I love it when brands offer samples of base products.
You can’t really win when you have pale skin, you see. The lightest high street shades aren’t normally light enough (although this is slowly changing!) while high end foundations come in so many different shades and undertones that it’s difficult to know where to start.
This is not a bad thing, by any means — it’s about time women of all skintones and ethnicities have access to make-up that matches their complexion, if they choose to wear it. (If it’s difficult for me, a white woman, to find base products then I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for a person of colour.)
But online swatches can be misleading, and I don’t want to spend good money on a foundation I’ll never wear. So when I found out Illamasqua offers you the chance to add free foundation samples to your order, I was pleasantly surprised, and added three sachets to my basket.
Here’s what I tried out:
- Skin Base Foundation in 01 (SB01, white)
- Skin Base Foundation in 02 (SB02, pink undertone with yellow)
- Skin Base Foundation in 03 (SB03, olive yellow undertone)
I’m so glad I didn’t buy the full-size versions of any of these. Not only do they contain dimethicone, a silicone which makes me break out, but they list mineral oil quite high on the ingredients list. Mineral oil (sometimes known as paraffinum liquidum) has been known to cause acne and while many people have no problems with it, my skin is currently the clearest it’s been for a while and I don’t want to risk it flaring up again.
SB02 on its own was too pale and too pink-toned for my liking. SB03 with SB01 mixed in was a little better and much more suited to my skin’s undertones, which are pretty neutral, but I’m not spending over £60 on foundation products every time I need a new one. (SB03 by itself was too dark.)
Skin Base Foundation is a thick liquid, but thankfully it doesn’t feel heavy or mask-like. And it’s easy to blend it out with a brush or sponge, especially if you use it sparingly.
|Skin Base Foundation in 01; Skin Base Foundation in 02; Skin Base Foundation in 03|
This is not the foundation to buy if you like a barely-there look. But if full coverage is your thing and you want it to look polished but still quite natural, then it’s worth getting your hands on some sample sachets to try it out.
The Skin Base Foundation lasts for about eight hours or so, with barely any caking whatsoever. In fact, *whispers it*, it cakes less than my favourite high end foundation, NARS Sheer Glow, so if you have an oily or combination complexion and don’t react badly to mineral oil or dimethicone, this might just be what you need.
£32.20 for 30ml of foundation. Standard high-end price, I guess, but it still makes me wince.
Pros: Full coverage, easy to blend, very minimal caking, long-lasting, suitable for vegans
Cons: Ingredients may upset certain skin types, difficult to find the right shade, expensive
While in the end Skin Base Foundation isn’t quite what I’m looking for, it certainly has its good points and could be ideal for someone else with a different skintone and perhaps less sensitivity. If you’re curious, you can always head to your local counter or add some sample sachets to your next Illamasqua order (you can choose up to three) and test it out for yourself!
Do you struggle to find the right shade of foundation? Have you ever tried any foundations from Illamasqua? Let me know in the comments!
(v) = vegan
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!