Les Beiges had me intrigued very early on. I first saw it used by Lisa Eldridge in a video she did on Chanel's YouTube channel. She essentially used it with a kabuki brush to buff the powder onto clean skin for a sheer base. She also demonstrated a different purpose in a separate video where she uses it on top of her liquid foundation for a more all-over bronzed look and also a bit of contouring.
From what I gather, Les Beiges is intended to be more of a sheer bronzing powder that can be used all over the face for a subtle bronzed glow. For that reason, it's probably a good idea to buy a shade up from your natural skin tone. I decided that it would be more use to me as a traditional powder (i.e. to mattify any shine, set my makeup, provide a tad more coverage on top of foundation, or be buffed into the skin on exceptionally good skin days), so I went for the shade that matched my skin, rather than a darker colour.
It comes with a half moon brush made of natural hairs that's quite soft. It's convenient for travel or if you're on the go, but otherwise it's too thin and flat to be all that useful. There's a circular lid for the powder which doubles as a compartment for the brush. It's a bit annoying to have to put aside the brush and lid each time just to access the powder, but it's a necessary evil to make Les Beiges completely purse-friendly. I've been relying on my Too Faced Powder Pouf brush to apply the powder, though I'm sure any kind of larger powder/kabuki brush would do the trick.
l-r: Laura Mercier Real Sand, Bourjois 52, Chanel Les Beiges N°20
Compared to a couple of other powders I have, Laura Mercier Mineral Powder in Real Sand is creamier and denser with a satin sheen. It's also more pigmented and slightly pink-toned. Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder in 52 Vanille is much softer and smoother in texture and more of a pale beige compared to the orange-leaning Les Beiges. For whatever reason, the surface of my Chanel has sealed except for a small circle in the centre. The same thing happens to a lot of my other powders, e.g. Benefit Hoola and most of my NARS blushes, and it's super annoying (not to mention unsightly).
The main thing I noticed about Les Beiges is that it's very sheer, borderline translucent. The swatch shows what I built up with 3-4 layers and it still almost disappears into the skin. The powder itself is scented with some kind of generic-but-pleasant, indistinguishable smell — it's a bit sweet, somewhat fruity. To be perfectly honest, I didn't see Les Beiges doing anything particularly amazing for my skin. I glanced at the ingredients list and nothing looked exactly revolutionary. After all, talc and nylon-12 are still the first two ingredients. When I applied it in the morning over my liquid foundation, my T-zone still experienced shine about 2-3 hours later. Sure, my skin looks a little more polished and 'soft focus' immediately after using it, but it's not an effect that lasts, and it's not an effect unique to Les Beiges. One thing I can say is that because of how sheer the powder is, you definitely won't experience any cakiness.
Maybe I would've been more enthused if I bought N°30 and used it as a light all-over bronzer, but overall, I'm well aware that the main reason I purchased it was because of the packaging. I wasn't expecting any miracles from Les Beiges, so I'm neither disappointed nor pleasantly surprised. Its primary function to me is to sit there looking pretty, which it does very well. Its secondary function as a powder proved far more ordinary.