Review and Swatches: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade 9

illamasqua skin base foundation shade 09 b

I must have 5-6 foundations in rotation at the moment, no to mention bb and cc creams galore. However, I couldn’t resist when a chance to buy the Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation at a discount came. Regularly £32, I was able to snatch one for £21 inclusive of shipping from ASOS. Given that this foundation is something I’ve been curious to try, I pressed the buy button and so far, no regrets.

What. According to Illamasqua,

“This cult blendable, medium coverage formula primes, hydrates and controls shine in one. Creating a perfect finish, this is the ultimate ‘skin realism’ foundation.”

Well, that’s a pretty tall order, and calling your own a ‘cult’ product is a bit much. However, I’ve learned to take brand’s hype with lemons, considering as a direction of what the product should be, rather than what it is. The ingredients include mineral oil, various silicones, glycerine and some vitamin c. For a complete list, please check the Illamasqua’s website.

Shade. The only thing I was a bit hesitant of was the shade. After poring over online swatches, I chose No. 9, described as olive yellow undertone. It turns out to be one of the best foundation shade match I’ve ever had. My face is about MAC NC 30 but my neck area is a couple of shades lighter (about NC 20), so I always aim to match my neck. As you can see below, No. 9 is very close to my neck shade.

Texture, Coverage and Finish. I would describe the texture of the Skin Base Foundation as medium thick. It is not runny but also not thick (my thickest liquid foundation would probably be the Kat von D Lock-It Tattoo foundation). Coverage for me can go from sheer to full coverage, although the later will really result in very obvious layers. I found that the best result is to aim for slightly less than medium coverage, and compensate with a thicker finishing powder which also tones down the dewy-ness and gets me the matte finish that I like.

Lasting Power. The lasting power of this foundation is quite good, though on its own oil control is slightly lower than my favorite foundations. Frankly, I’ve ceased to rely on foundations for oil control, so this is not such a big con in my book.

Overall, I like the Skin Base Foundation and concur with the glowing reviews. Illamasqua says this foundation is inspired by Asian bb creams, and I see what they mean. I would say though that in terms of coverage, the Skin Base Foundation wins. Asian bb creams, however, usually have sun protection built in, which the Skin Base Foundation lacks. This may be a good thing for some people, since there is no white cast and extra oiliness/heaviness.

Left: one sheer layer on bare skin (no moisturizer etc); Rgh: topped with blush and loose powder. Note that the finish with or without moisturizer does not vary much. Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade 9 splotched all over moisturized bare face
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade 9 splotched all over moisturized bare face
After foundation and blush, in medium coverage before finishing powder (note the un-matte finish on my oily skin, which necessitates a mattifying powder)
After foundation and blush, in medium coverage before finishing powder
Still Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade 9, but in different lighting. This would be lower than medium coverage with a heavy dose of Chanel Universal Loose Powder (shade 30) plus blush (from a Tarte blush palette). This is my preferred coverage and finish with Skin Base Foundation
Still Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade 9, but in different lighting. This would be lower than medium coverage with a light dusting of Milk of Magnesia on the t-zone underneath to mattify and heavy dose of Chanel Universal Loose Powder (shade 30) on top plus blush (from a Tarte blush palette). This is my preferred coverage and finish with Skin Base Foundation
illamasqua skin base foundation shade 09 c
Application ala tinted moisturizer/bb cream, i.e on bare skin (no moisturizer, primer etc) (left); plus loose powder and blush (middle and right)

 

 

 

 

 

Complete 18 shades swatched: L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer

L.A Girl HD Pro Conceal high definition concealer complete swatch
L.A Girl HD Pro Conceal high definition concealer complete swatch of 18 shades (click to enlarge)

I don’t really use concealers to conceal; I haven’t got the patience for micro-concealing. A good foundation that evenly covers everything, and that would be a wrap for me, in terms of coverage. Sometimes I would do some under-eye dark circle concealment, but that’s once in a blue moon.

I do,  however, understand that concealers can be good stuff. I haven’t tried a lot of concealers, but the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer gets high raves online that it’s hard to give it a miss. I first tried it in ‘pure beige’, using it as a foundation. It was really good, though the shade is a bit dark for me, but the tone is right. I next tried ‘creamy beige’ and it’s such a good match as a foundation that I am keeping it in my personal arsenal.

What I like about this product: its price (cheap!); its creamy texture that blends well and gets along with other liquid makeup (foundation, tinted moisturizer, sunblock) so I can use it to tint, lighten or darken them; and it’s portable size. I can hardly think of a con except for its brush applicator tip, which will need to be cleaned once in a while.

My favorite way to apply the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal as foundation is to use the Beauty Blender sponge. You can build coverage from sheer to medium; I guess you can do full coverage but I think it will look a bit heavy as this product is thick. Applying with a brush also works if you thin this product first (with your facial serum, moisturizers or other creamy liquids), but if you’re aiming at getting full coverage, take care since the buffing may make your skin feel raw. I found that using my toners as a mixture with this product will not work, as this stuff is very creamy, and substances that are too watery can’t blend well with it. Ditto with spritzing my face first, which can lead to streaky results.

The L.A. Pro Conceal comes in 18 shades and it can be mind boggling to pick a shade. I can only find one complete set of swatches on the internet, so here’s an additional reference by yours truly. In the picture above, I swatched all 18 shades, and also included three of my foundations as comparison (Tarte Maracuja Miracle foundation in ‘light’, Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation in 02 ‘Beige Clair’, and MAC Studio Fix Fluid in ‘NC40’ which i use on other darker people). Note I am yellow-toned around MAC NC 25-30.

If you’re still not sure which shade to get, you can get a couple of colors, one light and one dark in the color family that you need, and mix them up as needed. Below a few results of mixing some of the shades.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer mixed shades
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer mixed shades (50:50 ratio)
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer mixed shades
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer range of shades by mixing ‘beautiful bronze’ and ‘natural’ at various ratios

 

Skincare review: Nature Republic cleansing oils

Left: Chamomile Cleansing Oil; Right: Olive Cleansing Oil
Chamomile Cleansing Oil (left) and Olive Cleansing Oil (right)

My favorite facial cleanser is the cleansing oil, and Muji makes my favorite (cleansing oil for sensitive clean). That doesn’t stop me to try other brands, just to see if there’s anything better. A few weeks ago Nature Republic Forest Garden cleansing oils were on sale at Qoo10, and bought them. They were about $25 together, not a bad deal since a bottle contains 200ml.

There are several variants of these Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oils, and I got the Chamomile and the Olive ones. They are both about similar in consistency, texture and in cleansing ability. As with other cleansing oils I’ve encountered, you message the oil on your dry face; do not wet your face prior to messaging or you’ll dilute the oil’s cleansing ability. Once done with the messaging, rinse the oil off with water.

All my makeup came off with these, including waterproof ones. The Chamomile version rinses off slightly more squeaky clean than the olive one. BUT not squeaky clean enough for me. I do not like that feeling of having a film over my face after washing, thin as the film seems to be. Also? They both smell too sharp for my nose. If you practice double cleansing (i.e. use another cleanser such as a foaming one after cleansing oil), this might work for you.

Bottom line: Muji still makes my favorite cleansing oil.