Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Illamasqua Nail Polish ~ Velocity and Strike

I confess that for a long time I had no real interest in nail polish. I used to bite my nails. *horrified gasp from nail loving readers* It’s true, I’d knaw them constantly, when I was nervous, when I was bored, even if I got a tad peckish. And for that reason I never wanted to paint them, that and the fact that the right hand ALWAYS looked terrible.

However over the past few months I gradually started getting back into them. And then of course obsessed with them, and it all started with my first Illamasqua nail polish.....

I was in the Trafford centre in Manchester with my mum, with some money I’d earned from some chore or another and I was on my way to the MAC counter, but I was suddenly struck as I realised that right next to it was an Illamasqua counter!

I had never seen an Illamasqua counter before. I didn’t own any at that point but had drooled over blogs and youtube reviews and the stuff on their website that all looked so gorgeous. So clearly MAC would have to wait as I squealed and skipped up to the counter.

I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of the trip but suffice it to say that I came away with possibly my favourite ever nail polish. It’s called ‘Velocity’

Velocity. (is actually a little lighter than shown)

It is from the dystopia collection that came out in autumn of 2009. It is truly gorgeous. I always think that lilacs and soft purples look beautiful on any skin tone, because they reflect light and look colourful but soft. To be honest I’m not sure why people don’t wear it more often instead of the usual garish blues or girly bright pink, it’s much more flattering and looks both elegant and youthful.

Like most Illamasqua products the packaging is shaped in a cut-off corner square style, I love their packaging because it’s simple in colour, all black and MAC like, but the shapes are just so much more edgy and interesting. Its stuff I want out on my dressing table because it looks so nice!

But packaging aside, let’s look at the product itself. Velocity is a dark lavender cream. I adore cream nail polishes. I like shimmery ones too, but creams are just so clean and demure looking. And as I have said, light purples are wonderful colours for nails so I was expecting to like this, and I REALLY did.

It went on smoothly and I didn’t find it to be stringy or goopy. Very easy to apply and the brush was a good size too, if a tad small if you’re in a rush and capable of doing your thumbnail in one stroke. It’s staying power wasn’t anything impressive, similar to that of a Barry M nail polish but, like all nail polishes, if a top coat is added it can last up to a whole week and if a topcoat is reapplied maybe 3 days after first application it could potentially go even longer.

Its £14.00. So it’s by no means cheap, it’s more expensive than MAC and far more pricey than Barry M’s nail polishes, which are very highly rated by everyone I know who’s tried them...including me. But for some of the colours I would say it might just be worth it. You’re also paying for around 15ml. A MAC nail polish is 10ml as are the Barry M ones. So it’s not as if you’re paying more for less, but it’s still not what you’d call a steal.

I also have another nail polish from Illamasqua, my boyfriend finally got the hint with me leaving the page open constantly on his laptop, and talking loudly to various people about it with him in earshot and sure enough for Christmas one of the little packages contained the Illamasqua nail polish in ‘Strike’ which I have to say is also absolutely beautiful. It’s like a deep shimmering turquoise, and it’s rare that words like ‘glamorous’ and ‘elegant’ can be applied to anything described as shimmery turquoise, but this definitely fits the bill.

It has the same lovely packaging, consistency and brush as velocity and the colour is so bright, but again not overpowering. The shimmer isn’t obnoxious either; it’s an almost iridescent finish, where various blues and greens all catch in different lights.

The nail polishes are lasting quite a long time too, I’ve had Velocity for months and Strike since Christmas, but of course I’ve had to wear it every few times I see my boyfriend. As you do. And I cant even see a gap between the lid and the product. And just to clarify, I usually change my nail polish every two days...sometimes one, so I get through my polishes.

All in all I love these nail polishes, they’re wonderful to apply and I always love the way they turn out. The only downside really is the price, that and that they’re quite hard to get hold of outside the UK. But if you can get them and don’t mind the price they’re fantastic. All the other colours I’ve seen on blogs etc look very interesting and unique too, so I think as a treat, for a really pretty and unique colour £14.00 would definitely be worth it.


Good points: Gorgeous selection of colours, cute packaging, goes on smoothly and is long lasting.

Bad points: The price tag can make your credit card wince.

Overall rating 8/10

I hope you enjoyed this review xx

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Review: Givenchy Phenomen'eyes Mascara

I actually bought this on an aeroplane trip a few weeks ago, Id
seen it before and it looked interesting but like most other people I was dubious about putting something that looked like a medieval weapon near my eyes. But on the trip it was that or the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Volume I...and they were out of those.
But anyhoo, I got it and once Id gotten to my destination I naturally went straight onto the internet to see if I'd made a saving....and found it on for about £4 cheaper. Ugh but ah well, I had it and was now intrigued as to how it would fair on my, very stubby, though thick, lashes.

I must warn anyone thinking of getting their hands on this that it is not the easiest mascara to use, I mean yes the little spiky ball means that its easier to reach into the inner corners of your eyes and if you just want to flick it along the tips its very convenient. But it does take some serious getting used to. My first attempt had more of a giant panda look going on but once I'd figured it out I discovered the benefits.
The awesome top:

In the box is a little leaflet with diagrams supposed to help you with applying the mascara but honestly I found them pretty useless. For me it just took practice to get used to manouvering something shaped similar to what knights used to club enemies to death with from the back of a horse.

Once I'd found out how to use it without looking like I'd been punched I could see that in many ways it was a very good mascara, the length it gave to my lashes was pretty damn impressive and it was very black which added a look of volume.

However, for all the awesome length, it clumped like hell. I literally looked like I had about 4 sticks of liquorice stuck to my lids, but this was easily remedied. I simply layered a good separating mascara over the top, namely Rimmels 'The Max Volume Flash' mascara, though I would also recommend Boot's no' 17 'Lasting Fix' mascara too.

Another interesting point about this mascara is how short the wand is, it's about three quarters of the length of most of my mascara's including the lid, which is very wide. In some ways this is good, as it lets you get it right to the inner corners of your eyes, and also makes lower lashes less tricky than with many other mascaras, but in other ways it makes it quite hard to move it especially if you're used to the conventional long thin lids. The short wide engraved lid can actually be very uncomfortable to hold.

All in all, I actually like this mascara, I wouldnt ever use it on its own, but underneath a good separating mascara it makes my lashes look miles longer and very black. I would recommend it to anyone who wants ridiculous length but doesnt mind taking a bit of time to practice and figure it out. If not...well honestly, Max Factors 'Masterpiece' mascara does it very well, and for a lot less money....and you dont feel like you should be wearing a suit of armour.

Pictures: Bare lashes / Lashes with Givenchy mascara / Lashes with Givenchy mascara layered with Rimmels 'The Max Volume Flash' mascara.


Good points: lengthens like a dream, very dark, looks cool when you use it in front of people XD

Bad points: clumpy....VERY clumpy, can be awkward to use and takes practice.

Rating: 7/10

I hope you enjoyed this review :) xx