Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint Review
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After a year of eyeing it, this spring I decided to finally try the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40! Ilia has been one of my favorite brands for a handful of years now. I first found them when I made the switch to a more non-toxic lifestyle. I had trouble finding a more natural lipstick that actually had pigment and Ilia was my golden ticket to non-toxic lips without sacrificing color. Since then I have tried a lot more of their product line and fallen in love with them as. a brand even more. Besides their lipsticks, I use their loose powder and multi-stick daily. I typically wear a more heavy duty mascara, but their lengthening mascara is also really good and the best / cleanest option that I have tried.
All that to say, Ilia is not new to me, but their super serum skin tint is! I’ve been using it for about 4 months now and feel like I can finally give you a good review. Keep scrolling for my thoughts on the product!
Nothing Fits But Kiko Dress in Ichika Print (similar more budget friendly options - this one from Lulu’s, this one from Nasty Gal, this one from Amazon) | Custom By Kathleen Necklaces and Earrings | Link x Lou Bracelets
HISTORY OF THE ILIA BEAUTY BRAND
Ilia was founded in 2011 by Sasha Plavsic. She was introduced to a more natural lifestyle by her mother, who helped heal her brother from acute asthma and allergies. After urging Sasha to read the ingredients on her lip balm of choice, she was shocked to learn that ingredients in the product were not safe. This prompted her to look deeper into the industry only to discover that these ingredients were unfortunately the norm. This propelled her to create a brand that was not only safe, but also effective. For this reason you’ll find that safety is at the top of Ilia’s “to-do” list as are skin loving ingredients that actually work.
WHAT IS THE SUPER SERUM SKIN TINT
The Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 is a light coverage mineral serum with suncare and skincare benefits. Packed with SPF 40, it has 12% active non-nano zinc which is great, as zinc is my favorite and most effective form of sunscreen for me personally. A nanoparticle will enter your blood stream, a non-nanoparticle won’t. Also I’ve read that a non-nano zinc shows up white which helps reflect the sun better and help shield you from UVA, UVB, UVC, blue light, and infrared rays. It also touts skincare benefits from hyaluronic acid (hydrates skin and reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles), Niacinamide (improves skin texture) , and Squalane (fights free radicals and signs of aging). All that goodness packed in one little bottle is why they call it as a serum versus a foundation. I also find that is feels like a serum when applying - kind of slippery and such. Essentially use this like you would a foundation or cc cream.
WHAT COLOR I’M WEARING
I am wearing tint 1 Rendezvous, which is very fair with cool undertones.
I felt I had a pretty good grasp of which color I was, but if you aren’t sure, Ilia has an instant shade match quiz or you can actually send their team a selfie and they will match you. I’m typically always the lightest hue possible, which was the case for this, except for now they have in-between shades, so now Skye ST0.5 is technically the lightest. They carry 30 different colors, which is a pretty great array of options.
If you still aren’t happy, they offer exchanges and refunds on gently used products within 60 days of purchasing, minus the cost of shipping. Sephora is similar in the sense that you can get a refund within 30 days or a store credit within 60 days.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SERUM
Buildable. They advertise it as light and I agree that it is, but I also think it is somewhat buildable. Often times I will go back in and spot treat some of my more troublesome areas with an extra dab. If you’re expecting it to be full coverage, it isn’t. Remember that “tint” actually means lighter, whereas “shade” means darker and they aren’t advertising it to be something that it isn’t.
Coverage. I love a more natural look and this serum provides me with a more natural “air brush” look that smooths everything over, but leaves you questioning if my skin is just that good. For me it is the perfect in-between of a tinted moisturizer and a heavy duty foundation.
Application. I like that I can just tap this in with my fingers. It works best this way in my opinion in comparison to having to use a blender or brush. Less is more!
Concealer. Sometimes I actually forget to reach for the concealer when I’m wearing it, because it gives me the optimal coverage I’m looking for. I have a couple red spots that I can’t chemically lighten right now because I’m pregnant, so I will often still dab concealer there and under my eyes for a brighter feel, but that is it!
Bottle. Okay so the bottle it comes in isn’t life changing, BUT I truly appreciate that it doesn’t leak. A lot of times packages with oily-like serums will leak and/or leave rings. This one doesn’t. I will say that I have gotten product on the dropper which is kind of annoying, but I will take that any day over a leaky bottle. I’ve traveled with it and been on several airplanes with no issues.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE ABOUT THE SERUM
Dewy. This was the biggest shock to me. I think I applied too much the first time, but I felt like a wet cat. Applying less definitely helps and you actually don’t need a ton; however, I prefer more of a matte look, so I combat this by dabbing powder on. If I’m going on a hike or to the pool, I’ll leave it as is. They don’t advertise it as matte, so this was really just a personal surprise / nothing they did wrong.
Rubs. The fact that it will rub off is the biggest issue for me. I have never been one of those people whose makeup comes off in a hug, gets on clothing, furniture, or whatever. Perhaps it has something to do with the “wetness” of it? Even with powder applied, I still have gotten some on Nick’s shirt or a pillow case. I’ve also been way more aware of this as mask wearing is still very prevalent in California. When I take my mask on and off, I can visibly see that there is much more makeup up left on the mask than there was with other makeup of mine. Note that I haven’t felt like my coverage has been lost. It’s more of just the makeup coming off issue. I think I’d be more annoyed if I felt like my look was truly messed up or if it was obvious it had rubbed off in certain areas like my chin.
Price. At $48 a bottle, it is on the pricier end for makeup that I buy. This isn’t to say is isn’t worth it, but just to note. It’s nice that it is under $50 and it does align with other foundation prices, just not what I’m necessarily used to spending. I’m used to my foundation / creams lasting a while so at the very least, I’m not going through it like water. I think it will likely last me another 3ish months. I purchased it in March of 2021 and it doesn’t expire until August of 2021. I probably wouldn’t use it after a year though, as sunscreen can break down and not be as affective over time.
EWG Score. For some reason EWG rates this as a 6. This is abnormally high for Ilia which usually rates below a 3. It’s weird because all of the ingredients they have listed rate a 1 or a 2… It appears like they might rate it so high because they say the UV rating is actually lower than the SPF value indicates, in addition to the fact that sunscreens can break down over time. The score is a little misleading and I need to do some more research on this. Sephora does list it as “clean at Sephora”, but they also rate other products “clean” that I would not.
TIPS FOR APPLICATION
If you want more of a visual, be sure to watch my YouTube video at the bottom of this post!
Shake before using. Self explanatory!
A little goes a long way. You really don’t need a ton, I promise. If you want to add more you can always do that. Applying a little first helps you get the shade you want and not waste product.
Apply in sections. I like to apply one drop to the top half of my face and another to the bottom half of my face. I find it distributes more evenly this way.
Pat like a serum. It’s a serum after all! Tap it into your skin with your fingers versus rubbing. This applies it more evenly and increases absorption. Note that I like to use my fingers, NOT the palms of my hands like the Ilia directions say.
Let it dry. Because it is so “wet”, I like to apply it, then go do something else so it gets maximum absorption without more makeup going on or rubbing it around. Should be similar to letting your other serums dry before applying other skincare; however, this takes a little longer, probably because of the zinc.
Apply powder. If you don’t do this if I’m going to the pool or something like that, but whenever I’m getting ready for the day or a night out, I definitely use loose powder. I feel like this helps set it, but also makes it less dewy. As I mentioned above, I am not a huge fan of the dewiness, so I combat this with powder. If you choose to add powder, be sure to dab, don’t rub. I do use a brush, but I use more like stabbing motions than the traditional circular brush motion.
Add Extra SPF. If I’m just living my life normally, the SPF 40 is good enough for me; however, if I’m going to be in the sun a lot, I apply sunscreen first, let that dry, then apply the serum. This serum is not an end all be all answer to sunscreen and you should still reapply regularly when in constant sun exposure. Remember that generally speaking SPF 40 lasts for 2 hours when you don’t get it wet and shorter when you do. You shouldn’t rely on one application for a long day in the sun.
My answer is YES!! I like it and will buy it again.
As mentioned, I have been using it for about 4 months, so I feel like I have a good grasp on the product and what it does. My testing phase is typically around this length of time so I can make sure it doesn’t break me out and get an accurate depiction of if I like it or not. I typically start by dabbing it on my neck and forearm and seeing how my body reacts, then move to my face and actual wear.
I waited so long to try this serum, because the reviews were so back and forth. This typically doesn’t stop me, but the fact that it contains Caprylyl Glycol did. It is an ingredient that is usually derived from coconut oil. When my skin first started breaking out, I attributed it to the fact that a lot of my products contained coconut oil. I still try to minimize this, but have been okay with certain derivatives. It’s really hard to find more natural products that don’t contain coconut oil, as it is such a good alternative for a plant derived ingredient. I wrote more about my experience with coconut oil in products here. I will say that Ilia touts this serum as non-comedogenic, which means it shouldn’t clog your pores… something that coconut oil in its natural form is prone to doing.
Before using the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40, I used the Jane Iredale Dream Tint Moisturizer SPF 15 in Light and Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC cream SPF 30 in Natural Glow. I don’t have anything bad to say about those… I stopped using the Juice Beauty one when I cut out coconut oil and only stopped using the Jane Iredale one when I started testing the Ilia one. I actually tried the Jane Iredale one again the other day and I honestly prefer the look and coverage of the Ilia serum. Just for reference, if I want more of an actual foundation, I use the Vapour Soft Focus Foundation in 090S.
I really like using this in my general makeup routine, but I love throwing it on before going to the beach or on a hike. I’ll never be a full face of makeup girl for those kind of things, but I like how it smooths everything in such a natural way and has the skincare and sunscreen aspect. Super effortless and natural which is my kind of makeup routine.
Looking for more? I’m not a makeup artist, but here’s a video of me using it, along with all my other makeup. Enjoy!
Any other questions regarding the serum or makeup? Happy to answer and be a resource. I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know if there’s any other makeup you’d like for me to test out for you. Happy to be your guinea pig!
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