Saturday, December 17, 2011

Illamasqua Nail Varnish - Shimmer Finish

I have been talking the past few months about my nail polish obsession and therefore that is what I have been the majority of my beauty budget on.  My two current obsessions are China Glaze and Illamasqua.  I tried one polish from Illamasqua last summer and quickly became obsessed with the great formulation and unique shades.  This polish is available in three finishes - Shimmer, Glossy, and Metallic.  I decided to focus on the Shimmer finish polishes to begin with and I have been ordering them from Sephora for the past few weeks.  I wish that this collection was carried at more Sephora stores, the closest one to me that carries this collection is over an hour and a half away and I have to cross state lines to get there...  My Sephora is aware of my love of this line so they will call me when they get sent any of these products by mistake but so far nothing has really been working out in that vein.

The Illamasqua website gives a full product description, "Leave your mark with bold, rich, vibrant colours.  Hardwearing and chip-resistant with individual finishes from matt to high gloss.  Apply two coats for intensity and use with Illamasqua Nail Base Coat and Illamasqua Nail Top Coat for the perfect finish.  Talk with your hands and make a statement."  I bought three Nail Varnish shades in this finish - Phallic, Bacterium, and Baptiste.

Phallic is the first shade that I ordered from this product and the shade that began my whole obsession.  It is only natural that I would try out a new nail polish line with a deep navy blue.  This shade is a "deep midnight blue" with a shimmer finish.  I love this shade, it is the perfect navy blue and the shimmer finish makes it very unique.  I apply two coats of this polish for full coverage, one coat is not near enough for an opaque finish.  In natual light, the shade looks like a midnight blue cream but in certain inside lights or out in the sun, the shimmer lights up and create a lovely, dazzling "lit from within" finish.  This polish is next to Chanel's Blue Satin as one of the best navy blues that I have ever used.  It lasts three days with no chipping and stays color true the whjole time.  Removal of this polish is the only downfall, it removes very hard and it left an awful stain on my nails, I must repaint my nails right after I take this off.  Removal aside, I love this shade and I have been obsessed with it the past few months.

Bacterium is the second shade that I ordered in this finish.  I was initally very unhappy when I opened up the box on this one, the shade in the bottle looked nothing like what was displayed on the Sephora website.  The Sephora website called this color "an opalescent beige" however the Illamasqua website called it a "pearlescent ash ochre".  The Illamasqua website is much closer to what the shade actually looks like.  In the bottle, the shade looks like a warm khaki shimmer and a shade that I never would have ordered if it was described that way.  I was very close to returning this shade right away but I decided to try it on and keep an open mind.  I hated my first manicure with this shade, I thought it looked odd with my skin but the shade began to grow on me after a few hours.  Two coats gives an opaque khaki finish with minimal shimmer and a pearl finish.  One coat gives a sheer khaki finish and the pearl is much more evident, I prefer this shade used in this manner.  It creates a neutral look that is unique enough to cause people a double take.  The wear on this polish was the worst of the three, this one only got me about two days before it began chipping and wearing off, a top coat extended the wear by about a day but it didn't really improve it that much.  Removal was very easy and I have no complaints in that area.  This still isn't my favorite polish but I will wear it for a more natural manicure look.

The last polish that I order was Baptiste, a shade that is on par with Phallic for amazingness.  This shade is another deep tone, perhaps the shimmer finish comes out better in the deep toned polish shades than the lighter ones.  This shade is described by Sephora as a "deep royal purple", it is a very dark and true purple.  I don't own that many purples (I wear reds and blues when I do deep shades) so this one also took a bit of getting used to looking at.  I quickly fell in love with this shade once I got used to seeing the purple on my nails, this is the shade of purple that I think of when I think of royalty.  Two coats minimum are needed for this shade, it had a few issues getting it to cover evenly the first time that I worked with it.  But one is even and fully opaque, it has a "wow" factor that we don't see enough in the new shades of polish.  This one lasted about three days without chipping also but I did need top coat on it to keep the shine factor up.  Removal was better than Phallic but still left some traces on my nails.

My initial Nail Varnish purchases have made me very happy even though I don't know that I still would have bought Bacterium had I seen it in real life.  I love Phallic and Baptiste and I am now wondering if the better shades of this product are the deeper and more intense ones.  I will be trying a shade range of all the other finishes to see if this holds true.  Overall, application is smooth and pretty even (with the exception of the first coat of Baptiste), the brush is easy to work with, and the wear is better than many other brands.  I will be ordering more shades of this polish formula to try all the finishes in it...

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