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Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Mottle Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled green.” It’s a pale, pastel green with very subtle yellow undertones with small black glitter and larger, hexagon-shaped black glitter pieces. I couldn’t even think of a dupe for the base color, let alone one with both components! I was totally stumped. A few readers have mentioned that Hard Candy has dupes for Illamasqua’s speckled polishes. I haven’t seen Hard Candy’s in person, but from promo photos, it looks like the glitter is smaller and more circular with a combination of white and black glitters (and it seems to vary depending on the base color), but both brands are using pastel base colors with glitter to give it a speckled/sprinkled effect. Deborah Lippmann’s Staccato Collection also features three pastel-hued colors with small black glitter (bottle photos suggest that Deborah Lippmann and Hard Candy’s are closer to each other).  I haven’t seen Deborah Lippmann’s in person either. You may prefer the effect or composition over the other, so pick your poison! 🙂

Mottle is incredibly pigmented in one coat, though not opaque, I still thought it worth showing and left my pinky fingernail with a single coat, so you could see how much color is deposited in one coat.  You can also see how there’s almost no streaking to speak of, which is always a relief after working with a pastel color!  The consistency of the formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it applied evenly and fluidly. I didn’t have any issues with it pulling, pooling, or bubbling.  It has an interesting finish that seems like a cream, but there’s a slight squishy look to it, too, that makes me think of jelly polishes.  Illamasqua’s formula is one of the longest-wearing polishes on me (as long as fourteen days with minimal tip wear and no chipping).

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

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Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Fragile Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled blue.” It’s a pale, airy blue cream base with small black glitter and then larger hexagon-shaped black glitter. I don’t have any specific dupes that mimic both the blue base and the accompanying black glitter pieces, but you might have a top coat that’s similar in glitter content, so I’d recommend trying it with these potential shades (that are similar to the blue base color): Zoya Blu and NARS Kutki.

The most remarkable aspect of Illamasqua’s spring polishes is really how well they apply. Sometimes, pastel creams can be streaky messes and a pain to deal with, but Illamasqua nailed the formula here. The consistency isn’t too thick or too thin, so it flowed evenly and easily across the nail, and there was minimal streaking on that first, initial coat, but a second coat evened everything out. It was opaque in two coats, and the finish is a cross between a traditional cream and a jelly–there’s a squishy-look to the nails. I usually get as long as fourteen days of wear out of Illamasqua, and it is one of the best-wearing formulas I’ve come across.

This shade is currently showing as out of stock online, though you can locate it at your local store through the online “find in store” feature. I’ve been seeing a few shades pop in and out of stock, so hopefully it’ll reappear soon.

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

Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled lilac.” It has a soft, pale lilac cream base with flecks of small black glitter and larger hexagon-shaped black glitter. I don’t know of any dupes in particular for this shade (Deborah Lippmann also has speckled polish but nothing in lilac). If you have a top coat with black glitter already, you might try using Essie Bangle Jangle, MAC Little Girl Type, Nubar Purple Aster, or Zoya Marley has a base color, as they are similar.

It was fully opaque in color after two coats, and I was surprised at just how close it was to opaque after a single coat. For a pastel, too, it had minimal streaking on the initial coat and a second coat completely smoothed out the color so everything looked lush and even. There was something about the consistency and look of this polish, because though it seems like a creamy color, it almost had a jelly-like finish.  The formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, so it flowed well over the nail, and I didn’t have any trouble applying it.  Illamasqua’s formula is one of the longest-wearing in my experience–I can get anywhere from ten to fourteen days of wear with minimal tip wear.

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

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Illamasqua Hemlock Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Hemlock Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Hemlock Nail Varnish

Hemlock You’ll Want to Wear

Illamasqua Hemlock Nail Varnish (£13.50 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “pale opal green iridescent.” It’s a pale pink-red at one angle, then it turns into a pale, yellowed green shimmer at another angle, while the base color is a pale beige with a hint of pink overall. It’s definitely duochrome, and it is a strong one at that. There are a few green duochromes on the market, but I don’t have one that shifts pink-green (or such a yellowy green at all).

After two coats of Hemlock, there’s still some visible nail line.  With three coats, you should get fully opaque color, if that’s your aim.  It’s sheer enough in one coat to work as a layering polish as well.  I appreciate the versatility of the color in that respect, but since this is definitely less pigmented compared to nearly every other Illamasqua shade I’ve come across, I wish they’d mention that it was sheer (or semi-sheer) in the description.  There are nearly no visible brush strokes, despite the threads of metallic shimmer running through the base color.  It also has a strong, obvious duochrome in a shift I don’t think I’ve come across before.  Illamasqua’s polishes typically wear seven to ten days on me without chipping–just very minor tip wear.

Illamasqua Hemlock Nail Varnish

A
9.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
96%
Total

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Varnish (2012)

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Varnish

Coming in February: Illamasqua Raindrops

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “sheer light grey” and has a jelly finish. It is my all-time favorite nail lacquer. It’s a semi-sheer, stormy gray with a hint of blue with flakes of pale silver-gray shimmer. The jelly finish makes it look squishy on the nail, and it really gives it a cloudy, rainy day vibe. I still have no insight as to a dupe for this shade.

It was discontinued sometime ago, much to my dismay, but Illamasqua is bringing it back in February (2013). I don’t have any details about exactly when in February or if it will be made permanent once again, but I know it will be returning.  Though it is sheer after two coats (exactly as described), it has a lovely consistency that isn’t too thick or too thin, so you can still apply a third coat and get mostly opaque color. The flakes of sparkle spread evenly and don’t get clumped together.  I’ve worn this shade multiple times, especially when I travel, and it lasts ten days easily without chipping (just very minor tip wear).

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

Illamasqua Cameo Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Cameo Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Cameo Nail Varnish

Purple Makes a Cameo in This Blue

Illamasqua Cameo Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “cornflower blue.” (Sephora has it listed as “periwinkle blue.”) It’s a dusty, cornflower blue that leans noticeably purple. It almost more purple than blue, but it’s not true purple. Which, I suppose, tells you how complex and confusing this color family can be! I couldn’t think of a dupe–Essie Lapis of Luxury was too blue, while Essie Smooth sailing was too purple (and shimmery, too). I’d love to hear from you if you know of any dupe possibilities!

The formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it was opaque after two coats.  It dried down to a glossy finish without the need of a top coat (shown without a top coat).  The glossiness is really impressive; it’s just so shiny and glossy; it just looks really elegant and polished.  I typically get anywhere from a week to a week and a half of wear out of Illamasqua’s formula.  It wears exceptionally well in my experience and is a go-to formula when I travel, because it never chips on me.

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

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