As a commerce editor who tests thousands of products every year, I've come across many, many foundations that promise seamless application, non-comedogenic ingredients, and infinite dewiness. But the one I use over and over again is Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation.
With that in mind, I was understandably excited when Ilia announced that they had revamped the formula to make it even better. The newly-reformulated True Skin Serum Foundation ($54) launched on February 8, and it goes above and beyond the original thanks to the addition of niacinamide and allantoin. The result is a product that not only nourishes skin and color corrects (the way any good foundation should), but also helps to reduce acne and redness as you wear it.
- Hadley King, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University
- Jeriel Weitz, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City
- Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York
Spoiler alert: After testing the new formula for two weeks, I'm already a big fan. Here are my super honest thoughts.
The new Ilia True Skin formula has even *more* skin benefits than the original
The new True Skin Foundation has got all the same skin-loving goodness as the original formula. It's intensely hydrating thanks to moisture-rich ingredients like aloe and squalane (which also help to prevent it from pilling or cracking), but also has mastic gum, an oil-fighting ingredient that helps to control the overproduction of sebum and keeps skin from looking shiny. With this balancing combo, it's no wonder it's recommended for all skin types.
What makes the upgraded version of the foundation even better is the addition of niacinamide and allantoin. These ingredients don't necessarily change the way the foundation will look on your skin (it's still a medium-coverage product that offers a natural, dewy finish), but you'll notice a major difference after you take it off.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 known to fight acne, redness, and inflammation. According to Jeriel Weitz, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, it makes skin feel more hydrated because it "improves the skin barrier function, which prevents against moisture loss and dehydration." It also fights signs of aging by "reducing the immunosuppressive effects of UV radiation," and helps calm inflammation and balance oil production. "Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties and suppresses sebum or oil production in the skin and can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and discoloration," says Dr. Weitz.
Rachel Nazarian, MD FAAD, a dermatologist based in New York City, weighs in on the second new ingredient: Allantoin. As a humectant, it attracts moisture into the skin and prevents it from evaporating into the environment, which "improves the skin barrier and hydrates dry, irritated tissue," says Dr. Nazarian. It's also a keratolytic, which means that it breaks the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of your skin to leave it smooth, soft, and better prepared for the penetration of hydrating ingredients. "Allantoin is a fantastic ingredient to have in your skin-care products in the wintertime because it's a useful way to improve skin's ability to hold water," says Dr. Nazarian.
The result? A formula that will leave your skin clear and hydrated long after you take off your makeup.
Here's what happened when I tried it
Ilia True Skin is a medium-coverage foundation that's easily buildable, breathable, and plays nicely with your skin-care products. It's one of those foundations that is so lightweight you might forget you're even wearing it. Simultaneously, it's ultra-effective in leaving your complexion look bright, even, and dewy.
Just like the first formula, this foundation goes on smoothly (I usually apply with a Beautyblender, but the few times I've used my fingers, it was just as easy). You can layer on as much product as you'd like, and it covers up any small zits without the help of concealer. When I wear it, I feel like it's my skin, but enhanced, which I love in a foundation. I never want to feel like I'm hiding my complexion, but rather giving it the tools to shine on its own.
The shade I got is spot-on: I'm wearing Formentera SF1, a "very light with cool undertones" color that matches my neck, which is a few shades lighter than my face. Along with the new formula, Ilia has added 12 new shades to the line, and while it's still less inclusive than the numerous 40-shade ranges on the market, it's nice to see that the brand is heading in the right direction.
Since I started wearing this new foundation, I've noticed fewer breakouts (even when I forgot to take off my makeup before a super sweaty workout) and less aggravated skin. According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, these changes are legit: She says that thanks to True Skin's ingredient profile, you'll likely see a difference in your skin right away. "You'll notice some effects immediately, although most of the studies on niacinamide showed results after 8-12 weeks," she says. While I still deal with hormonal breakouts and redness around my nose and forehead, I now feel more confident going out without makeup because the foundation has significantly cleared up my complexion.
In other words: The new True Skin foundation is just as good as the original formula—where you'll see the change is after you remove your makeup. I know I have.
I'm a big time Ilia fan, so I wasn't surprised the brand came out with yet another high-quality product that prioritizes skin's health. Ilia founder Sasha Plavsic tells W+G that customer needs and concerns are consistently taken into consideration, since the brand's ethos is built around clean ingredients, trust, and performance. "Our mission at Ilia is to protect and revive the skin, and our tagline is 'clean skin-centric beauty,'" she says. "We place the skin at the center of all of our products. We listen to customers' concerns and then formulate performance-driven products that work and deliver results. This ethos has given the brand a lot of trust in the beauty industry over the past decade and set us apart in our field."
What I love most is that True Skin has truly made me feel more confident in my own skin. More makeup that doubles as skin care, please.
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