Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish Review, Photos, Swatches

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish ($17.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “blood red.” It’s a medium-dark, subtly cool-toned red with a cream finish. There’s a pink tinge to it, and it’s bright but a little dusty, too. Revlon Bordeaux (P, $4.99) is darker. Tom Ford Beauty Trophy Wife (LE, $32.00) is lighter, brighter. NARS Lost Red (LE, $19.00) is brighter. MAC RiRi Woo (LE, $16.00) is similar. MAC Stage Red (LE, $16.00) is darker. MAC Flaming Rose (P, $16.00) is similar. Chanel Suspicious (P, $27.00) is pinker. Butter London Pillar Box Red (P, $15.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

Recently promoted for Valentine’s Day, Throb is a worthwhile option for anyone seeking a more muted, darker red cream. It’s intensely pigmented, and you really only need one coat for full color coverage. I’ve included two sets of photos; the first set is a single coat, and then I have a couple more that shows two coats, so you can see how there’s no real difference in color or opacity. To me, the noticeable difference is just that two coats gives it a thicker, glossier look and finish. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it flowed evenly and smoothly across the nail without bubbling or streaking. Illamasqua’s formula typically wears seven to ten days on me with very minor tip wear but no chipping.

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See more photos & swatches!

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish (Two Coats)

Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Throb Nail Varnish (Two Coats)

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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

Compare Any Two Swatches

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32 Comments

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Looks like the perfect red. Pleased to see its an A+. Been looking for a really good long lasting red polish as O.P.I. seem to be letting me down quality wise atm.

I love Throb. It’s one of my favorite reds. The formula is amazing (as with all Illamasqua polishes) and it’s the most traditional true red I’ve come across. IMO it’s a staple red polish that everyone should have in their collection.

I love the pinkness/dustiness that you mention! It makes it a bit more interesting than the average red (much as I adore Butter London’s Come to Bed Red).

Someday, I will try Illamasqua’s stuff. And possibly lose control and buy the whole store. Should probably start saving now… 😉

Illamasqua polishes are my favorite! Two coats makes it look a little less muted, a teeny bit more intense. But you’re right…you can barely tell!

Oh…it’s hard for me to throw down that much for a nail polish knowing I can get two Zoya’s at the same price. But that red looks so perfect as a staple red creme.

Hi Christine! I’m curious, when you test polishes do you wear them on their own or use a base and top coat? (I assume the former?) Just wondering how you get 7-10 days of wear without a top coat? Thanks! Beautiful color…

Hi Samantha,

I used to do both tests (straight color, also with base/top coat), but since almost nothing chips on me… well, ever… I just do straight color now to accommodate more testing of formulas. For example, I’ve worn an Illamasqua polish for 2 full weeks with zero chips – had more growth (new nail showing at the bottom) than tip wear – when I used it with a top/base coat.

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