Saturday, 20 August 2011

A trip to Illamasqua.

Hilariously it has come to the point where it's past the point of apology with the length between my last post and this one. It's kind of that awkward stage between where I'd usually be all like 'oh sup, I got busy' and throwing open the doors in declaring 'THAT'S RIGHT, I'M BACK' with a huge proud fanfare. So I'm kind of at that shuffling impasse where you try to get out of a lift and the person tries to step the same way as you and you do that awkward two-step. Or when you accidentally voice your thoughts out loud and then someone coughs and you realise that you said something really peculiar about hat-wearing weasels that did have a context only in your brain.

So I'm going to do this, and only once: if it's your birthday RIGHT NOW I'm gonna yell 'SURPRISE!!!' and jump out of a cake. And then we can put an end to this awkward halfway house of long pauses. But seriously, I've always been sporadic anyway. Right? (On a side-note, it was Franky at Love Audrey's birthday recently, and hers is a blog I wholeheartedly adore, so you need to go over there).

A while ago, I was happily and unselfconsciously passive-aggressively bitching on Twitter (as you do) and I got caught. Hilariously, I was talking about my general dislike for all things Illamasqua and how the products weren't for me, and promptly landed myself in the gaze of Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston.

So, I got invited to a course, free of charge, at Illamasqua in Beak Street London, which I was curious to try. Julian offered to prove me wrong, stating he liked a challenge. I accepted.

I ended up trotting along to my course on a Friday afternoon. I was expecting it to be more hands-on than it was, granted, but actually it was kind of nice to not have to do my own makeup. Clare was my makeup artist for a day-to-night style session, where she took me through the basics of Illamasqua's skin sketching technique, using the cream pigments to their best purpose and finally, transformed me into some kind of glamazon pouting-not-myself thing. I felt like I needed the gloves and the cigarette holder and I'd be draped over a piano in a 20's speakeasy somewhere.

So here's what Clare used to create the look:

- Satin Primer
- Skin Base Foundation
- Cream Blush in Rude
- Loose Powder in 005
- Emerge Cream Pigment (Under-eye corrector)
- Hollow Cream Pigment (Contour)
- Eye Brow Cake in Gaze (I think!)

- Medium Pencils in Vow, Interrograte and Honour
- Eyeshadows in Trollop, Forgiveness and Lestat
- Eye Liner Cake in Mislead
- Pure Pigment in Fervent
- False Eye Lashes in no. 19

- Medium Pencil in Severe
- Lipstick in Diablo
- Intense Lipgloss in Succubus

Trying out Skin Base was something I zoned in on long before my visit so I was really excited to see it in action. I ended up taking a complimentary bottle of it home with me, only to find that the shade applied in the shop (where the lighting was not so hot) made me orange. The thing that impresses and scares me in equal measures about Illamasqua, then, is their presence in the vaguely-termed world of Social Media, an omnipresent Twitter vulture of a brand circling high and swooping on those who breathe the name. After bemoaning my rubbish shade match on Twitter, another Illamasqua-ite told me to email him and he'd send me a replacement.

Err, hello. Illamasqua have it nailed in the customer service stakes, this was honestly the best experience I've had with any kind of brand, especially considering the stonewall silence you tend to get with MAC in regards to a complaint (don't get me started on MAC - I can bitch for hours about how there are usually about 15 members of staff on shift at Selfridges London and how all of them are gossiping and ignoring you when you try to get their attention… Oh, you got me started).

Other than that, what can I say? I now have a wishlist as long as my arm for Illamasqua products and their Skin Sketching technique has become an everyday action for me, as ingrained as filling in my eyebrows and stroking on the mascara. Having being taught how to use the products properly and making more informed product decisions, I'm pretty switched on to this brand now - and I'm definitely switched off to MAC - whose constant rainbow-hued vomiting of NEW! COLLECTIONS! with limited edition products of continual below-par quality has helped me curb a minor addiction.

The only problem now I love Illamasqua products? Restraining myself and hiding my credit card...


  1. Glad you've changed your mind because their products are fab. My problem with Illamasqua though is that it seems so hard to get anyone to help me!

    I've gone in on 2 or 3 separate occasions fully prepared to buy things and been ignored to the point where I don't bother stopping by the counter anymore.

    Busy or not, bad customer service just frustrates me! This is why I resort to online shopping.

    Ps: Glad you're back, awkwardness or not ;)

  2. Cami, your eye makeup is particularly wonderful. Very pleased for you. x

  3. So glad we got another post out of you! I'm not quite sure how how I feel about Illamasqua. I wasn't a fan of the lipstick I tried and their pigments are nice but the packaging is awful. I've swatched the eyeshadows since they reformulated and they are nice and creamy but I haven't bought any.

  4. pretty =) the colours looks great on you =)

  5. Your make-up looks amazing, I love that lipcolour on your.
    The last couple of times I've approached the Illamasqua counter I've been ignored but after reading this I'm willing to give them another chance. x

  6. Oh, your makeup looks perfect <3 The lips are gorgeous! I absolutely adore Illamasqua, mostly their blushers, which are amazing. Sadly I can't get it in my country, so I have to pounce on their counter everytime I get a chance! :D

  7. You look fabulous, this makeup is beautiful!
    And since I'm an Illamasqua die-hard fan, this post made me smile :-

  8. i'm pretty impressed with that level of customer service! i totally agree with you about MAC too, i have only ever experienced appalling attitudes there.
    you've definitely made me want to go check out illamasqua anyway.

  9. So glad you're back! I must admit I've never tried anything by them but after first watching your youtube vid and now reading this I might have to trek to a counter. Your skin looks absolutely flawless in those pics! What would you say is your favourite product from them? xx :-)

  10. Cripes, the base looks amazing in that photo! And what great service, really impressive. I only have a scant few Illamasqua products, but my counter experience with the gorgeous gent at the Trafford Centre was really enjoyable.

  11. Holy crap, you're gorgeous.

  12. You are gorgeous! love the colours on your eyes.

    Nice blog!

  13. your makeup is so pretty! love, love, love, love!

    love, rach.

  14. I love your blog, it's my favourite to read and i hope you blog more :)

    You look so beautiful here and i'm eager to try more illamasqua products

  15. Hi Cami,

    Thank you for valuable weblog.

    you had a post on 9 May 2011
    Something New: iPulse Boots Smooth Skin Plus.

    It has been a while since then, do you still recommend it? how is your status after all these times using it?

    Also, there is a new product with extremely few feedback: HoMedics - me my elos permanent hair reduction. Any idea or recommendation, please?


  16. I absolutely adore your need to apologize for whatever frequency your blog entries appear. The Illamasqua makeup is stunning on you! Would love to hear your take on their nail varnishes.
    take care,

  17. lovey blog and lovely make up!
    Veronica xx

  18. This look is gorgeous on you! I'm glad Illamasqua have better customer service than many other brands! New collections by MAC don't appeal to me at all any more, I don't think I've visited the site in a long time! Maybe I should check out Illamasqua now...

  19. @Ahalya Oh wow, I can't believe they'd ignore you! I've always had great service in their flagship store, but horrible service at their counter in the nearby department store! Weird!

    @Simone Thank you! All credit to the wonderful Clare Lille!

    @Jeweled Thumb Oh yes - their packaging is so based on aesthetic rather than ergonomics - the packaging is sometimes so hard to prise open!

    @MakeupbyThess Thanks lovely :)

  20. @LilyLipstick ah, see the counters I always find oppressively attentive, like I can't shop without being shown a gajillion products when I just want to browse! If you go to Beak Street you'll have wonderful service! :)

    @Summer Ooh such a shame! I bet you relish every opportunity when you get a chance :)

    @Musing on Beauty thank you so much! I'm so pleased you liked this post :)

    @laura jane definitely do! The staff really make a difference there because they seem to truly embrace the 'art' aspect of makeup and love their jobs! x

    @CharlieDBeauty tricky question, but I think I'm gonna have to say the medium pencils so far, though the pigments, lipsticks, cream pigments... I'll shut up now... x

  21. @konni I'm so glad you've had a lovely experience too! I love that a brand really wants to please their customers like that :)

    @leva wow, what a compliment! Thank you, you are far too sweet!

    @Marjolein thank you, such a lovely comment :)

    @rach thank you so much! Clare Lille at Illamasqua Beak Street is the artist behind it :)

    @stacey thank you so much! I hope I can live up to your expectations ;) xxx

  22. @Yaz I do still stand by my recommendation of the iPulse Smooth Skin system, as it's the only machine that actually has the technology to promise permanent hair reduction. The other machines put the hair in a dormant state, and it usually grows back after 3 months, meaning you never get the hair reduction you get with the iPulse machine.

    @Iciaravi Sadly, the nail polishes chipped on me pretty soon - but that is bearing in mind that I only had 2 coats, and I didn't apply a topcoat :( Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my writing <3

    @Veronica Thank you so much :) x

    @Nikki Thank you lovely! I definitely know where I want to spend my money from now on! At least the staff at Illamasqua love what they do :) x


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