Makeup Review: Illamasqua

by PJ on Friday, May 1, 2009

in makeup,makeup - eyeshadow,makeup - mascara

(image from

In a typical department store in the UK, most of the beauty (especially makeup) brands are from either the US or Continental Europe. This is why, when the British makeup line, Illamasqua, launched its counter in London’s Selfridges (which has probably the largest beauty department in the UK), it is hard not to get excited.

(image from www.illamasqua)

Illamasqua positions itself as a professional makeup brand that encourages expression and experimentation. As the brand’s slogan is “make-up for your alter ego”, many of the makeup looks on the brand’s website are dramatic, edgy and editorial. Price-wise, it is a medium-to-high end line, with lipsticks priced at £14 and eyeshadow singles priced at £15. Today, I am sharing my thoughts on some of Illamasqua’s products.

Powder Eye Shadows in Feel and Lick

(Powder Eye Shadow in Feel)
(Powder Eye Shadow in Lick)

Currently, most of Illamasqua’s 107 Powder Eye Shadows that the brand was launched with are matte, and Feel and Lick are among the matte shades. Feel is a light-to-medium taupe while Lick is a bright warm reddish pink. Both are moderately-to-well pigmented, and the texture is relatively smooth, partly down to the talc-based formula.

Feel is a good shade for adding soft depth to the eyes for those with a light or light-to-medium complexion. It goes on a little cooler, and I think it would suit cooled-toned complexions a lot more. (It may be on the ashy side for warm-toned complexions.)

You have to be quite bold to wear Lick on a daily basis, but I find that, used light-handedly, it works well as a blusher. (I also like the fact that it happens to be matte, which is my preferred finish for a blusher.) It blends easily as a blusher and should suit most complexions, particularly warm-toned ones.

Volume Mascara in Harness

Volume Mascara is currently Illamasqua’s sole mascara product. It is available in three shades, Harness (black), Nocturnal (brown) and Lewd (blue), and it is a non-waterproof mascara.

Harness is a nice black that doesn’t look greyish or ashy. The formula appears to be quite lightweight, as it doesn’t feel heavy on the eyes or weight down the lashes. It creates more volume than length, though the volume might not be as dramatic as some might hope for. A light-handed application with gentle layering is essential to stay clump-free. Once set, it has a satisfactory staying power.

Overall, Illamasqua seems to be a solid brand with a lot of potential, and it has created buzz among makeup lovers in the UK. It would be interesting to see how well it will do in the next few years and whether it will acquire a more international presence.

(Check here for the list of retail points in the UK and Ireland. Illamasqua’s on-line store delivers within the UK as well as internationally.)

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