I really don't see how Armani Maestro has a better packaging, I don't like this one but I find it better than Maestros. Mine got all messy and drops everywhere when I take it out. Ugh, not a fan. I think the people were especially not into this one because you have to touch the applicator?

  8. Such a great, thorough review! I samples this a little while back and really liked it! I love a lightweight formula that works for oilier skin types :)



    1. Hi Jen,
      it is really light weight. It works on me, I am not oily, it seems it works on the others too. I am amazed ;-)

  9. Hi Sara, that's so odd to think that BR50 would be the most popular shade! I'm glad this worked out well enough for you that you'd want to go back for another bottle! Can't wait to hear what you think of the other one that's on its way over to you..... :*

  10. I got a sample of this a little while ago and it seems to have spoiled me. The only concern I have now is that the weather was very dry when I tried it and I do desperately want something that makes me less "glow-y"


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