Last week I was reminded that I hadn’t yet written about my most recent adventures in the “foundation for pale skin” quest, by reviewing Illamasqua’s Skin Base Foundation. The reason for that is simple: it’s that,
I’m lazy about a week after I bought this, it was resigned to the back of a drawer, where it remained until this week, when I realised my other foundations were all about to run out, and it was either this or nothing.
From that, you can probably work out the direction this review is headed, but I’m going to kick it off on a positive note, and talk about the colour:
This is actually only the second lightest shade Illmasqua Skin Base comes in (the fact that it’s called ’02’ rather than ’01’ provides a handy clue to that…), but as the very palest shade is a pure white, this one is the palest of the actual skin tones. And whaddya know, it’s actually pale: in fact, it’s possibly the palest foundation I’ve tried apart from the now-defunct Dainty Doll. Here it is swatched next to MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NW10, and Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation in ‘Alabaster’:
As you can (hopefully) see, it’s paler than both of those, and it’s also more pink-toned, too, which is good news for me, as I find many paler foundations tend to have yellow undertones, which make me look even MORE like death warmed up than I would naturally. Actually, the first time I dispensed this onto my hand, I was a little worried that it was going to be TOO pale, but it turned out to be pretty much the perfect match on my face, and those are words I don’t often get to type.
So that’s the good news. For the next stage of this review, allow me to quote from the back of the bottle:
“Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade: 02
This easily blendable formula effortlessly creates a perfect complexion. Suitable for all skin types, it smooths, softens and conditions your skin while providing natural, buildable coverage. The ultimate ‘skin realism’ foundation.”
Now, I’m going to have to take issue with, well, ALL of that, basically. Let’s break it down:
“Easily blendable formula”
Not so much, no. I’ve tried applying this with a couple of different brushes, and with my fingers, and I don’t find it particularly easy to blend with anything. I get the best results from a flat foundation brush, but it’s definitely not the easiest to blend, even when used in conjunction with lots of moisturiser and primer. Next!
“Effortlessly creates a perfect complexion”
Only if by “perfect complexion” you mean “a kinda cakey, uneven complexion,” because that’s what it gives me. I WILL give them the “skin realism” bit, though, because honestly, this doesn’t really seem to make my skin look that much better than it does without it. This is partly my own fault: I normally go for fairly high-coverage foundations, and bought this purely for the colour match, ignoring the fact that Illamasqua have marketed it as their take on a BB cream. I don’t have a BB Cream to compare it to, but it doesn’t give me the same coverage as most of the foundations I’ve tried. With that said, I’ve noticed that it looks better after it’s been allowed to set for a few minutes than it does immediately after application, so at least that’s something.
“Suitable for all skin types”
OK, so I obviously can’t speak for ALL skin types, but I CAN speak for mine, which is oily on the t-zone and normal everywhere else. This product does nothing to hide the shine on the forehead, and looks a bit cakey on my cheeks and around the nose and corners of the mouth. I suspect that if you have dry skin, that effect would be greater, but that’s just conjecture on my part: everyone is different, what works for me might not work for you, blah, blah, blah.
“Smooths, softens and conditions your skin”
Not that I’ve noticed. On the plus side, it hasn’t had any negative effects on the condition of my skin – there have been no breakouts or other nastiness. I can’t say I’ve seen any real improvements either, though, but again, that might just be me. Finally:
“Natural, buildable coverage”
Not really. I’ve tried to build up the coverage, but it seems to look more or less the same no matter what, so I’m going to disagree with that one, too.
If you made it through the above, you’ll be unsurprised to know that this won’t be a foundation I’ll purchase again: as I said, I’m using it at the moment only because my other foundations are almost done, and I haven’t gotten round to replacing them yet. Because I don’t like being too negative about products, though (I… start feeling sorry for them. Yes, I know that’s weird.), allow me to repeat my disclaimer about how everyone’s skin is different, and there being no such thing as a “one size suits all” foundation. I read a ton of reviews of this before purchasing it, and they were really divided: some people absolutely love it, others have much the same reaction I did, so go figure. As I said, I decided to buy it anyway, because it’s so hard to find foundations pale enough for my skin, and I’d heard enough good things about the shade of this one to hope I’d be in the “love it” camp. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case for me, but if you’re looking for a pale foundation, and think this might be a decent colour match, I’d say give it a shot, but ideally try and get a sample from an Illamasqua counter rather than spending £28 on it. You know, like I did…