ILIA's Clean Beauty Products Will Elevate Your WFH Look — Without Feeling Like Makeup

Erica Murphy
·6 min read
Photo credit: Ilia Beauty; Erica Murphy
Photo credit: Ilia Beauty; Erica Murphy

From Best Products

There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.

On trial: ILIA Beauty, a clean beauty brand that combines skincare with makeup

The tester: Erica Murphy, a former makeup connoisseur who's become lazy in this work-from-home world

The Brief: I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've applied makeup for the workday during the pandemic. I'm lucky that I have a pretty casual team and don't feel the need to put on a full face while I'm working at home, but now that we're almost. a. year. into this at-home life, I long to be excited to actually get ready in the morning. ILIA Beauty has given me that motivational spark.

ILIA's beauty philosophy is that makeup and skincare are one and the same, which is why their formulas are made with active skincare ingredients, including SPF. Not only do so many of ILIA's products contain SPF, but they also use what's considered the safest form of SPF, too — Non-Nano Zinc Oxide. It protects against UVA and UVB rays, and the particles aren't small enough to enter your bloodstream. As someone who struggles with red, sensitive, acne-prone skin, SPF is essential for me with anything I put on my face. The brand focuses on daily essentials for the face, lips, and eyes, and some products are dual-purpose, which makes the morning application even faster.

With our resident beauty expert's blessing, I reached out to the ILIA team to see if I could try out a few products that had been intriguing me ever since I discovered them on Instagram. Over roughly a month, I tested six best-sellers in each category and have integrated nearly all of them into my daily routine.

Face

First up in my test was ILIA's Super Serum Skin Tint — this product won beauty awards from both Allure and Byrdie in 2020, and it's garnered more than 2,000 5-star reviews. In my experience with this product, I found that it is heavier than a tinted moisturizer and requires some rubbing in, but I've started mixing it with my face oil in the morning to get my desired coverage. Its formula is oil-free, but it does have moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. It also has niacinamide to help with overall skin texture.

I'll have to admit, I was skeptical of a serum's ability to cover my red skin for a long period of time. However, the formula looked solid from roughly 9 a.m. until the middle of the afternoon, and didn't give me a shiny look on Zoom calls. I do have an oily T-zone, so it's natural for me to see signs of wear with my makeup. After applying the Super Serum Skin Tint, I didn't use any type of setting powder or spray — so using one could help the product last even longer.

Photo credit: Erica Murphy
Photo credit: Erica Murphy

I also tried ILIA's True Skin Serum Foundation, another award winner. It comes in 20 different shades, and the brand offers a free consultation to help you find your perfect match. The texture feels really velvety, and it's designed to blur lines and minimize pores. The foundation offers a little more coverage than the Skin Tint and is designed to be worn over your skincare products.

Probably the best thing about the Skin Serum Foundation is how buildable it is. Many reviewers praise the product for looking like skin and offering more coverage with a second application if needed. I typically avoid foundation because it often feels cakey and clogs my pores, but I happily apply this foundation and love the dewy look it gives my skin.

Eyes

Traditional powder eyeshadow used to be the only product I used on my eyes, but lately I've been really intrigued by liquid and cream varieties. ILIA offers a Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint that truly is a combination of liquid and powder. It's highly pigmented, and if I didn't wash my face every night, I'm convinced it would last for days. I love this product, but it's not something that you can quickly swipe on in the morning. It goes on thick and requires some rubbing to get a more blended look. I recommend starting off easy, building as you go to get your desired color.

Photo credit: ILIA Beauty
Photo credit: ILIA Beauty

One product that is super easy to swipe on in the morning is their Clean Line Liquid Liner. It doesn't smudge, it’s water-resistant, and the felt tip glides on so easily you'll never want to use a pencil again. Even better, it comes off pretty easily with a good makeup remover.

ILIA's Limitless Lash Mascara is another award-winning product, garnering praise from both Allure and Glamour in 2019. But despite all the praise, I just didn't love it. The brush design is thin and has two different bristle lengths: a shorter side to help curl and lengthen and another to lift lashes. If you're like me and prefer a thicker brush, this mascara probably isn't for you, and the different lengths didn't do much for me. However, the formula can be removed with just water to avoid that dreaded scrubbing.

Lips

ILIA's Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil has been my first dabble into a new lip product since before the pandemic, and boy, have I missed it. Lip oils have been popping up more and more thanks to their moisturizing and tinting properties, and ILIA's should be a major player in the product category. The formula uses hyaluronic acid and feels oh, so smooth, not sticky. If you also guzzle water and coffee throughout the day, you will have to reapply to get the original glossy look, but you'll still have a nice tint, even when the oil sinks into your lips.

Photo credit: ILIA Beauty
Photo credit: ILIA Beauty

The newest addition to ILIA's product lineup is their Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask. Launched in early January, it has a nice minty scent that evokes visions of being at the spa. Containing both mango butter and papaya enzymes, the formula is designed to moisturize and exfoliate at the same time. If you've used Lineage's lip mask or good ol’ Vaseline, this will feel much lighter and more like a balm. I've used it throughout the day for added moisture but will probably stick to Lineage for my overnight product.

Closing Argument: ILIA's beauty products might feel like a splurge, but when you think of them as also serving as skincare products, you're really getting two products for the price of one. I've been a Bite and Laura Mercier loyalist for many of my basics, but after this month-long experience with ILIA, I'm making the switch to products that feel and look like skin.

Read more:

A Beauty Editor's Honest Thoughts About Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez

The Best Clean Beauty Brands to Shop Right Now

Everything You Need to Know About Function of Beauty

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