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Easter comes early this year, so to close out the month I’m getting started on some of this spring’s new pastels. Pastels for spring is nothing new, but I’m excited to see some in an interesting new speckled finish. I’ll start with Illamasqua Speckle (I’mperfection, Spring 2013), a pastel lilac creme with black hex glitter and fine black glitter:

Speckle

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied smoothly, particularly for a pastel, and a pastel with glitter at that. I needed three coats for full, even coverage. The glitter does not feel rough; one coat of topcoat should suffice to get a smooth feel. My only gripe was that soon after I applied topcoat, I experienced some wrinkling at the tips, but I feel that can be avoided by doing thinner coats next time, or just waiting longer before applying topcoat (I’d say total hardening time is relatively long). This pastel lavender is so pretty! It’s nice and stark without looking too whited-out. I’ve not tried many polishes with this speckled/sprinkle finish, but I love the look already! In this polish, the black glitter works so well against the stark, pastel base. Some of the hex glitter looks grey as it lies deeper underneath the surface. The hex glitter looks great, but what I feel makes this polish truly look like those candy eggs is that small glitter. I just want to eat my nails looking at them! I’m looking forward to trying the rest of these in the coming days. 🙂 I paired this with Illamasqua Blow on my toes.

<3sarah

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To change up my color palette for a new month, I have a few more dark colors to try before winter’s end. Illamasqua Rampage is a deep hunter green jelly:

Rampage

Picture taken in sunlight. (This was actually taken on the second day of wear, but at least I got the clarity from a sunlight photo.) This applied very well, needing three coats for full, even coverage. True to jelly form, you see the true base color on the first coat, then the shade deepens significantly on the second and third. Although the jelly formula always requires at least three coats, the über-glossy finish is absolutely lovely. The sunlight has really lit this up and reflects more of the base color, but in natural light it looks proper vampy. It’s like a slightly less blackened version of NARS Zulu; it’s still very dark but its green-ness is easier to see. I normally like to photograph my manis right after doing them, to capture it in its most pristine moment, but photographing this after wearing it for a day shows me how well it wears; I don’t even have any tipwear! I always thought I’d wear this with short nails, like I saw in a promo image, but I’m really enjoying growing my nails out at the moment (plus I’m really lazy about filing them anyway. :P) I paired this with Rescue Beauty Lounge Film Noir on my toes.

<3sarah

To follow up my previous NOTD, I’m wearing the other polish I got from this collection, and I’m also wearing this color for Oscars weekend. Illamasqua Swinger (Naked Strangers, Summer 2012) is a light champagne gold metallic foil:

Swinger

Picture taken in sunlight. The formula was smooth and applied very well in two coats. There are some brushstrokes but they’re hardly visible due to all the foily shimmer. It’s nicely opaque for something so sparkly so I imagine this would be good to use for nail art. When I was looking at this in the bottle, I saw a very faint amount of holographic glitter. It’s hardly noticeable in the bottle, so it doesn’t really transfer to the nail. I only see it when I really look for it, but it’s worth mentioning ’cause it’s in there somewhere. This is the kind of shade I look for in a gold polish. Aside from those antiqued, honey golds, I don’t really like yellow gold shades, so I like that this is more neutral to cool-toned. It really does make me think of champagne when I look at it. 🙂 I paired this with China Glaze Twinkle Lights over black on my toes.

<3sarah

When I got some of the polishes from this collection, I knew I’d end up trying them in February, just based on their names. Illamasqua Faithful (Naked Strangers, Summer 2012) is a light brown with reddish bronzey shimmer:

Faithful

Picture taken in sunlight. The formula wasn’t as buttery smooth as I’ve come to expect from Illamasqua, but it still applied pretty well in two coats. I got a good amount of bubbling, but thankfully it disappeared after applying topcoat. It looks like a light golden-bronze brown in this sunlight photo, but this shade appears different under different lighting conditions. Sometimes it looks like a cooler taupe brown, other times like a warmer reddish brown. In the sun is where it really shines, because all the pretty shimmer gets lit up. It’s subtle, but it’s not exactly a secret or hidden shimmer; this doesn’t just look like a creme out of direct light. In the shade the shimmer gives the finish an overall pearlescent glow, and that looks pretty as well. I paired this with Barielle Two Timing on my toes. I picked it out because I thought the colors looked good together, but it’s a rather ironic name pairing!

<3sarah

Now that I have this on, I see that it would’ve made a great Thanksgiving mani as well. Illamasqua Charisma (Generation Q, Fall 2012) is a cranberry shimmer with gold:

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well, but not butter-smooth like other Illamasqua shimmers. It was nicely thick and pigmented and I got full coverage in two coats. The formula was also runny, though, so avoid loading the brush with polish or it will run down the stem. This is stunning! It’s not actually that dark of a shade, but somehow it still looks deep and rich. The finish has a metallic-like quality, and there are some brushstrokes, but they’re masked by the shimmer. The shimmer itself is so pretty and fine, and I love the ribbons of gold running through. All the delicate shimmer gives the finish a gorgeous, velvety look. I paired this with Chanel Cosmic Violine on my toes.

<3sarah

To conclude this lovely collection I have Illamasqua Prosperity (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012), a vivid, rich purple creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. This applied well and was nicely pigmented; I got full coverage in two coats. I think Illamasqua has improved on their satin formula; with this collection I noticed the polish didn’t bubble up on me, like it did when I tried last year’s Theatre of the Nameless collection. I may have converted all of these to cremes but the colors were what grabbed me about this collection in the first place. They’ve all been so vivid and vibrant, this one especially so. It’s such a saturated shade, and it’s definitely become one of my favorite purple cremes. I like that it’s just purple; not blurple, reddish, fuchsia-toned, or greyed. Although it’s not a royal purple, there’s something about its richness that makes it look very regal, very fitting for the name. I paired this with Misa Dirty, Sexy, Money on my toes.

<3sarah

The weather has begun to cool down a bit, but I’m determined to finish trying this collection, and I’m one step closer with Illamasqua Optimist (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012) is a bright, sunny yellow-orange creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. The formula was not as stellar as the others in this collection, but it still applied pretty well for a yellow-toned polish; I used three coats. With the other rubber brights I’ve tried so far, I’ve said that they look great in their original satin form, too, but I can’t say the same for this one. For me, I really needed topcoat to make everything appear smooth. As I’ve been wearing these polishes with topcoat I don’t see it as a drawback. I think the color really fits the name; it just seems like a happy-feeling shade. I can’t even decide if it’s yellow or orange, so I’m calling it both, but it tends to look more orange in low light and more yellow in bright, direct light. I wish it was more of a radioactive neon, but I still like its brightness. I can tell I’m hungry as I’m typing this, because the color just reminds me of egg yolks (of good eggs that come from free-range hens) and boxed mac and cheese. 🙂 I paired this with Misa Push Upon It on my toes.

<3sarah

I was too devastated by the US Open to post this yesterday, so since I’m putting that match in my rear view, here is Illamasqua Devotee (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012), a bright candy pink creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. (This looks way brighter and more vibrant in person!) This applied well, though I ultimately needed three coats for complete, even coverage. This may be a lighter shade of pink but it has a colorful impact on the nail because of its high pigmentation and vibrancy. I feel like it’s approaching that neon pink highlighter shade, but although it’s very bright, it just doesn’t have that telltale retina-searing glow. It may not be a true neon but I still love it for reminding me of candy. I paired this with Misa Right Here Now, No More Later on my toes.

<3sarah

Since I have more to try, I’ll keep wearing blues through the end of the US Open. Although I’m only halfway through this collection, I’m really loving it so far. Up next is Illamasqua Serenity (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012) is a vibrant sky blue creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in sunlight. (I wish the sky looked like this today! It’s been cloudy and rainy but I managed to find a spot of sun.) This applied well, needing just two coats for complete coverage. While I was applying this I felt a little bit of déjà vu, then I realized it’s because I wore NARS Koliary exactly two weeks prior. These two are similar, but they’re not exactly dupes. They”re both sky blues, but Koliary is a darker and bolder shade, while Serenity is lighter and even more vibrant. I feel like I could own many more sky blues and I still wouldn’t tire of the color. This shade is made even prettier by its bright vibrancy, and I think topcoat makes the color pop more, though it did look pretty nice without it too. The name is totally perfect; I feel like this color epitomizes calmness and serenity, which is something I need right now with all this sports watching! I paired this with Misa Stop Rewinding, Just Fast Forward on my toes.

<3sarah

Returning to this collection, and continuing with the reds and blues over Labor Day weekend, I’m wearing Illamasqua Aorta (Rubber Brights, Summer 2012), a bright scarlet red creme (originally with a satin finish):

Picture taken in natural light. (I wish I had sunlight for this one! It looks redder in real life.) This applied well; I needed just two coats for full coverage. It always feels nice to be wearing a red creme again. 🙂 I’m inclined to say it leans a little warm-toned, but it doesn’t look overly orange or coral; it’s decidedly red. This also looked quite nice in its original satin form. I may have converted this into “just another red creme” with the addition of topcoat, but I don’t mind. The formula is very smooth to start with, but topcoat just smooths out the final mani that much more. I think I’m being influenced by the fact that it dries to a satiny/rubbery finish, but this is probably the closest thing to a true red neon I’ve tried. It’s not exactly glowy, but, fitting with the name of the collection, it is very bright. I also love the name; it’s my favorite of all six polishes. I paired this with Misa On the Edge on my toes.

<3sarah

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