Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, Once… Collection

Illamasqua Exquisite opener


The Once… capsule collection recently released from British cult-fave brand Illamasqua (find my previous review here), also includes 2 Sheer Lip Glosses and I have Exquisite to show you today – a milky pink hue (the other is Opulent, a ‘rainbow beige’ shade). Perfectly in line with the faded romance theme of this entire collection, this pink shade – a traditionally girlie hue – is made modern and edgy by the contrast of [still soft] tones that it holds. Confused yet? Read on …



Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, Once… Collection



Illamasqua | Once… Collection


Illamasqua Exquisite boxed

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite ingredients

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, ingredients


Illamasqua Exquisite label

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite

Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss (US $24.00) | Described as ‘pink oyster’, Exquisite is an interesting mix of delicate petal pink and pearly hues filled with an ultra-fine pink shimmer (non-gritty) – all in a formula that is at once sheer AND somewhat opaque. Can be easily worn alone or layered over any other lip colour, making this a very versatile shade.

I’m not sure how Illamasqua managed to pull off all these contradictory factors, but it might be due to the underlying milky tone which appears to add good coverage to what would otherwise be considered a very light shade. The texture leans on the thicker side, but is non-sticky in feel and there’s a fruity-berry scent that I detect upon opening – which seems to disappear rather quickly (or perhaps I just stop smelling it), while any initial settling into lip lines smooths itself out within a few minutes of wearing. The brush is a little longer than I’m used to and I wasn’t all that keen on it at first, but after playing with this gloss for a while now, I’ve come to appreciate how easily it picks up the product from the tube, while the density and flexibility of the bristles makes application quick and effortless. Lasting power (not including eating/drinking) is pretty good, averaging about 3-4 hours before any significant fading, and even once the majority of shine wears away, your lips are still left with a light veil of colour – more of a sheen, really – and feel nicely hydrated overall.

Going through my collection of pale pink glosses, I was surprised to find that Exquisite has no match; the closest I own, is #191 Songe (LE) from the CHANEL Fall 2014 Collection – which bears the same shimmer, but is definitely more sheer and with a light grey base, and #542 AMC Lip Gloss from Inglot (now discontinued) which has a similar pink flash, but without the shimmer and milky factor (see comparison swatches at the end of the post).


Illamasqua Exquisite macro

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite 2

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite 3

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite brush

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite brush 2

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite swatch arm

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite swatch blurred

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, blurred to show the shimmer


Illamasqua Exquisite swatch

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss


Illamasqua Exquisite swatch 2

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, alternate view/lighting


Illamasqua Exquisite and comparisons

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, CHANEL #191 Songe (limited edition, Fall 2014) & Inglot #542 AMC Lip Gloss (discontinued)


Illamasqua Exquisite and comparisons 2

Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, CHANEL #191 Songe (limited edition, Fall 2014) & Inglot #542 AMC Lip Gloss (discontinued) – alternate lighting


I make it no secret that I love pale lip hues and even though I tend to lean towards beige-y neutrals, I find myself attracted to pale pink shades as well; finding one that won’t clash with my colouring, however, is a whole other matter and thankfully, Exquisite seems to fit that bill perfectly. Neither too warm nor cool leaning, this is a shade that will work on everyone.

I’m so sad to hear that Illamasqua is phasing out their North American retail outlets, because this is a brand that deserves to be fully explored in person – and it feels like it only arrived on Canadian shores just yesterday. Still, they do offer international shipping (which I’ve heard from fellow bloggers, is quite good) and decent sales every so often (who doesn’t love a beauty sale?). You know what this means, right? Yup … travel plans!

Available now, find more information:


Illamasqua Exquisite closer

*Disclosure: Press sample provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

8 Responses to Illamasqua | Exquisite Sheer Lip Gloss, Once… Collection

  1. Felly says:

    Can i buy the exquisite lipgloss?

  2. Snail Polish says:

    It is pretty much impossible to send nail polish overseas from the UK now. Royal Mail won’t handle it, blanket rule. I tried to ‘cheat’ once and got a letter saying that my parcel had been destroyed prior to leaving the UK! (It was a rare YSL polish too, sob!) I should imagine that Illamasqua now have to use a specialist courier with a licence, which will be mega bucks no doubt.

    • Eugenia says:

      That’s exactly right; ever since the new Royal Mail regulations were put into place, everyone started scrambling to find other ways; sadly, it’s us polish lovers who wind up paying the brunt of that. Poor Adina from a-england, had a vast shipment confiscated and ‘destroyed’ (some polishes managed to find their way to ebay, however — funny how THAT happened, when everything was supposed to have been destroyed) and all without any warning whatsoever – it wound up costing her a small fortune. Here’s hoping that things improve!

  3. Jess says:

    I’m SO disappointed that Illamasqua is pulling out of the North American market. Have you heard any possible reasons for the decision? I ordered from their website a few times before the new Royal Mail regulations and once since, and shipping is VERY costly if you’re ordering nail polish, which is by far my favourite product of theirs. Also, I found that the items were generally poorly packaged. Anyway, I’m sad to say that I won’t likely be purchasing any more Illamasqua for a long while. Very pretty gloss though.

    • Eugenia says:

      My rep didn’t give me specific reasons for the decision, but my guess would be that it’s a numbers game; I don’t know if the brand was marketed as successfully here in North America as it should have been, and as a result I’m sure that sales suffered. To my knowledge, the only retail store outside of the UK that will remain open, is in Singapore (guess the market proved more lucrative there after all). I’m surprised to hear about your shipping experience; others have told me it was great – but I hope that Illamasqua reads this just the same and makes any necessary changes. Yeah – even though some International shipping charges have been lowered, if we want to order their polish (which is phenomenal, dammit) we’ll have to pay crazy high fees for it. So, so sad, indeed.

      • Jess says:

        I agree that they could have done a better job marketing the brand here. I did a little haul from The Bay not too long ago and I was amazed that they still had so much stock, despite the discounted prices. My haul included two of the glamore nude lipsticks, which is my first time trying Illamasqua lipstick, and I’m seriously impressed. I think not having enough counters to allow people to try in person hurt them. Clearly, not enough people know how amazing their products are, because otherwise The Bay wouldn’t have so much stock. $12.75 for an Illamasqua nail polish is a steal! Anyway, this kind of turned into a novel, but I’m just so disappointed I won’t have easy access to them now!

      • Eugenia says:

        You’re not alone in your sentiments, Jess – this brand had literally flown under the radar here, which is puzzling to me & which leads me to believe that if Illamasqua had hired an outside PR agency to handle their account, they should have fired them after the 1st quarter. Seriously, us bloggers could have and would have done a WAY better job of promoting their line. The quality of all Illamasqua products is superior to so many others, including many high-end luxury brands I can name (but won’t, lol!). Hopefully they will reconsider at some point, but right now it looks pretty bleak for them staying here (makes me want to run out and start hoarding every Illamasqua product I can lay my hands on!)

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