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Ilia Clean Line Gel liner and Eye Primer (and some thoughts on silicone)

Ilia Clean Line Gel Liner

I’ve always said that it is the eyeliners and mascaras that are tricky to swap when ‘cleaning’ your kit. If like me, you have eyes that are easily irritated, liners and mascaras often run or get ‘itched’ off. For me personally, I can give my eyes a gentle clean underneath, but when making up a client if I’m not there for touch-ups, it’s not an ideal situation. Therefore in my kit, I do still have ‘conventional’ liners and mascaras for when I need them – a red carpet event or a wedding for example. I’m always on the look out for new ones though..

I recently bought the Ilia Clean Line Gel Liner to try for my kit. I bought the brown one (comes in black too) and have been trialling it myself and actually really like it. It goes on smoothly and the colour lasts well – it’s usually still there at the end of the day, minus my flicks though. It smudges nicely too for a softer look. I’ve had some really nice comments when wearing it, it makes a nice change from black but still gives definition – there is a very slight red in the brown which helps to brighten my blue eyes. (Red in brown is something to think about as too much red can make some eyes look tired.)

clean beauty eyeliner

As the phrase ‘clean beauty’ continues to be hotly debated, Ilia call this liner clean because it is formulated without carbon black – a suspect ingredient which can be found in other eyeliners. It is also free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, GMO, synthetic fragrances, gluten and talc.

The liner does however contain quite a lot of silicone (the first two ingredients and others down the list), also polyethylene which is a plastic. In fact most of it is synthetic ingredients – some would argue then that this is not a clean product. Others would argue that the synthetics are not problematic (to skin) so therefore is clean. There in lies the problem – there is no set definition for clean beauty, so therefore everyone is right according to their own definition but wrong according to others.

Ingredients – Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polyethylene, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Polyisobutene, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Trimethylpentanediol/Adipic Acid/Glycerin Crosspolymer, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Silica Silylate, Methicone, Glyceryl Caprylate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, CI 77499 (Iron Oxide), CI 77510 (Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide).

Ilia have the stance “Being mindful that not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, nor is every synthetic bad. It usually requires a combination of both to achieve a truly exceptional product.”

I am personally not a fan of silicone in skincare – I wouldn’t use it and I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a funny one silicone – it is considered inert, so therefore not toxic (dare I say that word..) but also therefore not beneficial for the skin (others would argue different) – a lot of the time it is just to make the product feel good. One big problem is the fact that it doesn’t degrade – so what happens when we wash it down the sink.. I could go into more detail but two of my great friends have done it so brilliantly, if you’d like to know more, I’m going to point you in the direction of their definitely worth a read pieces –

Crystabel Riley for Beauty Papers

Sjaniël Turrell for Reve En Vert

Now if I can avoid silicone in make-up then I do – many of the brands I choose to use don’t use it anyway. There are a few brands that do – Ilia being one. Unlike skincare, I do see the point/reasoning of silicone in some make-up products – it is one of the things that can help make-up last (annoyingly so!) Not something I would use everyday, but like I said above there are times when I need that make-up to hold fast. It’s also that polyethylene that is used to give make-up it’s hold – no-one really talks about the micro-plastics within make-up. (The Plastic Soup Foundation are actually doing quite a lot about it if you would like to read more..)

Some people have a big problem with silicone, some people not at all. It comes back to that same old point of choosing what is right for you. Be conscious of what you are using and why.

I’ve been trialling the Brightening Eye Primer as well, as that is something I’m often asked about. I’ve tried a few natural eye primers and not really seen much difference with them. The Ilia one I did see a difference with – my eyeshadow does last longer and creases less when I use it. This one does contain – you guessed it – a silicone – dimethicone. It is certainly less so than more conventional eye primers, which have much much higher percentages of silicone. The primer does also contain some great skin conditioning ingredients for the delicate eye area. Ilia seem to have become almost the hybrid brand – mixing organic bases with selective synthetics. It looks white but actually blends into the skin with a very slight iridescent finish. On a deeper skin I imagine it would show more, but eyeshadow over the top would take away any ashiness.

clean beauty eyeshadow primer

Ingredients – Water, Glycerin*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Coco-caprylate, Jojoba Esters, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Dimethicone, Mica, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Bean*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf*, Arnica Montana*, Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile) Flowers*, Phenethyl alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol. *Certified Organic Ingredients.

Packaging – both come in plastic tubes – recycle with your nearest Terracycle programme. Outer packaging – post-consumer recycled paper printed with vegetable-based dyes.

Have you tried them? What are your thoughts on silicone?

  1. Great blog, Lou,as usual. Thank you! I must say the silicon issue is keeping me torn when it comes to the clean beauty..I’m with you when it comes to staying power – for personal use – I don’t mind a smudge here and there , but loosing a client because of that ( happened to me! ) makes you wonder whether to get back to the commercial , high street brands.. So I think I’ll try this Ilia pencil…

    1. Hey Sylwia,
      Oh no sorry to hear about your client. It is a tricky one – there really are some amazing products out there now that enable us to have great ‘green’ kits, but sometimes as professional artists we do need those waterproof products for example, and that’s ok – as long as we’re being open about it and trying our best that’s what counts. I’d give this pencil a go for sure 🙂 x

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