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When Cosmetics and Confectionery Collide

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


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.


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.

DSC_0817 DSC_0820 DSC_0825 DSC_0822

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.

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    • femmeinistgrrrl

      Too bad Illamasqua never apologized for their incredibly racist holiday ad campaign, as I like the idea of this ad campaign and the polishes are quite cute. Sadly, they won’t be seeing another cent of my money.

      • Jedi Ana

        femmeinistgrrrl I know some people still feel this way, and that’s fine. I feel differently. Either way, I really like this release’s message, it’s really positive and it’s a nice change to see them ‘walking the walk’ somewhat by using models with the ‘imperfections’ they’re celebrating. 
        If you’re after non-Illamasqua speckled polishes, I saw a couple on eBay by a brand I didn’t recognise, so I expect some others will be following suit.

        • femmeinistgrrrl

          Jedi Ana femmeinistgrrrlI did like this release’s message. And I’m not saying I don’t appreciate your post! The review was great and I loved the swatches with the Mini Eggs. :) I have mixed feelings even about my own personal boycott of Illamasqua, as there are certainly other beauty brands that have had racist ad campaigns in the past that I purchase from. I think it was the attitude of their response that really rubbed me the wrong way. I can certainly understand how people disagree with me, though.The new staccato polishes by Deborah Lippmann look like they might be similar, so I might have to check those out. Thanks for your reply!

    • Hipstermama

      I really like those polishes. I hope they become available in the US soon. 
      Also, I believe that is the best disclaimer I have ever read.

      • Jedi Ana

        Hipstermama I think when Sephora sees the collection sales they probably will be. I love the more subtle/creamy effect of the speckle and I think it’s something new (ish? Beauty products are cyclical?) so I think it likely it will be either picked up or emulated by the other big brands. And thank you! I try; does that mean you’ll share mini eggs?

    • http://lacqueredpaintedpolished.blogspot.com/ Jessi M

      I love Illamasqua despite not owning any of their products. They seem like such a great company. They’ve grown so much, too. I hope eventually they bring the makeup counters to the US, instead of just Sephora stocking the products. Anyway, I LOVE these colors. I wish I  could afford to get them all. Or even one actually, haha.
      Thanks for the swatches; your nails look great!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Jessi M I do love their nail polishes and I own  several – Baptiste, Phallic, Bacterium, Poke, Radium, Stance… and I think Scarab.

      • Jedi Ana

        Jessi M Haha my nails look kind of terrible compared to the beautiful paint job others do. I know I’m a total nail noob! But they do look very pretty IRL and it’s that kind of fool-proof easiness to work with which is what makes me pay the price tag. And I’m with you, I love the brand, love the ethos, and I love how far they’ve come. I really hope you get counters, too. It’s a nice shopping experience. In MAC I get looked down noses at, at Illamasqua I get warmth and acceptance from a boy with metallic red eyebrows.

    • hermajesty05

      I’m with femmeinistgrrrl. I feel like the theme of this collection is trying to say, “no look, we’re cool! we’re all beautiful!” and I just don’t buy it.  Too bad, since they look like fun!  Thanks for the swatches anyways.  Now I know I’m interested in these milky colors that are starting to show up.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        hermajesty05 femmeinistgrrrl Not sure if you saw their Generation Q, which was the collection before Christmas. It was awesome and inclusive and basically said ‘you are beautiful no matter your age’. I just feel like the Xmas collection was a colossal mistake.

        • Jedi Ana

          Phyrra hermajesty05 femmeinistgrrrl I know a lot of people feel this way. Phyrra and I had a discussion about this prior to posting it, and we disagree about the Christmas collection but I do get it. 
          I admit my personal bias based on my experience with the company so that my opinions can always be as honest as possible. I love them. I’m sad that they’ve burned some bridges with people but it’s not my job to make people like their brand. I mentioned in my reply to femmeinistgrrrl that I saw some knock-offs on eBay (similar shades, too) so I think that other brands will hop on the band-wagon. They’re very Easter colours, and I like that they’re not quite as bright as the pastels.

    • morsecode

      I’ve heard only good things about Illamasqua’s polishes (excepting the rubberized ones) so I’ll definitely be picking up one of these when they launch here since I’ve been intrigued by them since I first saw the preview of this collection.

      • Jedi Ana

        morsecode I adore their polish! I have two rubbers (not the recent brights, the originals) and I like the formula, but you really need a matte topcoat otherwise it’ll chip, and if you use a regular topcoat then, well, there’s no point. And if you use a matte topcoat… you could’ve done that anyway with another polish. I like being able to see so easily when it’s dry though? The only polish I’ve ever struggled with is Phallic (no jokes!) which looks beautiful but is a very messy one.

        • Jedi Ana

          morsecode Okay that sounded even more like a penis joke.

    • UneLuneBleue

      Hipstermama totally stole my comment, I was going to say that I laughed harder at your disclaimer than the actual post. 
      Anywho, I do love these polishes, and hope they’re available over here soon. I also thought immediately of Cadbury mini eggs when I first saw them. If I spot them while shopping (the eggs, not the polishes, as that’s not likely to happen), I’ll pick some up for you Ana ;-)

      • Jedi Ana

        UneLuneBleue I’m sure they will be. I like the shades a lot too, and I want the purple and pink ones, although I do wish there was a not-too-bright pastel yellow to go with, the neutral shade is too brownishorange for my taste.

    • kvwilliams91

      Mini Egg nail varnish! <3 I want so bad

      • Jedi Ana

        kvwilliams91 I’m glad I’m not the only person who thought of mini eggs XD

    • beautywithbrain

      These look much prettier than I thought they would. Must get my hands on a couple!

      • Jedi Ana

        beautywithbrain Yeah! As I say what I really like about them is that it’s subtle. I’m not a big fan of loadsofstuffstickingtoyournails look so I really like how they’re dispersed in an opaque cream.

    • erinforevermore

      Want. Want. Want. Want. Want. Oh and want. ;)

      • Jedi Ana

        erinforevermore So, not interested in these at all then? :P

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