Review: Illamasqua Nail Polish (Varnish)

I’ve been wanting to try this nail polish for a while now. However, the price tag has prevented me from doing so. Luckily for me, I had some time to kill when a Sephora (inside JCPenney) was nearby.  Three colors of this nail polish were on clearance at a ridiculously good price. They were in the “under $5” section, but marked with a $7 price tag.  Sadly, I thought the price was $7 and only got one of the three colors.  (“Muse”) Even after I realized they were only $4, I stupidly left the store without buying the others.  OK, onto the review…

Pros:  I adore the hilarious color names, like “Milf”, “Phallic”, and “Bacterium” – but that’s just me. Doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP (unless those ingredients are called something else in the UK). Very opaque color. Great selection of shades available. High-gloss finish that’s also very durable.

Cons:  Expensive – very expensive.  The brush is alright, but not perfect.  You have to be careful when applying this.  If you put it on too heavily (like I did), it stays soft and will get a dented/scratched look if you bump against anything.  This happened even after I let it dry for about 45 minutes.  I tried applying a second thin coat to fix it and it happened again – after over an hour of dry time.  (I really need a nail drying machine!)  However, I was able to buff out the resulting imperfections with a cheap nail buffer and you could never tell they got messed up.

In Summary:  I would adore this product if it had a better brush, like the flat ones that come in the super-affordable Wet N Wild nail polishes – or if it were more affordable.  The opacity of the varnish is very impressive, though.  I’m also impressed by the durability of the finish, and I put my nails through some rather torturous stuff  since applying it. (Ever try to get a luggage lock key off its key ring?!?!?)  Even though I didn’t use top coat, it stayed nice-looking and is just recently starting to show signs of wear.  I will definitely buy more of this brand if I can get it at a good clearance price.  No way do I think it’s worth full price. I mean, seriously – it’s just nail polish.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars  4.5-stars

Price:  $17 – $23 (depending on source) for .5 fl. oz. bottle

Available at:  Sephora, (UK-based site)


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