ILIA Vivid Foundation Review | Green Beauty HG for Dry Skin?

Ilia Vivid Foundation Review and Swatches

My only experience thus far with natural foundation has been mineral foundation (from Everyday Minerals). But with winter approaching, a time when my skin starts craving extra moisture and hydration, I was on the lookout for a natural liquid foundation for my routine.  Enter the ILIA Vivid foundation – one of their latest launches in their fast growing makeup line.

Ilia Vivid Foundation Review and Swatches

ILIA Vivid Foundation

Pretty packaging isn’t all that sets ILIA apart from other green beauty brands.  Inside all their products are some unique ingredients and innovative formulations.  ILIA’s Vivid Foundation is no exception.  It’s packed with hydrating oils, along with a rare mattifying ingredient to help balance oily areas.

The contents are packaged in a sleek, modern container, complete with an air-tight pump dispenser to protect the precious ingredients inside.  You can’t exactly tell how much product is left, but on the bright side, as you use up the product, the container still looks like new on the vanity! 😉

ILIA Vivid Foundation Shades

While the ILIA Vivid concealer and ILIA Vivid Sheer Tinted moisturizer only offer 6 shades, the ILIA Vivid Foundation offerings has grown to include nine shades (with three new ‘in-between’ shades marked with a .5). All are named after deserts around the world.

  • Tularosa (1)– For porcelain skin with slight pink undertones.
  • Sonora (1.5)– For fair skin with neutral to yellow undertones
  • Gobi (2)- For light skin with neutral to subtle pink undertones.
  • Atacama (2.5)-For light to medium skin with yellow undertones
  • Santorini (3)- For light to medium skin with neutral undertones.
  • Kalahari (3.5)– For medium skin with neutral undertones
  • Mojave (4)– For light olive skin with yellow undertones.
  • Tanami (5)– For medium to dark skin with neutral undertones.
  • Sandar (6)– For dark skin with soft pink undertones.

ILIA Vivid Foundation Ingredients

ILIA Vivid Foundations are made with natural ingredients, so you’re getting the added benefit of skincare. Looking at the ingredient list, the very first three are all there to help hydrate, including water, glycerin, organic coconut oil.  Combine the coconut oil with sunflower seed oil and rosehip oil, and you’ve got a trifecta of nourishing oils to help lock in moisture.

The ILIA Vivid Foundation also incorporates mastic, a medicinal resin sourced from trees on the Greek island of Chios. Research shows that mastic is a natural solution to mattify the skin, reducing both pore size and shine.  Plus it has anti-bacterial properties.

All of ILIA products are formulated without parabens, phtalates, sulfates, petrochemicals, mineral oil, nanoparticles, EDTA, DEA. They are also gluten-free and cruelty-free.  The ILIA Vivid Foundation in particular is made with 100% Natural Dye, 35% Organic, and is Vegan.

Full Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil*, Behenyl Olivate, Pistacia Lentiscus Gum, Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum, Lecithin, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/leaf/steam Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenethyl Alcohol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxide (Ci77491, Ci77492, Ci77499).

*Certified Organic Ingredients // Ingrédients Certifiés Biologiques // Bio Zertifiziert

Ilia Vivid Foundation Review and Swatches

ILIA Vivid Foundation Review

As background, I have combination skin in the spring and summer (very oily in the T-zone), and dry skin in the fall and winter.  Judging from the hydrating ingredients and mattifying mastic, I was hopeful that this might be a great all-around foundation for my thirsty, and sometimes oily, skin.  Fingers crossed!

ilia vivid foundation review Santorini swatch

ILIA Vivid Foundation in the shade ‘Santorini’ on NC27 skin

After looking up the (limited) amount of swatches online, I ended up trying out the ILIA Vivid Foundation in the shade Santorini, since I have light-medium skin with neutral undertones. This shade turned out to be just a tad darker than my skintone, and slightly more yellow than I would have liked, though once it’s blended out, it ends up looking alright.  Fortunately, the shade maintains its color throughout the day and doesn’t oxidize or get any darker.

The ILIA Vivid Foundation’s formula feels like a cross between a heavier matte foundation and lighter tinted moisturizer – it’s hydrating yet thick.  I actually find it to be a bit difficult to work with because it’s so thick and tacky.  You really have to be careful with this one – if your skin isn’t absolutely free of dry flakes, it’s going to cling onto those areas and look patchy.  On top of all that, you really have to work quickly because it sets super fast.

Though ILIA has their own foundation brush to use with this, my preferred method is to apply with my fingers in light layers.  The added warmth helps to thin out the formula a bit, making it slightly easier to spread.

ilia vivid foundation before and after

The ILIA Vivid Foundation’s coverage is light and buildable to medium.  For my first go, I applied one full pump, which was enough to give me light to medium coverage (as shown in the photos).  I couldn’t imagine applying any more product as it would have started to feel way too thick, which tells me this is not meant to be built up to full coverage.

Once the foundation is blended out, it sets to a satin, almost-dewy finish with a touch of shimmer from the mica.  The one downside is that it maintains a slightly moist and sticky feeling for several hours after you apply it, and also transfers easily.  To prevent both, a little setting powder does the trick.

Recommended Application

Overall, the ILIA Vivid foundation seems to work the best when it’s applied in fewer and lighter coats.  After trying the ILIA Vivid Foundation out multiple different ways, here’s how I’d recommend applying it:

  1. First, thoroughly exfoliate the skin. The foundation tends to get stuck on drier areas, giving them a dark, patchy look, so it’s a good idea to try and get your skin as smooth as possible beforehand.
  2. Prime the skin with a hydrating oil, moisturizer, or primer to create a slight barrier between the foundation and your skin.
  3. Apply a very light coat of the foundation all over your face using your fingers.
  4. Go over only the areas you need a little extra coverage with a very thin second layer, then stop there.
  5. Smooth everything out using your fingers or a makeup sponge.
  6. Lightly apply a setting powder.

I’ve found that when I follow these steps, the ILIA Vivid Foundation gives me light, even coverage, without a heavy or tacky feeling.  Even just the one coat provides enough pigmentation to neutralize and cover up redness, evening out my skintone while maintaining a very natural look.  I’ll also notice less oilies in my T-zone than usual as the day goes on.  Meanwhile, the rest of my face will feel very comforted and hydrated.

All-in-all, there’s definitely a nice balance there than not many foundations can achieve.  While it is still a bit heavy and more moisturizing than what I personally need at the moment, this will for sure be something I’ll be wearing come winter (as long as I can keep up with a regular exfoliation routine!).

Final Look

To finish off the look, I applied ILIA’s multi-stick in ‘Cheek to Cheek’ (full review here), along with their lipstick in ‘Funnel of Love’ (full review here).

ilia multi-stick in cheek to cheek swatch

ILIA Multi-stick in ‘Cheek to Cheek’

ilia lipstick funnel of love swatch

ILIA Lipstick in ‘Funnel of Love’

ilia vivid foundation before and after

ILIA Vivid Foundation + Multi-stick + Lipstick

Final Thoughts

Overall, if you have dry skin and are looking for a hydrating, light-medium coverage foundation from the green beauty realm, the ILIA Vivid Foundation is worth checking out.  It provides all the moisturizing benefits of a BB cream, only with more coverage, and it also works surprisingly well for even combo skin by balancing out both the dry and oily areas.  Just be sure to prep skin beforehand to remove any dry spots and use light layers, and you should be good to go!

You can pick up samples of the different shades here at The Detox Market (simply hit ‘Sample It’ to the right of the Add to Cart button).  Full-size Ilia Vivid Foundations are available at iliabeauty.com (all 9 shades) as well as at The Detox Market (6 of the shades) for $44/ £36.


Have you tried ILIA’s makeup products, or explored other foundations from the green beauty realm?

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