Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Illamasqua Week - Shimmer Lipstick in 'Underground'

Firstly i want to start off by explaining that this review doesn't apply to all Illamasqua lipsticks, i've tried others and have had completely different results to what i experienced with this shade. This is the only one i have though (it's not mine, it's claire's but i've worn it enough to review it and she feels the same about it as i do) so i can't review the other colours properly. So this is only a review of 'Underground', not Illamasqua lipsticks as a whole.

Underground is described as a 'iridescent blueberry violet' and has a shimmer finish (the majority of Illamasqua's lipsticks are matte) it is a gorgeous colour, a true pinky violet with almost a blue duochrome. When swatching it at the Illamasqua counter it applied true to it's colour description as a creamy, near opaque duochrome pink-purple. It's truly a gorgeous colour and could easily have been one of my holy-grail products if it applied the way it did at the counter. Because you see, sadly, the actual product does not apply anywhere near as nicely as the tester did in store.

Firstly it is a lot more sheer than it previously looked, going on as a 'wash' or violet shimmer instead of the thick, opaque look that i crave. If I apply more than one layer to try and get it more opaque it starts getting very patchy on my lips. I've found it basically impossible to get it even as well, the formula seems sort of 'dry' which makes it hard to apply, it's not creamy or smooth. And then when it's on i really don't like it either, i find it really, really drying and it just feels nasty on my lips, i instantly want to scrub it off. When i manage to keep it on long enough i don't find the longevity any good, it sort of 'peels' away from my lips, especially where they meet.

Here's how it looks on me:

This photo actually looks better than it does in real life, you can't really see the patchiness in the photo, but you can see that it's not opaque. But bizarrely it swatched opaque!

Other people haven't had the same problems as we did, so we actually thought it might just be from a faulty batch or something. Claire took it back and got it replaced with a new tube (their customer service was really impressive, they just swapped it for a new one, no questions ask, they didn't even ask to see claire's receipt or anything) . She has bought the first one from Belfast about 4 months before she got the replacement, so it seems unlikely it was from the same batch. But sadly we found the replacement was exactly the same.

I have no idea why the tester swatches so much better, i have a theory it might be something to do with the hot lighting on the counters so i might try warming the lipstick a little before applying and see what that does.

I've actually made some videos about this lipstick before, where i'm wearing it so you can see the wear of it after an hour:

Now the packaging, which would apply to all Illamasqua lipsticks. Personally i really like the packaging of this, i think it's very unusual and classy and slightly decadent. It's the same form of shape as the rest of their packaging, a cuboid with edges which gently curl inwards made of shiny, shiny black plastic. It also came in the same box-packaging as the others, black and shiny thin card with cream writing.

All Illamasqua lipsticks cost £15 for 4g (which i think is a pretty standard amount. Mac is £12.50 for 3g) which personally, i would have been unhappy to pay for this specific lipstick. As I said before I have tried some others of their lipsticks, but not extensively enough to review them so i couldn't say whether this price is good or bad value for other shades. There are LOTS of colours I really want to try,  i haven't been put off their lipsticks altogether at all, i just wouldn't recommend this colour. They used to sell 4-colour lipstick palettes on their website and i thought that was an amazing idea, but sadly it's disappeared along with their eyeshadow palettes. I wrote an email to them and they told me that the eye palettes had been discontinued, but their lip palettes hadn't so hopefully they'll come back soon.


  1. Looking at your photo carefully, I can see the patchiness on your lower lip. How disappointing. Have you tried calling their customer service to tell them about your experience?

  2. That's a real shame, it looks a great colour and looked fab in the FOTD you did the other day. x

  3. It is a disappointing day for lip products, it seems. I hate it when the colour is so good but the formula lets it down!

  4. That's a really cool lip color :)

  5. Boo, it looks like it's an awesome colour, shame about the formula :(

  6. Femaleclaws:
    Well we took it back once and they happily swapped it, but i don't know if claire can be bothered to try again. If so i'll let you know how we get on :)

    Sparklz and shine:
    in that look i had a lip gloss over the top which made it less patchy and drying, but then the gloss made it fade even quicker :/

    It's sad isn't it :( Lovely colours that just don't work.

    it is but it don't work properly :/

    my feelings exactly :(


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