So you've probably seen a lot of posts about the Illamasqua Blogger events held early last week, but this one is different? Why? Because I was too much of a feeble wimp to go to the main one. Again if you don't know, I have Social phobia/social anxiety disorder which basically means I'm shy to the point of being ill in social situations. I went to the Art of Darkness event last Autumn, and while the event was really great it was just too much for me and I felt very ovewhelmed and ill, so I originally was going to say I couldn't attend this one but then i saw they were holding much smaller 'intimate' events on saturday. I thought that I could probably cope with that, or if not I'd know once and for all that I am just unable to attend any blogging events.
So last saturday I set off for the 1 o clock event. And it turned out to be VERY intimate indeed. I was the only blogger that turned up for the session! So that was a little awkward, not only because i felt a bit stressed having all the focus being on me but I also felt a bit bad for Alex and Hayley that they had to do all the spiel for just little old me! And even though I had a couple of sneaky drinks for dutch courage (yes yes I know, drinking before noon, oh it's a slippery slope!) I was still stupidly shy and very quiet and awkward. But anyway they were both lovely, very kind and friendly and welcoming.
This event was held at Illamasqua's Flagship store near Oxford Street. I got there at 1 on the dot and it was running a little late (possibly waiting for the other bloggers who were supposed to come), so I played around with their regular line before I was called into the special area. I've heard great things about their foundation range so I always try and match my skin. Irritatingly in the liquid and cream formulas the lightest 'normal' shade (i.e. not just white) is ever so slightly too light and yellow for me and the next one up, 120, is far far too dark and again yellow (I have the pinkest skin in the world!). Buuuut while playing i discovered that 120 actually is the perfect match for me in powder form, so I might have to try that at a later stage!
rich liquid foundation in 120 and 115 unblended:
Powder Foundation in 120 blended:
So anyway i was called into this cordoned off part at the back of the shop, where the makeup lessons take place usually. Hayley and Alex were very friendly, offered me drinks and just honestly treated me like I was a friend or something. Though of course I couldn't totally relax due to my illness, but they did put me at ease a little, which is saying a lot! The actual event was very informal and casual, they basically talked me through the thoughts behind the collection, demonstrated all the products and then just let me play about with everything.
So the idea for the collection came from the experience Alex Box (Illamasqua's creative director) had last year. She was left stranded away from home when that evil ash cloud brought air travel to a standstill. This led to thoughts about how while we humans think we're in charge, because of all our technical advances, a natural phenomenon can come along and take away all that control (quite horrible considering what has happened in the last 24 hours but I shan't go into that now). So the inspiration for the collection came from a fantasty future where nature has 'fought back', becoming toxic or noxious. The shades are a mixture of bright, neon, radioactive colours and contrasting dirty, murky, sludgy colours. (This may sound incredibly crass but it sort of reminded me of the baddies from Captain Planet... Yes I am very stupid). The murkier shades aren't just dull though, they're complex, unusual mixes of colours. These shades were inspired by mixing colours of paint and this was fascinating to me. As an artist myself there have been many times when I've stared at the changing colours of my brush-cleaning water, watching it turn from a bright colour into a swirling mix of colours becoming murkier and murkier in shades you've never seen before.
Now I know that if you're a follower of beauty blogs in general you'll have seen these images over and over again I cannot help but share myself because they are just so amazing, truly artistic and I find myself staring at them for ages just taking it all in. You can really see the inspiration behind the beautiful looks, the models hair has changed colour from the toxicity of the planet, their faces are mutating creating new shapes of their lips and eyes, and bright, unnatural colours are creeping into their features. But they still look beautiful. Let's take a look at my favourites:
And this video to do with the collection was just released:
So now onto the products. First, possibly the most items in the collection, the brand new Cream Pigments. These come in 6 colours and are made to be truly multi purpose. They dry to a matte finish, are blendable but highly pigmented, crease and water resistant and can be used on face, lips, eyes and some applications I never even would have thought of! For instance the little streaks of contrasting colours in the models hair were done with these cream pigments (anyone remember the 90s craze for hair mascara? God knows I do. I often turned up to school discos with little blue streaks in my hair ahhh yeah. But this is a lot prettier and classier) and apparently the mint coloured pigment can be used as a colour corrector to get rid of red tones.
From left to right:
Mould, Delirium, Hollow, Emerge, Dab, Bedaub. Delirium and Emerge are only available in the EU.
And here they are blended out.
Mould is more purple than it looks here and Hollow is a light brown shade, it looks slightly green here. I have a ridiculous reason I don't like Mould, the colour is beautiful but I couldn't stand to use it myself because of the name. I have a phobia of mould and just thinking about it makes me feel sick :P
The cream pigments can also be used as an eyeshadow base. Here is Mould with a blue eyeshadow on top (don't know the name of the shadow):
Left - Shadow over Mould, Right - Shadow alone.
There are 2 new lipsticks released:
Top - Flare, Bottom - Atomic
(a review of Illamasqua lipsticks and lip swatches will be coming up soon)
And 2 corresponding sheer glosses are in the collection, but they have been available previously from the main collection:
Top - Torture, Bottom - Divine
And here they are over the top of the lipsticks:
You can see my review of the sheer glosses (and lip swatches of Divine) here
A new shade of Illamasquas Precision Ink liquid eyeliners is available in the same amazing formula. I ADORE these eyeliners, remind me to do a proper review! The new shade is called Glister and it is STUNNING. A lovely taupery nude shade with amazing pink shimmery glitter shot through. It's not always obvious, it depends on the light, and it's just gorgeous.
Then there are 5 nail polishes, Illamasqua's polish formula is just wonderful.
Left to Right: Bacterium, Stagnate, Radium, Purity, Gamma. Purity looks a bit nude here, in real life it's a stunning bright, light pink peach, I'd describe it as a 'melon' colour.
Now I did also take some nail polish swatches on paper, but of course those went missing instantly. Luckilly there are already tonnes of great proper nail swatches up on the web. Here are some good ones of all the polishes, plus some swatches of other products.
And finally These are the Toxic claws, amazing fake thumb nails with a unique shape (they remind me of beetles). I was told you can actually paint these with whatever polish you like and it won't damage them:
I got 3 products in my goodie bag and before I left Hayley and Alex insisted I look through and check I wanted what I was given, which was great! I did end up swapping 2 pieces, originally I had Emerge cream pigment, which I kept but I switched Bacterium nail polish and Hollow cream pigment, Alex and Hayley gave me Gamma nail polish and Atomic lipstick instead. I figured that it would be more interesting to try 3 different products from the line (instead of 2 of the cream pigments) and with the nail polish, while Bacterium is gorgeous (and if I get some money I may well buy it in the future) Gamma was really just one that had caught my eye from the beginning. And I will always favour the ridiculous (eyesearing neon orange) over the sublime (subtle duochrome taupe).Also in my goodie bag were leaflets and brochures of information, a little palette (would be good for the cream pigments if you have more than one, as I don't I am excited to try mixing lip tars with it!) and an envelope containing a fiver to cover my travel costs (also there was 5p in my bag but I assume that just fell in there). Before I left they also said they'd spoken to the store manager and I was given a 20% discount for anything I bought on the day. However I didn't get anything because I am strapped for cash at the moment, and to be honest I was so excited about the new collection that I was blinded to the old products! But the fact that they pay for my travel and offered a discount really shows something about how much Illamasqua care about bloggers. Of course bloggers events work both ways, bloggers get to attend the event and get free products and the brands get free publicity from the resulting blog posts. However Illamasqua really go above and beyond, actually paying for travel costs is something (as far as I know) no other brand does and it made me feel so so special and like my presence at the event was important and I was truly cared about.
Gamma, Emerge, Atomic.
The Toxic Nature Collection is available now! My favourite pieces (apart from what I recieved as presents, which I will review in depth later) were the cream pigments in Bedaub and Dab the precision ink in Glister, lipstick in Flare, the Toxic claws and nail polishes in Bacterium, Purity and Radium.
One thing I love about Illamasqua collections is that they last for AGGGESSSS! Some pieces will end out being limited but others become permanant (for instance the 4 colour palettes from the Dystopia collection have disappeared, but you can still get the lipglosses, lipsticks, nail polishes and single shadows). This is great for me because I am pretty poor at the moment and I can't afford any of my wishes from the collection right now, but I know that when I have the money they'll still be around. It also means that you can take your time to decide what you want, check reviews, swatch and think about it. This differs from, say, Mac collections in that the majority are very limited and sell out super quickly, so you have to make a snap decision which can lead to purchases you regret buying or products you regret not buying. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has snapped up a lot of pieces from one of those collections and later realised I own dupes or was just caught up in hype.
It's an absolutely stunning collection and I feel so priveleged to have been among the first to get to play with it! Thanks so much to Alex and Hayley and all of Illamasqua for putting together the events. Reviews of the products I recieved witll be up soon :)