Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Product Review:
Illamasqua Light Liquid Foundation

Thrilled by the incredible shade selection offered by newcomer brand Illamasqua, I jumped on the British company's website and ordered both versions of their liquid foundations, each in a different shade. (The Light Liquid is not available in the US, even on Sephora's website, so if you want to try it, you'll have to pony up for the international shipping!) Stay tuned later this week for my review on Illamasqua's Rich Liquid Foundation.

I ordered the Light Liquid Foundation in shade 105, a pink based white.

Light Liquid #105 (Left) Rich Liquid #135 (Right)

It is lighter, by FAR, than any other shade I've tried (and I've tried literally hundreds of foundations.) According to Illamasqua, this is their lightest skin tone shade (the lightest shade, 100, is pure white) but I would caution anyone considering this shade as skin tone match. If you are totally unable to wear main-stream brands like MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, etc...then the sheer coverage that the Light Liquid provides might make this shade an option for you. Having said that, I myself am about 2 shades paler than MAC NC/W15, and this shade is still considerably lighter than my natural skin tone. This shade in one of the fuller coverage formulas (certainly the Rich Liquid, but the cream too, I suspect) would be best reserved for theatrical uses, or perhaps as a mixer to lighten deeper shades. Basically, if you can wear ANY other brand's lightest shade, then 105 will be too light for you!

I had actually ordered this with the intention of blending it with the Rich Liquid, but the two formulas do not seem to be compatible- when combined, they produced a gel-like texture that almost seemed to congeal as I was mixing! I'd have to guess that the Light Liquid and it's odd texture were mostly to blame. I found that even applied alone, it had a filmy, plastic-like feel that did not blend well into the skin. As I tried to blend, the makeup just seemed to move around until it dried down a bit, at which point it actually began to roll off! The film clung to my hairline quite obviously, and only seemed to stick to my skin where it had found a comfy resting spot- in my pores!

I tried this foundation with and without primers, and applied it with a variety of applicators- MAC 187,190, and 131 brushes, a sponge, and then finally my fingers. I did get a somewhat passable result using my 190 brush on moisturized, unprimed skin, but still found the texture unappealing. Though the formula's primary ingredients are all good moisturizers, it also contains kaolin (clay) and talc, which I think explains the chalky, mask-like feeling.

As I mentioned, this shade is too fair for me right now, and I'll admit, I'm curious to see if the blending issues would be as obvious if the shade was correct. I actually like the soft, cake-batter scent and the easy to dispense, unbreakable plastic bottle. I even think the odd texture is something I could get used to, if only the foundation looked right on my skin.

In all honesty, I actually wondered if there might be something off about the foundation that I received; perhaps it was old or had gone bad after sitting in a hot delivery truck for too long. I did contact Illamasqua, who graciously told me I could send the product back for inspection, despite the fact that I was well past the return period. If the foundation was not as it should be, they would, of course, replace it free of charge and refund my shipping on the original order. In the end though, after talking to a few other people who have tried the makeup (some who love it, mind you) I decided that, though odd, the foundation I recieved was most likely the intended texture. Since shipping it back to the UK would have cost me $12, I decided to just keep it. Though the texture and finish are a bit strange, I do think this will have some uses for editorial and theatrical work, so in to the kit it goes.

I give this foundation a 2 out of 10. If I say odd again, I think I'll shoot myself, but the texture certainly left something to be desired. While I would never re-purchase this shade, I would be curious to try another shade, just to see if that would blend out differently. The 2 points I am giving it are for the possibilities it may have as a mixer or theatrical product, and for the off chance that some of the major problems I had with this makeup could be corrected with the correct shade.

-Wide shade range available (25 shades)
-moisturizes with squalane, an ingredient derived from olives that is almost identical to skin's natural oils
- caused no irritation to my sensitive skin (despite the yummy cake batter scent!)
- did not settle into or accentuate creases or fine lines.

-Limited availability; only available at Illamasqua's UK based website.
-left a plastic-like film on my skin that rubbed off in a chalky residue.
-settled into pores and clung to my hairline
-Contains added fragrance, which is a known irritant. Not to mention the fact that you may not want to smell like baked goods (Neither were problems for me!)
-even for a pro artist like myself, it's virtually impossible to choose a shade online. Illamasqua's website offers no individual shade descriptions (not even a warm/cool designation), and shades do not necessarily appear to be arranged in a light to dark manner.
-after shipping, the price tops $43, making this pricey even amongst prestige foundations. (If you're a professional, Illamasqua does offer a discount.)

1 comment:

Lydia said...


I much prefer the Illamasqua cream foundation texture to either the rich or the light liquids. The swatches on the website are really off - I'm lucky that I work near a counter and could match myself in person, otherwise my guess from the swatches would have been completely wrong - I'd have guessed 120, I'm actually 135.

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