Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer – In-depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

Matte makeup finishes are great, especially for oily skin, but there is also such thing as too matte. Sometimes if you use too many matte products, especially strong matter foundations, the result can actually create harshness and emphasise texture. As a result, I’ve been looking for a way to add a little dewyness without looking too shiny either. But it’s really hard to achieve that on oily skin! Dewy foundations become too oily and come off quickly and dewy primers give similar results too.

In this post I wanted to test the popular Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer to see whether it could give oily skin some dewyness without the trouble. Let’s find out!

Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer 2


The Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer comes in a small black cardboard box that looks simple with minimal design.

The primer itself comes in a small black jar with a screw lid. Overall, this product looks very simple but that’s ok! Although, the jar packaging is not great in terms of hygene but the product comes with a little spoon!


Colour and Texture

The primer is a transparent, colourless gel which melts into a watery texture as you touch and spread it on your skin.



This primer has a sweet subtle scent which you will likely not notice unless you put your nose in the jar!



A 30mL jar (pictures show the travel size, 7mL jar) retails for £34.



Unfortunately, this primer wasn’t worth it for me. It felt nice and moisturising on the skin but it did nothing for my makeup, it didn’t help it apply smoothly or look dewy. My makeup also ended up coming off more than normal. All an all, while it felt nice on the skin, this primer didn’t do anything for me.


Practicality of use – user experience: 

This primer is a gel and breaks into chunks are you try to pick it up from the jar. This means that it is ackward when placing on the skin because some parts of your skin will get chunks and others less product. It melts quickly so it is easy to spread around eventually, but that initial application to the skin is a little ackward.


Skin compatibility

The brand doesn’t specify a skin type. However, do not use this product on broken or irritated skin.



The Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer lasts for 9M and is vegan friendly.

Here’s what the brand says about this product:

Part hydrator, part primer, Hydra Veil instantly hydrates and smooths skin through a self-levelling, futuristic clear gel. Microalgae, Vitamin C and B3 work together to help maintain skins hydration levels, creating a healthy looking, balanced finish. Plant extracts also provide a calming and refreshing feeling, leaving skin fully prepped to apply your chosen foundation.

Pro Tip From Illamasqua Head Of Education – Mel Barrese: Hydra Veil is the ultimate lightweight gel primer, that will not only give your skin a hydration boost but thanks to algae extracts will help calm and soothe any redness or sensitivity. Underneath foundation, it will smooth away any unwanted texture, such as fine lines and open pores, and will give your makeup increased long wear. I apply a small amount using my fingers, on top of cleansed, moisturised skin, ensuring the most amount of product is around the T-Zone and then blend out. After a few seconds the freshly primed skin will be ready for your foundation application.

Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer


It wouldn’t be ethical if we didn’t talk about the credibility of this section. It is very hard to impossible most of the time to verify the information or credibility of the sources, so please take this section with a pinch of salt unless stated otherwise. This section is not meant to be definitive and is most likely more about reputation around those subjects than credible information. If you have additional or more correct information please email:

No brand specific information.



This primer contains some nice ingredients and is definetely more nutritious for the skin than many primers out there. However, it is also not the best and it doesn’t contain many ingredients that will create help makeup to last longer.

To keep this article short, I am only listing the ingredients that are skin or hair nourishing or positive/negative, while ignoring the ones that only play formulation or dye purposes. For the full list of ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.


Ingredient positives:

  1. Aqua (Water, Eau) – Self explanatory.
  2. Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
  3. Butylene Glycol – A humectant that can preserve water and a skin conditioner.
  4. Niacinamide – A form of vitamin B3 and a skin conditioner. A skin restoring ingredient that can improve the appearance of pores and fine lines, even out skin tone and reduce dullness.
  5. Ethylhexylglycerin – A weak preservative and skin conditioner that is often used in ointments for eczema.
  6. Sodium Hyaluronate – A hero compound, known as the “fountain of youth”  Plays a major role in anti-ageing processes and is found in embryos in high concentrations. Can hold onto water 1000 times of its weight meaning that it is an amazing moisturiser by locking moisture in. Helps wounds and burns heal and it’s linked to increased collagen generation Also used as a temporary cosmetic filler.
  7. 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid – A stable and soluble modification of vitamin C. A hero anti-oxidant molecule that can sooth the skin (although it can irritate some) and improve the appearance of the signs of ageing. It can brighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation and age spots. It can boost the immune system, help and protect cells and aid in the skin’s collagen production. Science supports the wonders of applying vitamin C to the skin and therefore is a must have in your skincare. For more information check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  8. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate – A stable and water-soluble form of vitamin C. An anti-oxidant that can also brighten the skin. In combination with other compounds, it can help treat acne and even stimulate collagen production. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  9. Acmella Oleracea Extract – Skin protector.
  10. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – A skin conditioner and replenisher. Can enhance the delivery of vitamins, pigments and other ingredients.
  11. BHT – Anti-oxidant/stabiliser, does not penetrate the skin far enough to be absorbed into the blood stream.
  12. Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract – Anti-oxidant.
  13. Tocopherol – Refers to a class of compounds with similar activities to vitamin E. A skin conditioner, anti-oxidant and fragrance agent. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?


Ingredient negatives:

  1. Alcohol – There is evidence suggesting that low molecular alcohols (denat. or not) damage and dry the skin. This can in turn enhance the penetration of other compounds into the skin, although sometimes this might not be a negative.
  2. Parfum (Fragrance) – This ingredient represents an undisclosed mixture of compounds that give the product scent. There’s more than 3000 molecules that you fall under this category and I personally do not like that there are some ingredients that are undisclosed and hidden under this general name.


Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

Check out: What is sensitive skin? What are the causes and what can we do?

The following compounds present in this primer have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Niacinamide*, Chlorphenesin, Alcohol, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate, Parfum (Fragrance), Methylisothiazolinone, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene.

*Niacinamide – Usually not an irritant but if found in a product with acidic pH (pH 5), it can potentially hydrolyse and form nicotinic acid which in turn can cause irritation.


Full list of ingredients:

Aqua (Water, Eau), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Peg-240/Hdi Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Niacinamide, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Alcohol, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Disodium Edta, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate, Parfum (Fragrance), Methylisothiazolinone, Acmella Oleracea Extract, Potassium Laurate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Bht, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene.

Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer 4


The Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer feels nice on the skin but it is a little annoying to use and it doesn’t help the makeup last longer. Also it doesn’t help with a dewy finish and so I can’t find a good enough reason to recommend this. It’s more interesting skincare-wise than makeup-wise but then if you go into that category, there are many better skincare products to use. It almost feels like this product tried to do it all and ended up achieving nothing.

Illamasque Hydra Veil Rehydrating Gel Primer 3

I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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