Foundation for Pale Skin | Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02 – Review

foundation for pale skin: illamasqua skin base foundation in 02

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:

Illamasqua Skin base foundation in 02 - swatch

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’:

Foundation for pale skin swatchesAs 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.

Verdict?

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…

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17 Comments

  • Quick review of Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02 : http://t.co/1lVW4wEyCg #paleskin #makeup #scottishbloggers

  • Amber-Rose says:

    I bought this based on colour, and it is the perfect colour, but I had the same reaction as you to it. I have combination skin, really dry in some areas but a really oily t-zone. It was cakey, it dried my skin out, it didn’t blend, it just kind ‘sat’ on my skin and looked awful.

    I’m using NARS now and it’s really be best foundation I’ve ever used. I don’t think I’ll ever buy anything else.

    • Amber says:

      “It just sat” is exactly right – so strange! I’ve heard lots of good things about NARS, so I think it’s next on my list: I’ve loved their blush and illuminators for ages, but have never thought to try their foundation for some reason!

  • Emma xo says:

    I’m desperate to find the perfect foundation for ghostly pale faces. I’m using Deauville by Nars, but it’s a little too yellow toned and requires some serious blending. I’m looking at other shades from them but I’m so torn between which ones to choose. Hopeless beauty blogger over here.

    • Amber says:

      I think I’m going to go for their ‘Siberia’ shade, which was suggested by this little tool which lets you put in foundation shades you already use, and then suggests other matches for you:

      http://findation.com/

      It suggested ‘Siberia’ would be the closest match to the colour of this Illamasqua one, so I’ll probably try that next: fingers crossed it’s a bit better to apply :)

    • Liz in Paris says:

      I used Deauville at one point too and also found it too yellow as well as a bit too dark. I hate throwing away products though, so I mixed it with a blob of ordinary moisturiser. That did the trick and allowed me to use it all up. A bit less coverage but a much better colour. Nowadays I use Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturiser in Extra Light or Laura Mercier TM in Porcelain – both are a perfect match for me.

  • Carys says:

    Oooh I love pale foundation reviews (currently obsessed with reading about Nars Sheer Glow/Matte in “Siberia”….but can’t bring myself to buy it without dabbing some on my jaw first).

    Funnily enough, this is my every day foundation! However, I hate hate hated it to begin with. Shocked by its crapness, in fact. Especially when I have some lovely foundation brushes! However, I discovered that gently patting it on with a sponge (and I hate sponges) made it look absolutely bloody wonderful. Which was a revelation, to say the least. It also means the bottle didn’t look at me accusingly every time I opened my make up case, and tut at me for spending so much on a product I couldn’t use…..like most of my make up case.

    If the sponge doesn’t work, maybe mix a dot with your favourite foundations to use it up? So yours doesn’t look at you reprovingly too :-)

    • Amber says:

      Hmmm, for some reason I’ve never been able to get the knack of foundation sponges, so I don’t think I own any, but I’ll definitely pick one up and see if it makes a difference: at least it can’t be much worse!

      • Carys says:

        I always haaaaaaated sponges – too small, fiddly, a complete faff – and then tried a Real Techniques one in Boots one day, and fell in love! Think the material is different to your every day sponge. On the foundation though, there is nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect colour but the formulation just not working with your skin. I envy people with “standard” skin tones being able to pick all these foundations with amazing properties, so unjust!

  • Amy says:

    Have you tried YSL Touche Éclat foundation in Beige 10? We seem to be a similar pale pink shade, and that one has been working very well for me when I use it with a BeautyBlender sponge. I’ve also been stalking MUFE Face & Body Liquid Makeup in Pink Porcelain 38 on the Sephora website because a few people have suggested it to me, but it’s perpetually sold out.

  • Hollie says:

    Exactly the same thought from me as well! I love the Illamasqua rich liquid foundation which is quite hard to work with but. I hated this.

    Have you tried Rimmel Match Perfection? 010 Light Porcelain is pretty much a perfect match for me and it is without a doubt the palest highstreet foundation you will get. Rimmel have also recently launched their Wake Me Up foundation in the same shade.

    Match Perfection is definitely worth a try, I now like it better than my Nars Sheer Matte in Siberia.

  • Janean says:

    Hi there! First off let me say I am brand new to this blog and it is such a gem! I’m from Canada but my fiance is from Yorkshire, so I have a real love affair for Northern England and Scotland.

    In regards to foundations I go with Clinique.  I use their “superbalanced makeup” in “32 Breeze (N)” which I’m pretty sure is one up from “-63 Sheet of Paper (OMG).” I honestly have the palest skin of anyone I know (and I know A LOT of people) and this colour looks very natural on me. I also have combination-oily like you described with a shiny T-zone and normal elsewhere.

    And although not a foundation, Clinique’s CC Cream in very light is a very nice base (or great for a light look). I know I sound like a Clinique rep, but I swear to you truthfully I’m not. When you find something that works you want to share it with everyone! But the fact of the matter is I do get that everyone is different. I’m always scoping out make up and skin care so I feel like if I can help at least one other person (even if it’s because I’m blatantly wrong – sorry in advance!!) it’s worth it!

  • Kirsten says:

    Finally, someone else who doesn’t think this is the greatest foundation to ever exist! I have very oily skin and I find Skin Base really doesn’t help this. I have to top up with powder about every hour or so when I wear it. Also, for someone with Rosacea and a very uneven complexion, I personally don’t find the coverage that great. It’s also hard to blend as you mentioned, and can look quite ‘streaky’ in places. I do however quite like it when mixed with Illamasqua’s Rich Liquid foundation, as Rich Liquid is very heavy duty and can be quite dry on its own.

  • Kirsten says:

    p.s. Makeup forever also have a good range of shades, their Mat Velvet + in Alabaster is about the same colour as skin base 2 although I find it quite similar to Skin Base in that it’s not very easy to blend and doesn’t give me enough coverage. They do have a few other formulas though that may be worth a try.

  • Fiona says:

    As a fan of Dainty Doll I’ve been having trouble finding foundation for pale skin as nowhere seems to stock it anymore, but on a trip to my local Tesco I just had a cursory look at the makeup ranges they stock (it’s always in the back of mind that maybe, just maybe there might be a nice new pale colour in stock) and for once there actually was! It’s actually the palest I’ve found at a supermarket/high street shop as they usually only have a select tonal range in the area of Scotland I come from and also in the price range that I can afford. It’s by Rimmel London and called ‘Match Perfection’. It’s SPF18 and the colour is 010 Light Porcelain. As always I Tried a bit of the tester and under the generic orangey shop lights thought ‘hmmm it looks ok now but I bet in natural lighting it will be orange’ but as it was only £5.50 I though I’d just go for it and I’m glad I did. It’s quite light coverage but it can be built up and I found that with my problem skin – an annoying combination of dry/oily skin with achne particularly along my jawline and top of my neck which makes blending quite tricky – this foundation was a really good match, the closest I’ve managed to get in so long. I often found that after wearing foundation my achne gets worse which was why I only started wearing it occasionally but with this one my skin stayed the same with no increase in spots or redness in existing ones. Granted it is quite a watery consistencey which doesn’t help the shine factor but with my skin any brand that states that it mattifies never does so it’s an issue I’ve come to terms with. Also I found over the course of the day they colour seems to adapt more to my skin tone making it look more natural and less ‘painted on’ so that it was almost unnoticable where i had blended on my jawline and top of the neck area. This product probably will not be to everyone’s taste and as I’m not a makeup artist or particulary gifted in applying makeup there’s no doubt there are other foundations a lot better but for the availability and the price I really think this is a good day time foundation that could be used to build up coverage for a good night time look too! Just thought I’d share as none of my friends (or anyone I know for that matter!) has pale skin and so don’t have my foundation issues!

  • Khadija says:

    Hi, I know its been a couple months sorry but I just wanted to say something that I think is quite important, in the deciding factor of this foundation. I’m quite late to the party but, I went to an Illamasqua counter in Selfridges today and skin base was applied on me. Hydra veil which is a primer I think was used first, and after that skin base in shade SB10.
    I have an oily T zone and a slight dry patch on my cheek, but elsewhere is normal. It was applied at half 1 and I removed it at about quarter past 9 and it stayed all day. It was an extremely hot day today and it didn’t melt or get streaky or look cakes or anything. In fact it was a beautiful finish.
    The Illamasqua assistant did say to me that a highlighter brush must be used for the foundation to provide the full effect. I mentioned to him about using a beauty blender and he vehemently disagreed and advised not to, as it wouldn’t apply properly. I asked whether any highlighter brush could be used and he replied that he used the real techniques brush but it didn’t give the same effect. Of course I know that they must try and sell their products to us, but I felt that this was the best foundation I have ever worn and I’ve previously used Dior air flash, Mac, Benefit, Bare minerals and many others.
    Sorry for the long comment.

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