Gellin’ Like Magellan With New Illamasqua Gel Colours
Summer beauty routines tend to revolve around convenience, speed, and practicality, with tinted moisturizers and CC creams replacing loose mineral foundations and powders that are likely to melt right off our faces, easy-to-apply lip pencils with crayon-like tips occupying the space in our makeup bags typically reserved for richer and creamier lipsticks, and waterproof cream shadows adding a touch of luster to our lids in lieu of powder shadows blended, layered, and diffused to perfection. Women are, after all, adaptable creatures, and we understand that summertime calls for some changes — not only due to the heat and humidity, but also as a result of changing schedules (kids are out of school, so those of us who are moms are busier than ever and can’t spend an hour or so doing our makeup); an increase in the number of road trips, beach getaways, pool parties, and vacations; and the conditions of our destinations (water parks, for instance, are not the place for mascara that isn’t 100% waterproof!). Just like we tend to eschew powder-based foundations during this season, then, we’re also likely to gravitate toward creamy or gel-based cheek tints instead of standard powder blushes. Perhaps with these considerations in mind, British makeup brand Illamasqua recently released its new Illamasqua Gel Colours ($30 at Illamasqua.com).
Like Tarte’s Cheek Stains or Maybelline New York’s Master Glaze Blush Sticks, these cheek colors come in a solid “stick” form, with each cylindrical tint packaged inside a portable, retractable tube. As with the aforementioned products, all you need to do to apply these is remove the top cap, twist the base of the tube in a counterclockwise direction, wait until the surface of the cheek tint rises to the desired height, and then glide it over the apples of the cheeks and along the cheekbones. For the quickest application, you can roll the tube directly over cheeks and blend with your fingers or, alternately, you can run your index and middle fingers over the surface of the uncapped cheek tint and then dab the color onto cheeks using your fingertips. For a bit more precision, meanwhile, you can use a highlighter brush and glide it over the surface of the cheek tint, then use painterly strokes to apply the color to your face.
So what makes the Illamasqua Gel Colours different from the Maybelline New York Master Glaze Blush Sticks or the Tarte Cheek Stains? Well, the main difference pertains to the Illamasqua cheek tints’ texture. Maybelline’s Master Glaze Blush Sticks tend to have a lightweight but decidedly creamy texture, as do most of Tarte’s Cheek Stains. In contrast, Illamasqua’s solid cheek colors offer greater sheerness because of their delightful gel base. While Tarte does have some gel-based offerings within its Cheek Stain family, these tend to be stickier and more viscous than Illamasqua’s Gel Colours, which are far from gummy, tacky, or gooey.
In terms of performance, the Illamasqua Gel Colours glide onto skin effortlessly, without any need to tug or drag the tube, and the color deposited is sheer and believable but can, if desired, be layered to achieve a greater intensity. The finish, meanwhile, is entirely matter, so that there’s no shimmer left behind. This, of course, is desirable when hoping to lend cheeks a just-pinched rosiness, but those who love glow-y skin might want a bit more sheen.
Below, you’ll find swatches of the two available Gel Colour shades, Charm and Fluster:
While Fluster is described as a “delicate pink,” when it’s first swatched, it can prove a bit intimidating since it looks more like the cerise pink seen on the Bridesmaids movie poster. The same is true for Charm, which is described as a soft “apricot,” but looks like an incandescent scoop of orange sherbet. But the swatches are actually a bit misleading in that, once blended, these shades soften tremendously and do, in fact, become rather subtle and delicate.
As an example, here are two shots of me wearing the Illamasqua Gel Colour in Charm:
As you can see from the photo above, the color has a warm, orange-y tint to it, but it’s very sheer and natural — a far cry from the electric peach shade pictured in the swatches.
Similarly, here’s a photo of me wearing the Fluster shade, which does add a pop of bright pink to cheeks but which, again, is way more muted than you’d assume from staring at the packaged product or checking out swatches.
Both shades are pretty neat, and I do greatly appreciate the gel texture and the weightlessness of these colors. I only wish that there were a greater variety of shades available since I think a golden coral pink would be exquisite. But who knows what the future holds? Perhaps more Gel Colours lurk around the corner!