Monday, 13 December 2010

My First Illamasqua Haul

It had to happen sometime, I'm surprised I've resisted this long...I have finally succumbed to the fabulous Illamasqua! I know beauty bloggers have been all over this brand for a couple of years now, but I just own sooo much makeup, I didn't want to even look at this because I knew I would be tempted and I wasn't convinced I needed to pledge allegiance to yet another brand (that I could perhaps become addicted to and spend what money I never have on)! I've been hearing such good things about their foundation though and really wanted to try it, especially as I seem to be on a bit of a foundation-kick currently. Illamasqua have a superb range of colours, so I have to commend them on that. As a super pale skinned girl, I struggle to find bases that are light enough, but I get equally frustrated with brands that don't provide a decent selection of darker shades. One semi-deep shade in a range is usually what you can expect and I can't fathom how brands assume this will suit everyone from a deep olive complexion through to deepest black! It's ridiculous and I absolutely understand your frustrations if you don't fit into that middle of the road, golden, medium complexion that is fully catered for.
I purchased a few items-nothing overly exciting, but I wanted to 'test the water' and figure out what I liked before opting for bold colours. I've gone into much more detail than I expected to regarding the foundation, but it's useful information if you're looking to try it. The foundation I bought was the Rich Liquid formula and you'll find helpful images and descriptions along side the swatches on the website to help guide your decision of which look you're going for and what is essentially going to work best for your complexion. As this provides such a full coverage, 100 (pure white) and 105 (white with pink undertones), just seemed too full on theatrical for me, for everyday wear. 115 is a newer addition to the range and is suitable for very light skin with neutral undertones whereas 120 is light skin with pink undertones. Judging from the images of the models faces, I felt there was a considerable difference between the two and that the lighter one would most likely work better for me.

It is very light, maybe just a smidgen too light when applied to my face because my neck and chest area look darker in comparison. I still think I made the better choice though. I'd like to talk a little about my experience so far with this, because I have had the opportunity to try it out a few times as I've had it for months now. Some people had mentioned it was difficult to apply and they've tried various ways to get it just right. Now I also purchased the matt primer as I thought it may be necessary to get the best out of this foundation.
First time, I applied the primer as a base, left it to sink in then applied the foundation only one area at a time (as I heard it dries fast) using a flat foundation brush. It took a lot of blending to get a streak free finish, but boy is this full coverage! I did not need any concealer at all and I had several blemishes to cover. I put a little concealer/highlighter under my eyes more out of habit than anything. It did look flawless, but I found the whole look a little too sheeny for me. After an all over dusting of powder, I was much happier and it really helped 'set' the foundation. My only gripe would be that throughout the day, although in most places it lasted very well, my nose and around my nose was a little flaky or splodgy looking and the more I tried to blend the worse it looked.
Next time, I decided to mix the foundation and primer and apply together as a diluted mix. I used my fingers then blended with the foundation brush in some areas. This gave a slightly better finish-again full coverage, needed powder then looked great. However it still did that annoying thing to my nose later in the day and I hate feeling like I need to keep checking my makeup is perfect (or not, as the case was). The rest of my face though (in both applications) was absolutely spotless when I went to wash it off at night, as if I had just applied it.
For the next application, I decided not to use the primer. I still wanted something to dilute the foundation slightly though and wondered if I had any liquid highlighter. I eventually found an unopened bottle of Pout Illuminator in Love Glow (now discontinued) and used this. I probably used 1/3 highlighter to 2/3 foundation, remembering that overall you really only need a tiny amount. I definitely noticed a difference in coverage and had to go back over problem areas with the teensy, tiniest drop of foundation. Again, I used my fingers mostly then the brush to blend. I like this! This is much nicer! I still needed powder (I know that's kind of a contradiction to shimmering highlighter but what the hell), no concealer and I had that flawless look. I don't remember having as many (or any?) 'nose issues' with this application. Not helpful to those that can't get their hands on this highlighter I know, but I'm sure any liquid one will do the same job. I like that I can add pure foundation to the areas that need it without it looking plastered on and I just can't get over the fact that I no longer need concealer, it feels very weird. My other issue would be that my concealer would probably be too dark anyway as it tends to be with my lighter foundations.

So overall, I love the flawless finish and full coverage, you can't help but feel you're cheating your way into the perfect complexion! You know I have problem skin these days and this (I don't think) has caused me to break out (although I'm not wearing it every day). It covers blemishes, evens out skin tone and dark circles, but you're going to have to play around to find the best method of application. You also only need the smallest amount, so this is going to last you a long time (money well spent). Downside is, the shade is perhaps just a little too light for me and I don't like the splodgy effect it has on my nose after a few hours, I'm not totally convinced I've rectified this yet (perhaps with more wear or trials, we'll see).
As I briefly mentioned, the Matt bright white in the bottle, but colourless when blended. It has a very slight shimmer when swatched which I was surprised at given it's supposed to be matte. In the swatches it's blended as well as blobbed on, but you probably can't see it. I can't say I feel that velvet flawless finish I feel when using my regular Lancome one, but I need to play around with it more.
Nude lips are totally my thing as you know, so it was obvious I try out Illamasqua nudes! Intense Lipgloss in Absorb is nothing like the swatches/images on the site in my opinion. It looked a mauvy, pinky nude, but in the flesh, it's practically the same colour as the foundation and gives that concealer, very pale J-Lo look to the lips. I've not played around yet, but I doubt I would wear it alone like that as it would look streaky and I'm just going to look very mask like! So I'd probably use a little over nude lipsticks or perhaps to lighten darker shades. It comes in that squeezy tube with slanted, perspex applicator (I prefer to squeeze onto finger from there and apply). I really want to give Hermetic, Move and maybe even Repulse (black) a try!
Finally, I bought Sonnet lipstick. I was disappointed when looking at it in the tube, it was a very standard terracotta type nude and not at all what I was expecting. However on the lips and swatched, it is much lighter and softer than the orangey shade it looks and I love it. Really pretty. The chunky, high shine black packaging feels very sleek too. There are tonnes of other lipsticks I want to try, especially the navy blue Disciple-stunning! I also want to mention the beautiful booklet that was included with my order (MAC take note), I love getting little things like that and it's stunning from cover to cover, as you can see in the background of the images here. It lists all the products and has fabulous theatrical looks. Overall, I am very happy with my introduction to the brand and can see myself expanding my collection when the opportunity arises!

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