Review: Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium

By Voxy ใ€€

Via Wikipedia:

Alluvium (from the Latin, alluvius, from alluere, “to wash against”) is loose, unconsolidated (not cemented together into a solid rock), soil, or sediments, eroded, deposited, and reshaped by water in some form in a non-marine setting… Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, including fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel.

Not to be confused with illuvium, eluvium, or alluvion.

They must have some pretty ritzy sediment over there in Great Britain, because Illamasqua’s “alluvium” is a lovely, glittery, penetrating blue. I’m pretty sure that if you took some alluvium from where I live, you’d get something with a color that was a cross between goose guano and baby spit-up.

(Sorry. That was, perhaps, unnecessarily vivid.)

Pigments are loose powders most commonly used on the eyes and usually with a more saturated level of color than traditional pressed powder eyeshadows. There are exceptions, but that’s a good basic working definition. If makeup is something that you’re new to or less experienced with, using a loose powder pigment might seem daunting, but it’s really not difficult, and the color payoff is often worth the effort.

Most pigments work best when “foiled” โ€” applied with some sort of wet binding agent. The color is more intense and they adhere better to the eyelid without a lot of fallout all over your face (which is very embarrassing, and don’t ask me how I know). Lots of things can be used as foiling agents: plain old water, Visine, etc. My personal agent of choice is Rimmel makeup remover. I think I like the rationality-defying nature of it. You only need a tiny bit of foiling agent, as in “a drop or two.” I anticipate getting through my Rimmel bottle by 2025.


1. Get yourself something to use as a mixing palette: a clean jar lid, a saucer, what have you. Anything small and flat or gently bowl-shaped will do.

2. Put a drop of foiling agent in the palette.

3. Knock out some of the loose pigment into the pigment container cap. Tap some of that into your palette, but NOT right on top of your foiling agent. I suggest the two-stage pigment-shaking-out process because the one drawback of pigments is that they’re always a pain in the tuchus to get out of the container, and it’s easy to shake out too much.

4. If you are working with loose pigment, then you can either dip your brush into the agent first, then into the powder, or vice versa.) You can also foil pressed eyeshadows, but some of them don’t take well to having a wet brush swirled in them, so for those I suggest loading the brush up with powder first and then dipping it into a drop of foiling agent.)

5. Er, apply. That’s kind of it.

Pigments are often more expensive than pressed shadows, but since you’re not likely to ever completely finish one in your lifetime, it’s sort of a moot point. This one by Illamasqua is quite nice โ€” when foiled, it adheres well to lids and doesn’t fall out or lose its color intensity. The packaging is a minor drawback here; Illamasqua’s trademark stylized square containers are visually attractive but bulkier than I’d like, and the lid of the pigment container is unfortunately all too easy to remove. Not that you’re likely to be carrying around a pigment container in your purse, but for those of us who are natural-born klutzes, this is an accident waiting to happen.


Left: wet/foiled; Right: dry. Same amount of pigment each time, but much more vivid when applied wet.


Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium: $24 at Sephora. Our Foreign Beauty Correspondents can order directly from Illamasqua’s website. (Well, our US Beauty Correspondents can too, but shipping is much more expensive and delivery takes much longer.)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. Other brands give you more pigment for a comparable price, but you’ll never finish it anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

Purchase again? Not this color, because I’ll never run out, but I just now ordered another one in Ore, which is a scandalously delicious bronze color. It was out of stock at Sephora since well before Christmas, and I’m glad to see it’s available again!

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

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  1. avatar Kaki
    Posted February 20, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love your website! I happened upon it today when googling swatch images for this Alluvium color pigment. Your humor and wit are much appreciated, as are your ratings on product, packaging, and expense. I will be around more often!


  2. avatar marigolds
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love that color. SO MUCH.

    If I weren’t the slackest human being in existence, I would do that Fyrinnae review from lo these many months ago, and you all would have some pigment alternatives.


  3. avatar baz
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! That is beautiful. How did I not know that you should “foil” the loose powders (of which I own a few)?

    I’d so love to see this, both foiled and non, in the full eye look.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yeah, I’ve been meaning to do some more eye looks, since people have been asking for them. I’ll put this on the list. I’ve been slack about wearing makeup when I don’t have to leave the house, and when I do have to go somewhere I’m always running off with no time to photograph.


  4. Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    Can I choose an avatar for this site? I assume they’re assigned randomly now. My “blue piece of toast” is not very glam.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      You can upload your own avatar if you don’t like the Monster. It should be under your registration options.


      • Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink | Reply

        Sadly no, it told me: “Avatar uploads not allowed (Administrator may set on Users ยป Avatars page).”


        • avatar Voxy
          Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink | Reply

          That shouldn’t be, because I did set it so that users could upload their own avatars. Maybe that setting got changed back to a default “no” when upgrading WordPress or something. I’ll fix it.


  5. Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    This stuff looks amazing. Didn’t know the brand but just checked out their site. There’s a waiting list for the most delicious shades, but I’m impressed by the range. Have you tried any of their other products?

    (I wasn’t familiar with the term “foiling” – but I always do it with cake eyeshadow in order to use it as eyeliner. Now I have a fancy word! Yay).


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink | Reply

      I’m venturing into the brand slowly because while Illamasqua is in some US Sephora stores, it isn’t in any of the ones that are near me, so I’m really trying to research products before I buy. I have a cream blush and two powder blushes that I like, but that’s it so far (reviews are on the site). Oh, and a lip gloss, which I haven’t reviewed yet.


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