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Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Harem Nail Varnish ($17.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “bright mauve pink.” It’s a cool-toned, light-medium lavender-pink with blue undertones and a creamy finish (almost looks like a jelly, because it has a plush, squishy look to it). MAC Vagabondage is pinker and darker. MAC Saint Germain is pinker. MAC Pinkly Fresh is lighter, grayer. MAC Ice Cream Cake is darker and pinker. Essie French Affair is softer, pinker.

I was totally surprised that I couldn’t think of any dupes for Harem–it pulls very lavender/lilac, but there’s still quite a bit of pink in it, so it’s neither lavender nor your expected cotton candy pink. The formula is excellent; no streaking, pooling, or bubbling. It applied fluidly and evenly, and it was fully opaque after two coats of polish (nearly opaque in a single coat, actually). It dries to a glossy finish, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin (just right). Illamasqua really nailed the formula of their latest shade releases–I continue to be impressed (but still sad over the recent price increase!). I typically get at least seven days of fantastic wear out of their formula, but I’ve worn many shades as long as fourteen days with minor tip wear but no chipping.

P.S. — The brush was splayed on this one, but I don’t remember having this issue on any of the other Nail Varnishes I’ve swatched (and there have been a fair number) so it’s either never happened or seldomly happened, so I think this is just a one-off.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Harem
Harem
Harem
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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Illamasqua Superstition Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Superstition Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Superstition Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Superstition Nail Varnish ($17.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “bright fuchsia pink.” It’s a bold, magenta pink with a jelly-cream finish. It is similar to the base color of Hare Polish Party Palace. NARS Ratin Jot is a bit less magenta (pinker). Illamasqua Obsess seemed really similar to me; perhaps a little purpler and lighter (and this has a true cream finish). If you have Obsess, I’d skip this (unless you’re a die-hard fan of Illamasqua’s formula, wear this kind of color all the time, or really want the jelly finish this has), because they are very, very similar. Deborah Lippmann Makin’ Whoopee is similar but has a shimmer finish.

The formula is everything I’ve come to expect from Illamasqua: perfection. It’s not too thick or too thin, so it applies beautifully without bubbling, streaking, or pooling along the edge of the nail. It flows well across the nail and is opaque in two coats. The finish is more of a hybrid between jelly and cream; it didn’t look as squishy as a typical jelly is, and this shade was more opaque than a lot of jelly polishes I’ve seen have been. Illamasqua’s formula lasts seven days on me with very minor tip wear, but it easily extends to ten to fourteen-day wear if I let it go that long.

Illamasqua Superstition Nail Varnish

A+
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total

Illamasqua Venous Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Venous Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Venous Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Venous Nail Varnish ($17.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “bold blue green.” It’s a medium teal with a hint of green in a cream finish. China Glaze Exotic Encounters is darker, greener. MAC Salad Dressed is a bit lighter and bluer. MAC Ocean Dip is very similar–perhaps a bit deeper. Essie Turquoise & Caicos is lighter and greener.

It was fully opaque in two coats, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin. It applied evenly, smoothly, and fluidly, which made it a breeze to apply. I didn’t experience any bubbling, streaking, or pooling of the color along the edges of the nail. Venous lived up to Illamasqua’s lacquer reputation–excellent in every way. I typically get at least a week of wear (as long as 10-14 days) out of Illamasqua’s formula with very, very little tip wear and no chipping.

Also, heads up: Illamasqua has raised their polish prices from $14 to $17 sometime in the past few days. This particular shade is actually coming as $14 (which as far as I can tell is merely an oversight/mistake), and some readers mentioned the price still being $14 in stores. I’m disappointed to see such a large increase (21% as compared to the 5-10% increases on other prices, within their range, which is more in line with most price increases) — I think it may shift the polish out of the comfort zone for some — even if it is a standout formula.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Venous
Venous
Venous
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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Illamasqua Pink Raindrops Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Pink Raindrops Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Pink Raindrops Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Pink Raindrops Nail Varnish (£13.50 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “sheer cool pink.” It’s a light-medium neutral pink with pale pinkish-white flakes of glitter/sparkle throughout (they seem slightly iridescent). Illamasqua Scarce has a slightly cooler-toned base color (and is, obviously, different with all the black glitter). Deborah Lippmann Glamorous Life is a rose gold and has a metallic finish, but it was slightly reminiscent in color. Zoya Pandora is slightly more beige/less pink (and no flakes). Rescue Beauty Lounge Plie is similar to the base color but is a cream.

Okay, well, first things first, this isn’t sheer in the slightest. In fact, it’s very nearly opaque in a single coat! It’s more pigmented than Raindrops, and it seems to have more glittery flakes. I do miss the more jelly-like quality of the original Raindrops, because it was very apropos given the name/inspiration.  The consistency is somewhat thicker compared to Illamasqua’s formula in general and slightly thicker compared to Raindrops.  I normally get seven to ten days of wear with Illamasqua’s formula (it is one of the longest-wearing formulas I’ve tried) with very minor tip wear but no chipping.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Pink Raindrops
8.5
Product
8
Pigmentation
8
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
87%
Total

Illamasqua Freckle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Freckle Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Freckle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Freckle Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled tan.” It’s a light-medium beige brown cream base color paired with small black glitter and larger, hexagon-shaped black glitter. Zoya Minka is a lighter, more beige-hued color. It was the only shade that came to mind that might be similar to the base color of Freckle (and it’s not close).

Like the other shades in the speckled family, it was a breeze to apply and work with.  The color coverage was fully opaque after two coats, but one coat still had a surprising amount of opacity.  It flowed well across the nail without pooling along the edges, bubbling, or streaking.  I didn’t have any streaking on the first coat with this shade, though it was not too surprising given it is not nearly as light or pastel as the other colors in the range.  I usually find that Illamasqua’s polish wears exceptionally well on me with ten to fourteen days of wear with minimal tip wear but no chipping.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Freckle
Freckle
Freckle
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

Illamasqua Scarce Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Scarce Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Scarce Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Scarce Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled pink.” It starts off with a creamy, light-medium pink with subtle yellow undertones base layered with small pieces of black glitter and larger hexagon-shaped pieces of black glitter. The way it’s all mixed together makes some pieces appear blacker/grayer. I couldn’t think of a similar base color; Nubar Pink Lily is lighter and cooler-toned, while Rescue Beauty Lounge Plie is more beige, less pink. Deborah Lippmann has shade that has pink with black glitter debuting in April.

It was fully opaque in two coats, but it was very nearly opaque in a single coat. The truly remarkable feature of the formula is how evenly it applies; I found that this shade was almost streak-free on the first coat. A second coat completely evened out what little streaking there was so that the end result was creamy, smooth color. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and the drying time was average. I typically get at least a full week of wear with minimal tip wear but no chipping with Illamasqua’s formula, but I’ve tested some shades and have had no chipping for as long as two weeks (which is extraordinary, even for me).

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Scarce
Scarce
Scarce
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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