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

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12 Perfumes I Want Just for the Bottle

I don’t normally post on weekends, but this post was all done and ready to go, and I haven’t posted much lately.

In the wee hours of the night, I stay up with my two-and-a-half month old daughter and try not to do any online shopping. Therefore, I end up doing silly things like dissecting nine different versions of a Middle Eastern cookie recipe to create one über-recipe or compiling long lists of things that probably only I care about.

Recently, I’ve had perfume and handbags on the brain—which makes more sense than you’d think, since so many fashion houses necessarily have their own lines of perfume, as well. What do Narciso Rodriguez, Stella McCartney, and Juicy Couture know about perfume? But everyone from Michael Bublé, David Beckham, Zara, and the Kardashians to Donald Trump, Ferrari, Minions, and 24 (yes, the TV show) has a perfume line, so really, none of it makes sense anymore.

(I don’t wish to seem like I’m slamming any non-perfumers’ perfumes—some of my favorites are celebrity scents! I just really wanted to mention the Minions again.)

The perfume and handbags combination then got me thinking about the design of perfume bottles, as surely fashion houses would care deeply about their products’ aesthetics. I’ve seen many bottles that are straight-up hideous and others that are sublimely lovely. It’s never really affected my purchasing behavior, as it’s what’s inside the bottle that really counts: I’m not toting my perfume around with me and wearing it around my neck. But still, I like pretty things, and there are some fragrances with bottles I’ve admired but I haven’t gotten around to adding them to my collection for one reason or another. Here are the top 12 perfumes I want just for the bottle (in alphabetical order):


BALENCIAGA Florabotanica

I love everything about this perfume, except for the way it smells. I felt that Florabotanica didn’t smell like very much at all, like a generic, vaguely scented bath product. Everything else about the fragrance—the name, the bottle, the notes (mint, carnation, rose, and vetiver, all of which I enjoy)—is screaming Buy me! so I feel I should probably revisit it. Perhaps—and I hope—my nose was just having an off day.



It’s the world’s most iconic perfume bottle. (See the Andy Warhol painting above.) The fragrance itself isn’t to my taste, however. I’ve tried the eau de toilette—it opens like ginger ale, then sours like a lemon on my skin. Perhaps I’ll try the eau de parfum one day, but I do have and love 2007’s N°5 Eau Première, and that’s probably enough N°5 for me, even though its bottle is not quite the same gorgeous, chunky style.

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New Release: Illamasqua — Extinct (Fall 2016)

Collection: Illamasqua 2016 Fall, Extinct

Illamasqua‘s Fall 2016 collection is called Extinct:


The collection includes two shades of Nail Varnish: Quagga, a duo-toned green gold, and Remains, a glittered purple. Illamasqua recommends that you “[a]pply over a black polish to intensify the colour”, suggesting that the shades are not fully opaque.

Illamasqua Extinct collection Fall 2016 products

Illamasqua Nail Varnish retails for £14.50.

The rest of the collection includes a Demise Eye Palette with four shades: Wilt (red gold), Gimp (black blue), Lost (white gold) and Interitus (burgundy); two Powder Eyeshadows in Jubilance (pale copper) and Cascade (blue/white frost); Pure Pigment in Axolotl (a holographic blue pigment powder); Gel Liner in Quixotic (emerald green); and Matte Lip Liquid in Exoskeleton (dusky plum).

Happy shopping!

New Release: Illamasqua — Metamorph (Spring 2016)

Collection: Illamasqua 2016 Spring, Metamorph

Illamasqua‘s Spring 2016 collection is Metamorph:

Celebrating the evolution of nature and its systematic, seasonal rejuvenation, METAMORPH accentuates hyper-real skin and feral brows, embracing beauty in its most natural form.

Showcasing our finest pigments and textures, this collection unites colour and technology, providing innovative, hybrid formulas within everyday make-up essentials.

The collection includes two shades of a new nail color called Nail Veil, a “fast-drying, oxygen and water permeable translucent gloss finish varnish”. (This seems like another product catering to Muslims who want water permeable nail polish, like Inglot’s O2M Breathable Nail Enamel.)

Illamasqua Metamorph collection Spring 2016 products

The shades are a pale peach, Bamboo, and a pale pink, Breathe.

Illamasqua Nail Veil retails for £14.50.

The rest of the collection includes a Vital Palette (4 nude matte powder eyeshadows), Beyond Powders (which launch on April 21 and look similar to Hourglass Ambient Powders), Brow Build, and Masquara Gain. Happy shopping!

New Release: Illamasqua — Anti-Troll Spray

Obviously, an April Fool’s Day joke! Would be a great idea if true, though 🙂

Illamasqua April Fool's 2016 Anti-Troll Spray

Here’s a bonus April Fool’s prank I received in my email this morning:

Art Beads April Fool's 2016 Bead Magnet

Have a great April Fool’s Day! Here’s NYX’s April Fool’s joke this year.

[Last year’s post: NYX April Fool’s 2015]

Haulage Week! Essie, Illamasqua, Smashbox & W7

This week, I’ll be posting about some little hauls I’ve made recently, rather than swatches and reviews. The reason for this is that I have a busy week ahead of me—my little peanut is going to be two!—and didn’t have enough swatch posts written up in advance! Things should quiet down for me by next week, so I look forward to doing a whole lot more swatching, soon.

Here’s the haulage post schedule for this week:

  • Monday: Essie, IllamasquaSmashbox, W7
  • Tuesday: Zoya
  • Wednesday: Perfume (Ellen Tracy, Jennifer Lopez)
  • Throwback Thursday: MAC
  • Friday: EssenceL’Oréal, OPI

So, today, we kick off with a combo of products from Essie, Illamasqua, Smashbox, and W7: all of which I found at Winners (the Canadian TJ Maxx)!

The Essie product is a 3-pack of mini nail polishes from last year’s Bridal collection. It turns out that I already have two of the three (Hubby for Dessert and Worth the Wait, both also in mini form; the third shade is Brides To Be), so I’m going to return this. D’oh! This is why I need to get my nail polish tracker up and running ASAP…

Winners haulage March 2016, Essie Nail Polish, W7 HD Foundation, Illamasqua Nail Varnish

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New Release: Illamasqua — Equinox Collection (Winter 2015)

Collection: Illamasqua 2015 Winter, Equinox

Illamasqua‘s Winter Collection for 2015 is Equinox.

Illamasqua Equinox Collection (Winter 2015)
Illamasqua Equinox Collection (Winter 2015)

Three polishes make up the collection, but only one is a new color: Beam, a “pearlised gold shimmer”. The existing shades in the collection are Facet and Phallic.

Illamasqua Equinox Collection (Winter 2015) Nail Varnish in Beam
Illamasqua Equinox Collection (Winter 2015) Nail Varnish in Beam

The collection also includes a new eyeshadow quad, Gold Leaf Gel, Glamore lipstick, and other gorgeous cosmetics in shades of gold.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish retails for GBP£14.50, US$18, or a stupidly expensive CA$29.95.