Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Scarab

Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a fiery ruby red with copper and scarlet shimmer strewn through the color. It almost looks metallic but not quite. It’s a very cool shade with depth; I envision flames licking through the ruby red, because it just has on-fire look to it.   This shade was extremely rich in pigment–one coat was nearly enough, but I still wound up with two, just because it feels more complete (to me) that way.

Nonetheless, smooth, even application with no fuss.  The formula itself was of a medium-thick consistency–the norm for Illamasqua’s varnishes.  It has a slight shine in its natural finish, but I recommend a shiny top coat to really finish it.  I noticed very subtle brush strokes in close-ups, but everything looked pretty smooth at a normal viewing distance.  Illamasqua described this as a metallic, but it feels more like a shimmer with only a touch of metallic-ness.

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Friday, August 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink

A Tale of Twin Liners

Illamasqua Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner (£16.50 for 0.06 oz.) is a new eyeliner launching with Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness collection for fall. It’s a long-wearing and waterproof liner that should dry quickly.

It may look familiar. In fact, it may look very familiar. Illamasqua’s Precision Ink and MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliners are exactly the same. Every part of the packaging is the same, from the bottom to the inside to the formula itself. MAC has sticker labels on the bottom, while Illamasqua has the label on the side of the eyeliner–which reveals a bit of an inset, and after peeling back the MAC label, the MAC liner has it, too.

Illamasqua has two shades (at least for now): Abyss, which is a rich black, and Alchemy, which is a metallic gold. (The MAC counterparts would be On the Hunt and Pure Show, for reference.) The shades are exactly the same as far as I can tell. There is no discernible difference, and I swatched both gold shades on my hand and kept them there for about 36 hours–I wanted to see them in all different lighting.  If there is any difference between them, I could not detect a single one.

This is a very easy review, because I’ve done it before: they are as long-wearing as they claim to be. They won’t smudge, budge, flake, or migrate whatsoever once they’re dry, though I find that drying time is around twenty to thirty seconds (not super fast, not agonizingly long). It is water-resistant, and it flakes off when you put makeup remover on it.

Whenever two brands, particularly such well-known brands as these, come out with exactly the same product, not just similar colors (which you could simply say are coincidence or going with the trends), I wonder what went on. I don’t know much about manufacturing and the behind-the-scenes aspect of beauty product creation, so I don’t have any insider knowledge to provide for you. My first experience with it was with all of the lip stain markers that released in the earlier half of this year–it seemed like every brand was putting out some kind of lip stain marker. Then MAC and Orly’s polish similarities, and now this… It just makes you wonder.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Just depends on which brand you prefer, I’d say… It’s a very nice long-wearing liquid eyeliner that’s easier to use than your typical liquid eyeliner.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish

Still Time for Neon Nails

Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a wicked neon pink cream that’s opaque in just about two coats (which is what is pictured), but you could easily get away with three coats or do two thicker coats.  The formula is so smooth and the color applies evenly and richly; there is no streaking on the first coat, just a smooth, even layer of color.  Wear is fantastic with just minor tip wear after about a week!

This rounds up the last of Illamasqua’s varnish I have to review at the moment — what are your favorite varnishes from Illamasqua’s line up? So I can keep a running list of what I might want to try next! :)

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love bright, nearly neon kind of shades, Collide is a great neon pink!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish

Coral Tips for Summer Trips

Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a fierce coral-orange that practically glows in the light.  Even in soft, indirect light, you can see the brightness of the shade.  Like Baptiste, Lament applies easily without streaking.  It has a very slight jelly quality, but overall, it’s your standard cream finish.  Above, I used two coats, but you could probably do a third for complete opacity (it looked opaque to me originally, but you can very faintly see the nail line in the photos).   Application really is quite dreamy here– so smooth, no fussing, no bubbling.

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Friday, August 13th, 2010

Illamasqua Growl Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Illamasqua Growl Lipstick

Illamasqua Growl Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deep reddened brown-wine with opaque color coverage and a low sheen.  This is a shade that will last six to eight hours without much work, because it has a drier formula, it really clings to lips.  I don’t find Illamasqua’s shades drying, but they do take a little more pressure to apply.  They’re creamy and yet not slippery.   This shade sits right between MAC Media and MAC Underworld.

Is this the right vamp for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish

Perfect for Fall: Baptiste

Illamasqua Baptiste Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a stunning shade of shimmering royal purple with flecks of red and fuchsia-violet shimmer. It’s gorgeous in the light as well as out of it; it looks inkier when in the shade, but when the light hits it, all of the shimmer comes into play.

The formula was amazing! Smooth and easy to apply with plenty of pigment. I only used two coats on Baptiste, and it was completely opaque. It’s not too thick or thin–just right–which makes it easy to apply without worrying about streaking or patchiness. The wear was also excellent. Admittedly, I don’t do dishes (the boy takes care of that), but I do type all day, so sometimes that alone will show a polish’s true colors–Illamasqua stayed as pretty as when I put it on seven days later with just minor tip wear.

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