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I have found choosing the perfect foundation for my skin a big pain over the years and once I find one that I like I stick to it for a while. However recently I noticed that my friend's skin was looking particularly radiant and she told me that she had purchased the Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation. After a quick make up trial, I bought a bottle for myself.
What does the product do?
The product promises to leave you with a perfect complexion, quickly, easily and effortlessly. It claims to leave your skin softer, smoother and in a better condition. It promises to give you a natural and undetectable coverage which can be built to suit your needs. It is oil free and contains a substitute which makes the foundation perform just as well. It should give you a medium coverage and it is suitable for use on all skin types.
The product comes in a good range of shades should there should be something that suits your skin tone. The colours don't come with names and instead they are given a number. They are separated based on the undertone colour of your skin. There are a lot to choose between and it's difficult to know which one is best for you so it's best to go to an Illamasqua stall and ask one of the assistants to test it on your skin.
Packaging and Price
The packaging isn't as classy or as expensive looking as you would expect, based on the price. It comes contained within a thick plastic bottle which is almost pyramid in shape except that it has a flat top. The bottle is cloudy but it is still see through so you can get an idea of the colour inside. There is no design on the bottle itself and there is just a bit of writing giving some more information about the product. It has a cube shaped black lid on which the product can stand. The lid is a screw top one which is a bit inconvenient and you have to squeeze the bottle in order to dispense the product. All in all, the packaging doesn't match the price.
The foundation will cost you around £27 for a tiny 30ml so this product is on the pricey side. You can buy the product from department stores which have an Illamasqua stand and also from a range of online websites.
The product needs to be applied to a clean, dry face which has been moisturised. You definitely need to use a primer or a product such as Porefessional to give yourself an even surface on which to work because this one will sink into every pore and fine line that you have. It's a little bit like plastering a wall before you paint it! I usually apply my foundation with my fingers but the assistant at Illamasqua was horrified when I told her this so I immediately bought a foundation brush.
You need to dispense some of the product onto the lid or the back of your hand and then after sweeping the brush across it, you 'paint' the product onto your face. The product has the same consistency that you would expect from a foundation and it glides easily onto the skin. You have plenty of time to work with the product before it dries. You need to take extra care around the jaw line, eyebrows and hairline, and you need to ensure that the product is properly blended into the skin. If you prefer a more matte finish then you can finish off with a mattifying powder.
From the very first time that I wore this foundation, people commented on my complexion. A couple of people even described it as flawless, woohoo! It leaves my skin looking radiant and very healthy. It has a natural finish just as promised it doesn't leave you looking like you are caked with make up. It does leave a sheen on the skin but it isn't a greasy looking one which is a relief for an oily skinned person like me.
The foundation manages to cover most of my imperfections although some more stubborn blemishes will need a bit of extra help. It feels quite heavy on the skin and although it doesn't look it, it does make my skin feel quite greasy. You do get used to the feeling though and it doesn't bother me anymore. It hasn't caused me to develop any blemishes as some product of this type can do. The colour matches my skin perfectly and it makes my complexion look much healthier and awake.
The product is suitable for both daywear and nightwear, and it has long lasting results. It will still be in place and looking good after a long day in work. The product is easily removed using my usual eye make up remover. Once it is off, my skin also feels really soft and healthy so it isn't drying at all on the face. My one major disappointment with this product is that it doesn't contain an SPF which is a shame because your face isn't being protected daily.
All in all, this foundation has completely changed the appearance of my complexion. It makes it look radiant, clear and healthy, and it will cover most imperfections. It is long lasting and it is one of the best foundations that I have ever used. The drawbacks are that you definitely need a primer underneath or it will sink into fine line, wrinkles and pores. It doesn't contain an SPF (Boooo!) and it is also expensive. Despite this negatives, I am so happy with the performance of the foundation that it is still getting 4 stars.
As I have acne prone skin finding a foundation that will cover up the blemishes as well as not irritating my skin further is a priority when it comes to make-up. Without a flawless base any other make-up can look messy and caked on. . Therefore, foundation is a priority. However, normally when I do find a formulation that I like and doesn't break me out it is too dark for my pale skin. Even though make-up brands have improved their foundation offerings for paler skins and I have a few favourites sometimes - especially during the Winter - they are just a bit off.
I decided that I needed a proper solution. Make-up artists are forever mixing foundations and lipsticks to achieve the precise colour intended. In this vein I decided to get a really light foundation that I could mix in with my normal ones so I could achieve a paler shade that would actually match my own. The only brand that I could see that offered anything like this was Illamasqua - a make-up brand whose background lies in special effects and stage make-up. They produce a pure white foundation, even though it's a bit out there I decided to purchase it and use it in my everyday foundation.
This is my first ever piece of make-up from Illamasqua and if this review was based on the packaging alone then it would be a seriously underwhelming affair! For a high end brand the packaging is bland boring and basic. It comes in a plastic bottle with a black lid and you must squeeze the bottle to get the product out. It is made from extremely hard plastic so it can be hard to get the product out from its packaging and when I am nearing the end of this foundation there will be quite a bit of waste as the product will be unable to be dispensed. For something that looks so basic the packaging is not practical!
As I never use this foundation straight from the bottle as it is pure white and I am not a geisha I am unable to comment on how this product works alone. However, I can speak about how it performs when mixed with my various foundation formulas. I have noticed that whatever foundation I mix it with that the Illamasqua one will cling to dry patches. I guess as it is so concentrated in terms of pigment - it is not sheer in the slightest it is like white paint - it loses moisturising characteristics. I have oily skin so I was surprised that even on my skin it can highlight imperfections if I have not prepped my skin properly with moisturiser beforehand.
However, what it lacks in moisturising capabilities it makes up in coverage and pigmentation. This foundation is just great at significantly lifting the shades of darker foundations to a lighter one whilst it still looking natural. For being so rich and high coverage it doesn't cake or look unnatural which is a real triumph!
It also has another application - as well as a foundation you can also use this product as a highlighter, although I have yet to fully test this.
I will definitely be purchasing this product again as it allows me to try different formulations of foundation whilst always knowing I will be able to alter the colour. Furthermore, as the skin changes slightly in colour/tone depending on the seasons this foundation allows me to match my foundation depending on the season without having to go out and buy a new foundation. The only downside to this foundation is the price - it retails for £27 - which is a lot of money. Having said this I do think I will repurchase this as I use such a small amount - I have had this for 7 months and I still have half left. For those beyond the pale this could be a solution to foundation troubles!
Illamasqua Skin Base
Illamasqua is fast becoming one of my favourite make-up brands, and regular readers of my reviews will know that I absolutely love their cream blushes, which have beautiful pigmentation and longevity attributes that far surpass anything else on the market that I have tried. The same can be said for their Skin Base Foundation, which I have been using for many months now, and which is certainly up there with many of the top products.
Based on the BB cream concept this foundation leaves a beautiful finish on the skin, which in my opinion looks flawless, and gives a much higher coverage than you would expect from this kind of product. It is certainly comparable with the Estée Lauder BB cream that I take with me on holiday, which also gives a good coverage. This is important to me as I have recently had my 53rd birthday, and don't have the youthful skin that requires minimal coverage any more. Also like the Estée Lauder product the Illamasqua Skin Base is sold in plastic packaging which makes it also ideal for travelling. Although I love glass bottles they are a nightmare for taking on holiday, but are lovely on the dressing table. The Illamasqua product is not presented in a beautiful bottle at all, but in a plastic bottle with a black top and a pointed nose dispenser.
Retailing for £27 for 30mls this is less expensive than the Estée Lauder option, but is still a considerable outlay, and so in recommending this product to you I am certainly acknowledging the fact that it is not cheap, and therefore has to perform well in comparison to less expensive options, and for me I feel this does in all aspects with regard to the look the skin has, the coverage and the lasting qualities.
I often buy this from Debenhams as I am a member of their Beauty Club loyalty scheme, and they have offers on very regularly which helps to offset the cost and members enjoy free delivery. This is helpful as not all branches stock Illamasqua products.
How To Use
Application is easy- you can either use fingers or a brush to apply, and in my opinion the results are very similar. It is also brilliant as dispensing is by way of squeezing the tube and the product comes out thinly, and this allows for precise control and minimal wastage. You only need a small amount to cover the entire face, and it is buildable if you wish to make it more medium coverage without getting that cakey look. I find it imparts moisture to the skin which is ideal for me, as I like that slightly dewy youthful look. I usually apply a good moisturiser first as well - normally one by La Roche Posay, and it is also possible to mix the product with a little moisturiser if you want a very natural look. Similarly if you prefer a more finished look or have an oily T Zone powdering afterwards is certainly an option, and this gives a more satin finish.
Excellent Shade Range
The shade range is excellent with 18 shades and one special summer option which has a suntanned look with shimmer, and choosing the shade is made easy on the website at Illamasqua.com. Here there is very helpful information with regard to the type of colour each shade represents, especially in relation to the undertones. I chose shade 7 which is has pink undertones and is ideal for me as I am normally a NW 20 in MAC foundations. I think the Illamasqua website is excellent as there is a link on their page to a PDF file which has a comparison chart between the shades and all the comparable options from other makes. This is a helpful tool, although I did go a shade darker having seen this recommendation, but still kept to the pink undertone range. I did this as I have several foundations on the list, and some compared to shade 7 and some to shade 4 so I went with the darker option that I have been delighted with. This tool was so helpful and really made my opinion of Illamasqua soar, as choosing foundations is a tricky business and costly mistakes can be made.
I think it is also worth reading the reviews over at Make-upalley.com as here you can gain further insight into the shades customers are choosing and their experiences with the product in general. Their opinions are varied on the product, and certainly many have had issues with the shade chart comparison tool on the Illasmasqua website and have opted to be colour matched instead at an Illamasqua counter.
There is a special point in relation to the product that can be viewed as a positive or a negative depending on the situation you are in at the time you are using it. Unlike the Estée Lauder BB cream for example which has an SPF of 35, this product has no SPF at all. This makes it not an ideal holiday foundation unless you have a very strong sunblock underneath. It does however photograph beautifully as there is no flash back at all from the lack of SPF so it really depends on your situation. Personally I have been using it all winter and last summer into autumn too and will continue to use it throughout the summer to come, except for my holiday abroad when I will opt for the one with the added SPF.
Being essentially a BB cream the Illamasqua Skin Base is a primer, foundation and concealer all in one. Furthermore it certainly lives up to this in terms of performance, and I can get away with minimal concealer and it makes for a very quick and easy look because of its simplicity. I think the product lasts very well during the day requiring no touch ups, and due to minimal product being required the bottle lasts a long time, which does help to justify the high purchase cost. With daily use I would say you can expect it to last 4 months.
I think this product is first class and I love the finish on my skin and the moisturised look that it gives. It is certainly a firm favourite and a holy grail go to product that I reach for every day. This comes highly recommended from me with one caveat that you bear in mind the lack of SPF. This is of significant importance if you are planning to use this product on a regular basis during the warmer months.
This will also be posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.