I should start this by saying that when it comes to beauty products, I’m extremely picky about what I put on my skin. For someone who absolutely loves to try new products and the latest releases (a big perk of the job), the chances of me sticking with them are considerably low as I fall into that jolly sensitive skin camp where even a whiff of anything too strong can cause me to break out. To further filter my options, I am trying my best these days to be more considerate in my choices so anything vegan, nasty-free, and or lower impact on the environment is guaranteed to garner some extra brownie points and move up the purchase pecking order in my online basket. As such, Illamasqua is one of the few beauty brands that I’ve remained loyal to over the years, thanks to their trend-led makeup drops, richly pigmented products and commitment to remaining cruelty-free. Honestly, their Hydra Veil primer is some sort of nectar of the gods if you’re looking for the smoothest base for make-up while their Debonaire blue eyeliner pencil has revolutionised my cat-eye on a night out (there’s at least 1 compliment per pound spent).
In partnership with ILLAMASQUA
I Buy These 4 Illamasqua Products Religiously – But It’s Their New Beauty Campaign That Makes Me Proud To Be A Customer
Illamasqua's Beauty and Yours campaign passes the mic to queer content creators for pride that goes beyond a single month.
But we now live in an age where just producing a killer product isn’t enough. There has been many a cult formula that has been shunned over the years due to poor company ethics and many a brand boycotted due to views that just don’t feel relevant to the world we live in today. So I can’t pretend that I wasn’t just a little bit pleased to witness one of my favourite makeup brands giving over their platform for LGBQTIA+ pride outside of Pride month. The whole world gets a little more colourful when Pride Month rolls around, but you can hardly have noticed that it drops off a cliff the second it ends. Performative allyship is seemingly par of the course for marketing strategies, as brands use the Pride flag's vibrant rainbow stripes to outfit products in support of the queer community in a way goes little beyond a change in packaging. Luckily, some kept to their promises of the ongoing support of the LGBTQ+ community – and Illamasqua is one of them.
Teaming up with creative agency The Digital Fairy and director Ben Cole, the ‘Beauty and Yours’ campaign is a series of short videos celebrating beauty as means of self-expression. It gives voice to six individuals, each given an open brief to discuss beauty and empowerment, allowing them to share stories of self-acceptance, love, and passion and turn the spotlight on an underrepresented audience in the process. It’s queer content, made by queer content creators for queer people as it should be, and is intended to remind us that all bodies are beautiful, despite the stiff beauty standards that are deep-rooted into society’s subconscious. "Working around issues so close to my heart and collaborating so openly with the LGBTQIA+ community was a real dream come true", says director Ben Cole.
Sexuality and gender regardless, I know that I’ve fallen victim to an Instagram shame spiral before and felt inadequate when faced with filters that manipulate our view of reality. It’s human nature to compare, but it’s also refreshing to feel a brand giving us an opportunity to look beyond the mirror and experience beauty in all its guises instead of simply trying to flog a lipstick. Though, it does make me more inclined to buy one.
Scroll on to discover some of the stories featured in Illamasqua’s ‘Beauty and Yours’ campaign, and see how it might inspire you. Seeing people express themselves so vividly - and through the art of make-up - has pushed me to be more creative in myself. Broaden your thinking, and your make-up bag whilst you're at it.
Aaron is a make-up artist who uses the artistic medium to express both himself and the meaning of his life after cancer. As both a member of the queer and disabled community, he describes the thinking behind his work, his own lived experiences and the abundance of creativity that lies within these marginalised groups.
"When someone is smiling they just instantly look beautiful
and you can feel their beauty not just see it"
Octagon, an Equestrian, shares their thoughts on society's perception of gender and transitioning, as well as their own experiences.
“Me transitioning was the biggest act of love I've ever given myself"
Kaysh is a sports teacher and footballer from London redefining a traditionally male industry as a gay woman. Sexuality is a notoriously difficult topic in both the men's and women's games, and is something that Kaysh wants to challenge in order to create an open, honest and safe environment in which to play and thrive.
"I think it's so beautiful to be able to be yourself."
Discover more inspiring stories from the Beauty And Yours Campaign
Shop: The Illamasqua Products I Buy On Repeat
Illamasqua Hydra Veil Primer
Part hydrator, part primer, Hydra Veil instantly hydrates, smooths and calms skin through a self-leveling, futuristic clear gel that's packed full of microalgae, Vitamin C and B3. I apply a small amount using my fingers on top of cleansed, moisturised skin, ensuring the most amount of product is around the T-Zone and then blend out. It's literally the only thing that I've found in all these years that keeps foundation on my skin without overly mattifying or caking and, most importantly, doesn't break me out.
Illamasqua Colouring Eye Pencil in shade Debonaire
I shunned pencil liners for a long, long time - they had no staying power and were incapable of creating defined lines. Easily blendable and long lasting, the creamy formula in this Illamasqua wonder-pencil contains castor seed oil for smooth gliding application with pin-point definition. I've been using it to coat the outside of my black liquid cateye on evenings out for a bold point of difference, however it works well alone by day or to add a hint of colour to a smoky eye.
Illamasqua Skin Base Pressed Powder in Medium 2
A new(ish) addition to my routine is the pressed powder. I'm on the oily side and therefore have larger, more visible pores - but I don't always want to bother with foundation. With medium coverage, this lightweight pressed powder minimises pores and blurs imperfections for a flawless, shine-free finish that feels like an Instagram filter IRL. Trust me, you need it.