Illamasqua – Generation Q Collection AW/12 ‘Charisma’ and ‘Creator’ Nail Varnish (swatches, comparisons, & review)

 

Leave it to the razor-sharp creative minds at Illamasqua, to create a collection that almost takes a 360° from what they’ve been showing us lately. A far cry from the exotic, the eccentric, and the alluringly bizarre past Illamasqua incarnations, the ‘Generation Q’ collection of products for Autumn/Winter 2012 is actually rather, well … universally wearable. Could it be that “normal” is the new “weird”?!


 

From Illamasqua’s press release:

GenerationQ

Where beauty has no age limits

I. Absolutely. LOVE. That. Frequently, I’ll see an ad for a beauty collection, and then realize how totally unwearable that look may be for me — highly frustrating, especially when the models in the ad just look so darn good …

What Illamasqua wishes to achieve with this collection, is to dispel the myth that beauty is highly exclusive – all by creating products that are highly inclusive, regardless of one’s gender, skin colour, or age. To that end, not only has the brand reached their goals on every level, but exceeded them as well. Take for instance these 2 limited edition varnishes; a ruby so richly saturated with colour, that it can’t help but empower its wearer, and a shimmering black that takes you to the very edge of modernism, and back again, both in Illamasqua’s ridiculously stellar formula. All swatches are with Seche Clear Base Coat and Seche Vite Top Coat.


 

‘Charisma’ is like applying liquified rubies along your nails. Seriously. A superbly flowing formula & application: this rich garnet base is completely self-levelling, with no visible brush strokes and filled with ultra finely ground magenta and burgundy shimmer. Applying with an intense pigmentation of colour even by the 1st coat, a second layer provides a more jewel-like tone and intensifies its plummy undertones. A medium-thick viscosity that allows no running or pooling into the cuticle area, the shine at the finish was an extra high gloss. BONUS: No staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


macro


in shaded light


with flash


 

Finding a ‘Charisma’ clone in my collection wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be; it came as something of a surprise when I stumbled across Essie’s ‘Swing Velvet’ (I believe this is a 2009 release and may not be available anymore) and then did a further double-take when I swatched the two together. How it compared:

index & pinkie fingers: Essie’s ‘Swing Velvet’ (2 coats) – a significantly thinner formula, but nonetheless still quite colour-saturated by the 1st coat as well. Applying smoothly and quite glossy at the finish, this is literally a degree or 2 deeper in tone when seen with the naked eye against ‘Charisma’, but other than its shimmer being a touch coarser-looking, the two are almost identical. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


in sunlight/alternate lighting


in shaded light


with flash


 

‘Creator’ (I LOVE this name!) bears a slightly sheer black base, redolent with ultra fine square and rectangularly shaped silver glitter. An excellently flowing formula that applies very smoothly despite the glitter, this became 100% opaque by the second coat, although the finish was definitely not as glossy – imparting a gentle sheen instead. One layer of top coat is all that’s needed to really enhance this beauty and to keep it smooth to the touch. While removal does require a bit of elbow grease, it wasn’t too difficult – just bear in mind that the glitter will travel somewhat. Completely non-staining upon removal, another plus. Coats applied: 2
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in sunlight


macro


in shaded light


with flash


 

Looking for a comparison shade, the first lacquer that came to mind was NARS’ ‘Night Breed’ (previously reviewed here) from their ‘Night Series’ release. Yes, they are quite close. No, they’re not identical. If you missed out on the NARS, as it had been a limited edition item, here’s your chance at redemption — not that Illamasqua comes second to any other brand, mind you. How it compared:
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index & pinkie fingers: NARS ‘Night Breed’ – a similar flow and application, but the black base is slightly more opaque, with its glitter bearing some tiny round shapes and being less densely packed than ‘Creator’. There appears to be a blueish tinge to this hue overall, although it winds up with the same dulled finish and has a similar level of grit to its glitter as the Illamasqua. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


in sunlight/alternate lighting


in shaded light


with flash

 

Final thoughts: One thing I really admire about Illamasqua’s varnishes, is their consistency: the all maintain the same excellent level of quality in their flow, spread, pigmentation and wear – even the brush holds the right amount of rigidity/flexibility for a superior application. Neither ‘Charisma’ or ‘Creator’ are outrageous shades in and of themselves; what makes them stand out is their almost jewel-like intensity, as well as how well these shades translate from day to night – eminently suitable for all skin types across the spectrum, much like Illamasqua intended them to be.
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The ‘Generation Q’ collection is set to launch on September the 6th, but you can see the entire range on Illamasqua’s website live now.


 

 

 

*Disclaimer: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

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