Believe me when I say there is nothing I dread more than shopping for foundation. Not just because it’s not a product I particularly enjoy wearing (I hate the feeling of weighty product on my skin), but also because there are simply too many variables. We all have our preferences when it comes to texture, finish and formula, and trying to find one product that meets your personal requirements can often feel impossible.
Then we get onto finding a shade match. Colour matching in stores can sometimes feel like a success, until, that is, you get home and realise that the lighting was off and now you’re stuck with a full bottle of foundation that isn’t even close to your natural skin colour. And that point doesn’t even touch on the fact that most of the time, the shades ranges are so limited that unless you fit into one of the 15 shades they have on offer, that formula isn’t an option.
It’s worth noting too that this is still my personal view that comes from the privileged position of a white woman. I have BAME friends that don’t have the luxury of shopping around for foundation everywhere because, shamefully, there are only one or two products that offer a shade even close to their skin colour.
With all of the above in mind, it probably won’t surprise you that I don’t care much for new foundation launches. In fact, anyone that knows me knows that makeup is just not my game. Don’t get me wrong—I love playing with it and I have a very in-depth understanding of what makes a good formula, I’m just not the sort of person that will sit following YouTube tutorials for hours on end in an attempt to score the perfect cut-crease shadow look. So when I received the news that the U.S.’s fastest-growing makeup brand which also offers a foundation with 50 shades was launching in the U.K., my hopes weren’t high. In fact, after receiving the news via email, I barely gave it another thought.
However, as more and more information dribbled in, my interest started to pique. I had never heard of Il Makiage before, but as someone that isn’t exactly on the digital-makeup scene, it’s not something that would naturally be on my radar. Describing itself as a direct-to-consumer, digital-first beauty brand with a maximalist approach, initially, I wasn’t drawn in. But when I heard that the brand’s Woke Up Like This Foundation (£36) is the single most-reviewed beauty product online, I thought it might be wise to give it a go.
Unavailable in stores, all Il Makiage shopping has to be done from the brand’s own site. And I must admit, I’m not one for shopping for beauty online. I like to get touchy-feely and also want to be able to colour match. So finding out that the brand’s iconic foundation was only available online disappointed me a little, especially considering the extensive shade range. However, as soon as I started reading reviews about the brand’s apparently very impressive online shade matching tool, I knew I had to give it a go.
The PowerMatch tool is definitely unlike any other online shade matching tool I have used. It starts by asking generic questions about your skin type, ideal coverage and finish preferences. It then goes on to show you a selection of images of different skin tones, ranging from fair-light to deep-dark, asking you to select images that sit closest to your own skin tone, with more specific images with every click.
Following this, you go on to answer basic questions on your skin’s undertone, your foundation habits and your age, before the algorithm works out your ideal match and e-mails its recommendation to you. It’s remarkably simple and only take about two minutes to complete.
After applying Woke Up Like This Foundation.
Honestly, I knew that the quiz was more in-depth than others I had done, but I still wasn’t convinced it was going to work. I had already tried a few things from Il Makiage before putting in my foundation order (I found the baked highlight and primer particularly wonderful), so I already knew what to expect from a brand perspective.
Everything is remarkably sleek, high-impact but still wearable as well as luxe-feeling. I get serious MAC vibes from this brand. Given this, and knowing it only has one foundation available, I was expecting a full-coverage, matte formula. But what arrived, genuinely blew me away.
First of all, the shade is perfect. So much so that I was absolutely convinced at some point I must have included information on the shades I already use, but I know that I didn’t. Between doing the quiz and receiving my product, I had actually got a little bit of a tan so I was expecting it to be lighter than I would ideally like it. When I first pumped it onto the brush, I did worry that it looked a little light, but upon application, everything just worked. The formula goes on dewy and glowy, it’s buildable but still offers up significant coverage, and most importantly for me, the finish is matte but remarkably natural-looking and not drying at all.
I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, but I genuinely believe that this foundation must have been made for me. It has everything that I have ever wanted. The shade seems tailor-made, the finish is perfecting but natural-looking and it was impossibly easy to buy. With no faff, no fussing and no shade stress, I’ve got to admit that Il Makiage got this one so right. So, as much as I love getting lost in the beauty halls of department stores, if this is the future of foundation shopping, I’m all in.
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