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An Honest Review Of The Il Makiage Foundation Influencers Swear By

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Image – @ilmakiage/Instagram

Do you ever feel like a product is stalking you on social media? And then you eventually just purchase the damn thing, just for a quiet life? Me too. Bravo algorithms, bravo!

For months and months, my Instagram feed was plagued by reels, images and videos of influencers applying products by makeup brand, Il Makiage.

As a beauty journalist and consultant, I talk about makeup and search online for it daily. So the algorithms had clearly been listening.  

Though Il Makiage boasts a full makeup line, perhaps their most popular product is the Woke Up Like This Foundation. It even says on the packaging “the most reviewed foundation online.” And boy did I see video after video of people applying it for the first time, whether I wanted to or not.


Il Makiage's foundation

Image – Courtesy of writer


It’s the usual scene. Bare-faced girl goes to apply her new Il Makiage foundation. The brush sweeps across her face and her expression goes from ‘I’ll be the judge of that’ to ‘wait, what?’.

We’ve all seen it, right? But after about 347 showings every time I scroll through my feed (despite not even following Il Makiage) it starts to get in a little.

I want to be the one that says ‘wait, what?’ Because if this foundation actually does what it looks like it does, I want a piece of it too.


That viral lemon video

One of the many videos forced upon me showed someone painting a lemon with another brand of foundation. As it is applied to the lemon, the markings are still visible and the foundation doesn’t go on evenly or smoothly. 

Next up – you’ve guessed it – it’s the Il Makiage foundation. The lemon markings are completely covered and the finish is flawless. I defy anyone to watch it and not want to try it (the foundation, not the lemon). 

The brand themselves then released their own version of the video demonstrating their makeup primer using the same fruit.


Okay she’s a slay??? #poreltiktok #makeupprimers #makeuphack #foundationhack

? original sound – ?


So, I took the online Il Makiage test to discover my finish and shade and lo and behold, I’d been sucked in. Because apparently if I didn’t like it, I could send it back within 30 days.

But is the product all it’s cracked up to be? How accurate is the online shade finder? And what’s the aftercare like if they allocate you the wrong shade? Keep scrolling to find out.


Taking the quiz

When you go to buy an Il Makiage foundation, you’re taken to a ‘find my shade’ button. Once you click on it, it asks a series of questions about your skin and what you want to get out of your foundation.

I must say, it is the most thorough shade finder I’ve tried because it gets you to check and check again. First it asks you what your skin type is, what kind of coverage you want and the finish you’re looking for. 

Next, it shows you 7 photos of women with different skin tones and asks you to click on the one that’s closest to your own. Once you’ve clicked, it shows you four more. Then three more. And then another three. Like I said, thorough!


Image – Il Makiage


Next it asks you to choose your undertone. It helps to know yours before you take the quiz but whichever one you click on will come up with a checklist of all the things your skin does if you have this particular undertone. So if you choose one and its checklist doesn’t apply to you and your skin, then you can go back and choose a different undertone.

Then it asks if your skin tends to go lighter or darker at this time of year and then shows you another picture. Here, you need to mark where your skin falls on the scale from light to dark. 

Next it’s a few questions about your current foundation and how long you’ve been using it (which in hindsight I think is just them being nosy for marketing purposes), how often you wear foundation, what you use to apply it and what skin prep you do. It then asks you to choose your skin concerns where you can click on however many you like, and finally your age bracket (again – nosy). 

It’s not until you’ve submitted your email address (clever tactic…) that you can find out the shade that’s been selected for you. Mine was the Woke Up Like This foundation in shade #30. Whatever that means, right?! But I was willing to trust the system.


Delivery day

I must say, I was excited for this delivery. The foundation I’d been using for the past few months was lovely, but I had just run out and my particular shade was sold out, so I was ready to try something new. 

I sat down, bare-faced, to apply my Il Makiage foundation and anticipated my ‘wait, what?’ reaction. I even thought about filming it but then thought better of it because as much as I’d like to look like a 25 year old influencer first thing in the morning, I remembered that I’m nearly 41 and, really, those days are over.


Image – @ilmakiage/Instagram


On it went and I mentally prepared for my life to change. It didn’t. But it wasn’t ruined either.


Initial thoughts

The first thing I noticed was that the shade was ever so slightly too light. Damn. But it was passable to wear it for the day and warm it up with a bit of bronzer (it’s January, I’m blonde and I’m in England, I could unfortunately get away with it).

Credit where credit’s due, these online shade finders are clever and I think considering it was pretty much only half a shade too light, we can let this one slide. Plus, I have more on the customer service later.


Image – @ilmakiage/Instagram


So, I went ahead with applying it all over anyway. The coverage was great but let’s just say it didn’t ‘blur’ my skin like it does in the movies (reels).

It’s really not life changing – and to be fair, Il Makiage have never said it is – but the influencers and possible filters reel you in, if you’ll pardon the pun, and get you thinking that it is. (‘Wait, what?’)

It’s not. It’s just a good full coverage foundation. 

Overall though, it stays on for most of the day. And it goes on nice and smoothly too, although I find it easier to dab on with a brush rather than in long strokes because it leaves visible stroke marks. Dabbing it on tends to give more coverage too, although this does mean you’re using more product.

The matte finish is slightly too matte even for my liking so I apply a liquid highlighter over the top which gives me the finish I’m looking for. 


Il Mystery

One thing that does puzzle me though is the finish options. Woke Up Like This foundation seems to be Il Makiage’s only foundation which has a ‘natural matte’ finish – brilliant for my oily skin. 

But, er, there doesn’t seem to be an option for any other finish – at least not on the UK site. Even though the quiz asks what finish I am looking for, what my skin type is and what skin concerns I have.

I even tried taking the quiz again, this time answering the complete opposite of what I’m actually looking for – a luminous finish (instead of matte), that I have dry skin (instead of oily) and that I want to address dry, flaky skin (instead of oiliness and acne.) 

It came up with the same answer. Go figure.


Il Makiage foundation

Image – Courtesy of writer


Unique selling point

I think that despite it being a good (and only good) foundation, Il Makiage’s USP is really its thorough shade finder, the customer care system (which we will come on to) and brilliantly witty communication. 

For instance, in my email telling me my order was on its way, it says “flirting with the delivery person won’t make it arrive any sooner” which is right up my street.

Funny lines like this don’t have anything to do with the quality of the product of course. But it did make me smile and feel as if I could approach them with any queries.

And that I did. They make it pretty easy for you to contact them (unlike other brands – grr). So I emailed them about my shade being too light. I had a response within 12 hours and I was blown away by the service.

They gave me two options – one was to tell them what was wrong with my original shade and to try another one. The second option was to return the product for free. 


Image – @ilmakiage/Instagram


Good customer service right? But what made it great was that if I did decided to try another shade, then I didn’t have to send the original one back – “you can keep it or give it to someone you love – at no cost to you”, the email said. 

What’s more, they would send me my new shade quickly and free of charge. My return period would also restart, meaning I would have another 60 days to return the new one if I needed to. And they threw in a €15 gift card for a future order, “because we hate that we got it wrong the first time.” Erm, ok.

I am seriously impressed with this given that you’re usually not even allowed to send back a foundation that’s had the seal taken off, let alone keep the original and receive a gift card because they only ever so slightly messed up. Nice touch Il Makiage and again, bravo!


The takeaway

Does the amazing customer service make up for my hesitant reaction when I first applied the foundation? Well, it kind of does actually. 

Because the product is still a good product. It was the influencer videos that over-hype it. Il Makiage just go along for the marketing ride, and who can blame them?

The foundation didn’t blow me away but that doesn’t mean I won’t continue using it. I’m happy with a product that covers the bits I need covered, that lasts all day, is (now) the right shade for my skin and that has a customer service team behind it who actually care and want me to be happy with my purchase. 

I just wish they wouldn’t keep thrusting their lemons in my face all over social media because, let’s be real, those results aren’t exactly the results I got. 

But you know what they say. When life gives you lemons, buy a foundation…


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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University
  • Becky


    Philippa – Great post, however I think there is some confusion. The ad with the lemons is an ad for their primer. The primer is meant to be layered under the foundation, which is why in includes foundation as well. Suggest you grab some of their primer and maybe you’ll be able to achieve the blurring effect you’re going for!

    15th January 2024
    • Thank you so much Becky- I’m really glad you enjoyed the article! Philippa does actually mention that this video relates to the primer but thank you for your recommendation- it sounds great! x

      16th January 2024
  • Jamee


    Next time write a review after using the primer and THEN the foundation. Otherwise shouldn’t have brought up the whole lemon ad thing.

    2nd February 2024
    • Thanks Jamee. There are two videos- one with the primer and one without. The point of including the video using the primer was to highlight how the brand themselves embraced the lemon trend around their foundation and then moved it forward. I hope that clarifies things and that you enjoyed the article! x

      2nd February 2024

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