Known for their edgy and trendsetting hues, I was intrigued that Illamasqua would introduce something as delicate looking as these four pastel varnishes: Blow – a sorbet lemon yellow, Caress – a cornflower blue, Wink – a soft lilac, and Nudge – a mint ice cream shade. Originally released in the Spring of 2010, these are shades that are still relevant today and simply perfect for those hot Summer days….guaranteed to put a smile on your face! All swatches are with a-england ‘The Knight’ and ‘The Shield’ base and top coats (reviewed here) and two coats of lacquer.
As yellow shades have been all the rage this season, ‘Blow’ fits right in. This is a creamy, lemon-curd shade of yellow and while pastels can be notoriously streaky to apply, it came as a pleasant surprise that I had absolutely zero issues with this shade. Two coats gave superb opacity and I loved the high gloss finish.
Looking almost egg-yolk yellow in full sun, I love the somewhat pillowy look of this shade, looking all plump and fluffy…almost whipped!
Shaded light definitely tones down this hue, lending it an almost urban – yet still fun – appeal.
We’ve seen other baby blue shades, but ‘Caress’ differs from them with its slightly dusty appeal. Although its formula was a touch on the thicker side, it was still easy to apply and self-levelled to a beautifully smooth finish.
When seen in full sun, ‘Caress’ seems to take on a whiter glow and appears much brighter than it really is, but still maintains its baby blue appeal.
Shaded light transforms this hue into something cooler toned as well as highlighting its sky blue leanings.
A beautiful and almost demure shade, ‘Wink’ is a stunning pale lavender, with an exceptional formula, especially for a pastel. It practically applied itself – it was that easy – and a hue I feel will compliment every skin tone across the spectrum.
Viewed in full sun, this shade seems to lean towards a more pink based lilac, but with an almost greyish undertone.
Interestingly enough, shaded light draws out the inner purple/blue of this polish, giving it a more muted and softer appeal.
Think of a washed out “Tiffany Blue”, and you get ‘Nudge’, a stunning pale aqua. Like ‘Wink’, this was wonderfully easy to apply and seemed to almost slide onto my nails, leaving that gorgeous glossy shine at the finish.
Slightly more blue leaning than green, this has such a tranquil aquatic appearance to it, and looks absolutely stunning when paired against lightly tanned skin.
When seen in shaded light, it seems to take on a more “Robin’s Egg Blue” look to it, although its inner green tint seems to be more noticeable, and I love the almost silvery aura about it.
Final thoughts: Illamasqua varnishes can be summed up in one word: superb. The brush is long, tapered and fans out easily on the nail, causing absolutely zero drag, the formula is highly pigmented and with the exception of ‘Blow’ and ‘Caress’ which were slightly thicker, quite painless to apply, and for these four shades, the glossy finish was almost mirror-like, even before the addition of a top coat. The entire line of nail varnishes, including these four reviewed here, can all be viewed and purchased on Illamasqua’s website.
When I initially viewed these four lacquers, the first image that came to mind were the Sweet Tart candies of my youth…..can you see the resemblance?!
*Disclaimer: product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration