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)