Thursday, 21 July 2011

Review: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Illamasqua has launched its latest foundation with a bit of a fanfare. Skin Base is described as a natural finish, medium cover foundation "inspired by" Asian BB (beauty/blemish balm) creams. My first problem with it is the claim that it's based on a BB cream - the primary selling point of BB creams, and one of the reasons that they're starting to make a splash on the western market, is that they combine base colour with skincare benefits. Skin Base doesn't really claim any particular skincare benefits, nor does it feel like anything bar a normal foundation on the skin - whereas all the BB creams I've tried have left my skin feeling conditioned and plumped up.

Left to right: shades 1, 2 and 7

Anyway, rant aside, and BB cream comparisons aside, Skin Base is actually a rather nice formula.  It's incredibly easy to blend with your fingers, without that slick, silicone heavy feel that often goes along with ultra smooth and blendable formulas.  The wear is pleasantly light and long lasting, and on my combination skin it gives a very clean, refined finish.  I do find that it runs to dewy (shiny) during the day, and I'd be hesitant to recommend it to anyone with any oily areas, as I suspect it would just turn to an oil slick.

The shade range, as with many Illamasqua products, is very good.  There are 18 shades available, representing light, medium and dark skin colours with all undertones catered to.  That said, there do seem to be more shades available for lighter skin than dark skin.

I was matched to a mixture of shade 2, the palest available, with a tiny dot of shade 7 mixed in.  I find this a bit of an uncomfortable match - I dislike having to mix foundation myself, as there's no guarantee that I won't get it completely wrong in the morning when I haven't woken up, and paint myself the wrong colour.  That said, I have worn shade 2 alone a couple of times, and whilst it is extremely light, I reckon it'll be a good match in winter.

Left to right: before and after

Overall, I'm a bit unconvinced.  This is a rather nice, workhorse foundation, but I'm not sure that it's as unique and game-changing as Illamasqua are claiming it is.  If you like a medium coverage, light-feeling foundation and you can find an exact match in the shades available, it's well worth a try, but I'd definitely recommend having it applied and wearing it for a day before you buy.

Illamasqua's Skin Base foundation is available at Illamasqua stores and concessions, and also via their website, where a 30ml bottle will cost you £25.  What do you think?  Tried this product?  Tried BB creams? Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR samples


  1. I have tried many BB creams and love them and have been intrigued by this product but like you said I think I will head to the counter to try it first :) Alot of reviews have said its nothing like a BB cream in that it does not have skin loving benefits like BB creams have? xo

  2. There's no real mention of what skincare ingredients have been included (if any) and the formula, whilst blendable, is dry and not the very moist, skin-quenching formula I've observed in many BB creams. I wouldn't buy it just for the BB cream comparison :)

  3. Regardless of the benefits, and I think all various BB claims are dubious, the coverage looks really great on you. Will give this a whirl!

  4. I have just reviewed this as well and the one thing definitely apparent is the mixed reception this is getting!

    I have oily skin & find I need extra moisturiser to get it blended!

    Totally agree on the BB thing - they have SPFs, lighten the skin, condition the skin etc. The ISB does not have SPF, lighten the skin & no mention of skin benefits - so weird!!

  5. I think it looks really nice on you. Also I actually find my skin feels smoother after wearing this, though perhaps it's psychosomatic :P

  6. yeah, it really ANNOYED me that Illamasqua attempted to jump on the BB cream bandwagon without actually creating a BB cream or even anything close..pah!


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