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For My UK Fanatics – Illamasqua Nail Varnish

By on March 11, 2009
in Gray, Illamasqua, Metallic, Purple with 12 Comments
What is one of the major complaints of UK nail fanatics?? Lack of access to all the amazing colors we get here in the states. Yes, you can order from some US sellers and pay for overseas shipping but wouldn’t you prefer to find some more cool local brands. Well have I got one for you… Illamasqua.

Illamasqua is a new UK makeup brand, influenced by the risque club scene of the 1920s and the expressive makeup of alternative cultures. The line’s products come in a rainbow of colors including the 37 nail varnishes, some with naughty names like Poke, Milf and Phallic.

I tested a few varnishes in very “me” hues, see how they look after the jump!


Being that Illamasqua is a UK based brand all their nail varnishes are Big 3 Free, natch, though they do contain formaldehyde resin (for those of you who check ingredients). The formula is on the thicker side and extremely pigmented. I’m not gonna lie, the metallic and shimmer shades applied better than the creme. The creme was a bit streaky and needed evening out with Seche Vite to appear completely smooth. Also I noticed that, like wall paint, the creme and metallic dried a little darker with a semi-matte finish.

I gave each shade my five day trial run with a base of CND Sticky and Seche Vite top coat, to test its wearability and I was very pleased with the results. Minimal tip wear and no chipping.

DWS is a mid-tone gray creme. It’s got a bit of green to its base, similar to Rescue Beauty’s Stormy, only DWS is lighter. It falls somewhere between Stormy and RBL Concrete Jungle. I’d say it’s more along the lines of MAC On The Prowl from the Hello Kitty collection. Like I said above, the application was a bit tricky but not so much so that it ruined the overall result. You just have to play with it. I’ve shown it with top coat.

Snap is a gunmetal metallic. It’s not super dark so it definitely looks gray in all lighting. It’s a true metal in that respect. I’ve shown it without a top coat so you can see that it dries somewhat matte, not glossy.

And as a random factoid, while removing the polish I noticed that instead of coming off in one fell swoop, the first layer came off to reveal this lighter metallic shade, similar to Chanel Kaleidoscope without the chameleon effect. Kind of cool, no?

Baptiste is the out and out winner of the three. It’s a STUNNING purple shimmer. Similar to Essie Sexy Divide, Baptiste is much richer and vibrant in person. Don’t worry about “almost black” syndrome affecting this one. Even under the odd fluorescent lighting in my office, Baptiste looks purple. What you see is without top coat. Talk about glossy!
These are a few of the Illamasqua shades that I’m longing to try next. I say yay to any brand that carries mulitple greens in their core collection. Ding, ding, ding we “greenies” have a winner.


Fun fact: Nicole Scherzinger wore Fern, a bold robin’s egg shimmer, in an upcoming Pussycat Dolls video for the Oscar winning hit “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. The video isn’t out yet but I found a “making of” video on MTV.com

Illamasqua Nail Varnish retails for £12.50 and can be purchased directly from Illamasqua.com. I’m also really intrigued by the create your own eyeshadow palettes so if anyone tries or has tried them, let me know what you think.

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There Are 12 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Vampy Varnish says:

    Those are all really great and now I MUST get Hectic!!!

  2. ilyma says:

    I’m all for quirky nail polish names…but phallic? Really?

  3. Orli says:

    Ooooh I love the purple! The metallic is nice too.

    I wish they were cheaper. :(

  4. Scrangie says:

    LOL Phallic. I have to get that one. XD

  5. Cali369 says:

    I’m in the UK and this brand has cropped up in fashion magazines here. I’ve lusted over their site, they have some fab looking shades and I love the styling, but boy are they expensive! £12.50 for a polish, that’s about $17! I’d been waiting till I could get to Selfridges in London to see them in person and try and work out if they were worth it!

  6. Miss Merx says:

    I just popped on to see what the latest buzz was and ironically, I’m off to Selfridges this morning to check this make up range out!

    I have high hopes for it. I will pop another comment on here later when I get back as to how it went and what my thoughts are on it…

  7. Susanna says:

    How is the brand name pronounced? Ill-ah-mas-q-ah? Ill-ah-ma-skew-a?

    Love the grey creme!

  8. Miss Merx says:

    Well, I popped into Selfridges, London and found the Illamasqua stand. The varnishes were the first thing I saw, all lined up just waiting to be inspected!

    They had some gorgeous colours (there were loads!) and the greens are so lovely. They have a new collection coming out at the beginning of April too.

    Definitely worth a looking if you’re in the London area. Not sure if they’re worth the £12.50 price tag but if there were colours in there that I can’t find similar enough from any other brand, then I could justify the spend.

    The make-up was amazing too…!

  9. shay says:

    Ohh love the colors hot for whenever it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    On the website, there are a mint green color called Milf. I love the names, my favorite is ‘Spartan’. Haha.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I think for the UK nailpolish fanatics Barry M is a great option. The brand is cheap, and the shades are great. One of the few brands to have a nice grey.

  12. Daisy Cadle says:

    Illamasqua’s purple ‘Baptiste’ nail varnish was created by Glenis Baptiste celebrity manicurist to the stars! It’s just fantastic!!!! I love it :) :) :) xxx

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