The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy & Candeo Colors Jellybean

Happy Easter! Thought I’d celebrate with a couple candy-sweet indie colors today. This is The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy (inspired by Wreck It Ralph‘s King Candy, from her monthly Disney villains series) and Candeo Colors Jellybean.

Have Some Candy is a salmon-pink jelly base loaded with gold shimmer and various sized holographic hex glitters in purple, fuchsia, and gold-green. The polish is good to go in two coats, was easy to apply with no special glitter placement needed, and dried on the fast side of average. Better yet? It smells of bubblegum!❤

Jellybean instantly made me think of Peeps when I saw it for the first time. It’s a thin creme base in pale, cool-toned yellow, with turquoise, pink, and purple hexes and microglitters. This polish takes two to three coats to get good opacity and seems to have an average dry time, but the glitters distributed evenly on their own and didn’t take special placement. In the bottle, I wasn’t sure if the bright glitters would overpower the pale base, but it works beautifully on the nail; the thin base gives it that jelly-sandwich effect that mutes the glitters a little to excellent effect. Great Easter polish, for sure.

I love both these polishes! Jellybean is my first and only Candeo Colors polish at the moment, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve picked up quite a few colors from The Lady Varnishes, but Have Some Candy is definitely one of my favorites when the mood for pink strikes.

Anyway, have a great weekend, and eat lots of candy!😀

My absolute favorite skincare line – Beautygen

Somehow, the entire time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve never thought to write about my favorite skincare products, probably because I’ve been using them for years, and I’ve been mostly posting only about new stuff (primarily nail polish, of course!) I’ve gotten since I started this blog. :) That, and the brand is an obscure Asian brand that I only found out about through a family friend, who became (as far as I know) Beautygen’s only US reseller.

Beautygen is a Taiwanese company that makes its skincare products out of natural, organic, food-grade ingredients, as I understand. I’ve been using their products for about five or six years now and can honestly say that it’s awesome stuff. I have very sensitive skin prone to eczema and rosacea outbreaks and that reacts unhappily to many skin products, and Beautygen has been a lifesaver. These are the products that I use and love:

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Back/top row, left to right:

  • Wonder Cleanser ($31) – my favorite daily cleanser ever. It works great on bare skin, removes light makeup well, is super gentle, and leaves the skin moisturized after it’s rinsed off. It has a slimy, gelatinous “honey” texture that gradually balls up as you massage it onto your face, taking dirt/oil/makeup/dead skin with it. It sounds weird, but I think it’s fun to use, whether or not it’s a gimmick.:) Smells like roses.
  • Moist Up Lotion ($113) – my favorite daily facial moisturizer. It’s got a very thin consistency, like water, but it only takes a few drops to moisturize the whole face, so it’s super fast to slap on. Great for the impatient and short on time. Also, one bottle lasts forever.
  • Delight Whitening Lotion ($113) – this is a heavier moisturizer than the Moist Up Lotion, so I don’t use it daily but as needed for extra dry spots. I can’t tell if it actually whitens because I’m light-complexioned with difficulty tanning in the first place, but it’s supposed to help even out skin pigmentation. Hardly takes a few drops each application and also lasts forever.

Front/bottom row, left to right:

  • Glowing Protector ($56) – this is a BB creme-type of tinted/complexion-evening sunscreen that they say doubles as a foundation primer, if you use makeup. It uses zinc oxide, rather than chemical sunscreens, which I personally prefer. It doesn’t have an SPF rating on the box, though it seems to work just fine preventing sunburn from the minimal to moderate sun exposure I usually have. It only comes in one color and is pretty translucent, so it probably works for a wide range of at least light and medium skin tones.
  • Whitening Plus Cream ($125) – this is a thicker but still light-feeling moisturizing cream that I use over the two above moisturizers and under the Glowing Protector to seal in moisture. Again, I can’t really say if the whitening part works because my skin’s already fair, but it’s been really helpful with my eczema. Again, the smallest smudge of this stuff will be enough for the whole face, so it lasts forever.

These are all day and night products (other than Glowing Protector, which is for daytime use) and are advertised for all skin types, though I’ve found even using them once a day maintains excellent moisture and has improved my skin dramatically.

The price tags on these products looks astronomical compared to those of many other skin products, but these are so concentrated that very little goes a long way and really stretches out the initial investment. Their effectiveness, natural ingredients, and compatibility with super sensitive skin also makes it worthwhile to me. I’m able to use one container for years (though they recommend using them up by an expiration date printed on the bottle for best effect). It’s also possible to pick up near-expired products on clearance for a hefty discount, and I can say from experience that they still work great.😉

Anyway, just thought I’d share these with you, since I love them so much. (I bought these products with my own money and am not affiliated with the company or receiving anything for this blog post.) I don’t know if Beautygen will ever catch on in the States because they’re a pricey luxury brand; plus, even the US reseller’s website, Gold 9S, is only in Chinese because it’s primarily marketing to the Taiwanese and Chinese population here. Still, if you’d like to give them a try, the Chrome browser has that handy translation function that  seems to give reasonably readable and accurate translations.:) I may also be able to answer some questions, so if you’ve got any for me, fire away!

Zoya PixieDust Vespa

Quick swatch post: Zoya PixieDust Vespa – an older color and one of my favorites.:)

This is three coats, no top coat, in outdoor natural light. (It’s a second-day photo, and I just realized that I’d already chipped the index nail a little. Oops.)

Vespa is a textured, beautiful dusty, silvery, soft sage-y green. It’s got a jelly-like textured base generously mixed with silver microglitter and takes three thin coats to build up to opacity. (The nail line is very visible at two coats, but it doesn’t look bad, if you don’t mind it somewhat sheer.) I like that Vespa is obviously green, but it’s a neutral enough color that it plays well with many other colors.

The formula’s easy to apply, but it doesn’t have the super quick dry time of many other textured polishes and seemed to take about an average amount of time (for a typical, non-textured polish) to dry. I got impatient with the third coat and used quick-dry drops to speed things up a bit, which worked great. (I’d have probably been more patient if I hadn’t been in a hurry and expecting it to dry quicker because of its sandy finish, so if you think of it as a regular polish, the dry time probably won’t bother you. :))

Durability so far is pretty good, as it typically is with Zoya’s PixieDusts. Other than that one chip, I’ve had hardly any tip wear so far, which is saying a lot, since I’ll usually have visible nail tips one day in. Overall, still one of my favorite spring-y colors.

Julep March 2016 (Lighten Up) Maven Box (with promo code!)

Here’s my Julep Maven March 2016 Maven box, which arrived this past Tuesday!

I customized my box this month because Julep did something awesome and sent out an e-mail last month saying they were offering box customization to legacy Mavens at no extra charge. I’ve got no idea how longtime a Maven you’d have to be to receive the free upgrade, but my sisters and I all got the e-mail, and we joined in 2013. (Thanks, Julep!)

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Before I keep going, I’ve gotta say that Julep’s been really solid lately. Despite the few fumbles with my last Maven box, Julep’s customer support was generally pretty helpful in resolving my issues. As I mentioned in that post, they refunded me the retail price ($4.99) for the gold nail tape that was missing from my box and offered me a free nail polish of my choice (I chose Emily) to make up for the mistake, since they weren’t able to send me the nail tape. Then, later, when they found the missing stash of nail tape in their warehouse, they went ahead and sent me the nail tape anyway, for free, which was pretty awesome of them. (Again, thanks, Julep!)

I kept it simple with my box selections this month. Tucked in that nest of dove-gray paper crinkles and pearlescent white tissue paper were my three picks:

  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in the two new colors introduced this month, Ocean Blue and Electric Teal Shimmer, and
  • the Rethink Your Shower hydrating body cleansing oil.

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I love colored eyeliner and can’t wait to experiment with these. The colors are fun, and I’ve liked Julep’s eyeliner pencil in the few other colors I own. Can we have a bright red next? The world needs more red eyeliner, as I discovered the last time I was looking for one. (I currently use Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Iridescent Red, which I like quite a bit, but it’s not quite as bright as I’d like!)

Unfortunately, the shower oil arrived with a leak, and about a centimeter of the product ended up on the outside of the bottle and soaked into the box. D: Julep’s customer service came through for me again, though, and after I e-mailed about the leaky bottle, they immediately said they’d send me a replacement. (Once again, thanks for being awesome, Julep.)

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Also in the box was the monthly freebie, a Blow Pop (green apple flavor); a quote card; and a promo code for 30% a Julep.com purchase (MAR30).

This month’s card says “Lighten Up” (this month’s collection title or catchphrase, as they’ve said they’re moving away from naming their monthly releases) on one side and has a quote from late make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin on the other:

“The beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself.”

Did you get a Maven box this month? Any thoughts on Julep’s offerings this month? I’d love to hear them.:)

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links. I don’t expect you to use my referral links unless you want to, of course, and they don’t affect me giving my honest opinion. Referrals go toward products reviewed on this site – thanks!

Julep Emily

Time for a quick swatch post. Here’s two coats Julep Emily, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Please excuse the day-two naked tips. Somehow, wrapping the tips has never really helped me all that much because it’s already worn away by the next day!

Emily‘s Julep’s blue-topaz birthstone polish for December! Highly pigmented formula that’s almost opaque in one coat, but I did two thin coats for these photos. It’s the perfect mermaid blue, with glass-fleck-y shimmer that looks like a cyan-to-magenta duochrome in the bottle and maybe from more extreme angles but typically really only flashes cyan on the nail. Still, absolutely stunning polish.

Formula was buttery smooth and a joy to apply, even with the Julep brush and its weird splayed-ended wide-tipped shape that I admittedly do not love. Dry time was about average. Durability-wise, it didn’t stay on the longest for me (chipped after maybe three days, even using the same base coat and top coat that I frequently use), though I can’t say for sure that wasn’t because of other factors, like my daily activities or the weather. I also noticed that the strong pigment made for some messy removal and didn’t want to completely come off my skin and nails after I removed it, but it didn’t actually stain, as the blue haze washed off after I washed my hands a few times.

UPDATE 3/20/16: I took a bottle shot of Emily (and the gold nail tape Julep originally forgot to send me, which they sent me Emily as an apology for) and totally forgot to include it in this post. Here it is.

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TL;DR – overall, thumbs up. Highly pigmented, but cleanup is a bit of a bear.

Face-off: Essie Leggy Legend vs. Julep Luz

Quick comparison post! I mentioned earlier that I thought Essie Leggy Legend and Julep Luz might be fraternal twins. On a closer look, though, I think they’re probably more like cousins – not too alike, but maybe with some general similar features.

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Here they are in outdoor natural light, two coats each (Leggy Legend on the index and ring, Luz on the middle and pinky), topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, on the third day:

They’re both bronzy and metallic, somewhat coppery and somewhat golden, but that’s about where the similarities end. As you can see, Leggy Legend is definitely redder-toned and has a much finer texture than Luz. The shimmer particles are smaller and have way less scatter when the light hits them.

It’s a bit easier to see the difference in the overall hue in this next photo, also taken in outdoor natural light on the same day and around the same time, but with the sun coming in at a different angle:

I’ve already talked about Leggy Legend in a previous post and am still in love with this polish.

Luz is also a good one, though it’s got a different personality – less slick, more flamboyant. There’s a bit of a rosy, coppery undertone to it, as with Leggy, but in brighter or more direct light, the predominant color seems to be a metallic, less saturated yellow gold. Its loud sparkle makes me think foil – though I guess terms describing finishes are kind of arbitrary, anyway. Formula is great and dries pretty fast, and so far, durability is good. I’m now on my fifth day with these nails, and it’s just showing some expected tip wear. Not bad.

Here it is in indoor white LED light (again demonstrating how Luz’s paler gold sparkle tends to take over):

Not all that similar, but they play well together.:)

Leggy strikes me as the stand-out of the two polishes, mostly because its intense, glowy copper-gold is truly one-of-a-kind in my collection, whereas Luz’s predominant gold is more similar to other gold polishes I own. Both are lovely and apply wonderfully, though. Maybe I’ll do side-by-side comparisons of my other gold polishes someday.

Julep Hayley & Julep Rosie

I love beets. There may be other ways to describe Julep Hayley‘s deep red-purple – say, wine or Bordeaux or cranberry – but beetroot describes this color pretty well.

Here’s two coats on all fingers, other than Julep Rosie (also two coats) on the ring finger, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in direct natural light:

Hayley has super-rich color and great color payoff. It’s bright in direct sunlight and deeper/vampier in indirect light. It also has a slightly squishy, slightly translucent crelly finish that seems to glow in the sun but is opaque enough that there’s no visible nail line.

Hayley’s formula is on the watery side for a Julep, which I discovered when I accidentally flooded the cuticle on the first nail. I found it a little bit challenging to work with, especially because Julep’s unusually long brush stem tends to collect more excess polish, and since a thinner formula runs down the stem so much faster, it’s easy to accidentally have too much excess polish drip down the brush while you’re working. The clunky wide and flared Julep brush, which isn’t my favorite, has brush bristles are a little too stiff for easily applying such a liquid polish, though it’s manageable if you’re careful (unlike me). The dry time is also a little long, and a fast-dry top coat really helps here. I’d definitely recommend applying this in thin coats, though, which requires a little bit of care.

On its own, Hayley dries to a slightly squishy, glossy finish that looks even better with top coat. In indirect natural light:

Rosie is a charcoal jelly with what looks to me like multi-sized fuchsia glitters (including microglitter) and silver holo microglitter. The base is pretty sheer and is still sheer at two coats, but the glitters provide a decent amount of coverage. It’s not totally opaque, but I kind of liked the lace-like, slightly sheer effect. The formula was a bit goopy, kind of like Julep Celeste‘s, but it’s workable and suspends the glitter well (no special placement or application technique necessary). Rosie dries fast to a matte finish and isn’t too bumpy for a glitter, but I preferred the smoother, glossy finish with a glossy top coat.

I wish Hayley dried faster, and a different brush would have probably made the thin formula easier to work with, but I’m otherwise pretty pleased with these two polishes.