Clean Beauty,  Makeup

Brand Spotlight: Ilia Beauty

Recently, while editing a GRWM, a brainwave hit me – I’ve got a lot of Ilia Beauty products in my collection (check out my Minimal and Quick Clean Beauty FOTD here)! Not only that, but I reach for them often and have developed pretty strong opinions along the way. I know I’ve demo-ed and spoken about products here and there (especially on Instagram: BittaFab), but I’m ready now to give you guys more of an in-depth review. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in – this is gonna be a long one 🙂

Wearing Ilia Eye Primer, Silken Shadow Stick in Next to You, Mascara, & True Skin Serum Concealer in Mesquite, & Color Haze in Stutter (crease and lips)

ILIA Beauty

I was attracted to Ilia right from the start, with their modern website and sleek, minimalist packaging. It’s also very easily accessible, available several retailers: Follain, Credo Beauty, Sephora, Amazon and many more. Because of that, I was able to check reviews before making any selections and check out pictures of swatches on different skin tones — super helpful!

Price wise, Ilia is in the midrange of cosmetic pricing (think: Urban Decay, Nars, Laura Mercier, etc.). Most of the products are in the $20-$55 bracket.

Note: As I publish this post, Sephora is having their Summer Bonus Sale where Rouge and VIB members can get 20/15% off . Hope this helps anyone who was looking to pickup some clean beauty during the sale! I’ll be sharing Sephora clean beauty picks here and on IG, so stay tuned. Also, several of these products are available at Follain and you can get 15% off with my code ‘ref_bittafab’ every day.

Now, let’s get reviewing 😉

Swatches: Left to Right – Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer in Mesquite (1 swipe), Tinted Lip Conditioner in These Days (4 swipes), Color Haze in Stutter (1 swipe), Silken Shadow Stick in Next to You (4 swipes), Natural Brightening Primer (1 swipe), Pure Eyeliner in Havana Affair (10+ swipes)
One swipe each of Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in These Days and Pure Eyeliner in Havana Affair

1) ILIA True Skin Serum Concealer

This concealer was released in April 2019 and I was so compelled by the promos, that I jumped on it that very month. This has been a daily staple for me. I have the shade SC6 Mesquite which is described as ‘medium dark with warm golden undertones’ on Ilia’s site. This shade has a salmon corrector-like effect on my skin – I purchased this with the main intent of addressing my under-eye hyperpigmentation. This has a light to medium level of coverage – I have been using this all over my face to address blemishes or areas of redness and it doesn’t leave behind an orangey tone. This layers well with other products – on days when I prefer more coverage or brightness under the eyes, I often pair this with a lighter, more neutral toned concealer (the FitGlow Conceal+) and they blend seamlessly together. On that note, however, Sephora’s ColorIQ tool shade matched me to SC3 Kava, ‘medium with warm golden undertones’.

This serum concealer has, as the name implies, a thin, serum-like consistency. It is buildable, but in my experience, it does not set on its own. I am prone to creasing, especially in the under eye area, so I always set this (with the RMS Tinted ‘Un’ Powder) and I’m good to go. As far as staying power is concerned, I do notice that it fades as the day goes on, especially when I’m spending more time in the heat/outdoors. It doesn’t have the longevity of Tarte Shape Tape (EWG score: 6), but at the same time, the formula blends very seamlessly into my skin and has never given me a cake-y look or exaggerated any fine lines, even post-setting. My main goal with makeup is enhancement – I always want my true skin to shine through, but if you prefer a more opaque, heavier coverage product (like Shape Tape), I would look elsewhere.

Clean Rating: This particular product isn’t listed on ThinkDirty or EWG, but the Ilia True Skin Foundation has a 3 rating, so I would assume this would be in the same ballpark.

Would I repurchase? Yes! I just got Kava yesterday, in fact. It really is a great match for me.

2) ILIA Silken Shadow Stick in Next To You

When I first received this, I was disappointed in the color I selected and was ready to forgo this product (this shade is very similar to my natural lid color), and now it’s one of my most used products. Can’t always go by first impressions! This is a cream shadow stick that you can apply directly on to the lids (the stick doesn’t drag, nor is it too creamy) and blend with fingers or a fluffy blending brush. The color is described on Ilia’s site as ‘amber rose’, but for me, it’s a ‘my lids, but better’ kinda shade. This subtle warm pink has a metallic sheen that gives you a glossy lid look, which I love!  The actual pigmentation can be built-up, to a point. I’m sure it could provide a more dramatic look for someone with very fair skin.

I wear this daily, for a ‘minimal yet enhanced’ makeup look or as a cream color base when creating more dramatic eye looks. It layers well with powder shadows on top.  I have oily, crease-prone lids, so I always wear a shadow primer underneath. Even with a shadow primer, I do find myself blending out my crease from time to time, especially on hot, humid days. Although it doesn’t really seem to set, I do not find that it strays, I often run this along my lower lash line and have never run across any issues of this disrupting my lower lash mascara or under-eye concealer.

The packing isn’t my favorite. I do enjoy the twist-up crayon style for application, but the actual product has fallen out of the tube a couple times and that can be a hygiene concern, not to mention generally annoying.

Clean Rating: 1 (EWG Skin Deep)

Would I repurchase? Yes! This formula is great – I want to try out the other color ways.

3) ILIA Color Haze Multi-Matte Pigment

This is the most versatile ILIA product that I own. I use this as a multi stick – its great as a blush, eyeshadow, and lip pigment. The color intensity is quite rich and opaque, yet can can be easily sheered out and dries down matte. I have the shade stutter which is described as a ‘burnt orange’.

I love the packaging – a squeeze tube with a flat, metal applicator. No need to dip into a pot and worry about hygiene. The cooling metal applicator is great, it allows for precision when applying product on your lips. This can be blended out with fingers for the lips and eyes. I prefer using a stipple brush to get an even, blended layer down when applying this as blush, but fingers can work well in a pinch.

Color Haze in Stutter on my cheeks, subtly in the crease and applied on top of Fit Glow Lip Colour Serum in Liv

This is the kind of product I love keeping in my handbag because of how multi-purposed it is. As a lip product, this pairs so well with lipsticks, stains and glosses. I love blending this shade into my crease when I am wearing the Silken Shadow Stick in Next To You, for a bit of subtle definition. And this makes for the most beautiful blush – I would strongly recommend this for all brown girls and anyone who enjoys a good orangey/terra cotta product!

Clean Rating: This particular product isn’t listed on ThinkDirty or EWG.

Would I repurchase? Yes! Planning to very soon – just debating between shades!! Kind of want them all 😉

4) ILIA Natural Brightening Eye Primer

As I mentioned above, I have oily lids that are prone to creasing with cream shadows. The Ilia eye primer has been moderately helpful with that issue. I’ve been pairing it with the Silken Shadow Stick and other cream shadows and I typically end up with a line of separated product in my crease. It’s nothing overly obvious that I can’t easily buff out with a finger, but it’s definitely not crease-proof. I’ve been testing this product during the Spring/Summer months, so I am hoping to have more success during the Fall/Winter when the weather won’t be an added, aggravating factor.

As far as the actual formula is considered, one or more of the ingredients do require a bit of getting used to. My first 3-4 applications left my eyelids with a cooling/very slight burning sensation. This was nothing painful, only different and noticeable. I am a contact lens wearer and I did not experience any issue there. After the 4th or so application, the sensation stopped and anytime when I apply the product now, I don’t feel a thing. The actual product consistency is pretty thin and easy to blend in. I don’t really notice a brightening effect on my lids, but I don’t wear this product on it’s own. The arnica, aloe and rose hip oil are meant to provide benefits over time that I can’t speak to at this moment.

Clean Rating: 2 (EWG Skin Deep)

Would I repurchase? Not at this time. I’m still on the hunt for ‘the one’!

5) ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioner (These Days, Shell Shock)

I had really high hopes for these lippies and unfortunately, they were a huge let down. I have a feeling that I may have gotten a bad batch, because there are so many rave reviews for these on Ilia’s site, but both of my lippies had a grainy texture to them that was such a let down. I didn’t find that the color payoff was like the swatches shown on the models arms, I was looking for a 90s nude (These Days) and a warm coral (Shell Shock). The actual product is very sheer and I found the bold site swatches/photos to be a bit misleading here. The more I built up the product, the more grainy and uncomfortable it felt on my lips. Even with a lip liner, I did not enjoy this product. (Note: I applied these on healthy, exfoliated lips. I was not experiencing any chapping that may have altered my experience)

Color and application texture aside, I experienced a similar issue with the twist-up functionality of the lippie tube as I did with the shadow stick. The Shell Shock bullet fell out of the tube after one or two uses and I was not able to fit it back it (as I did, without issues, with the shadow stick) due to the creamier texture of this product. I was debating repotting this into a container, but the texture was so off putting that I threw it away. That being said, I’m open to trying another type of Ilia lip product, just not any more shades from the Tinted Lip Conditioner line.

Clean Rating: 2 (EWG Skin Deep)

Would I repurchase? No. Have already discontinued using these two.

6) ILIA True Skin Radiant Priming Serum

I received a deluxe sample of this primer with an online purchase and it was a pretty generous amount. I haven’t tested this for longer than a couple weeks, but I do feel that it imparts a subtle glow that can be seen under makeup. As far as improving the longevity of my makeup – I honestly didn’t notice a major difference.

This thin serum has tiny glowing flecks within that blend seamlessly into your skin. You don’t look sparkly, just radiant and glowing – my kind of glow! I love how this is silicone-free. There is no weird silicone-y slip to your skin and the serum itself has a hydrating element that leaves your skin feeling nourished and ready for makeup. I didn’t use this product for long enough to really judge the long-term skincare benefits it touts.

I’m not sure this has converted me into a face primer lover, but it was a joy to apply and I’m never one to turn down a natural looking glow.

Clean Rating: Unable to find on EWG Skin Deep or Think Dirty at this time

Would I repurchase? Probably. I think this would be great pick-me-up for my dry, winter skin.

7) ILIA Liquid Light Serum Highlighter in Nova

First off, let me explain that I am a natural, glow-from-within highlighter kind of girl (see #6 above). My long time highlighter go-to has been MAC Strobe Cream (and before that, their discontinued Strobe Liquid). Super subtle. That being said, I was looking for a gold-tinted, clean, cream/liquid highlight that I could replace Strobe Cream with. Unfortunately, I don’t think this Liquid Light Serum Highlighter in Nova is the replacement – it has actual gold sparkles, granted they are very tiny, but they are still there. I feel like these sparkles just get everywhere and magnify any uneven skin texture, pores and creases and age me, instead of giving a plumped, glowy look to my skin.

In lieu of applying this to my face, I prefer mixing a tiny pump of this in with my body moisturizer and applying this to my arms and legs for a hint of glam. I have also used this as an eyeshadow and enjoy the sparkly effect there. If you are a die-hard sparkle fan, you may feel very differently. Me personally, well I prefer my bling elsewhere.

Clean Rating: Unable to find on EWG Skin Deep or Think Dirty at this time

Would I repurchase? No. I’d rather hold out for the clean MAC Strobe Cream dupe.

8) ILIA Pure Liner in Havana Affair

I had such high hopes for this eyeliner. The website shows this as a creamy dark brown eyeliner generously flecked with gold. Sadly, this is one of the most dry eyeliner formulas that I have come across in a long time. Straight out of the packaging, it dragged across my eyelids and required a lot of build up to come somewhat close to the website photo. The pigmentation is really lacking. It is, on the bright side, super full of gold sparkle, so they got that part right. Part of me feels that, again, I may have gotten a bad tube here because, again, the reviews are so good on Ilia’s site. Also, this pencil, dryness aside, may be better suited for someone with a more fair complexion than me.

I did not use this more than one or two times because I am not a fan of dragging a pencil along my eyelids. I also tried to apply this from the eyeliner stick with an eyeliner brush and was unsuccessful with that as well, probably due to the dryness of the product. Applying a primer underneath did not improve the application or pigmentation. The good news here is that Ilia has recently released a gel eyeliner pencil and the very notion of gel sounds smooth and hydrating, so my interest is piqued!

Clean Rating: 3 (EWG Skin Deep)

Would I repurchase? No. But I may look into the Ilia gel pencil liner.

9) ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara in After Midnight

I’m saving the best for the last here! This mascara has finally made me forget about my tried-and-true, not-so-clean duo (Lancome Lash Primer + CG Clump Crusher). This is a formula unlike any other that I’ve tried in the past – it has an almost waxy/soft quality which, combined with the multi-length plastic bristles, really separates, lengthens and volumizes my lashes. It adds curl to my otherwise straight lashes and really opens up my eyes.  I haven’t experienced any issues with flaking or smudging, yet this removes without any issue with my oil double cleanse.

The brush really allows me to flare out my outer lashes to get that fanned, flirty look. I started using this mascara about a month ago and it’s been amazing from the moment I opened it til now. No sign of drying or any formula changes yet. I feel more confident sans eyeliner because my lashes are so bold. The black color is super rich and I’ve been using this on my lower lashes without any smudging as well. This formula does not claim to be water proof or water resistant, but I have cried while wearing this and the only thing I noticed was that my lashes clumped together a bit. I was actually able to correct that with the wand afterwards.

I’m a total mascara junkie/lash-a-holic, so you know I’ll be trying more, but at this point in time, this has become my favorite mascara of all time and I strongly recommend that everyone try it! Soft, fanned, bold lashes for the win!!

Clean Rating: 3 (Think Dirty)

Would I repurchase? I did – I’ve got my second tube on stand by.

Overall thoughts on the brand – Ilia products can be a bit hit or miss, but the hits are true hits!! The best part about makeup retailers today is that you can try things out and return if something doesn’t work out, so take advantage! I do think that in many ways, Ilia is brown-girl friendly with a wide range of base makeup shades and the variety/pigmentation in their multi-stick/color haze shades.  I do also want to check out their foundation and setting powder and report back. I do wish, however, that they would re-evaluate their twist-up product packaging and feature more true product swatches on their site.

What has your experience with Ilia been like? Anything that I just have to try or stay away from? Let me know in the comments!!

Cheers!

Maneesha

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