Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02

Foundation for Fair Skin | Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02 – Review

foundation for pale skin: illamasqua skin base foundation in 02

Last week I was reminded that I hadn’t yet written about my most recent adventures in the “foundation for pale skin” quest, by reviewing Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation 2. The reason for that is simple: it’s that, I’m lazy about a week after I bought this, it was resigned to the back of a drawer, where it remained until this week, when I realised my other foundations were all about to run out, and it was either this or nothing.

From that, you can probably work out the direction this review is headed, but I’m going to kick it off on a positive note, and talk about the colour:

Illamasqua Skin base foundation in 02 - swatch

This is actually only the second lightest shade Illmasqua Skin Base comes in (the fact that it’s called ’02’ rather than ’01’ provides a handy clue to that…), but as the very palest shade is a pure white, this one is the palest of the actual skin tones. And whaddya know, it’s actually pale: in fact, it’s possibly the palest foundation I’ve tried apart from the now-defunct Dainty Doll. Actually, the first time I dispensed this onto my hand, I was a little worried that it was going to be TOO pale, but it turned out to be pretty much the perfect match on my face, and those are words I don’t often get to type.

Foundation for pale skin swatches Actually, the first time I dispensed this onto my hand, I was a little worried that it was going to be TOO pale, but it turned out to be pretty much the perfect match on my face, and those are words I don’t often get to type.

So that’s the good news. For the next stage of this review, allow me to quote from the back of the bottle:

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Shade: 02. This easily blendable formula effortlessly creates a perfect complexion. Suitable for all skin types, it smooths, softens and conditions your skin while providing natural, buildable coverage. The ultimate ‘skin realism’ foundation.

Now, I’m going to have to take issue with, well, ALL of that, basically. Let’s break it down:

“Easily blendable formula”

Not so much, no. I’ve tried applying this with a couple of different brushes, and with my fingers, and I don’t find it particularly easy to blend with anything. I get the best results from a flat foundation brush, but it’s definitely not the easiest to blend, even when used in conjunction with lots of moisturiser and primer. Next!

“Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation 2 effortlessly creates a perfect complexion”

Only if by “perfect complexion” you mean “a kinda cakey, uneven complexion,” because that’s what it gives me. I WILL give them the “skin realism” bit, though, because honestly, this doesn’t really seem to make my skin look that much better than it does without it. This is partly my own fault: I normally go for fairly high-coverage foundations, and bought this purely for the colour match, ignoring the fact that Illamasqua have marketed it as their take on a BB cream. I don’t have a BB Cream to compare it to, but it doesn’t give me the same coverage as most of the foundations I’ve tried. With that said, I’ve noticed that it looks better after it’s been allowed to set for a few minutes than it does immediately after application, so at least that’s something.

“Suitable for all skin types”

OK, so I obviously can’t speak for ALL skin types, but I CAN speak for mine, which is oily on the t-zone and normal everywhere else. This product does nothing to hide the shine on the forehead, and looks a bit cakey on my cheeks and around the nose and corners of the mouth. I suspect that if you have dry skin, that effect would be greater, but that’s just conjecture on my part: everyone is different, what works for me might not work for you, blah, blah, blah.

“Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation 2 smooths, softens and conditions your skin”

Not that I’ve noticed. On the plus side, it hasn’t had any negative effects on the condition of my skin – there have been no breakouts or other nastiness. I can’t say I’ve seen any real improvements either, though, but again, that might just be me. Finally:

“Natural, buildable coverage”

Not really. I’ve tried to build up the coverage, but it seems to look more or less the same no matter what, so I’m going to disagree with that one, too.


If you made it through the above, you’ll be unsurprised to know that this won’t be a foundation I’ll purchase again: as I said, I’m using it at the moment only because my other foundations are almost done, and I haven’t gotten round to replacing them yet. Because I don’t like being too negative about products, though (I… start feeling sorry for them. Yes, I know that’s weird.), allow me to repeat my disclaimer about how everyone’s skin is different, and there being no such thing as a “one size suits all” foundation.

I read a ton of reviews of Illamasqua Skin BAse Foundation 2 before purchasing it, and they were really divided: some people absolutely love it, others have much the same reaction I did, so go figure. As I said, I decided to buy it anyway, because it’s so hard to find foundations pale enough for my skin, and I’d heard enough good things about the shade of this one to hope I’d be in the “love it” camp. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case for me, but if you’re looking for a pale foundation, and think this might be a decent colour match, I’d say give it a shot, but ideally try and get a sample from an Illamasqua counter rather than spending £28 on it. You know, like I did…

If you DO want to just jump right in and buy it, meanwhile, you’ll find it here. Enjoy!

Related: The Best Foundation for Pale Skin | Tips for people with fair skin

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  • Quick review of Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in 02 : #paleskin #makeup #scottishbloggers

    March 21, 2014
    • Sheila


      I use the skinbase 2 as an undereye concealer. it works great for that. on my whole face i was less than impressed.

      September 3, 2015
  • Amber-Rose


    I bought this based on colour, and it is the perfect colour, but I had the same reaction as you to it. I have combination skin, really dry in some areas but a really oily t-zone. It was cakey, it dried my skin out, it didn’t blend, it just kind ‘sat’ on my skin and looked awful.

    I’m using NARS now and it’s really be best foundation I’ve ever used. I don’t think I’ll ever buy anything else.

    March 21, 2014
  • I’m desperate to find the perfect foundation for ghostly pale faces. I’m using Deauville by Nars, but it’s a little too yellow toned and requires some serious blending. I’m looking at other shades from them but I’m so torn between which ones to choose. Hopeless beauty blogger over here.

    March 21, 2014
    • Liz in Paris


      I used Deauville at one point too and also found it too yellow as well as a bit too dark. I hate throwing away products though, so I mixed it with a blob of ordinary moisturiser. That did the trick and allowed me to use it all up. A bit less coverage but a much better colour. Nowadays I use Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturiser in Extra Light or Laura Mercier TM in Porcelain – both are a perfect match for me.

      March 21, 2014
  • Carys


    Oooh I love pale foundation reviews (currently obsessed with reading about Nars Sheer Glow/Matte in “Siberia”….but can’t bring myself to buy it without dabbing some on my jaw first).

    Funnily enough, this is my every day foundation! However, I hate hate hated it to begin with. Shocked by its crapness, in fact. Especially when I have some lovely foundation brushes! However, I discovered that gently patting it on with a sponge (and I hate sponges) made it look absolutely bloody wonderful. Which was a revelation, to say the least. It also means the bottle didn’t look at me accusingly every time I opened my make up case, and tut at me for spending so much on a product I couldn’t use… most of my make up case.

    If the sponge doesn’t work, maybe mix a dot with your favourite foundations to use it up? So yours doesn’t look at you reprovingly too 🙂

    March 21, 2014
      • Carys


        I always haaaaaaated sponges – too small, fiddly, a complete faff – and then tried a Real Techniques one in Boots one day, and fell in love! Think the material is different to your every day sponge. On the foundation though, there is nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect colour but the formulation just not working with your skin. I envy people with “standard” skin tones being able to pick all these foundations with amazing properties, so unjust!

        March 22, 2014
  • Amy


    Have you tried YSL Touche Éclat foundation in Beige 10? We seem to be a similar pale pink shade, and that one has been working very well for me when I use it with a BeautyBlender sponge. I’ve also been stalking MUFE Face & Body Liquid Makeup in Pink Porcelain 38 on the Sephora website because a few people have suggested it to me, but it’s perpetually sold out.

    March 22, 2014
  • Hollie


    Exactly the same thought from me as well! I love the Illamasqua rich liquid foundation which is quite hard to work with but. I hated this.

    Have you tried Rimmel Match Perfection? 010 Light Porcelain is pretty much a perfect match for me and it is without a doubt the palest highstreet foundation you will get. Rimmel have also recently launched their Wake Me Up foundation in the same shade.

    Match Perfection is definitely worth a try, I now like it better than my Nars Sheer Matte in Siberia.

    March 24, 2014
  • Janean


    Hi there! First off let me say I am brand new to this blog and it is such a gem! I’m from Canada but my fiance is from Yorkshire, so I have a real love affair for Northern England and Scotland.

    In regards to foundations I go with Clinique.  I use their “superbalanced makeup” in “32 Breeze (N)” which I’m pretty sure is one up from “-63 Sheet of Paper (OMG).” I honestly have the palest skin of anyone I know (and I know A LOT of people) and this colour looks very natural on me. I also have combination-oily like you described with a shiny T-zone and normal elsewhere.

    And although not a foundation, Clinique’s CC Cream in very light is a very nice base (or great for a light look). I know I sound like a Clinique rep, but I swear to you truthfully I’m not. When you find something that works you want to share it with everyone! But the fact of the matter is I do get that everyone is different. I’m always scoping out make up and skin care so I feel like if I can help at least one other person (even if it’s because I’m blatantly wrong – sorry in advance!!) it’s worth it!

    March 30, 2014
  • Kirsten


    Finally, someone else who doesn’t think this is the greatest foundation to ever exist! I have very oily skin and I find Skin Base really doesn’t help this. I have to top up with powder about every hour or so when I wear it. Also, for someone with Rosacea and a very uneven complexion, I personally don’t find the coverage that great. It’s also hard to blend as you mentioned, and can look quite ‘streaky’ in places. I do however quite like it when mixed with Illamasqua’s Rich Liquid foundation, as Rich Liquid is very heavy duty and can be quite dry on its own.

    April 3, 2014
  • Kirsten


    p.s. Makeup forever also have a good range of shades, their Mat Velvet + in Alabaster is about the same colour as skin base 2 although I find it quite similar to Skin Base in that it’s not very easy to blend and doesn’t give me enough coverage. They do have a few other formulas though that may be worth a try.

    April 3, 2014
  • Fiona


    As a fan of Dainty Doll I’ve been having trouble finding foundation for pale skin as nowhere seems to stock it anymore, but on a trip to my local Tesco I just had a cursory look at the makeup ranges they stock (it’s always in the back of mind that maybe, just maybe there might be a nice new pale colour in stock) and for once there actually was! It’s actually the palest I’ve found at a supermarket/high street shop as they usually only have a select tonal range in the area of Scotland I come from and also in the price range that I can afford. It’s by Rimmel London and called ‘Match Perfection’. It’s SPF18 and the colour is 010 Light Porcelain. As always I Tried a bit of the tester and under the generic orangey shop lights thought ‘hmmm it looks ok now but I bet in natural lighting it will be orange’ but as it was only £5.50 I though I’d just go for it and I’m glad I did. It’s quite light coverage but it can be built up and I found that with my problem skin – an annoying combination of dry/oily skin with achne particularly along my jawline and top of my neck which makes blending quite tricky – this foundation was a really good match, the closest I’ve managed to get in so long. I often found that after wearing foundation my achne gets worse which was why I only started wearing it occasionally but with this one my skin stayed the same with no increase in spots or redness in existing ones. Granted it is quite a watery consistencey which doesn’t help the shine factor but with my skin any brand that states that it mattifies never does so it’s an issue I’ve come to terms with. Also I found over the course of the day they colour seems to adapt more to my skin tone making it look more natural and less ‘painted on’ so that it was almost unnoticable where i had blended on my jawline and top of the neck area. This product probably will not be to everyone’s taste and as I’m not a makeup artist or particulary gifted in applying makeup there’s no doubt there are other foundations a lot better but for the availability and the price I really think this is a good day time foundation that could be used to build up coverage for a good night time look too! Just thought I’d share as none of my friends (or anyone I know for that matter!) has pale skin and so don’t have my foundation issues!

    May 11, 2014
  • Khadija


    Hi, I know its been a couple months sorry but I just wanted to say something that I think is quite important, in the deciding factor of this foundation. I’m quite late to the party but, I went to an Illamasqua counter in Selfridges today and skin base was applied on me. Hydra veil which is a primer I think was used first, and after that skin base in shade SB10.
    I have an oily T zone and a slight dry patch on my cheek, but elsewhere is normal. It was applied at half 1 and I removed it at about quarter past 9 and it stayed all day. It was an extremely hot day today and it didn’t melt or get streaky or look cakes or anything. In fact it was a beautiful finish.
    The Illamasqua assistant did say to me that a highlighter brush must be used for the foundation to provide the full effect. I mentioned to him about using a beauty blender and he vehemently disagreed and advised not to, as it wouldn’t apply properly. I asked whether any highlighter brush could be used and he replied that he used the real techniques brush but it didn’t give the same effect. Of course I know that they must try and sell their products to us, but I felt that this was the best foundation I have ever worn and I’ve previously used Dior air flash, Mac, Benefit, Bare minerals and many others.
    Sorry for the long comment.

    July 23, 2014
  • Lisa


    Umm, I am guessing your skin is less oily than mine, which is perfectly nice while it means foundations like illamasqua wouldn’t be so comfortable. I wonder what you did with the rest of the bottle of foundation? If anyone has illamasqua 02 lying around somewhere that you don’t like, I’d gladly pay the postage and then some for it. I’m a student so I’m gonna be on that wonderful student budget for the next few years haha.
    I found illamasqua as one of the few that didn’t look orange on me and it’s pretty good for filming music videos for fun XD I actually quite like being pale (anyone else? 🙂 ), sadly the mainstream shops don’t sell makeup to suit pale skin. Thanks Fiona for the info I might try the Rimmel match next, I’m only starting out on using foundation and have little idea so far.

    September 18, 2014
  • Freya Lewis


    How I wish I’d read this review before I bought the foundation!! I’m pale but I wanted a heavy duty foundation to cover the uneven redness in my skin so I eventually spent over £30 on this in the same shade as yours… totally agree with what you said, it just DOES NOT BLEND! I can constantly see the foundation on my forehead and around my nose. 02 is a little bit too pale for me so I think sometimes (and only sometimes) the foundation makes my skin look quite glow-y and bright if I put it only where you’d put highlighter- but not exactly what you want from a foundation! I want to make a better purchase next time so will be reading all of your blog posts about pale skin (I have only just found you haha!)- glad I’ve discovered them before I make another disappointing buy!

    August 6, 2015
  • Alexis


    I have this makeup in the white 01 color, and for daily wear I mix it evenly with either my MAC studio fix in NW 10, or my Clinique perfectly real in 01. I also use it alone as a highlighter under my eyes and through the center of my face. I have loved it and get nothing but compliments when I’m wearing it. I’m surprised by all the negative reviews. I have severe acne and acne scaring as well as rosacea (so I prefer full coverage) and my skin is combination (oily in t-zone, dry cheeks). Most of the white makeups that I find aren’t full coverage and only barely lighten up the color. But this really lightens the color as well as provide coverage. It has a soft matte finish, which I prefer. I use a regular foundation brush to apply, its incredibly pigmented so you don’t need much, and then a duo fiber buffing brush to blend into the skin.

    January 7, 2016
  • Cait


    Just came across your review after looking at some other foundation reviews for pale people like you and I.
    I thought I’d just give you my thoughts/experiences. I’ve tried a lot of foundations to attempt to get a good colour match and Illasmasqua has and always will be one of my favourites. I find that applying it with a damp beauty blender, or that type of sponge, makes it look absolutely flawless. Personally I dabbed dots of it around my face using my finger and then blended with a damn real techniques sponge and I always got a lot of compliments on it! It also enables you to build it a bit better if you want too and completely gets rid of the cakey-ness you get with trying it with a brush. It’s not that mattifying of a foundation though so something like Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation might work better for you, or might be worth trying to get a sample of, because they do a similar shade but the foundation is completely different. Also apologies if you’ve already tried it/reviewed this foundation!

    February 23, 2016