The Surprising Makeup Trend Boomers and Gen X’ers Agree On

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ilia true skin serum foundation review cat
  • Value: 19/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Ease of Use: 18/20
  • Results: 19/20
  • TOTAL: 94/100

My boomer mom and I could not have more opposite grooming philosophies. She carefully curls her hair and applies foundation, mascara and blush before leaving the house. By contrast, when I remember to put on makeup, I dab it on blind while driving.

So when Ilia suggested its True Skin Serum Foundation as an intergenerational, something-for-everyone makeup, I rolled my eyes. How was my mom going to feel about a lightweight medium coverage makeup, since she gravitates to heavier formulas? And how was I going to be able to get even coverage using my no-mirror application method? Long story short: If a makeup is heavy enough to suit my boomer mom, there’s no way it will look natural enough to please grungy, Gen X me.

Consider me schooled: I was surprised to discover an in-between formula is today’s in-demand makeup. It’s not as heavy as previous generations of foundation and stage makeup, but not as light as the sheer skin tints that are next-to-invisible. Apparently, both boomers and Gen X’ers—and millennials too, for that matter—are seeking a little something extra to help even out their skin tones, cover blemishes and blur facial lines without caking or cracking. And that’s just what Ilia’s serum foundation provides, all served up in a clean formula (meaning without petroleum, phthalates, chemical screen and other potentially harmful ingredients). Additionally, customers also like to have some active skincare ingredients so that they can multi-task and improve their skin while they’re enhancing it. And last but not least, a brand needs to create enough shades so that a diverse user base can match their natural skin tone exactly.

A foundation with all this seems like a unicorn, I thought skeptically as an Ilia makeup artist selected a neutral medium-neutral for my mom and a light-warm shade for me. (Pro tip: Yes, actually using a foundation brush that buffs makeup into the skin helps it bond with skin, not appear masklike.) It goes on almost as light as my usual lightweight makeup, Mac Studio Face and Body; and as you’re wearing it, the feel is totally weightless.

Makeup on, my mom and I widened our eyes in appreciation:

“See Dana, if you would just take a minute to wear some makeup it looks so pretty,” she said.

I replied, “Wow mom, your skin looks so much smoother and terrific!”

What’s more, unlike in past mother-daughter makeup counter trips, neither of us looked overly made up. I think this is because True Skin Serum lets us apply an extra layer where we needed it (for me, it evened out sun-reddened cheekbones and for mom, the makeup minimizes fine laugh lines). Our not-fake, just better look also came from the fact that Ilia Ture Skin Serum Foundation contains niacinamide, a buzzy skincare ingredient that helps calm redness and improve fine lines, as well as soothing allantoin. And its 30 shades range from extra light to extra deep, including neutral, warm, cool and olive tones peppered throughout the spectrum, so there’s a high chance of really scoring a bullseye match. (Add to that, the Ilia web site helpfully lists each shade’s coordinating concealer and skin tints.)

After more than four hours of wearing the Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation, our coverage had faded evenly, without leaving patches of bare skin like both my mom and I had experienced in the past. We still looked good! It’s enough to make me buy a foundation brush and spend an extra couple minutes before getting behind the wheel.

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...