We Put Ilia's Super-Long-Wearing Complexion Sticks To The Test

Meet your new favorite warm-weather-friendly foundation.

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Smooth, even-toned, and blemish-free skin seems to be the goal most of us are chasing with our skin care purchases — but the thing about skin care is, no matter how good a product is, it still won’t work over night. That’s why, in the meantime, the next best thing is a perfect-skin-approximating foundation or tint.

Makeup and skin care brand Ilia is known for their array of complexion products that deliver a your-skin-but-better look, including their C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40, a translucent tint in three adaptive shades; Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 for light, dewy coverage; and the True Skin Serum Foundation as a medium, natural-finish option. But this month, the brand just launched their first stick foundation called the Ilia Skin Rewind Complexion Stick, which has buildable medium coverage, a natural (matte) finish, and comes in 42 shades. So how do the complexion sticks look, feel, and wear in real life? Here are my honest thoughts.

Fast Facts:

  • Brand: Ilia
  • Product: Skin Rewind Complexion Sticks
  • Price: $48
  • Shade range: 42 shades
  • Key ingredients: Ceramide-peptide complex for skin barrier strengthening, butterfly lavender extract to smooth fine lines, kelp extract for skim firmness, and squalane for hydration
  • Specs? Vegan, cruelty-free, non-comedogenic, and recyclable
  • Where can you buy?

The Product:

How To Use:

The brand recommends that you can use the Complexion Sticks as foundation or concealer, either applied all over with hands or a brush, or directly tapped onto spots with your finger or a concealer brush.

I first applied several swipes (in shade 9N Tupelo) directly onto my face from the tube and blended it out using the the Artis Elite Oval 7 Brush, but any dense-bristle foundation brush would also work well. Then, I used my fingers to apply a little bit of shade 6N Aspen under my eyes for a brightening concealer.

First Impressions:

After applying Ilia Skin Rewind Complexion Stick in Tupelo 9N
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As someone who has accidentally ruined quite a few tops with rogue squirts and drips of liquid foundation, I instantly liked the no-fuss application of the Complexion Sticks. It was easy to put on and blend out for a streak-free finish without worrying about moving quickly. The foundation was super-easy to build up if I felt an area was not fully covered — because it has a creamy-not-liquid-y texture, it never felt like I was putting on more layers, it all just blended into one. When my face was fully covered, the finish felt dry (as in not emollient or transferable like a dewy foundation), but hydrated and neither tight nor heavy.

The shade 9N Tupelo (light with neutral undertones) easily covered up redness and hyperpigmentation spots on my face. (As a beauty editor, I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing my shades but ended up requesting two to test.) But I especially liked how it blurred the pores around my nose and cheeks — an effect that lasted all day — rather than settling into them. And, even though I know it’s a beauty no-no, I did wear this foundation to a sweaty workout class and was pleased to discover that my redness and splotchiness were still under cover afterward.

Worth It?

The Ilia Skin Rewind Complexion Sticks are priced at for $42 for 0.35 oz. of product, which puts it solidly in the middle of the pack among other stick foundation from similarly positioned brands. The Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Stick Blur + Smooth Tint Sticks cost $36 for 0.32 oz and have similar blurring claims to Ilia’s. Meanwhile, Milk Makeup’s Flex Foundation Sticks also cost $36 for 0.35 oz and also tout skin-improving ingredients. On the high end of the range, Hourglass’ Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Sticks (which also have a 12-hour-wear claim) cost $49 for 0.25 oz.

Final Verdict:

The Ilia Skin Rewind Complexion Stick will definitely stay in my foundation rotation heading into spring and summer. As much as I love the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint, its gorgeous, glowy finish never fully dries down so it can feel like it’s sliding right off my face whenever it gets too hot outside. In contrast, the creamy-yet-light formula of the Complexion Sticks have the right amount of coverage and grip that’s a much safer bet in sweaty conditions, and the natural matte finish is low-shine but not chalky. And the stick format makes it easy and mess-free to throw into your bag just on the off chance you do need a touch up.