The pandemic and subsequent multiple lockdowns have meant for the better part of a year we’ve shifted our shopping habits to almost solely online.
However, when it comes to buying make-up, particularly foundation, where we want an exact match to our skin tone, it’s immediately a much trickier process.
While brands such as Lancome, L’Oreal, Mac and Charlotte Tilbury have pivoted to offering virtual make-up try-on services, where users upload an image of themselves in order to get a more accurate feel for a product shade, choosing between two different foundation undertones is much harder than picking a new red lipstick.
Get it wrong and it’s a costly error that’s difficult to remedy once you’ve already tried the product. Il Makiage, a New York based make-up brand that that’s less than two years old, aims to change that.
While it’s created a range of products from lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, blush, bronzer and more, its signature offering is the "woke up like this" foundation. The brand launched in the UK last year and has been a huge hit ever since.
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Promising buildable, medium to full coverage with a natural-looking matte finish, you won’t find it in any store. Instead, it’s created a detailed "power match" online quiz to find your foundation shade, from the 50 available, claiming to deliver 90 per cent accuracy.
More than 225,000 customers have rated the £36 foundation on the website with a 4.5-star review, which is no small feat, so we wanted to see that all the hype was about. We took the quiz, waited for our shade to arrive on our doorstep and put it to the test.
Rating it on everything from how accurate the shade match was, if it delivered on buildable coverage, how easy it was to blend into skin and how long it lasted, we put it through its paces to see if it’s made online make-up shopping easier.
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Il Makiage woke up like this flawless base foundation: £36, Il Makiage – Buy now
As soon as you land on the Il Makiage website, it directs you to its "power match" quiz to determine your shade from the 50 available in its 'woke up like this" foundation.
Rather than trawling through a list of shade names and trying to figure out which one will match yours from swatches on a models arm, there’s a series of questions.
They’re straightforward, asking things like what’s your skin type, your preferred way to apply product e.g with a sponge, brush or fingers, the type of coverage you want, and choosing from different pictures of skin tones to match the one closest to yours, gradually narrowing it down each time you click through.
Once you’ve finished answering every question, you simply pop your email in a box and it reveals your shade. You can then buy it as a one-off purchase for £36, or subscribe to delivery of a new bottle every four months for £33.
After finding our shade, 040, we waited excitedly for it to arrive before using it as we would normally apply our usual foundation.
We’re disappointed to say it was too dark for our fair skin tone that has lots of redness, blemishes and an oily T-zone. It was noticeably too orange for us which was unable to be corrected even when using the smallest amount.
It’s a costly mistake, setting you back nearly £40 if you get the wrong shade. However, we wouldn’t put it solely down to the quiz. Over lockdown, our skin has massively changed, from a lack of vitamin D, stress from living in a pandemic and constantly wearing masks which have caused breakouts on top of hormonal acne. As a result, we’ve seen a huge uptick in redness and sensitivity.
The survey is detailed and thorough, just be certain with your answers before you commit to buying the foundation to avoid disappointment.
However, if you do find your recommended match is wrong, the brand allows for customers to return the foundation, in any condition, within 60 days, and receive a full refund, so you can try the quiz again or cut your losses.
While the colour match for us was way off, the foundation itself was a brilliant base product. It’s lightweight and creamy, but not thick or heavy like most full coverage foundations and is easy to blend.
It gives a smoothing effect to skin to even out skin tone, blurs pores and conceals blemishes with one light layer. In fact, we skipped concealer, even on our dark circles and blemishes.
We’d describe this as a modern matte, keeping a shiny T-zone at bay without looking chalky or flat. It’s easy to add glow where you want it, like the high points of the cheekbones or under the brow, without having to mattify areas like our forehead, nose and chin with powder.
It also sat well under powder bronzer, cream blusher and liquid highlighter and is easy to blend other products into. As for how well it held up throughout the day, after eight hours there was little to complain about, we saw a slight shine return to our forehead and nose, but no foundation can completely mattify oily skin for hours on end, so it wasn’t a cause for concern.
Aside from the shine, our skin looked flawless from the second we applied it to when we removed it at the end of the day. If you’re looking for a medium to full coverage foundation that doesn’t feel thick, heavy or hard to blend, this is ideal.
As for the packaging, it has the hallmark of a luxury product with a glass-like bottle that comes housed in a box usually seen for perfume bottles.
The verdict - Il Makiage woke up like this flawless base foundation
It unfortunately didn’t deliver on giving us a perfect match for our skin tone, the brand's main selling point, which left us disappointed, despite how well it performed.
Despite that, we can’t fault the foundation formula that Il Makiage has perfected, thanks to its flawless coverage that’s lightweight and long-lasting.
If you’ve previously shunned fuller coverage foundation to avoid that thick, heavy sensation, this is a great re-introduction, with no cakiness in sight, just smooth, healthy-looking skin that isn’t weighed down.
For more beauty inspiration, read our review of The Ordinary’s first-ever concealer