Nicole by OPI Lay it on the Lime

Nicole by OPI Lay it on the Lime is from last year’s Seize the Summer collection and the only one that caught my eye out of the set. It’s a fresh and bright melon-y, citrus-y yellow-green creme – almost neon and almost pastel, but not quite either. Very fun, though.

This is three coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat (which I actually don’t recommend paired with this polish because of some color transfer issues), in direct outdoor natural light:

The color is fantastic. Cheerily bright, almost loud, but just slightly softened with a milky touch.

The formula is thin, so it goes on a bit patchy. I used thinner coats because the polish seemed to take slightly longer than average to dry for me, and even after three thin coats and a glossy top coat, it still wasn’t entirely smoothly opaque. Maybe thicker coats were in order, but the dry time might be on the long side if it’s applied more thickly. I might have added a fourth thin coat to even it out, if I’d had more time during my lunch break. ;]

The Nicole by OPI brush is a flat, wide, square-tipped brush, but not as mop-like as some, so I didn’t have any trouble with it. Application, other than the challenges of a patchy thin formula, was pretty easy. No complaints overall.

The color reminded me of another bright yellow-green polish that I own – Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase – so I thought I’d post a quick bottle shot for your referencing pleasure:

In person (and in my swatch post linked above), it’s easier to see the fine turquoise shimmer in Chartreuse Chase, so the colors have a somewhat more similar feel. As you can see from this photo, though, Chartreuse Chase’s base color is definitely yellower and not quite as bright as Lay it on the Lime’s. Both are excellent colors, and both have slightly patchy formulas, but Chartreuse Chase definitely dries faster, true to the Insta-Dri name.

Bottom line: Lay it on the Lime doesn’t have my favorite formula, but I love the color enough that I don’t really care. :D What about you? Are you a fan of this almost-fluorescent green?

China Glaze Sun Worshiper

I’ve had China Glaze Sun Worshiper in my collection for a while – a present from Mr. ‘Fiend because he likes bright orange as much as I do :] –  but never got around to wearing it until today.

Not my best swatching job (sorry!), but here’s 3 coats topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat in indoor indirect natural light:

Sun Worshiper is a neon mac-‘n’-cheese yellow orange – delicious – that dries to a matte finish if not topped with a glossy top coat. It’s pretty darn sheer (this is three coats, and you can still see the nail line!), and the formula is a pain (more on this in a bit), but the color is so freaking awesome. So bright! <3 Definitely more neon than my photos can capture.

Like I said, the formula is a huge pain. Besides it being sheer, which I don’t necessarily hold against polishes because it’s just a different look, it’s a streaky mess. It dries really quickly, which would normally be a plus, but because it dries so quickly, it also tends to leave very visible brush strokes when it dries because it doesn’t have time to self-level before setting. I tried to apply it carefully, but going over any area twice left bald spots, and this is the smoothest it got with glossy top coat. The brush – a standard non-wide round brush with a flat tip – was fine.

Here’s a a couple photos in outdoor direct natural light:

Yep, not my best paint job, but I hope it helps someone as a color/consistency reference anyway!

If there’s one thing I recommend when it comes to tips on polishing nails, it’s this: don’t polish your nails when you’re hungry! I did this before breakfast, and the hypoglycemic shakes made the ordeal with the trying formula even worse than it would have been already.

Oh, also, I do not recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat with this polish. I used it on my right hand (not pictured) and had crazy color transfer onto the top coat brush (polish underneath was definitely dry). I think Miracle Gel Top Coat tends to dissolve and leach out the neon yellow pigment in polishes, from my experience. Yuck. A thicker top coat like Freedom or Seche Vite also hides Sun Worshiper’s streakiness much better.

Next time, I might try this with a coat of another, more opaque bright orange underneath, to minimize the patchiness. I know a white undercoat is often recommended for neon colors, but white polish itself is typically a huge pain to apply, so I might try the orange first. I’ll update this post if I get around to that!

UPDATE 4/23/15: Sadly, this manicure didn’t hold up so well. It might just be me, or the base coat I used this time, but Sun Worshiper started separating from the nail shortly after these photos, and it chipped so badly I had to remove it after a couple days. I also had a similar peeling problem with Julep Nina, another bright orange, so I wonder if it’s something to do with the ingredients that go into these bright polishes. I’ll have to try it with another base coat and let you guys know how it goes.

Julep Audrey with Revlon Transforming Effects Holographic Pearls

Weekend nails time!

This is three coats Julep Audrey, an older Julep color that’s still available, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat. The photo was taken in natural light, indoors:

Audrey is a pale, neutral-to-cool-leaning pink jelly with a yummy-looking spun-sugar glass-fleck shimmer. It’s pretty sheer and requires three coats for the opacity you see in my photos (nail line still somewhat visible), though if you don’t mind sheer, I also liked the subtler look at two coats. The formula’s easy to work with but seemed to have an above-average dry-time. My bottle came with Julep’s Favorite Things by Oprah box from 2012, so it has the older, finer-tipped brush that I like better than the current wide Julep brushes.

I later added one coat of Revlon Holographic Pearls (from the relatively new Transforming Effects layering top coat line) on the ring finger. This is in the shade, taken in outdoor natural light, which lent the pink a cooler tone:

…whoops, looks like a little lint got on my pinky nail. Please ignore. :]

Holographic Pearls is a clear layering top coat suspended fairly densely with fine silver holo glitter. It’s got a decently strong scatter holo rainbow effect, especially in direct light. The formula and brush are both easy to work with, though it dries a bit gritty. I’d recommend a layer of clear top coat over this one.

Here’s an out-of-focus photo to better show the rainbows on the accent nail and in the bottle:

No complaints about either nail polish – they’re both lovely. :]

Easter skittles with older Julep colors

Happy Easter! I wasn’t sure I’d have time to post this today, but I’ve got a few minutes’ downtime to type up a post while I wait for my Easter meringue cups to dry in the oven.

I decided to do pastel skittles swatching some of my older Julep colors this year, since I haven’t worn them in some time. :] From thumb to pinky, here’s two coats each of Julep Simone, Susie, Leila, Clara, and Martha, in indoor natural light, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat:

Leila (yellow with subtle gold shimmer) and Simone (lavender with subtle blue shimmer) are technically shimmers, but the shimmer isn’t really visible on the nail, so I generally use them the way I would a creme. Their formulas are a bit chalky, especially Leila’s, so a third coat might have been better for even opacity, but I was in a bit of a hurry. They dried relatively quickly, though.

Susie is a straight up pale minty green creme, and it probably had my favorite formula and brush (pretty standard-width brush that is less wide than the newer Julep brushes) of all five.

Clara (peach) and Martha (pink) are both cremes/crellies. Martha took a little longer to dry than the other colors, but otherwise, both of these polishes also had pretty good formulas that went on smoothly. I may have liked Susie’s application better mostly because the finer-tipped brush was easier for me to use.

Susie is from 2012, and the other colors are from 2013, so many of these colors probably aren’t available from Julep anymore. I’ve got a special fondness for them because they were some of the first Julep polishes I’d ever bought, and my nail polish habit only started in 2012 – something I picked up to cover up my gel-polish-removal-damaged nails after having them done for the first time ever for my wedding. (Before that, I was definitely a strictly unadorned nails kind of girl, and I still generally wear no other cosmetics!)

I was amazed to discover in 2012 that since my childhood years, nail polish makers had actually broken out of that old-fashioned pink/red/nude rut and now embraced colors I actually wanted to wear – like blues, greens, and neon oranges – as well as glitter and other special finishes.

I’ve been enamored of nail polish ever since, and I don’t think that’ll be changing anytime soon. :] Anyway, my meringues are pretty much done now, so I’ll cut it off there.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Julep India & Julep Bjork

Another quick and dirty swatch post: Julep India, two coats, with one coat of Julep Bjork (Metamorphic Top Coat) on the ring finger, all topped with Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat.

This is in natural light (shade):

A tad messy, sorry – ‘Fiend Jr.’s battering-ram kicks to my internal organs don’t do much for my concentration! I would’ve done some cleanup afterward, but the sun was setting, and I wanted to snap a few photos before it got dark.

I really love this kind of multidimensional blue and wish I had a car in this color. While I’m wishing, make that a Tesla in this blue.

Julep describes India as a “[f]reshwater blue shimmer.” I prefer straightforward color descriptions to empty-calorie marketing descriptors like “freshwater” (I sure hope fresh water wouldn’t be this color!), but I guess I can see how it gets the refreshing feeling of the color across.

It looks to me like a somewhat frosty metallic, medium cool-toned blue with fine shimmer that flashes green or teal. The base itself is a bit dichroic/duochrome-y, too, and seems to shift from cobalt blue to turquoise. The result is a polish with a lot of depth and mesmerizing sparkle that could probably flatter a wide range of skin tones.

I added Bjork (“[b]lue pearlescent silk top coat”) to the ring finger, just to see what would happen. The dichroic teal-to-purple shimmer in Bjork definitely adds to the scatter effect – and when looked at carefully, you can tell it looks a bit milkier than India alone – but it otherwise doesn’t do much for India.

Nothing to complain about, formula-wise, and dry time seemed average. As I’ve said before, Julep’s recent brushes have been a tiny bit too square-tipped and stiff for my taste, since they tend to make painting the curve at the cuticle a bit challenging for smallish nails like mine. It’s workable if you’re careful (and not getting beat up by your future offspring), though. Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat worked great for this polish and dried fast.

India’s a win. I wish I hadn’t passed up the August 2014 Maven box that had this color (I think it was because it was out of stock at the time I made my selection), but I’m definitely glad I picked it up later! <3

Essie Haute As Hello & Revlon Brilliant Strength Dazzle

After last week’s moody dark-green polish, I really wanted to wear something bright, so I thought I’d swatch a couple colors that I don’t think I’d posted yet.

Essie Haute As Hello and Revlon Brilliant Strength Dazzle are both older colors in my collection. Haute As Hello is a summer 2010 color, and I believe Dazzle was from 2012, from the Brilliant Strength line that’s been discontinued. Both have the same issue for me: I love the colors, but I’m just not a huge fan of the formulas. More on that in a bit.

Here’s three coats of each in natural light. I topped Haute As Hello with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, but Dazzle is shown without top coat:

Essie Haute As Hello is a hot pastel coral/peach creme that sometimes looks muted and sometimes looks like a soft neon, depending on the light. As I mentioned, I love this color. The formula, though, is honestly a bit of a pain to work with. It’s a bit thin, applies a bit patchy, and doesn’t self-level super well. It took me three thin coats to get a relatively even finish, and even then, the ridges from the brushstrokes didn’t completely level out. A glossy top coat fixed that, thankfully.

I wouldn’t recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat with this polish, though. As I’ve mentioned before, though this top coat has great durability, it tends to have some color transfer with some polishes, even if you make sure the polish is dry before applying top coat, and Haute As Hello is one of them. The top coat brush ended up picking up the yellow pigment in the polish and some of the actual polish itself, even when I applied only light pressure. Again, not recommended.

Revlon Dazzle is a bubblegum-pink jelly with an iridescent glass-fleck shimmer. Like most jellies, it’s pretty sheer and still shows visible nail line after the three thin coats I applied. I think I’d used five thin coats for opacity the last time I used this polish.

In any case, the sheerness isn’t what bothers me about Dazzle; it’s that this polish just refuses to dry! I waited about half an hour between coats and checked that the polish was dry to the touch before applying a new layer, but no luck. Even with the help of quick-dry drops, the polish half-dries to a malleable, clay-like consistency that doesn’t wholly cure until maybe the next day, so it’s really easy to ding up the finish (or make weird textured indentations in it) in the meantime. Ugh. It’s really too bad because I otherwise really love this color, and the brush (rounded tipped and slightly wider and thicker than a standard brush, but not nearly as thick and mop-like as the OPI brush) and application are excellent, if you don’t count the atrocious dry time.

The Brilliant Strength polishes were advertised as all-in-one formulas and meant to be worn without a base coat or top coat. Some of my Brilliant Strength polishes are better than others, and they don’t all have this drying problem, but I’m guessing the formulation is part of why the line isn’t available any longer.

The colors look more similar in the bottle, but Dazzle is much cooler-toned on the nail.

 

Obviously, I love these colors enough that I haven’t relegated either to a nail polish sale yet, but are they worth the struggle? For Haute As Hello, maybe. It at least dries fast and can be fixed with a good top coat. For Dazzle, I’m not so sure. I’ve worn this color maybe three times because I like the color too much to give up, but it makes me angry every time! I might try it one more time with a quick-dry top coat and see how that fares.

Zoya Veruschka

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m doing a second polish swatch for the day because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to be festive. :]

Zoya Veruschka, one of Zoya’s MatteVelvet polishes that come in the classy frosted-glass bottles. I believe it was first introduced in the winter of 2009 as a limited edition polish, though I picked it up during a re-release this past winter. A quick look at Zoya’s site says Veruschka is gone again, though, so if you’re looking for this color, I’m guessing you’ll have to find it through a third party.

This is two coats, no top coat, in natural light (shade):

Veruschka is a deep, rich, somewhat blue-toned green with silver shimmer that reminds me of evergreen trees. As suggested by its MatteVelvet label, it dries to a satiny matte finish and is meant to be worn without top coat. Judging from how it looks wet, though, I’m sure it’d look great with a glossy top coat, too. The matte finish isn’t very forgiving with bumps or unevenness on the nail, but the second coat does help smooth that out. A glossy top coat could probably help with that, too.

In any case, I found I needed a second coat to get good coverage. No complaints about the formula or brush (standard size with a relatively short stem), and this polish dries pretty fast. As with most polishes, though, even if it feels dry to the touch, it probably has to cure a bit before you, say, handle a dog. I gouged one of these nails doing that almost immediately after these photos, hehe. Whoops.

Anyway, happy St. Patty’s, and have a beer for me. No beer for me for a while, else I’d really love a milk stout!