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.)

Related posts:

Beauty City Guide – London

Barry M Dazzle Dusts for Spring 2009

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

cleung341 Saturday, May 2, 2009

The colors are pretty. Thanks for the review.


Citrine Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hi PJ!

That first picture looks so Givenchy…

For me, I think illamasqua is kind of like mac, they both have some great promo pictures/photography but I am not into the actual products at all…

P.S. I saw some some them in come blogs and I thought it was a drugstore brand because of the packaging, maybe it looks prettier in real life…)


Jamilla Camel Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hi PJ!

Thanks for the link! I did see Illamasqua at Selfridges, but I couldn’t get past the gay Japanese man having beige lipstick applied by the MA!

I have placed an order with the website. Thanks again!


jojoba Sunday, May 3, 2009

this is very me i think. i wish we had it here. i like the look of the blushes.


v Sunday, May 3, 2009

the branch is selfridges is divine!


PJ Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hi Cleung341,

You are very welcome. Thank you very much for reading this post! :)


PJ Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hi Mina,

Illamasqua does have a similar feel to MAC in terms of the product packaging and the promotional images. On the other hand, I feel that Illamasqua is slightly more editorial. Also, to me, some of the images seem to echo the rebellious ingenuity of the vintage British street fashion.

The packaging is simple (and more or less all black), but I think it is nicely done and it doesn’t look cheap. (I quite like the curves of the Powder Eye Shadows.)

Thank you for posting your comment again! :)


PJ Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hi Jamilla,

You are very welcome! I hope you will enjoy what you ordered. :)

Thank you very much for stopping by again! :)


PJ Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hi Jojoba,

There are quite a few nice colors in the eyeshadow and blusher ranges which you might like. I don’t think Illamasqua has a counter outside the UK or Ireland yet. We’ll have to see if the brand plans to venture into Asia.

Thank you for your comment again. :)


PJ Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hi V,

Thank you very much for stopping by again! :)


elinas Monday, May 4, 2009

hello, at japan.
cosmetics isit expensive?


PJ Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hi Elinas,

I’ve answered your question here. :)


Tali Friday, May 15, 2009

I love this brand… so far ive gone back 3 times. Each time I swear ill only get one thing.. and each time i get 7 or 8 items. Not good for the bank account!


PJ Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hi Tali,

Illamasqua does have a unique brand image as well as many interesting colors. I am sure you are among many fans of the brand! :)

Thank you very much for stopping by my blog and posting your comment! :)


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