Illamasqua Toxic Nature Nail Varnishes — The Sweetest Poison
When I first saw the visuals for the new Illamasqua “Toxic Nature” campaign, I automatically thought of Camille Rose Garcia’s artwork, which features creepy, child-like cartoon characters in apocalyptic yet fairy tale-worthy scenarios that critique humankind’s destructive tendencies. Her “Ultraviolenceland” series, for example, incorporates dirty peach, bright orange, ink-y black, tarnished gold, and distorted brass tones to create a visual landscape that’s eerie but fascinating, filled with luscious castles yet occupied by blood-sucking vampires and militant armies who relish violence.
Interestingly enough though, the Illamasqua Toxic Nature inverts the paradigm often seen in Camile Rose Garcia’s work. In this case, the idea is that nature is fighting back against a society of Stepford Wives-esque clones, a society in which sameness and conformism have been venerated as opposed to individuality and creativity. The colors, then, are as unpredictable as the weather, and they range from a pretty pastel peach to a bright lime green and a mushroom-like gray.
The Toxic Nature collection includes five nail varnish hues: Purity, a perky, pastel peach color that has a milky quality, like a scoop of peach sorbet; Bacterium, a brassy, earthy ochre color like what you’d find in an Australian Outback quarry, accented with pearlescent, silvery ash gray undertones that transform the hue, giving it a corroded, cryptic feel; Stagnate, a deep creamy gray with mauve undertones; Radium, a neon green that mixes acid lime and olive tones, then incorporates iridescent blue and purple shimmer for an atomic quality; and Gamma, a summery, blindingly bright, neon orange that makes reflective vests look timid by comparison. In typical Illamasqua manner, the shades stand out among the fray due to their unique and oft uncanny blend of pigments, their unexpected finishes and textures, and their unapologetic, look-at-me-now quality. Forget X-Men powers — this is the type of mutation, of unapologetic and unorthodox beauty that should make makeup lovers feel like they can conquer the world.
In terms of performance, the nail varnishes dry incredibly quickly, plus the formula is chip-resistant so your manicure should last as many as ten days.
Below, you’ll find pictures showing what the Radium, Gamma, and Stagnate polishes look like on nails — and, chances are, these nail varnishes, will have you slipping under faster than Britney Spears in her “Toxic” song, begging for Illamasqua to “intoxicate you now.”
Check out what the Radium color looks like on nails below! This is probably my favorite shade in the collection since the green shade is so unusual. It’s like a technicolor version of a Shrek green, with swirls of lilac and blue shimmer adding an otherworldly feel.
Next, we have Gamma, my other favorite hue in the collection. Ladies, I’m a sucker for a great neon shade and this one is the brightest I’ve encountered to date. The only shade that even comes close in terms of neon power is the China Glaze Sun Worshipper lacquer from the Poolside Collection, but Illamasqua’s Gamma varnish is a deeper shade of orange. Unlike most neon hues, which tend to be saturated with shimmer, this one still has a creamy quality to it, making it all the more alluring. At first, the color looks matte when it dries on your nails but, once you add a top coat, it’s transformed so that it has a slight glossy quality.
Last, you’ll find images of the Bacterium shade, a lacquer that has so much sheen, it’s practically radioactive. The shade looks like a tarnished, slightly brassy, antique gold hue mixed with dirty, silvery tones — together, the blend of colors feels like something worthy of Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer” painting. In dimmer situations, the ochre and strata colors predominate while, under bright lights, the nail enamel looks like more of a white gold with ash undertones. Check out the pics below!
Illamasqua Nail Varnish, $14 each. Available at Sephora.com