About Face: Review of lip balm, lip gloss from ILIA Beauty

IliaLipProducts ChesapeakeFamilyAboutFaceCanadian beauty company ILIA offers a variety of lip products, from conditioners to glosses, with an environmentally conscious mentality. Should you pick anything up from the brand?

By Roxana Hadadi

Have you ever seen the ILIA brand? I wasn’t familiar with ILIA before receiving some of their products for review, but maybe that’s because I don’t shop at Barneys or Net-A-Porter in my daily life. I’m more of a Target person, honestly. But even though ILIA was initially outside of my sphere of cosmetic knowledge, the self-described “niche color cosmetic line” is worth your exploration. With its focus on lip color and slick packaging, ILIA is deceptively simplistic, but the brand’s array of lip colors is extensive.

For review, I received a variety of ILIA products: a lip care product, a lip moisturizer, and a couple of lip glosses. For my thoughts on ILIA, read on!

ILIA Beauty Balmy Nights, Tinted Lip Conditioner, and Lip Gloss

IliaLipProducts ChesapeakeFamilyAboutFaceFirst picture, left to right: ILIA Balmy Nights, Tinted Lip Conditioner in Dizzy, Lip Gloss in White Rabbit and Gypsy

Second picture, left to right: Swatches of ILIA Balmy Nights, Tinted Lip Conditioner in Dizzy, Lip Gloss in White Rabbit and Gypsy

ILIA’s lip products are organized into a few different categories: lip care, lipstick, lip crayon, lip gloss, and tinted lip conditioner. Of those categories, I tried a few for this review: lip care, lip gloss, and tinted lip conditioner. For this review, we’ll look at lip exfoliator Balmy Nights, Tinted Lip Conditioner in Dizzy, and Lip Gloss in White Rabbit and Gypsy; according to ILIA’s website, each of the brand’s products contains “85% bioactive organic ingredients.”

Some of the ingredients in the four items I tried are sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, beeswax, shea butter, grapeseed oil, volcanic stone powder (which sounds awesome), pomegranate extract, jasmine oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E, thyme oil, citrus oil, and vanilla oil; nevertheless, these products didn’t have overwhelming fragrances. The natural ingredients come through—especially the jasmine, thyme, and citrus oils—and I liked that the products smelled like their ingredients instead of that cloying, chemical-heavy smell that lip items can sometimes have.

Let’s look at the lip care products first: lip exfoliator Balmy Nights and Tinted Lip Conditioner in Dizzy. Both of these come in sleek aluminum cases; the material is recycled, but I really like the modern grey look. Onto the products themselves: The former is a lip exfoliator in a stick form, with the exfoliating ingredient being volcanic stone powder to create a “smooth, kissable surface.” The latter is designed “to soothe and condition the lips,” with a “sheer touch of color that increases in intensity.”

Swatches IliaLipProducts ChesapeakeFamilyAboutFaceI have a real problem with dry lips, so I was excited to see what these items could do. I have used stick forms of lip exfoliator before, but I find that they’re often gritty and clumpy when applied; with Balmy Nights, though, the size of the volcanic stone powder balls seemed to help the product apply evenly. I swiped three layers on my lips and rubbed back and forth with my finger, and the exfoliating process was fairly no-mess. Definitely an easy-to-use product, and my lips felt smoother afterward. I then followed up with Dizzy, a lip conditioner that has a sheer tint of guava color; there are 11 other shades. The product has a thick but not waxy consistency, and applied smoothly and evenly; although I couldn’t build it up to full opacity, I do think the coral-like color is perfect for spring or summer.

Neither of those products has any shine, though, which is where ILIA Lip Gloss comes in. The gloss is available in six shades, and I tried two of them: White Rabbit, a sheer gold shade with glitter, and Gypsy, an interesting mix of orange, rust, and wine; in the tube, this shade looks almost purple, but when swatched, you see that it’s more burnt orange. It’s a unique mix.

All gloss shades are supposed to have a “smooth application and gentle coverage,” and they come in a typical tube with a doe-foot applicator. As you can see from the swatches, neither of these shades has the deepest opacity, but I do think that allows both shades to work for daytime. The gold glitter of White Rabbit isn’t overwhelming or gritty, and both it and Gypsy have good shine without feeling gloopy on the lips. Although these didn’t have exceedingly long wear-time on me—about four hours each—I really consider these as gloss shades for grownups, color selections that could span a wide age range and work for both day and night.

Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by ILIA. Although the price tag certainly isn’t cheap, I like the prevalence of natural ingredients, the shade selection, and the packaging; if I were to recommend only one thing, it would be the Tinted Lip Conditioner. You need Dizzy in your summer.

VERDICT: A- for Balmy Nights and Dizzy; B+ for White Rabbit and Gypsy.

AVAILABILITY: $26 for Balmy Nights, $26 for Dizzy, $24 each for White Rabbit and Gypsy; all available at ILIABeauty.com.

Roxana Hadadi headshotEDITORIAL NOTE: The products featured in this post were provided to Chesapeake Family’s About Face blog by the manufacturer or their public relations company for review. Chesapeake Family’s About Face blog posts are inspired by personal experience and opinion, and are not paid for or influenced by the manufacturer, PR company, or any other organization unless mentioned.

Photos by Roxana Hadadi.

In middle school, Roxana Hadadi was a cosmetics-scorning tomboy; in high school, a glitter eye shadow- and black nail polish-loving trend kid; in college, obsessively committed to dying her hair unruly colors that upset her mom. Now a bit older and a bit more mature, she’s trying to figure out what hair, body and cosmetics products will work for her, you and your family in About Face, Chesapeake Family’s new beauty blog — and she’ll leave the sparkle makeup and neon highlights in the past. Roxana also writes movie reviews for Chesapeake Family’s Popcorn Parents blog.