Friday, 17 January 2014

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in 'Faithful'

When it comes to buying beauty products, you'll frequently find me prowling around the cosmetics section in my nearest Boots or Superdrug, eyeing up the 3-for-2 offers and 'free gifts of you spend £15' posters. As you may have seen in my last post about my Benefit makeover, I covet the high-end brands but am often careful with my pretty pennies.

Except....January is a very dangerous time thanks to the sales which spring up here there and everywhere. It's not often I actually take the plunge, but when I saw someone on my twitter feed mention that Illamasqua had a sale on, I just had to check it out.

Illamasqua boasts professional-quality cosmetics at a more affordable price, selling eye-catching and unique products. Launched in 2008, they pride themselves on encouraging experimentation and exploration in beauty - allowing for uniqueness to shine through, providing colours for your 'alter ego'. Alongside the beauty staples they have some really outlandish and stunning products, which truthfully I've never been brave enough to even consider!

I'm not so sure about embellishing my own alter-ego with brightly coloured eye shadows and lipsticks, but their reputation and great reviews have nudged them onto my 'One Day I'll Buy That' list, especially in terms of their foundations, highlighters and eyeliners.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the fantastic discounts they had on some of their products last week, and took a look at each and every item on offer; eye pencils, highlighters, eye shadows and perfumes....there was so much choice. In the end I considered how long I had until pay day and plumped for one of their nail varnishes for just £5 (reduced from £14.50 - with free postage!). I decided to play it safe with a fairly neutral colour, in Faithful. Three days later, and this is what I received in the post;

I instantly fell in love with the packaging - anything that comes in a pretty, luxurious box gets my vote straight away.It's simple, classic and sophisticated - exactly my type of thing, and exactly what I expected from Illamasqua!The varnish bottle itself is lovely too and will take pride of place on my makeup table -it not only looks great but is practical too (but more on that later).

Look at it - isn't it pretty??

I was a little nervous about the colour, as I usually like to see my products in person before I buy them. Sometimes I find shades are deceptively inaccurate in photographs, and I was worried it wouldn't be the colour I was expecting. I rarely buy anything online, so it's always a concern of mine! I needn't have worried, however; Faithful is a really beautiful coppery brown, with a glossy finish and a metallic edge. It's not overly glittery, but has a gorgeous shimmer which means it's different without being outrageous.

It has warm pink tones in the light with a slightly gold touch to it, which means it goes very well with my pale skin. I'm not sure how it would look with a tan - probably not as eye-catching - but I never tan anyway, so that's not a problem for me!

The varnish itself was very easy to apply - the perfect consistency - and the brush was easy to use. I liked the large square lid; it gave me more to hold on to than the usual thin cylinder you find on most varnish bottles, which meant I felt more confident applying the varnish, and was left with barely any mistakes. I followed advice and applied two coats on top of a base coat which provided great coverage, but didn't add a top coat as I ran out of time. The finish was still very shiny however so I don't think a top coat will always be needed when I wear this beauty! I will do so in the future when I can though, just to add an extra element of shine.

This photo doesn't quite do the colour justice I promise; you can find a better likeness on the product page.

I've now been wearing it for about three days and it has chipped a little around the edges - just everyday wear-and-tear. Unfortunately this did happen in the first day, but there was minimal chipping and I barely noticed. I'm not too bothered - compared to a number of high-street varnishes, which can sometimes completely peel off the next day, this is excellent and I'm sure if I follow the brand's advice and apply a good topcoat it will prevent chipping from happening so quickly. I also find myself doing things throughout the day which will chip my nails - I think unless you sit still all day and barely use your hands, you will get some natural wear and tear - but I am very pleased to see that most of the varnish is still there and will probably last for just over a week.

Overall, I adore the colour and the varnish. It's a beautiful product and a great first step into the world of Illamasqua, and I will definitely be looking into expanding my collection in the future. I'm not really sure if I would spend nearly £15 on a nail varnish - maybe only special occasions and in sales! - but for just £5 I think this was a real bargain.

Are you a fan of Illamasqua? Let me know about your favourite product in the comments below!


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