In many ways, this product is synonymous with old-school theatrical makeup. It is a mineral oil– and wax-based formula housed in a small container whose lid is tricky to remove, which means you'll accidentally dig your nails into the product each time you remove the cap—not good.
Given the formula, this performed as expected: It applies smoothly, but feels and can look heavy and greasy. The colors are about as far from a natural look as you can get,but then again, Illamasqua is all about being experimental and edgy. Initially, they go on vividly, but they sheer out surprisingly well.
The only shade worth considering is Hollow, a soft, muted toffee shade that, when artfully applied, can be used to contour and sculpt the face. The problem is that Cream Pigment's slightly greasy finish doesn't stay in place well, and when you're contouring you don't want color moving outside the area where it was applied. If you decide to contour, it's much easier to do with powders than with creams.
The Bedaub shade is mint green and, as claimed, it reduces redness—but you end up replacing the redness with a strong green cast that can make skin look odd. Just one more reason why color correctors rarely work well, despite their good intentions.
- Concentrated color sheers out well, allowing for a range of effects and intensities.
- Pricey considering its limitations.
- Thick, somewhat greasy formula is difficult to work with and doesn't stay put on its own without using a lot of powder.
- Shade range consists of colors that simply aren't as workable as they should be, even if your goal is theatrical makeup.
Illamasqua is a London-based makeup line created by makeup artists whose stated mission is to get women and men to "express themselves through makeup and to discover their bolder, sexier side." This urbane sentiment is similar to other edgy color brands like Urban Decay, Too Faced, and Make Up For Ever, so we wondered if Illamasqua would bring something new and exciting to the table for those looking to enhance their makeup wardrobe. After a thorough look at this brand at our local Sephora store (where it is retailed in the U.S.), we must state that, unfortunately, it is an unimpressive "been there, done that" group of products with relatively high price tags.
Rather than bringing innovative, exciting products to those seeking to get experimental with unusual makeup colors and textures, Illamasqua's products tend to be hit or miss. And there are enough misses to make this brand one you can safely pass up in favor of color collections whose palettes are more approachable, user-friendly, and just overall better in quality. If you're still curious about Illamasqua, there are some outlier products to seek out, including their Bronzing Duo, jet-black Masquara, the Lipstick, and, if you need full coverage and have the time to blend it well, the company's Concealer is definitely worth checking out. Beyond these there lies disappointment after disappointment—and even the average products prove to be a letdown due to their high prices, plus the fact that competing lines at Sephora offer better versions of most Illamasqua products.
For more information about Illamasqua, visit www.illamasqua.com.
Note: The products we reviewed are representative of what U.S. and Canadian consumers will find at Sephora stores that retail this brand. The full range of Illamasqua products may be viewed on their Web site. Illamasqua does not publish a phone number on their products or on their Web site, and we always caution you about shopping an online cosmetics company that doesn't offer up-front and direct access to the customer service department.