31 July 2009

Illamasqua and Sephora Launch!

I cannot describe how excited I am to hear the feedback from the online New York based community after they have had their swatching frenzy at the first ever Illamasqua stand in the United States of America!

You have to tell me all about it guys, as I unfortunately can't be there. Two of our international artists, Daniel and Adam - will be there to encourage everyone to unleash their alter egos and celebrate their individuality! Photos to be posted soon!

30 July 2009

Impulse Swatch!

Influenced by the changing weather [ie monsoon followed by blinding sunshine] I considered how my make-up this morning [bright lip, peachy blush and dewy skin] suddenly didn't seem to fit when it began to rain [for some reason, I always wear more make-up when it's miserable outside and then just seal it all with Sealing Gel...]

So I roped Lucy into helping me pick out some blushers that are great for sunny weather and some blushers that are perfect for the more overcast days...


I love Cream Blushers for warmer weather as they reflect light beautifully and give a lovely dewy sheen to the skin. I cannot live without Cream Blusher in 'Rude' [see below] which is a warm apricot/ pink. If you do not own this blush and are of similar colouring to me - you must! Sorry about the product photo, too - you can see this is a favourite at HO!

Here is Lucy modelling her favourite blusher for when the sun has got his hat on - Cream Blusher in 'Sob'. This is a light but bright blue pink that turns almost mauve when used with a light touch.


I tend to stick with matt Powder Blushers when the weather takes a turn for the worse as I like to add shimmer of sparkle to my eyes or lips. I really like the effect of Powder Blusher in 'Beg'. Sehpora.com describes this as a 'muted warm rose'- love that description! It warms up pale/ medium complexions really nicely. I have used it quite sparingly below - you can see how warm it can get in the product picture below, although in reality it actually looks slightly duskier.

Lucy looks great with a bit of sculpting with Powder Blusher in 'Create' - it gives a lovely matt beige contour and if, like me, you do not like bronzers with any hint of shimmer or sparkle, then you could give this a try...

For a flash of unexpected colour, try Powder Blusher in 'Sin'. This is a deep violet shade but can be blended out to a mauve/ pink finish. I think 'Sin' is one of those unique colours that would work on pretty much every skin colour depending on how it is used!

28 July 2009

Illamasqua Icons: Karen O

Lucy, our Product Development intern, has chosen Karen O as her beauty icon.

We are all massive fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's at Head Office [we frequently have the amazing 'It's Blitz!' playing through the speakers] and their lead singer, Karen O, has become a style revelation with her unusual half polish, half korean looks and unmistakable voice.

With her dark, tom boy hair cut and pale skin she can pull of a variety of make-up looks but tends to rock her trademark red lip.

To recreate a Karen O look, prep your skin with Matt Primer + SPF20 to help even out skintone and lightly mattify oilier areas. This will also allow your foundation to sit on top more evenly and achieve that flawless finish that Karen O has. For a nod to the 80s, apply a contour colour [Illamasqua has a great selection of contour specific Powder Blushers for all skin tones] such as 'Mischief' Powder Blusher just under the cheekbone to define and sculpt.

This is a very matt look, so dust some Loose Powder in '010' for a translucent finish to the skin. Add a little more to the lips to help lip products 'grab' on. Line lips with Medium Pencil in 'Spell', a gorgeous, rich pillar box red and fill in with Intense Lipgloss in 'Besotted' for a rich, edgy red that is both intense in colour and juicy in finish.

Line all around the eyes with Fine Pencil in 'Classic' which is a lovely dove grey and then smudge with Illamasqua Eye Liner Brush to break up the line and give it a Rock N Roll edge. The look is very matt, so try Powder Eye Shadow in 'Incubus' all over the lid and contour under the lashes and in the crease of the eye socket with Powder Eye Shadow in 'Lestat', a very buildable matt black.

Three coats of Volumising Mascara in 'Harness' will give you dark, fluttering lashes and apply a touch of Sealing Gel with your Eye Liner Brush around the lash lines to give the colour ultimate staying power. Add some False Eye Lashes in '17' if you want maximum impact.

24 July 2009

The Ultimate Foundation Swatch: Part 1 [Rich Liquid Foundation]

Ever since I can remember, I have received at least five emails a week [more like a five day now] from customers asking me if I can match them up to a Foundation shade - either based on another brands colour or by them telling me something along the lines of "I have pale skin, blue eyes and red hair - any suggestions?" Erm...

So to attempt to eradicate this problem I am going to set up Ultimate Foundation Swatches.

Welcome to part 1!

This is the Rich Liquid Foundation swatch, starring Crispian and myself...

100 105 120

RLF 100

This is the palest shade we produce. Make no mistake - this is white. And because it is a Rich Liquid Foundation, it will take even the darkest skins down to white without any natural skin colour coming through - perfect for a pure, theatrical alabaster look.

RLF 105

This has a slightly pink undertone, but is still very pale. Gorgeous for a Marie Antoinette look if you slightly deeper in skin tone, but this has been matched to a great deal of people who are thrilled with the result - I know there are a lot of you who have been searching for high coverage foundations to match your pale skin and this is the lightest 'skin' colour we do!

RLF 120

This has a pink-based foundation and still very light. For an idea of comparison to other brands, I have been told that Gossmakeupartist will be looking in to this in the near future!

125 135 140

RLF 125

This is a yellow based foundation with an ash undertone.

RLF 135

This is another yellow based foundation and the colour that Alex Box used on me at the Alex Box Masterclass, if you want an idea on how it looks on me [I am a 215 from day to day!]

RLF 140

Another yellow based foundation that is one of our best selling colours.

145 205 210 215
RLF 145

This foundation is another of our best selling colours - in terms of skin tone it is the same as RLF 140 - the difference being that it is pink-based. This is the last of the cooler tones of Rich Liquid Foundation.

RLF 205

The first of the warmer foundation shades, this is another best seller - a yellow based beige.

RLF 210

This is similar in skintone to 205 but it is pink based.

RLF 215

This is my colour - a pink based, slightly warmer version of 210.

Me with 215 on [Satin Primer + SPF20 on first, then Rich Liquid Foundation buffed on top]

230 240

RLF 230

This is another warmer shade with a slightly ash undertone.

RLF 240

This is the last in our warmer shades and is a deep, almost apricot type hue that is suitable for olive skin tones [I am doing it no justice!]

320 325
RLF 320

The first in the darker shades, this is suitable for olive/ asian skin tones. It is yellow based, but looks like a lovely tan shade. Thanks again to Crispian!

RLF 325

This is a very popular skin colour for black men and women who are quite red based and is one of our best selling shades.

330 335

RLF 330

This still has a red base, but not as much as the 325. It is actually Crispian's match [if he ever chose to wear foundation...!] although on his arm it looks quite dark.

RLF 335

This is another, darker colour that is very warm with slightly blue undertones.

340 345

RLF 340

This is a more red based, deep brown shade.

RLF 345

This foundation is arguably the darkest we do of the skin shades and has no hint of red or blue undertones.

Below are the foundation, in the order stated above, on a black glossy background:


The Rich Liquid Foundation has the highest amount of coverage of any foundation I have ever tried. This makes it perfect for HDTV [it's also called in all the time by press for shoots] as well as being popular with theatre make-up artists.

It can, however, be buffed down to create a less high impact look. I like to apply it after Satin Primer + SPF20 during the day with a Foundation Brush and then buff it in after with the Highlighter Brush for a more natural finish.

If you suffer from redness at all, then it really does wonders at covering it up and means that you can add a pink blusher without feeling overly made up.

I do hope this has helped and I welcome feedback. I will try and do a Cream Foundation and a Light Liquid Foundation next week!

Have a great weekend all.

23 July 2009

Ask An Artist: Halimah

Back by popular demand, I asked Halimah of Selfridges Oxford Street to answer the following question:

I have black skin - I match very well with 325 in your foundations - and am looking for a great Cream Blusher to wear.

"I think that 'Ravish' and 'Devour' Cream Blushers are amazing. Start with the Highlighter Brush just behind the apples of the cheek and the blend outwards, covering the apples and up towards the cheekbones.

'Ravish' is the left shade - a cutesy colour that can be blended out very easily for a barely there hint of colour, perfect for every day.

You can see here how it is very wearable wine shade with red undertones. I have tried to blend out the colour in the swatch so you can see how it would look with a subtle application and a more intense application.

'Devour' is a lot more striking, but looks incredible on skintones that match 325, 330 and 340. This is a soft red with subtle orange undertones.

I also recommend using these colours on the lips - they are very hydrating and dewy!"

To book a lesson with Halimah, call 0207 318 3788. To view her bio, click here.

Guest Editor: Kate, Marketing and Product Director

Kate is currently in New York to oversee the initial training, to meet and greet press and to introduce Illamasqua to the Big Apple...

So, as the New York launch looms, and our National USA launch in October is growing closer, I have been spending time in the USA making sure that everyone who needs to know about Illamasqua knows about it. Monday Jennifer, Daniel and I trained the fabulous and inspiring team that are going to be representing us in Sephora at 5 Times Square. I am so excited about the launch and have confidence in the newest Illamasqua evangelists. In the words of one of the team - we channel Sasha Fierce!

Tuesday and Wednesday I had the pleasure of the company of the people that are in the know in the New York beauty business - the editors and beauty directors at the likes of W, American Vogue (I had a bit of a Devil Wears Prada moment outside of the Conde Nast building!), American ELLE and Nylon. The feedback we have had has been phenomenal - everyone is so excited about our impending launch and they love, love, love our products. Bring on the launch!!!

22 July 2009

Sephora.com Goes Live!

As you are all well aware of by now – and if not, surprise! – Illamasqua officially launched on Sephora.com today.

If you live in the USA or Canada you can now order a great selection of Illamasqua products through this channel.

They also have some great photographs of our products, so if you are unsure of our colour swatches [with I have mentioned in the previous blog post that we are addressing!] then you may find it at sephora.com

There is a great introduction to the brand, from our heritage and influences through to ‘Get The Looks’ in both the core range and the Sirens collection.

We are hugely excited by our overseas expansion and can’t wait to hear feedback from all you beauty addicts stateside!

Let The Swatching Recommence!

Today I went and bought a replacement camera after the sad demise of the last one, so I have a lot of swatch requests to catch up on!

We also have an update on the website swatches - we are working on it. I have asked several people for their feedback [leave a comment below if you have any ideas] on how we can improve it and we are currently in discussions on this topic.

I am looking for a berry coloured lipgloss - please help!

'Berry' has always been a questionable colour shade for me - similar to 'nude' or 'taupe' - it depends on what you define as berry, so I hope that the below helps.

Below is Intense Lipgloss in 'Fierce' - as you can see this is a bold, quite bright purple-plum shade that I think would look great on both porcelain and black skin tones. As you can see, it covers all elements of natural lip colour and replaces it with a very bold purple.

This is a swatch of Intense Lipgloss in 'Move' - one of my favourites. In the photo below it looks a little bluer than it truly is. Again, I think this is a shade that is most impactful on either very porcelain skin or more olive skin tones.

The next photo is with a flash on as I think it does Sheer Lipgloss in 'Tantrum' the best justice - it really enhances the slight shimmer aspect of the gloss and is a very fresh purple/ pink with plenty of pigment for a sheer lipgloss! I also find this is very buildable, and looks lovely over bright pinks to 'tone them down' a little, or if you just want to add a bit of sparkle.

It remind me of Boysenberry butter [see below]!

The last berry I wanted to show you is Lipstick in 'Resist'. I know this isn't a Lipgloss, but it's my favourite lip colour at the moment and a really great transitional colour - by that I mean it looks bright and fresh with a Summer tan but also has that wine/ berry undertone that would make it really great for Autumn.

Illamasqua Loves Diamonds [And Marina of course!]

As I reported last week, Marina and the Diamonds played a set at the Sanderson Predicts event at the exclusive Sanderson hotel in London.

My friend and I headed down after work to catch the set and met Halimah, who had created the look for Marina that night. After a cocktail or two in the Long Bar [order the 'Sweet Thing' - at £11 it's not cheap but its a delicious concoction of crushed strawberries, vanilla vodka and apple juice - yum] we grabbed a spot near the make-shift stage in the garden area ready for Marina to make her appearance.

And what an appearance it was. I was unfamiliar with her music before the set, but I cannot stop downloading her tunes now - I am especially loving 'I Am Not A Robot'. Watch the video here - it was shot by Rankin and is a really edgy video.

Marina appeared wearing a tight fitting American Apparel dress [with a fabulous Pollock-style art print that I adored] and spun through her tracks such as 'Seventeen', and 'Mowgli's Road' before finishing with a storming cover of Gwen Stefani's 'What you waiting for' and the next single 'I am not a Robot'. The rain was beating down on the roof of the garden, but this just added to the atmosphere as Marina unleashed her sultry, yet unexpected, astonishing voice upon a mix of industry types, skinny-jeaned cool kids and the Long Bar regulars.

After the set I had a quick chat with her and she loved the make-up that Halimah did for her. She was really friendly and down to earth and was looking forward to staying in the Presedential Suite that night!

I spoke to Halimah about the look she created: "Marina wanted something that was going to be high impact, with a smoky eye and big, fluttering lashes [I used False Eye Lashes 16]. I prepped her skin with Satin Primer + SPF20 to give a dewy glow with Cream Foundation in 215 on top and Cream Blusher in 'Promise' to enhance her fresh faced appeal and a touch of Cream Blusher in 'Lies' for a subtle highlight.

I used Cream Eye Shadow in 'Delight' for a pinky nude base and layered on Pure Pigment in Marvel for a yellow gold shimmer with Liquid Metal in Solstice for a bright, impactful look. I then shaded into the crease and along the lashline with Powder Eye Shadow in 'Never' - a gorgeous navy blue. I followed this with the lashes and then applied Eye Liner Cake in Mislead along the lash line and flicking it out at the ends for a cat-like look.

I used the Eye Brow Cake 'Thunder' to create a dramatic brow to mirror the smoky eye idea and finished with a dusting of Pure Pigment in Furore under the brows, in the corner of the inner eye and along her arms for some champagne coloured shimmer. Her lips were finished with a touch of Cream Blusher in 'Promise' and topped off with Sheer Lipgloss in 'Soul' for a shimmering, pinky nude compliment to the strong eye look."

Sanderson [and Illamasqua!] predicts big things for this girl and with her album launch in January 2010 she is definitely one to watch. She also has a blog! marinaandthediamonds.com. Follow this link to see her thoughts on Illamasqua!

20 July 2009

Jingle Bells!

Selfridges is a great, if surreal, world. Last week I went along to a Christmas event for an assortment of media press, where brands show their latest collections/ ideas for Christmas. Walking into a room with Christmas trees and tinsel in the middle of July is a strange experience!

We had one of our fabulous nail contributors, Lucie Pickavance, demonstrating the Autumn Winter nail collection [which is looking amazing... we have the photo shoot for this at the end of the month! I'm hoping to take a video camera along to give you all a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a beauty campaign!] and the beauty press were raving about all our nail varnishes.

If you have been hiding under a rock, you may not have noticed how many rave reviews we have recieved about our nail varnishes, and I'm thrilled to announce that nearly all of them will be available to buy in Sephora and Sephora online!

What colours do you think we haven't covered in our collection that you would be dying to see?! My personal vote is a bright, almost neon sky matte blue. What say you?

**Thanks to Vampyvarnish and Temptalia for the swatches: yellow = Wayward, blue = Phallic [especially for Vela!] and gold glitter = Spartan**

16 July 2009

A Day In The Life

It just wouldn't be possible to come up with a job description for my role at Illamasqua.

I am currently looking like Jill Masterson in Goldfinger. Want to know why? Well, it goes something like this...

Alex and Katie alone in office working on various tasks.

Phone rings. It's our PR agency. Top fashion magazine wants to shoot Liquid Metal 'Solstice' for up coming feature. Deadline 6pm. Alex looks at clock. 5:20pm. This could be tight, thinks Alex.
Alex rummages around Press samples -No Solstice.


Alex rummages around product development samples - No Solstice.


Alex rummages around desk [you never know...] - No Solstice.

Panic. Quick, think.. Artist kit! Solstice... with large finger dents. Covered in Pure Pigment.


Katie gets tweezers and picks out pigment particles. Great, but still lumpy.


Katie suddenly remembers there is a hairdryer in the meeting room... Worth a shot. Hold hairdryer over Solstice until it begins to melt [which makes it looks incredible, by the way!] and suddenly it looks like new. New problem - it's now bloomin' liquid.


Katie points out that we have a fridge. Solstice goes into fridge until three minutes to 6. Nicely solid, looking like new. 30 seconds later courier rings doorbell. Alex drops off Solstice to courier.

Disaster averted. Smug looks exchanged between Katie and Alex.

The End.

OK - so it wouldn't have been the end of the world, but it's just been one of those days where that little sense of achievement goes a long way :-)

Sanderson Predicts

Tonight we are sending our gorgeous Selfridges Oxford Street artist Halimah to the Sanderson Hotel in London where she will be making up the alter ego of Marina and the Diamonds.

The Sanderson Hotel is hosting a weekly night throughout July that will showcase the best in up and coming British talent. Known as the Sanderson Predicts night, the collaboration with Modular Records [who have Marina and the Diamonds and the super-hyped Little Boots amongst others on their books] takes place in the famed courtyard garden, where guests can sip some of the finest cocktails that London has to offer in a unique setting.

I'll give you the goss from the event tomorrow as I'll be heading down after work!

Mizzworthy Makes The Metro!

Great story in the Metro this morning [for all you London Lovelies!] that featured Mizzworthy and our the Illamasqua competition!

For those of you who didn't manage to see it...

15 July 2009

Mascara Update!

Thank you all so much for your feedback in response to my post on the expansion of our Mascara range. Today we received a visit from our component supplier to review possible wands for any forthcoming mascara's that we decide to produce.

After a 90 minute [yes, 90 minute!] meeting on the wands, we have narrowed it down to a few key types.

Next stage? Formulation...

And The Winner Is...

After a grueling day in Paris, Alex Box took a look over the finalists and chose the winner as...

Cat from Swirledpeacat.blogspot.com - Alex thought her ideas "were soft and mythical and the more she works at her ideas, the better she will become."

Cat has won a fantastic prize of:

1 x liquid metal in the shade of her choice
1 x bronzer in the shade of her choice
1 x nail varnish in the shade of her choice
1 x Sirens Shadow Quad
1 x Powdered Metal in the shade of her choice

Alex loved Piggy's entry, explaining that the "execution was fantastic and I can't wait to see her imagination go even wilder" and Piggy has won the following:

1 x Liquid metal in the shade of her choice
1 x nail varnish in the shade of her choice
1 x Sirens Shadow Quad

Well done winners and thank you all for your entries - the creativity and artistry was extremely impressive and fun!

Make-up should be all about self-expression, having fun and getting creative and it's great to see so many of you embrace that.

14 July 2009

Sirens Event at Manchester - Fallout!

The ever-fabulous Adam from Selfridges Oxford Street travelled up to Manchester last week to launch the new Powdered Metals exclusively at Selfridges Trafford. I spoke to Sharon, the Counter Manager, for her take on the event:

"We hired out the prestigious Dome site in the middle of the Trafford Centre to launch this lovely new product and invited a couple of models along to demonstrate it.

We figured that since these three products have been developed with a variety of skin tones in mind, we would get a quintessential English Rose-type girl to and a gorgeous olive skinned guy to be our Sirens for the day!"

Powdered Metals have now launched online [click here to buy] and we will be rolling out this demonstration through each of our counters in the near future.