Sarah Vine reviews Il Makiage, the highly-pigmented, affordable makeup line taking Instagram by storm
Make-up is very often a sign of the times. Revlon’s vampish varnish captured the golden age of Hollywood, Estee Lauder was the epitome of understated New York elegance, Mary Quant and Biba painted the Swinging Sixties; Max Factor, Elizabeth Arden, Maybelline and Bourjois dominated the Seventies and Eighties.
The Nineties saw the rise of make-up artist led brands such as Bobbi Brown and MAC, paving the way for the likes of Hourglass, Stila, Laura Mercier and, of course, the mighty Charlotte Tilbury who, it was reported this week, is on track for a payday of as much as £500million if and when she finally sells her celebrity-driven brand.
Over the past few years, one new factor has dominated the cosmetics industry: the rise of the social media influencer. It’s what made Kylie Jenner the world’s youngest billionaire and it’s what drives countless make-up videos on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. The internet is positively awash with people pouting their way, for better or for worse, through tutorials, each one hoping to hit the big time.
Il Makiage is a new make-up brand that taps directly into this huge global trend. On the website you can shop by ‘talent’, scrolling through different influencer looks until you find one you like, before clicking on the relevant products. It’s fun and very funky, and the looks are highly individual, ranging from the outrageous to the conventional via almost everything in between.
If you love make-up, you will love this site - and you will also love the products. Because even though it's designed to appeal to youthful exuberance, the make-up itself is actually deadly serious, of the very highest quality and suitable not just for the smoothie-chops influencers of this world but also for crabby middle-aged mums like myself who really need to up their Zoom game.
The first item of note is the No Filter Poreless Base Smoothing Primer , £28. Since lockdown I’ve not been able to access my usual twice-yearly dose of anti-frown botox, with the result that my expression is becoming gradually crosser and crosser. This velvety, matte almost-paste acts like a soft-focus lens, subtly but undeniably blurring those unflattering vertical lines between the brows and providing the perfect base for concealer.
Other show-stoppers include the eyeshadow quartets, aka Colour Boss Squad , £33, and the Mineral Baked Blush , £29. The former are super high quality and very easy to apply, since the texture is so smooth and the pigment so even there is very little chance of making a mistake. They blend beautifully and last just as well. The pressed powders are beautifully fine and if you wet your finger and sweep it over the shadow it transforms into the finish of a cream without the creasing. You could easily make it into an eye gloss with a bit of balm. The Real Deal palette has a Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk vibe about it, just with bigger pans and a weightier compact mirror.
The blusher is just straightforwardly gorgeous, again superb quality and beautiful pigments that deliver a natural-looking flush of colour that endures.
The Infinity Long Wear Matte Lip Creams , £20, are available in 27 punchy shades ranging from pops of lilac to subtle oranges and feel like NYX's iconic Soft Matte Lip Cream to wear – comfortable, soft and non-drying. They're highly pigmented, don't bleed into the little creases and don't crack either.
For fans of a cheekily named product, the F*ck I'm Flawless Concealer , £24, will be a sure-fire hit. Available in 30 shades it's longwear, lightweight and a dab hand at covering dark circles.
The one product I haven’t yet tried is the I Woke Up Like This Foundation , £36. I’ve always been wary of buying foundation online but Il Makiage have an online questionnaire, which I did twice just to be on the safe side. It asks your preferred method of application, your skin type and a set of questions to determine your exact skin tone and find the perfect foundation for you.
If you’re looking to present a sleeker face to the world from the safety of your lockdown laptop, then Il Makiage doesn’t disappoint.