Revew and Photos: Illamasqua Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce (Pastel Pink)

Illamasqua Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce.

I first heard about Illamasqua, a UK-based brand, from Cami of Have you watched her videos? You should—she's lovely and British and funny, and she has wonderful taste in cosmetics. I first started salivating over this limited-edition collection, Speckled Nail Varnish, when she reviewed it, saying simply that she couldn't stop looking at her nails.  

Now that I've tried it myself, I know the feeling.  

These sold out of Sephora at Vancouver's Pacific Centre like lightning—and I can see why. What a wonderful idea for a spring collection—something beyond pastels. This varnish, quite literally, makes your nails look like speckled Easter eggs.  

Here are a few photos: 

Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce, a pastel-pink with small and medium-sized flecks of silver-and-black glitter.

Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce, from Illamasqua's limited-edition spring collection.

Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce.

The good:

  • The packaging is classy and sophisticated, which is always a bonus.
  • It's unique and beautiful—I love the warm pink colour. Like Cami, when it's on, I can't stop looking at my nails. I admit that I even Instagrammed a photo of my hand when I first put it on—I was taken with the fact that my nails looked like Easter eggs.
  • It comes in a few other colours: Freckle (tan),  Speckle (purple), Mottle (green), and Fragile (blue). All are lovely, though I'm partial to the pink because I find it's the most wearable—it looks good with my skin tone, and won't look odd against any of the bright colours I often wear. 
  • The lasting power is decent. Often, manicures chip within 24 hours on me—even with high-end polish like OPI, and even with top coat and base coat. This lasted perfectly from Thursday evening until I did a sink of dishes on Saturday afternoon.
  • It doesn't streak—at all. One coat is sheer-ish, but still looks good.  
  • Two coats is fully opaque, which, for a pastel colour, is good! 
  • It dries quickly. 

The not-so-good:

  • The price—yowza! $18 CAD for a bottle of nail polish, no matter how great, hurts. Even $10 for a bottle of Essie makes me wince. This was bad. I'm surprised I went through with it!
  • Washing that sink of dishes pulverized my manicure—destroyed it. Sure, I could have worn rubber gloves, but I feel like I shouldn't have had to—for $18 a bottle, I kind of expect a miracle.
  • It's a pain to remove—the polish comes off easily with nail polish remover, but the glitter stays behind. I was still picking it off a day or two after I'd removed my manicure. 
  • As a UK-based brand, it's hard to find in Canada. They'd never heard of it at Holt Renfew. They stock it at Sephora (for now; it's limited edition), but it sells out quickly!

Here's what it looks like on.

One coat (see—it's sheer, but totally wearable): 


Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce—one coat.

Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce—one coat.

Two coats (my preference): 

Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce (pastel pink)—two coats.

Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce—two coats.

Would I repurchase? Probably not. I love the way it applies and looks, but at $18 a bottle, it's a one-time-treat-only sort of purchase.  

Rating: Because it doesn't last as long as I hoped and because of the price, four stars out of five.  

Available: In Canada, the best place to get it at the moment is your local Sephora for $18—it's mostly sold out at

Have you tried any of Illamasqua's Speckled Nail Varnishes? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 


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Review and Photos: Essie's Mint Candy Apple Nail Polish

Essie's Mint Candy Apple nail polish.

I think there's something wonderfully feminine about Essie nail polish. I first began paying attention to it after I heard Duchess Kate wore it on her wedding day. I figured if it was fit for her royal gorgeousness, I should have a look.

Sure enough, I find Essie colours softer and prettier than a lot of the higher-end brands, like OPI. I love almost all of them. I was recently drawn like the moth to the flame to this colour, Mint Candy Apple. 

As with all Essie nail polish, the brush is slightly smaller than I would like, meaning I need to work a little harder to coat the entire nail. This colour was also a little streaky and not fully opaque on the first coat—you'll need between two and three coats to achieve the full effect.

Here's what it looks like on:


Two coats of Essie's Mint Candy Apple nail polish with clear OPI base coat and top coat. 

It's a beautiful colour, and it wears about as long as OPI polishes do before they chip on me—about three days (this is with base coat and top coat). I do wish it were a little more opaque after one coat. 

Would I purchase again? Probably not—it's a fun spring shade, but it's not something I can wear with much, which is important to me in a nail polish. 

Rating: Three stars out of five.  

Available: I picked it up at Shopper's Drug Mart for about $10. Fellow Canadians, it's also available at London Drugs.

Are you a fan of Essie nail polish? Do you like this colour? 

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. 

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