Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 9 - 2011

I went to the Beak St. store last week in an attempt to find a shade match for the new Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation.  I’d previously been to the Selfridges counter where they were OOS of the shade the MUA had recc’ed for me, #2.  Once at Beak St. I had a closer look at the tester for #2 and I wasn’t convinced.  It’s very pale.  Like proper porcelain pale.  I’m pale but ruddy with it and dislike “too pale” foundations even more than ones that are a little too dark thanks to a morbid fear of a face that looks like an uncooked pasty.

Again, I was matched to #2 and though I could see where the MUA was coming from with her recommendation, I asked her if she knew whether the base was prone to oxidising in the hopes it was!  In other words, I still wasn’t convinced by the shade but I wanted to try the formula so badly I was clutching at straws just so that I could convince myself into purchasing.

The MUA disappeared and came back with a little sample tube which was a kind gesture gratefully received and one that has since saved me £25.00 of disappointment.

Illamasqua’s latest foundation is marketed as being inspired by the Asian BB Cream market, promising to smooth, soften and condition your skin whilst providing natural, buildable coverage.  Unfortunately, my experiences don’t tally with any of those claims.

The formula is thick but not unblendable, it takes well to warming up with your fingertips before spreading over your face.  This makes it (as with most true BB creams) a good lazy day foundation… no brushes are needed, just apply… blend with your fingers and go.

As for natural coverage?  I found this a little on the heavy side.  Not too heavy… but heavier than I’d like to call ‘natural’.  As with most things as subjective as this, you may well be immensely pleased to hear that it’s a fuller coverage foundation!

But my first disappointment (aside from the lack of sun protection and downplayed skincare ingredients) was the shade.  Now, with 18 shades available, I’ve got a cheek moaning about it.  But despite those 18 shades, I haven’t found a match.  The Missha #21 is pretty much perfect for me… this is too pale and the next shade up is too yellow… any further than that and it’s too dark.

IMO possibly the first time my skin has looked better WITHOUT foundation.

The second disappointment came with the flakies.  My skin is admittedly quite unbalanced… I have flakes and congestion occupying the same areas.  Before applying any foundation, I moisturise well… it’s a rare foundation that can take the place of my moisturiser but look, flakies immediately after applying despite a good dose of Oilatum.

The foundation clearly sent out mini heat-seeking missiles to every dry spot on my face and clung on for dear life.  I just can’t recommend this for dry-skinned sisters… these flakes weren’t apparent before foundation, though of course I’m not denying they were there but I don’t enjoy foundations that accentuate my dryness like this.

Finally, despite the dryness thing… I found that this didn’t control oil very well either!  The centre strip down the bridge of my nose was shiny within a couple of hours and the foundation had slipped from my t-zone by lunchtime.


I really think this foundation should be tried before buying.  It’s garnered some rave reviews across the net by some awesome reviewers whose opinions I trust implicitely.  I think that the Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation is simply a slippery customer and will either delight or disgust you.  Do try and get a sample or a full face applied by a MUA before purchasing.

For me, this doesn’t compare to my BB Creams… infact, it reminds me of my MUFE HD Foundation which as a revered product is probably a huge compliment.  But then I disliked my MUFE HD foundation for the same reasons.

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation is priced at £25 and available instore, on counter or online.

Have you tried it?  How did you find it?

44 Responses to “Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Review”

  1. Julia says:

    I’m hoping Bourjois Healthy Mix doesn’t turn out to be a disappointment. I placed an order for shade 53 via ebay, I did what you said and waited for it to show up and it did :) I’m crossing my fingers hoping that the difference in climate (more humidity) doesn’t change how great it is mentioned to be. But most Importantly I’m hoping 53 is a match. I chose the shade based on an Asian blogger’s advice with the same skintone as mine who gave it a rave review.

  2. Jamilla says:

    thanks for the fine line skin flake pics! I will avoid! BTW, i’m really happy with the nes Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer….

  3. Erin says:

    I was close to ordering this! Thank you for the review! I did just get my hands on Missha #21 and I’m hoping for a good match.

  4. Louise says:

    I actually think the paler shade suits you more!

  5. sailorjennie says:

    I think you may just have saved me £25 so I’m beyond glad I read your review! Accentuating dry patches is definitely not something I’m looking for in a foundation! *sigh* the hunt continues!


  6. Helena says:

    Looks like I’ll have to stay away from this, as I often struggle those flakies (a major reason I don’t wear foundation for anything but photos). Oh, well.

  7. Hayley says:

    This foundation is a complete divide, people either love it or hate it. I have this in shade 2 which is a little light but it is ok for me, but funnily enough I find it ok for my dry skin. Guess it’s really one of those love it or hate it products! x

  8. lipglossiping fan club member says:

    omg thank you so much for the review. you saved me a £13 trip to the next town selling it. the accentuating dry patches is something i already have and try to correct, I alwways have foundations that do that to me so I think it’s best for me to avoid it. what a shame they didnt have it in your shade. boo :'( xx
    i hate to say it but this foundation might be a bit of fail as I didn’t think you skin type to be unusual or atypical. It was a good idea but it leaves me wanting more than ever that british companies rush the hell up to offer us real bb creams xx

  9. Thank goodness for your review, will be sticking with my Clinique Moisture surge tm for the time being then. xx

  10. Caroline says:

    Have you tried NARS sheer glow foundation? if so, which one would you prefer over the other?

  11. Vijaya says:

    I like MUFE HD, so maybe I’ll give this a shot!

  12. gio says:

    Thanks for the review. I think I’ll pass.. I have dry patches and don’t need a foundation that accentuates them…

  13. Viv in the UK says:

    I won’t be trying this, as my Missha #21 arrived this morning, and I LOVE it – it’s the HG product that I’ve been looking for, so THANK YOU for that :) Going to go now to order a backup!

    • I am SO pleased, I can’t tell you. YAYY!!! I love that I’ve contributed to you finding something you’re so pleased with. xx

      • Viv in the UK says:

        Oh believe me, it’s not the first thing either – I think we must have similar skin colours, as your recommendations always seem to suit me – I think I’d better unsubscribe for the sake of my wallet!!! (Not really :))

  14. I’ve had completely the same experience – the shade choices pull either too pale or too yellow, it feels greasy and thick on my skin, it highlights flakes around my nose that I can’t even see 95% of the time and it seems to get oily throughout the day. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews for this base, but for me it actually makes my skin look worse.

  15. Shifa says:

    awww that’s a shame it did not suit your skin well :( My skin loved it! I loved the coverage as I usually have a problem finding full coverage foundations. I still have my sample though and love using it as a concealer. Maybe you could use up your sample as a concealer?

  16. Lillian says:

    Aww it’s a shame you vouldn’t get on with this, it’s my favourite foundation ever. I got a sample of shade 2 and when I first swatched it I was sure it would be too pale for me but luckilly it appears I’m ghostlier than I imagined and it matches me perfectly. I had a few problems with the flakies too, but not as bad as you. Good review anyway! Maybe they’ll bring out a shade inbetween 2 and 3 in the future… Shade 2 1/2? 😛

  17. Sam says:

    I was coloured matched at selfridges last week for this and I so wanted to love this…I’m NW15 in mac and the mua matched me with shade 4 which was the perfect colour. It looked beautiful from a distance, however when I got up close it highlighted every single pore I have and was flakey around my nose… Safe to say I didn’t purchase it!! Shame as it is cheaper than my current chanel foundation but I’m really looking forward to trying the missha bb cream you reviewed before with high hopes for a HG product :)

  18. luxiehoney says:

    Really want to try this… bit worried about the formulation now :S but the shade sounds perfect as I’m about an N10, I find it so hard to get a proper pale shade! Don’t live anywhere near enough to get a sample which is SUCH a pain! xxx

  19. Eden-Avalon says:

    That’s the beauty of the blogging community, all the different opinions give people a chance to really gauge whether or not an item is for them. No such thing as a one size fits all makeup after all.

  20. I’m glad I read this review. I have the same skin type as you and have tried one of Illamasqua’s foundations in the past which had the same flaky effect. I did find that Illamasqua’s Primer stopped the flakiness, but I came across Revlon’s colorstay foundation. It’s amazing, I reviewed it over on my blog if you’re interested. It’s taken me 10 years to find :)

  21. I agree with a lot of what you mention, but despite it’s seeming short-comings, I still really love this foundation! I have dry, flaky skin as well, and I didn’t feel this accentuated the flakes at all..odd isn’t it? I generally apply with a dense, flat-top brush (e.l.f. studio powder brush) and I find It blends super easily and doesn’t settle into lines or pores either.

    I do agree with your disappointment that this isn’t closer to a true BB- isn’t the benefit of BBs having all the SPF and skincare wrapped up in one nice package? And I was also bummed there weren’t more neutral shades at the light end of the spectrum. Nonetheless, 02 is a decent match for my neutral toned skin & doesn’t look pink when blended, so while this won’t be replacing my lazy day BB (Missha Perfect Cover #13) I have been reaching for it as my “going out” makeup.

  22. Glitterishallsorts says:

    I was expecting that this product wouldn’t work on me as I rarely have luck with foundations or tinted moisturisers these days but amazingly my skin is responding well to it. I actually think it might be one if my favourites. Just goes to show how truly subjective bases are. I guess.

    Great post btw, a really well rounded review. X

  23. Sydney says:

    After this review, I don’t think I’ll be tempted by this.
    You are now saving me (even more) money! 😀

  24. martine says:

    I ordered shade 2 over the internet and really regret it. Its far too white. A total waste of £25. I am not that in love with the formula. I think its over hyped.

  25. thanks for your review. I may try this anyway

  26. I had exactly the same problem with the flaky skin! A shame as I really wanted to love it :( I do think that the colour looks good in your photo though, you definitely don’t look like an ‘uncooked pasty’!!

  27. I had this used on me when I had a makeover at Illamsqua – I too suffer from the flakies (while simultaneously having oily skin. I’m a paradox) but it didn’t excentuate them – that said, I was quite heavily primed with their Satin Primer? So maybe that ruled out the drying emphasis. I think it is one of those that either works with you or doesn’t, really, but having purchased it I’m rather glad that in my case it’s one that does xD

  28. lipglossiping fan club member says:

    just been reading this again.
    it’s been bugging me haha.
    did you a take the ‘sexy’ photo and then applied it to the whole face?
    or did you recreate the ‘sexy’ shot on nude skin again?
    the reason why i am asking is that some people find that they need to work fast with that one, not much time to faff about this kinda thing.
    just been reading the comments, how fascinating how much it divides the opinion!
    according to the website, nc20 (which is a little pale anyway for me) is SB03 but i am still too much of a chicken to go and buy it xx

  29. Charlie says:

    Late to this.. I had the same problem with this on my nose…in fact when I did my review I linked to your post as your nose picture showed what I was describing perfectly… I have this problem with most light foundations… and in particular Healthy Mix…but today I’ve tried out a bit of Rouge Bunny Rouge Aqua Primer and it’s perfection. I only have a tiny sample and I daren’t check the price but this looks like it could be the answer for me when it comes to these types of finishes. Just thought I’d share in case it was any use to you!

  30. […] denna recension om ni vill läsa mer. Bas, rouge och bronzer, Smink, Testat & recenserat illamasqua, skin […]

  31. RaeRae says:

    I love the formula of this, but it’s too dark and too pink. Unfortunately the department store lighting is a nightmare… For me the idea of wasting £25 on this is making me feel a bit ill.

  32. Mel says:

    Bit late replying because I’ve only been testing out a sample for a couple of weeks. Didn’t have any problems with flakiness. On the contrary.

    I’ve got normal/combination skin with an oily t-zone. The little sample that you’ve had goes a long, long way. Need half of what I need with my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation for my entire face. I apply it with a brush though and found that worked best because if you apply too much of it, it can look cakey.

    It stayed on me all day long. Even on the oily t-zone. I do powder the foundation though with Chanel loose powder.

    Personally, I love the foundation and ordered a full-size one, although I still have something left of the sample. It gives much more coverage than the Vitalumiere Aqua which turned into my fave foundation when I first bought it. The Illmasqua one is great for winter, I think.

    I’m shade BR20 with the Vitalumiere Aqua and shade 07 with the Skin Base foundation. Perfect match for my paler autumn/winter skin.

    Shame it didn’t work for your skin. I suppose it really boils down as to how your skin works with some foundations, doesn’t it?

  33. […] thanks to a retinol treatment, and Illamasqua Skin Base did not play well with dry patches at all. Charlotte of Lipglossiping found this too. It also didn’t play well with oil breakthrough, splitting on contact with sebum. Those […]

  34. Felix says:

    I LOVE skin base!! I wear 2 layers for a night out and my skin looks like silk! I would never recommend using your fingers for any foundation as blogged above. Buff it with Illamasqua highlighted brush. Bliss!!

  35. Miloberry says:

    I really liked this foundation. I haven’t tried it with my fingers, but it applies very nicely with a buffing brush. I use the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. Works great with this foundation especially it’s thick and dries and settles fast.

  36. […] REVIEWS WITH IMAGES |  nihrida  |   lipglossiping  |   martinamakeup  |   peonysandlilies  |   chyaz WHERE I BOUGHT FEATURED PRODUCTS |  […]

  37. […] REVIEWS WITH IMAGES |  nihrida  |   lipglossiping  |   martinamakeup  |   peonysandlilies  |   chyaz WHERE I BOUGHT FEATURED PRODUCTS |  […]

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