Illuminare, The World's First Liquid Mineral Foundation

Just a few years ago, I'd have automatically assumed that mineral foundations were always loose powders. But we all know it's since changed - recently, the likes of The Body Shop and Maybelline have started transforming these mineral foundations into liquid and cream forms. However interesting, I realised that I'd never stopped to think who was the first to make that shift.

It turns out to be Illuminare, an American brand created in 2000 who are vegan and animal-friendly. Pretty excited at the prospect of what the first ever liquid mineral foundation was like, I was given the chance to take one of their foundations, the Concealing Mineral Foundation, for a test run.

Illuminare Concealing Oil-Free Mineral Foundation with SPF 20


First of all - I love the packaging. It's absolutely tiny and highly adorable - the tube without the spout is the length of my middle-finger, and it's so practical, super light, and easy to control how much comes out.

However, this means you get less for your money. At £21.95 for 15mL, you are getting half the size of most foundations for the typical middle-range price point, which makes this probably the most expensive foundation I own per mL. That being said, it'd be nice if other expensive base products like those from Chantecaille or Hourglass would offer half-sizes so customers can at least give the products a go before they decide if the full size is worth the arm and a leg! But read on, as there's a way to try before you shell out! ;)


I suppose there is a bit of a justification, in the sense that you really don't use much. The coverage is medium to full, and a little really does go a long way - which completely surprised me because my image of mineral foundations, is that they're quite low coverage! If you see the swatch below, the blended swatch took one dot of foundation - the dollop on the left could cover my whole face.

As you can probably tell, the finish is what the package claims to be - semi-matte and very natural. It's very comfortable for people with acne-prone skin as it covers blemishes well, and it also holds in the oils relatively well too. I also found it gave a very smooth finish to my skin. However, it's not quite light-weight and you can definitely feel something - not much - there. But given the coverage, I think this is quite common!

What's also worth mentioning is that unlike most foundations which are matte/semi-matte AND full/medium coverage, this foundation is super creamy, and a dream to blend. This is what usually makes or breaks a foundation for me, but this is really really easy to use and apply. It's so smooth, no tugging, or early drying, and it applies very evenly with either your fingers or a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.


This is where my heart sinks. Sadly, the shade range is is only 6 shades, and most people will have to pick this online. You see where this is going - I've got the wrong shade :( The shade I have is Porcelain, the third lightest which is a few shades too light and also pulls pink - I do realise this doesn't show in the picture. I'd probably recommend Porcelain to NW20-ish shades (I'm currently NC30).

Ranging from lightest to darkest is Alabaster, Florentine Fair, Portofino Porcelain, Sienna Sun, Tuscan Toast. Judging from Porcelain, I believe the swatches online are a bit lighter than the actual products. Although the disadvantage is that you may never see the product before you buy it, the good news is that Cocktail Cosmetics do offer samples of the middle three shades for 50p or even a trial foundation pack for £4.50. Much more risk averse than getting the wrong shade, or shelling out £21.95 for a small amount of foundation.


I love the formula - it's super smooth, the coverage is great (even when it's lighter than my skin!), and the finish is really natural but on the slightly matte side. If you can find a shade that matches you, and you like semi-matte finishes that are still natural, but you also really want that coverage, I think this may be a great one to try.

But again, I highly recommend ordering some samples before you buy this product - it will be worth the extra few quid! I have a feeling that the 'jumps' in between the shades may be quite severe, given there's only 6 shades. Given the high coverage, if the shade and tone isn't right, it can be very disappointing!

Overall, very impressed that this came from the creators of the first ever liquid mineral foundation - it's pretty blimmin' impressive for a first go! I'll definitely be ordering a sample in my next order to Cocktail Cosmetics (watch out for their P&P though, it's a hefty £3.95!) - I feel like I'm missing out on using this foundation! :(

Had you heard of Illuminare?
What are your thoughts on mineral foundations?

You can get Illuminare's products from Cocktail Cosmetics :)


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  1. Inika have had a liquid mineral foundation out for a while. I really want to try the Inika one :) xo

  2. Never heard of the brand.. But I love the whole concept of mineral foundations.. And liquid mineral foundations are even better for my skin type! I once came across Artdeco's liquid mineral foundation which I was keen to check out.. Also youngblood does a lovely one..

    Great post hun.. Thanks for sharing =)


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