Why FQ’s managing editor is coveting the new Hermès Plein Air complexion balm

14 April 2022
By Sarah Murray

Sarah Murray headed to Sydney for the unveiling of the latest Hermès Beauty range, sharing with us her pick of the bunch.

Sarah's pick: the Hermès Plein Air complexion balm.

The launch of Hermès Beauty’s new ‘Plein Air’ range took place on a rainy Thursday on the upper level of their Sydney flagship store — an iconic heritage-listed building that stands stoically at the intersection of King and Castlereagh Street. After walking through the luxurious store and passing by the multi-coloured patterned scarfs synonymous with the brand, I headed upstairs to an intimate gathering with Australasian beauty journalists. 

Once seated, I was given a rundown of five new Hermès Beauty products by recently appointed creative director Gregoris Pyrpylis. A charming host, Pyrpylis took us through the new Plein Air range — a radiant matte powderradiant glow powder, powder brushblotting papers, and what I’d consider the star of the collection, the complexion balm. A make-up-skincare hybrid, Pyrpylis explained how the pigmented balm features an innovative formula offering long-lasting hydration (thanks to hyaluronic acid) and protection from external aggressors and pollution with evening primrose oil and Baikal skullcap. The balm further provides SPF 30/PA+++ protection against everyday exposure to ultraviolet rays — an essential ingredient for those of us in New Zealand. 

Hermès Beauty creative director Gregoris Pyrpylis.

Post presentation, I jumped at the offer from Pyrpylis to colour match my skin tone with the Plein Air complexion balm. With 12 adjustable shades to choose from, Pyrpylis picked three before settling on Shade 60 – the darkest option to maintain my post-summer glow. Aside from the balm’s hydrating feel, I instantly noticed its uniquely fresh fragrance, which usually doesn’t go hand in hand with make-up products. Pyrpylis told me that the balm’s bespoke fragrance was created by Swiss perfumer Christine Nagel and utilises the scents of arnica, sandalwood and green tea. 


Back in Auckland, I tried the offerings for myself. As per Pyrpylis’ instructions, I went without a brush and applied the complexion balm with my fingertips. The balm went on smoothly, practically melting into my face. It offers medium coverage with a weightless veil of sheer colour and a radiant yet natural finish. If you want to mattify the look, this is where you’d apply the Plein Air radiant matte powder. However, I opted to pump up the glow further, applying the highlighting radiant glow powder to my cheekbones and across the highest points of my face. 

Hermès Plein Air powder brush & radiant glow powder.

The result? Coverage that doesn’t attempt to conceal the skin, instead allowing it to breathe. Now, full disclosure, I love a product that offers light to medium coverage, so I’m an easy sell when it comes to this complexion balm. But honestly, this is an outstanding offering, possibly one of the best I’ve tried, and I’m confident I’ll be using it until every last drop is squeezed out of the tube.  

Discover Hermès Plein Air online and in-store at Smith & Caughey’s

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