My First Illamasqua

RSW Round 2 – Day 6

I hear about Illamasqua a lot and quite honestly I’m not all that excited about it.  I have no idea why, but I do seem to hear they might be cornering the market on super-pale foundations.

Illamasqua is the product of a heady mix of influences. Its roots stem from the dark and illicit 1920s club scene, and combine a rich heritage in the manufacture of make-up for film and theatre. It also takes inspiration from members of the ‘alternative scenes’ for whom self-expression is paramount. Alternative cultures have always dared to be dramatic. They have an emotional attachment to making up. It’s an expression of their darker side, a release for their alter ego.

Illamasqua is for the bolder person hiding inside all of us. It is an act and an attitude. A symbol of tolerance. A celebration of idiosyncrasies. A confident statement of self-ownership.

I poked around Sephora a little, trying to figure out what of theirs I wanted to try.  Every time I’m in the one big Sephora I look at the display.  I’ve swatched and I’ve tried things.  Nothing particularly appealed to me.  Their shadows looked unremarkable and while their lipsticks looked nice, I really do not need anymore.  After a while I started focusing on their foundations.  I just got a few new ones (Inglot and Chanel) that I’ve been really happy with, but the powder foundation looked interesting.

Be the star of your own drama. The mainstay of film and theatre make-up artists, Illamasqua Powder Foundation glides over your skin, covering blemishes, correcting skin tone and leaving a shine-free look that lasts all night. Create a stunningly flawless base that begs to be touched. Comes in a mirror compact for touch-ups on the go.

NET WT. 10g 0.35 OZ.

The powder foundation comes in a sleek black compact.  It’s in quite a unique shape, however it feels a little cheap to me.  When you open it it has a very nice mirror inside.  The bottom is labeled with the company name, the shade, and the weight.  It snaps shut firmly, which means it’s a tad tricky to open.  It came with a very thin and small puff (that smelled odd) that wasn’t all that helpful in applying the powder.

There are 15 shades.  My skin tone matched PF 135, which is for light skin with golden undertones.  There are actually shades LIGHTER then that available, including white.  As far as a color match goes, oddly it’s a little ashy for me, more on the grey side then the golden when it’s on.  I’m not all that crazy about it at all.

Finish wise it’s velvety and does seem to even out my skin tone a little (even though it’s the wrong tone) but it’s not exactly a full coverage powder that I would think it covers blemishes.  I think you’d have to wear a concealer under it for that to happen.  It’s also not for anyone with any bit of dryness, although powder foundations aren’t exactly great for that anyway.  I have a few little patches that look HUGE and horrible wearing this, when in reality they aren’t that bad at all.  I’m going to have to say that it was far from ‘stunningly flawless’, not that I honestly expected it to be.

It wore well.  I applied it on one side of my face with a primer and one side without.  The primer side obviously lasted longer and provided a longer and more matte finish, while the nonprimed side seemed to fade in only a couple of hours.  Neither side remained totally shine free.

I experimented with using a puff to apply the foundation to using a brush.  Typically with powdered foundations (MM) I like to use a flocked sponge and did find that in general it made for a smoother and nicer application.  Using a brush made the foundation look very ‘powdery’.

I tried, in an attempt to love this stuff, to dust it on over my liquid foundation to set it and it looked great.  It added just enough coverage that my skin looked velvety.  But then when I went outside and looked at myself in the rear view mirror I realized how grey it really was in comparison to my skin and over my foundation (which is a nice match) it looked bad.  I had the same ashy problems with some of the Meow shades I sampled to find my match.

Would I purchase this product again? Probably not.

I’m honestly not sure if Illamasqua appeals to me at all, which is odd given the company style which is sort of amazing.


After some prompting on what I *should* try, I’ve placed a small order for a couple of additional products to review.


17 Responses to “My First Illamasqua”

  1. I have a (strong-ish) yellow undertone myself, and personally find it very difficult to find a powder that does not seem gray on me. I’ve been mixing two for a decent color match lately :/
    Liquids, I find that they are usually too pink or too orange. I have only a little bit of either in my complexion, so even a relatively small tinge makes me look odd. The woe!

    About Illamasqua, I find their visuals stunning and inspiring, and I like their “mission statement” and message. Their products might be wonderful, but I’m a broke college student, so cannot afford to find out. Plus, I have a general disinclination to buy anything that is, in my opinion, too expensive, no matter how much money I have in the bank. So I will let other people enjoy them! I’m sorry the foundation you tried didn’t work out for you, though.

  2. I know how you feel, I wanted to love this company too since its was being hailed the ‘New MAC’ but honestly its just bleh for me. Nothing extraordinary about it.

  3. I really want to try their white powder foundation, eyeshadows, and nail varnishes.! Unfortunately, the Sephora in Toronto doesn’t carry the line and will not post it to Canada 😦
    I would order from their website, (during a sale!) if it didn’t take forever to load…
    Hopefully they will make their way into Canada soon!


  4. So sad that their products were disappointing. Thanks so much for reviewing them!! At least now I don’t have to pine over their products anymore

  5. I’ve been lemming their lipglosses after seeing some really nice swatches from various blogs. The seem really bright, and they have a wide variety on theirsite (not so much from sephore, though). Also, apparently Dave Vanian (of the Damned) and Anja Huwe (Xmal Deutschland) are co-founders, which for me, gives Illamasqua brownie points. And, well, is also probably the reason why they have a thang for pale foundations. Shame to hear that the golden one went ashy on you. Blech :/

  6. Aw, too bad it didn’t work out for you!
    But refreshing to see a reviews that says ‘it’s not all that’.

    The wording of their about made me believe they’re an old brand O_o , when they were founded in 2008.

    I heard most people sing praise to their Precision Ink eyeliner.

  7. Sorry you had to pay for something that made you look grey :(. I was really disappointed by illamasqua eye shadow but their lip gloss is great and the precision ink is GREAT.
    I am always scared to try new foundations and powders haha.

  8. I must say I’m very surprised you’re not more interested in them! I’m sorry the foundation didn’t work for you, I’ve heard about it going ashy before, it certainly doesn’t sound that great. But I’ve heard good things about their liquid ones(irritatingly for me there’s not a match for my skintone even though they make about 30 shades). But their lipglosses and blushers are honestly the best I’ve ever tried.

  9. I’m still on the hunt for the right foundation for me. I’m a rosy beige tone, only in a rather pale shade. Everything is either too dark, or the wrong tone. MM doesn’t work well for me without a hell of a lot of prep, and liquid foundations vanish or melt. I had considered trying the cream foundation from this line, but considering what you’ve said, I think I’ll save the money and the hassle, and look elsewhere.

  10. I love the idea behind the company- I think the idea of a high-end company based on a subcultural aesthetic is interesting and I love the alter-ego concept. That said, their products cost a little more than I want to spend. I’ve heard good things about their foundations (but I’ll skip the powder one!) intense lipglosses, lipsticks, liners and nail polish.
    I’m sorry the foundation didn’t work for you though.

  11. I love Illamasqua to death, even if most of their products don’t really work for me. They have, hands down, the best customer service of any company ever. The brand ethos delights me and they have so many male MUAs and generally seem so open and modern, it makes me really happy. I’d want to support them even if I hated the products.

    As it is, I’ve had poor experiences with two. I can’t get along with the heavy foundation, and I’m a doublewear fan. The heavy foundation is just… not foundation, it’s more like clay. I hear the light formula is plasticky but good things about the cream. I know they’re releasing a new formula in summer though which I hope is just “normal” because I’m shade 115 and this is the FIRST TIME EVER I’ve found a foundation which actually matches me.

    The blushes and lipglosses are really the incredible bits, and the liquid metals are really gorgeous. I love the intense glosses and both the cream and powder blushes. I want to try their concealer, since I know they make foundation which matches me, when no other high street brands do. Except maybe Bobbi Brown, but only in their very light formula which isn’t suitable for me.

    I think their powder eyeshadows are often chalky and the cream ones make nice bases, but do not dry. But as I say, I love the liquid metals, lipglosses and blushes. I also have an Illamasqua lipstick which I really like.

    Illamasqua are like my corporate-Fyrinnae, even if I don’t love every product and I can’t afford much.

    • Oh, nail polishes are supposed to be really good, too. I want the liquid metals palettes, grr.
      The foundation shades are great but I don’t like any of their current formulas – I’m being sent a bottle of the new formulation before its release this summer, so I’m really excited to see what it’s like.

      • my Bf got me both the liquid metal palletes. they are soooooo coool but if i wear them on their own they crease so I put shadow over. Their nail polishes are AWESOME good formula and great colours.
        Also their support of the Sophie Lancaster foundation is so great. I am wearing one of their SOPHIE braclets now. Also their eyeliner/lip liners are great and all the brushes they sell are synthetic if your looking for hi end non animal hurty brushes

  12. Echoing what everybody’s already said about the glosses, they’re pretty fantastic. I also grabbed a few of their cream shadows when they were discounted awhile ago. The colors are great but they absolutely need to be set with some powder or they crease like crazy. I’m saving up for a couple of things from the throb collection, I’m such a sucker for a good red.