My Illamasqua nail polish collection

Happy Easter Monday, everyone! I hope you are having a pleasant break from work. Here’s a little Bank Holiday treat for you  – I took these photos a while ago but this is the first chance I have had to upload them. So, without further ado, some swatches of my Illamasqua nail varnish collection. They do get a little messy I’m afraid but that’s because I swatched the lot in one sitting using pure acetone – forgive me.

DWS is the first Illamasqua polish I bought. Grey creme, it covers perfectly and is the one I recommend to anyone who is seeking that perfect “elephant” shade.

Stagnate* is from ther Toxic Nature collection of 2011 and I have to confess, I haven’t actually worn it yet. It’s a little too brown to be considered grurple. “Prown”, perhaps? Again, perfect application (I might as well copy and paste those two words)

Snap is a textbook slate/gunmetal shade. This one is on the thick side.

Glory is actually a total devil to apply. Brushstroke central. I quite like this for my toes, as it looks great from a distance, but the hellish application puts me off using it on my fingers.

I meant to blog about Hemlock* a long time ago but I could never get a decent photo of it, especially in winter. Then recently I was in the Illamasqua Beak Street store, and David Horne (Head of Product Development) suggested layering it over Stagnate, which I duly did. And here it is, in all its opalescent glory.

Boosh. Its a super glossy and pigmented black jelly.

Scorch is Boosh’s opposite number. It is a white creme which, like most whites, takes about three coats to reach opacity.

I bought Jan in the middle of a vehement anti-pink phase. I like this one though as it is a grungy version of the stereotypical pink creme shade. This is one of Illamasqua’s more under-rated polishes, in my opinion.

Load*. I can’t believe it took me several weeks to get the joke about this. Not one of my favourites!

Jo’Mina. Finally, I have managed to get a decent photo of this little gem. Gorgeous, practically neon lilac. Everyone should own this, especially with summer on the way.


Milf. I recall this being quite revolutionary when it was released three years ago. It’s still got that murky hint of yellow that other brands have yet to dupe. An Illamasqua classic.


Poke. This is a thin and light, red toned violet that has frosty silver and blue shimmer throughout. Poke is often heralded as a dupe for Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Scrangie. It’s not, but it is very lovely.

Radium* is another Toxic Nature polish. I am dying to do this as a pedicure. Crazy green with blue shimmer. I don’t usually go for greens, but I can’t help being drawn to this for some reason.

I’m not overly fond of Strike, although I can’t explain why. It just doesn’t excite me, which is odd as it is a lovely vibrant and unusual shade. Maybe I’m not fussed about the metallic nature of it. Maybe I’d prefer it on my toes.

Purity* was the one Toxic Nature polish that I really wasn’t fussed about. Nothing wrong with it if this is your kind of thing, but these creamy peach shades do absolutely nothing for my skintone.

Lament. I absolutely adore this – it is one of my favourite Illamasqua polishes. If you’re looking f0r a creamy and bright coral for summer, make it this one – you won’t be disappointed.

Fern. A very pretty and delicate bright blue jelly with tons of silver glass fleck. You don’t hear people talk about this one much but it’s very nice indeed. Lovely and opaque.


Scarab. This is one of the polishes from Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness collection. I loved the icons and images from this collection. Scarab is a deep, blood-tinged red that looks brown in some lights. A perfect Autumn vamp.

Viridian is the other shade from Art of Darkness and is my most recent Illamasqua nail polish acquisition. Sheenie bought this for me for my birthday last year. It is a beautiful shimmery teal. It is, however, practically identical to OPI’s Cuckoo For This Color, so you don’t need them both.

Muse is probably Illamasqua’s most famous nail varnish, and is one that caused  a hoarde of now-devoted fans to fall in love with the brand. I love this colour and don’t wear it often enough – I always feel envious whenever I see it on anyone else, and want to apply it on myself straight away.

Alarm. Does not work for me. Sheer-ish, hot orange/red jelly. It just doesn’t cover my visible nail line, and therefore we won’t get along, unfortunately.

Grab. Illamasqua’s token berry pink. It’s nice and flattering, but nothing revolutionary here.

Shrapnel was a gift from regular reader Andrea. This was one of the competition winning shades from a fan contest held a while back. It’s interesting and I like the flecks of sparkle but other than that, the metallic formula and base colour do nothing for my skintone!

Throb*. Horrible appliction by moi, but aside from that, Throb has the honour of being one of the only red polishes to actually dry opaque on my nails. This is only two coats, and it applies better than the photo would have you believe. And for that reason, I treasure it.

Bacterium* was the main hit from the Toxic Nature collection. On paper, brown jelly with blue frosting should not work, but my goodness, it does. One of my all-time favourites, even if it does take forever to dry.

Kink* is a prime example of why I don’t “do” greens. Hiya, crustacean claws. Eek. Any way, this is one of the rubberized polishes that came out as part of last winter’s Theatre Of The Nameless collection. It’s more satin than rubber, and doesn’t really do much for me, I’m afraid.

Propaganda was another of the first polishes I ever bought from Illamasqua, and to this day I still adore it, even if it is a bugger to photograph and apply *shakes fist*. I get this everywhere when I apply it – its a runny jelly. Still, the blackened navy effect is well worth it.

Victory was a gift one Christmas from my very clever sister in law. I was going through a “gold” phase. Love this – it is slightly more matte and easier to apply than Glory, its silver counterpart.

Thinking of matte, here we have Scorn*, Illamasqua’s matte black. I use this a lot when I need to create a quick black base for layering, as it applies in one coat and dries super-fast.

Here’s the evidence – Prism*, layered over Scorn. Prism is sooo pretty and delicate, but like its cousin Hemlock, needs to be layered over the right base in order to look its best.

Phallic is one of the least photogenic polishes ever. A deep blue, it is packed with glowy and stunning shimmer that just looks phenomenal under electric light. Despite having owned it for about three years, I’m yet to wear it as a full manicure – I have been saving it for a special occasion (I don’t know either).

Velocity is from Illamasqua’s Dystopia collection – still one of my favourite collections of all time. This is a perfect greyed out purple and one of those shades I reach for when I don’t know what else to wear.

Obsess is the other polish from Dystopia. This is in my top five all-time favourites. It is a perfect blue-toned pink – well, the perfect pink in my opinion. I need a back-up of this one as my bottle has nearly run out. I like wearing this with an all-black outfit for a bright hit of colour.

Another famous Illamasqua polish here – Baptiste. No self-respecting lover of purple nail polish should have a collection that doesn’t contain this shade. A stunning deep purple flecked with pink and blue shimmer. It’s love.

I bought Eclipse on a whim and am yet to wear it as a full manicure. It’s a frosty indigo blue and this was another one of the fan competition winners. I suspect this will get wheeled out for its maiden voyage some time in the Autumn. I’m not crazy about the brush strokes though.

Illamasqua actually do very few glitters, and I don’t know why, as the ones they do make are spectacular. Harsh is top of my silver glitter list. It consists of long strands rather than square glitter, and reminds me of iron fillings. I like using this as a gradient glitter on the tips of my nails, over another polish. (layered here over Glory)

Untold, which I have managed to get everywhere, is one of my go-to festive glitters. In all honesty though. you don’t need to fork out for this. Yes, it’s lovely but you can just as easily pick up any other red glitter in a sheer jelly base from Superdrug. This does have extremely good staying power when layered over a red creme. (layered here over Throb)

Spartan is a gold glitter flecked through with silver and brown. I held off buying this for a while but I’m glad I have it in my collection now. It’s really pretty and spangly. There’s a Nails In dupe of this but I can’t for the life of me remember its name. (layered here over Victory).

Finally, I have the Boo and Hiss glitters for you. Don’t get too excited though as these long since went to the realm of “discontinued and impossible to find”. From Christmas a few years ago, these were a limited edition set. They never dried on me – I think the formula is a little suspect, but I can’t be parted from them, not even for the most ardent of polish scalpers. Boo is painted over Baptiste, and Hiss over the Prism/Scorn hybrid.

So, there we have it. This one was a lot of work! Phew. What do you think? Are there any others you think I should have in my collection? Which are your favourites here?

*denotes PR sample



  1. 9th April 2012 / 9:12 AM

    Epic effort! Some truly gorgeous colours especially the pinks and purples. Want Obsess and that lilac too x

  2. 9th April 2012 / 9:43 AM

    Woooow this is amazing!!! I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken you to do all of these swatches.

    I actually love Illamasqua but not been too sure on their nailpolishes. I’m definitely bookmarking this post for future reference!

  3. 9th April 2012 / 10:08 AM

    I notice you don’t have Rampage and that, to my mind, is the stand-out of the whole line.

  4. 9th April 2012 / 10:29 AM

    I haven’t got any Illamasqua polish. This must be rectified!! Thanks for the post, Helen. It takes so much time and effort to do a swatching post like that. I really appreciate it x

  5. 9th April 2012 / 11:07 AM

    Wow. Just wow. I am now very pleased I got Jo’Mina in the half price easter hunt – can’t wait for it to arrive!

  6. 9th April 2012 / 11:19 AM

    WOW! Some of these I have something similar but I wish I had gotten a few of these. Lament is calling my name this season

  7. Laura
    9th April 2012 / 11:54 AM

    Wow wow wow Helen! So many pretty shades, and a seriously impressive stash! xxx

  8. 9th April 2012 / 12:03 PM

    OMG! Wow that is one amazing collection!! I love Baptiste and may have to add that to my shopping list after seeing your swatch. Was the Nails Inc dupe for Spartan, Chelsea embankment by any chance? I have it and it looks really similar.
    Now following on bloglovin’ after that fabulous post 🙂

  9. 9th April 2012 / 12:40 PM

    Great job and amazing collection!

    I’m so with you on Muse – the most perfect polish ever. I am allergic to the Illamasqua polishes, but do not have the heart to give away/sell Muse. I just need to keep it in case I get over that stupid allergy some day…

  10. 9th April 2012 / 7:41 PM

    Still have never bought one of their polishes but have to admit the purples are fab

  11. rhamnousia
    9th April 2012 / 9:35 PM

    I have an equal amount of love and hate for these posts Helen. They always make me buy things that are pretty but that I don’t actually need!

    And re. Load, if you’re dealing with a load that is the same shade as that polish then I’d be a bit worried!

  12. Sheenie
    9th April 2012 / 10:29 PM

    Blimey oh reilly! I’ve just dug out my paltry Illamasqua collection and had forgotten about how brilliant DWS and Milf are. I don’t have Baptiste shockingly but have ordered it today. Scarab is a stunner (for me) since I love those rich jewel reddy browns. An epic post of the highest proportions, we bow before you, Helen!

  13. Andrea
    11th April 2012 / 12:30 PM

    WOW! Amazing post Helen! Shrapnel is a bit of a strange one isn’t it, it looks so promising but I didn’t like it on me either. Obsess is one of my favourite ever polishes too. I would recommend Collide as your next bright pink purchase, it’s also stunning.

  14. 11th April 2012 / 1:11 PM

    That is a most impressive collection missy! Super enabler…I must visit the Beak Street store this week…x

  15. 11th April 2012 / 10:52 PM

    Fantastic post – and the effort that went into it is clear! For me Illamasqua is a bit too expensive, so I have only one polish: Faux Pas, which I really like a lot. There are several more you have swatched here which I would love to have! Especially Baptiste.

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