Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers & the genius of their creator, David Horne


I’ve spoken about my love of Illamasqua Skin Base before.

With my girlfriends, on the pages of magazines and with strangers who have asked me to share with them the provenance of my ‘clear glowy skin’. I didn’t think that my devotion to Illamasqua Skin Base could have grown stronger or that the game changing foundation with a shade list that stretched beyond the parameters of popularity and profitability could get any better?

Well it has and it’s thanks to it’s creator, David Horne, who was inspired to produce what Illamasqua describes as:  ‘A tool that can create an entirely new shade or adapt yours to perfection.’ Naturally I went straight to the source to find out more about the product that looks set to become a permanent fixture in my beauty routine and  put in a phone call to the brand’s resident ‘Yoda of Cosmetics’, whose expertise and candor makes me go dreamy about the transformative powers of that most allusive of products- the perfect base, despite having witnessed the launch of approx 2 753 foundations throughout my beauty career.

Gives good base: David Horne stands proudly in front of one his other babies, Illamasqua Skin Base.

Like many creative moments David revealed that the inspiration for Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers came during a visit to New York. ‘About a year ago I was talking to American bloggers about the problems women of colour face when searching for foundations and there was this general sense of not being able to find products with just the right blend of red and ochre undertones,’ explained David who blames pigmentation for coming between deeper skin tones and the perfect foundation match.

‘I started to wonder what it would be like if customers could change the shade of their foundation themselves by simply adjusting the tones? Yes, there are clever products and techniques that make-up artists use to correct colour, but how great would it be for consumers with dark complexions to be able to warm the coldness caused by pigmentation by simply boosting the existing red undertones within their skin?  

On landing back at Illamasqua H.Q David quizzed Illamasqua’s manufacturers and found that the DNA of Skin Base Foundation’s extensive lineup consisted of just four shades of pigment. ‘It blew my mind!‘ admits the make-up artist and Head of New Product Development. The discovery became the blueprint for the set of 4 Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers which customise foundation shades a drop at a time. ‘It’s a bit like the beauty equivalent or ordering at Starbucks,’ jokes David who compares Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers to the vanilla shots, soy milk and chocolate syrup that can transform a standard mug of java into a bespoke cocktail. ‘The individual shades have been designed with specific complexion-boosting properties starting with White which lifts your skin and adds brightness when used on its own or blended into your foundation. Mixing Amber with your base balances uneven olive complexions, while Terracotta around the eyes, hairline and in a donut shape around the mouth (especially good if you have the blue/green tinged pigmentation that’s quite common amongst Nigerian and Somalian skin tones) blurs away dark pigmentation. Finally, if you want to create a subtle contoured finish then Chestnut should be your go to mixer but, like all of the shades, it’s definitely best to visit an Illamasqua counter to have your Skin Base Mixer matched to your complexion…’

* Stay tuned for second part of this post where David dispenses his thoughts and advice on contouring and I put my set of Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers to the test and head over to Instagram to check out swatches.

Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers, complimentary with every purchase of Illamasua Skin Base from 8th May exclusively at Illamasqua counters.


Rihanna, Vogue Brasil, June 2014

Rihanna does a double take with one of two Brazilian Vogue covers that has got us contemplating a pixi crop and searching for our gold hoops.

Summer . Has. Arrived.

Selfridges Beauty Project attempts to untangle the politics of black hair


Detangling the politics, economics and cultural complexities influencing the relationship between black women and their hair may be a challenging proposition, but Intelligence Squared are taking on the loaded subject by hosting a debate at Selfridges as part of the store’s Beauty Project- a six week event celebrating beauty through inspiring events and debates.

The panel of speakers exploring the complicated and often contentious topic include: Labour MP, Dianne Abott; journalist and author, Hannah Pool; writer and commentator, Emma Dabiri and hair stylist and make-up artist, Edee Beau. With beauty philosophies as contrasting as their wraps, weaves and wash and go’s- the speakers will be exploring the motivation and symbolism behind the way we style our hair and asking whether the debate should be brought to an end with hair being allowed to just be hair?

Untangling the Politics of Black Hair looks set to be a lively and popular event, so if you want to join the debate on the 29th May book tickets by following the link.

I’ll be there and tweeting live from the event @justine_knight where you can also follow my musings and get regular blog post updates.

Pretty is annoying and it’s boring. You don’t get any credit for being pretty because it’s what your parents did and what God did so if you can actually do something creative and do something that’s not always easy on the eye, I can appreciate it.