The new Illamasqua spring collection, cleverly titled i’mperfection, hit the shelves on January 31st.

illamasqua

Stand up and show the world what makes you perfectly,
imperfect. We want you to highlight the features other
brands encourage you to cover up. Because life isn’t
about finding yourself, life is about celebrating who you
really are.

This collection, the message and the imagery is all about celebrating the little ‘imperfections’ as the things which make us beautiful and us. Freckles, scars, birth marks, beauty spots, gap teeth, are to be embraced, and this is reflected in the modelling and photography for this range. I’m not going to repost it all here, but you can go see the gallery on the collection page.

I love the message, and if it came from another brand I’d probably be sceptical but honestly, everything I’ve seen from Illamasqua, every experience I’ve had with them, with their customer service, their staff, their counters, has reinforced the strong brand ethos the company flaunts. I’ve never had an Illamasqua MUA offer me bronzer for my ridiculously-pale skin based on the assumption that, surely, I must want to look tan. I’ve never felt judged for being at an Illamasqua counter without makeup on, or looking unpolished. I’ve never been made to feel like I couldn’t – or shouldn’t – wear a colour or product, that it was for other people and not for me. I’ve never had it insisted that I should wear foundation too dark because it would look healthier, or had a product pushed on me because I should want to look differently.

All of these experiences I’ve felt with other brands, and never with Illamasqua. I mention all of this because as a result I am horribly biased. All my bias comes from wonderful experiences with the company, but it still exists. Not only do I love the brand, I want to love their products. I don’t always even like their products (not a fan of the eyeshadows, or some foundation formulas) but I am probably predisposed towards liking them, so please bear that in mind when I give my opinion.

My favourite thing from Illamasqua is the nail polish. It’s long-wearing, easy to use, most shades are virtually idiot-proof, it’s colourful, unfortunately it’s also expensive. The range is quite small compared to more established nail polish brands, but seems pretty large/on-par for a general beauty brand. I should admit, I am a nail-novice. I can’t even file my nails to make them all roughly the same shape. I’m at a loss with my cuticles, I’ve had one manicure, once, and it was an awful experience. I’m incredibly messy and I tend to get it everywhere, do thick coats and then smudge it all. All this, and I still tend to get great results from virtually every Illamasqua nail polish, which is why I pay the price tag. Like I said, it’s pretty much idiot-proof. At least, it’s me-proof.

Speckled

Imagine my delight at the headliner of the new spring collection then, being a new range of Illamasqua nail polish. The nail polishes are speckled, come in five shades (one for each finger) retail at £14.50 each and remind me of Cadbury mini eggs. The photo opportunity to display my nails next to Cadbury mini eggs was a significant factor in my purchase decision.

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I ordered two bottles on the launch day, Mottle (pale green) and Fragile (pale blue). I would’ve loved Speckle (pale purple) too, but at £14.50 each two was pushing it. They arrived this morning, so I immediately used both, alternating on my nails, with no nail prep whatsoever. No base coat, no cuticle softening or removing, no filing, I just sat up and started using them straight out of the box.

DSC_0796 DSC_0811 DSC_0816 I’m really pleased with them both. I love the colours and the speckle effect; to me it’s sort of part way between speckled eggs and a grunge-graffiti effect. Since the base colour is a creamy colour, and the speckles are different sizes (small specks, and at least two different sized octagonal black pieces) suspended in the cream, you get a more subtle effect than glittery top-coats. I vastly prefer this effect, it’s subtle but unusual. I’m going to enjoy trying them over my Illamasqua pastel polishes to see if I can get an even lighter speckle pattern.

The formula is very forgiving provided you apply it thinly. Opt for the thinnest coats you can even if they’re streaky, because otherwise it will pool up in the corners of your nail. It takes 2-3 coats for opacity depending on how thin the coats are, but any streaks even themselves out. It’s very forgiving if you smudge it a bit, since it’s not a completely smooth finish, but it’s not gritty or terribly textured either. I’ve taken a photograph both with top coat and without, although there’s not a huge difference. The speckle parts were quite soft and it was surprisingly easy to clean my nails up a little. The drying time was surprisingly quick with multiple thin coats.

This collection isn’t currently available at Sephora in the US but I couldn’t see anything on the Illamasqua website preventing it being sold & delivered to the US.

Disclaimer-y stuff:

This product was purchased by me, Jedi Ana/Anastasia. The Cadbury mini eggs were also purchased by me. Neither company is aware of this post at the time of posting. I don’t get anything if you shop there (except happiness if you like your purchase and mini eggs if you share them with me). All opinions contained herein are my own, and do not in any way reflect Phyrra’s, ’cause she owns neither awesome speckled nail polish nor delicious Cadbury mini eggs and because we exist as two separate people.