Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, swatch

Illamasqua — Poke (Nail Varnish) Swatch & Review

Brand: Illamasqua

Cult British makeup brand Illamasqua has been stirring things up a little bit in the news! I agree with their Anti-Facism Pledge (’cause who wouldn’t be, really—except cowards and fascists) and applaud them for their stand.

We’re realistic. We know we can’t stop anyone buying our products. But we also know that no matter how hard some people work to make themselves beautiful on the outside, make-up can never hide the ugliness inside. So please, if you don’t agree with the above DON’T BUY US.

Prejudice, sexism and racism should never be tolerated. Whether you’re a brand or an individual join us and, together, we can be the change we want to see.

Hear, hear!

Today’s swatch is for Illamasqua Poke (no, not that kind of poke), a midtoned violet purple with fine, bluish silver shimmer.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke

Illamasqua make some of the best polishes in the business, so I feel a little ashamed that I haven’t swatched one for the blog since 2015! Eeeeeek.

Poke is a little runnier than I anticipated, and while it applied very smoothly, I did need three coats to get nicely opaque coverage. The first coat, interestingly, dries matte. But, with a subsequent coat or two, it turns out quite glossy. The look is fabulous and I found it hard to stop looking at my nails all the time!

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, swatch
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, swatch

Sunlight (yes, we have sun today in Toronto!):

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, sunlight swatch
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, sunlight swatch
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, label
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, label

Illamasqua bottles come with a decorative cap, like many luxury polishes do. The actual cap you hold to paint your nails is comfortably ridged.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, label
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, label

The brush is slim and slightly oval: I find this brush wonderful to use and it’s perfect with tiny pinky nails!

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, brush
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, brush

I don’t see Poke on Illamasqua’s website anymore, so I am assuming it has been discontinued. I’ve been able to snatch up quite a lot of clearanced Illamasquas from a year or two back, when they moved out of Canada. Recently, I’ve seen some show up at Winners (granted, I’m not shopping there much these days due to #GrabYourWallet). Otherwise, you can order Illamasqua online from their website; they do deliver to Canada and the US.


Illamasqua Nail Varnish retails/retailed for GBP£15 / US$19 / CA$23.95 and is 0.5 fl oz / 15 mL. It does not contain toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl phthalate (DBP). The Nail Varnish is made in Australia. Illamasqua is vegan, cruelty-free—and fascism-free.

Illamasqua (a portmanteau of “illusion” and “masquerade”) was founded by marketer Julian Kynaston in 2008. It is a private company based in London, England.

🇦🇺Made in Australia
🇬🇧Company based in UK



8 thoughts on “Illamasqua — Poke (Nail Varnish) Swatch & Review

  1. I have this! I showed it on my blog too. So odd this is made in Australia, isn’t it?! The name is raunchy as per usual but I do love their polishes! This is almost a one coater for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I always thought it was odd that the Illa. polishes are made in Aus! Long way to ship it.

      Argh, I wish mine was a one-coater. How odd that they are so different. I was surprised b/c some of my other Illas. are one-coaters – I didn’t expect this one to be runny.


  2. This is so pretty, oh my goodness! I love that the shimmer doesn’t dull the color, it still looks so vibrant.

    I still haven’t tried Illamasqua, that clearly needs to change!


  3. This is such a pretty color! I think I have a China Glaze polish that’s really similar to this shade.
    While I don’t disagree with the brand’s Stand in their statement, I also want my cosmetics to stay far far away from politics and everything else that isn’t makeup related really. For me it kind of felt a little cringey and I can’t say I’m inspired to support them. Is that totally weird?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh do you know which China Glaze it is?

      And, I can definitely understand your viewpoint on this; I’m not certain I would have made exactly the same move if I ran a business. Happily, we all have the right to spend our money where we please! 🙂


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