Nuance Nightshadow | Face-off: Julep Desiree vs. Revlon Holographic Pearls

Here’s a quick comparison of Julep Desiree, a holographic top coat that came as a free gift with this month’s Julep Maven monthly box, and Revlon Holographic Pearls, which I previously tried over a shimmer polish with less dramatic effect. (They’re not all that similar, and I may even own other holo toppers that are more dupe-y, but this is just what I grabbed.)

In outdoor natural light, I’ve got two coats of Nuance Nightshadow (a dark blue creme) on all nails, plus:

  • index: Essie Good to Go top coat (1 coat)
  • middle & pinky: Julep Desiree (1 coat)
  • ring: Revlon Holographic Pearls (1 coat) + Essie Good to Go top coat (1 coat)

First things first: Nuance Nightshadow is great – dries on the fast side and super glossy even without top coat, and the formula is easy to apply. Opaque in two coats. (Nuance is Salma Hayek’s CVS-exclusive brand, and the nail colors I’ve seen aren’t especially adventurous, but the ones I’ve tried have good formulas and durability.)

Julep Desiree is a delicate holo top coat with a clear base. It’s a subtle and beautiful effect, and the formula is easy to apply and provides good coverage (in terms of shimmer density, not opacity, obviously) in one coat. It dries a tad on the slow side, though. A quick-dry top coat could help with that.

Revlon Holographic Pearls is like a gaudy disco ball next to Desiree, but hey, sometimes that’s what you want! Against Nightshadow, it’s clear how glitter-packed HP is in just one coat, and it’s definitely not subtle. HP dries matte on its own, but I added an extra layer of glossy top coat for better rainbows. This one dries pretty fast, and no complaints on application.

Here’s another shot in different lighting, to give you a better idea of the holo rainbow effect:

I had the coffee shakes and was pretty sloppy, sorry!

Anyway, there you have it, in case anyone ever wondered how these two holo toppers look side by side.

Julep September 2016 (Cheers to Five Years!) and October 2016 (Dark and Stormy Nights) custom Maven boxes (+promo codes)!

It’s been a while since I posted a Julep Maven box unboxing, and I’m going to catch up today by posting about this month’s box (which came in last weekend) and last month’s box! Hoping to make this short and sweet:

Julep September 2016 (Cheers to Five Years!) Maven box (customized)

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” – Mia Hamm


September was Julep’s fifth anniversary, and they celebrated by releasing some anniversary items, including a Cheers to Five Years! Mini Lip Trio (which I passed on because I don’t really wear lipstick), a nail polish trio with three of September’s new releases, and the Cheers to Five Years! Mini Eyeliner Set ($40 regular, $32 Maven), which I did pick up because I’ve been a fan of Julep’s gel eyeliner pencils so far. I also got an It’s Fun to Exfoliate Charcoal Body Konjac Sponge ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), which I love because it’s gentle on my easily irritated skin.


Closeup on the 5-piece mini eyeliner set (from left to right): When Pencil Met Gel in Galaxy Black Shimmer (black with purple glitter), Deep Sea Foam ShimmerGilded Gold ShimmerLilac Shimmer, and Ultraviolet. I wore Galaxy Black and Gilded Gold to a wedding, and they went on smoothly and stayed put all night. (FYI, Gilded Gold is an actual metallic gold, unlike the disappointingly terracotta-y Sunset Gold.) Galaxy Black, with its deep purple glitters, is awesome. Thumbs up.

Promo code: FALLCOLOR for a free polish with a $10+ purchase (expires 10/31/16).

No freebie in my September 2016, not even a piece of candy like we usually get.😦 I asked Julep’s customer service about it and was told this: “This month we were supposed to include a makeup bag for our anniversary. However, the bags arrived flawed and not up to our standards so we were not able to ship them with the September box.” Boo. I read some people got emery boards, but not me.

Anyway, onward!

Julep October 2016 (Dark and Stormy Nights) Maven box (customized)

“We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle” – Marilyn Monroe


Yep, I picked up the No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven) that didn’t make it into my August 2016 Maven box. It was smaller than I expected, which you can kind of see from comparing it to the nail polish bottle. It’s roughly palm-sized and really skinny at that.


The gel came out looking a teensy bit gelatinous and chunky-looking, as well as slightly sparkly and pink-tinged, when I first squeezed it from the bottle. (I’ll add photos later if I’m able to capture any decent ones.) It applied smoothly, though, and dried down matte as promised (no evident sparkle). It was lightweight, didn’t irritate my finicky skin, successfully protected me from sunburn, and took to mineral powder foundation well, so I’m pleased with it.


I also picked up a What Your Skins Needs Restorative Facial Milk ($38 regular, $30.40 Maven). I would’ve picked this up earlier, but it wasn’t available as a Maven box selection for a while. This stuff is amazing. I didn’t think I needed another moisturizer in my rotation, but I tried it last winter when my sister got one in her Maven box, and I changed my mind when a few drops of this stuff fixed the eczema patches on my face faster than my expensive prescription meds. It smells a little funny (kind of like Elmer’s white glue, if we’re being blunt), but man, does it do the job.


And, I picked up a Get In Line Invisible Lip Liner ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven). This product has mixed reviews on Julep’s site, so I’m don’t know yet if I chose wisely, but I’ve always wanted to try a clear lip liner. All I’ve done so far is remove the cover (carefully, by first twisting the cap until it loosened before trying) to photograph it, but the tip didn’t immediately fall out like it did for many of the people who gave it a 1-star review, so I might be in the clear (no pun intended). I’ll update this blog when I’ve had a chance to give it a whirl.


Finally, the freebie for October, Desiree, a “high-gloss holographic top coat.”❤ (I’ll be posting up swatches in the next post. EDIT: Swatch here!)😀

Promo code: OCT10 for $10 off a $25+ purchase at (expires 11/30/16, two uses per customer).

That’s it for now!

Zoya Channing

I busted out an old favorite recently: Zoya Channing. I just had a huge hankering to wear it, which means something, since I own so many polishes that I gotta admit I’ve rarely worn the same polish more than once or twice.🙂

Here’s two coats in outdoor natural light, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Channing‘s from Zoya’s 2013 fall collection, and I love it just as much today as I did three years ago.❤ It’s a fiery, coppery metallic red-orange with a rosy pink base, interestingly enough. You can’t usually see the pink, but when the light hits just right, it’s there. I think it’s the subtle pink cast that does it for me over other red oranges.

Great formula, easy to apply, dries reasonably fast, and opaque in two coats. What is there not to love?

On a side note, I think my fervor for nail polish has generally somewhat mellowed as of late, though not because I love lacquer any less. It’s just that my need to acquire new polishes has kind of plateaued, probably because I’ve got so many at this point that I typically feel my color needs are mostly sated, and it takes a lot to really excite me about a polish these days.

I did recently lust after the new Pure Ice Halloween collection for this year, which has some fun Halloween-themed glow-in-the-dark glitter toppers at an eye-popping $2 per bottle…but I’ve tried two Walmarts so far with no luck. I don’t want to pay a scalper $6-7 bucks for them, either! I guess the search continues.🙂

Julep Tanith & Pure Ice Private Show

This past week’s colors: Julep Tanith (index and pinky) and Pure Ice Private Show (middle & ring). I was going to do all Tanith, but I didn’t feel like going all nude, even with the gold sparkle! Kind of a weird combo, but I guess I was vaguely thinking ballet and Swan Lake when I picked out these colors.

Anyway, swatches in outdoor natural light, two coats of each, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Tanith is a mauve-y nude jelly with gold shimmer. At two coats, it’s definitely still a bit sheer, but I kind of liked it that way, so I left it as is. It’d probably be opaque at three coats. Not too boring for a nude.❤

Formula was easy to apply, and dry time seemed average. Dries smooth.

Pure Ice Private Show is a black jelly generously dosed with fine glitter in what looks to me like red, pink, blue, and silver. Good stuff, especially with glossy top coat. I hear it’s a pretty close dupe to Butter London The Black Knight.

The formula is easy to apply and opaque in two coats. Dry time seemed faster than average. It dried slightly gritty, but top coat smooths it over nicely. My main issue with this polish is its durability – it chipped pretty badly in a day! I remember it being prone to chipping the last time I wore it, too. (Still, Pure Ice polishes are only $2 a pop at Walmart compared to Butter London’s $15, so if longevity isn’t an issue, it’s not too bad.)

Zoya Dhara & Zoya Oswin

Playing catch up on a couple Zoya PixieDust colors, both textured and shown here without top coat.

Here’s Zoya Dhara, a bright reddish orange sandy-textured with a metallic finish and iridescent flecks. It’s got that fine PixieDust texture that’s not too rough to the touch.

Zoya Oswin is a raspberry red textured polish packed with various size glitters, including large hexes. It’s got significantly more texture than the fine sand of Dhara’s finish and kind of reminds me of a geode (in a good way!), mostly because of the larger glitters. It’s also got the usual sand-like PixieDust texture beads. My photos don’t really do it justice. In person, the glitters flash a bit more, though the overall finish dries to a classy matte.

Please excuse these oddly dark photos. My phone camera sometimes adjusts oddly for lighting.

Oswin’s a bit brighter than this in person!

Formula for both polishes was great, as Zoya PixieDusts tend to be, and both dried fast. They’re also both pretty durable, though Oswin’s craggier texture meant it got caught on stuff and chipped after a day, sadly.

Both great polishes that I’m sure would also look great with glossy top coat. :]

Formula X Intergalactic & Estee Lauder Peach Petal

I almost forgot to post last week’s polish swatches: Formula X Intergalactic, from the discontinued Celestials collection, and Estee Lauder Peach Petal on the accent nail. I’ve had both of these for a while – Peach Petal, especially – and just never got around to wearing them. (Peach Petal was a freebie with purchase that my mom gave me when I was a kid, I think. Has it been that long?)



Intergalactic is a silvery purple-pink metallic textured polish. It’s not as chunky as some textured polishes but chunkier than Zoya PixieDust polishes. It’s kind of comparable to OPI textured polishes that I’ve tried, like Alcatraz…Rocks. The formula was fine, and it dried fast. Just about opaque in a single coat, though you can tell it’s not 100% opaque in strong sunlight.



Peach Petal is a nude-y pink with a subtle pearlescent shimmer. I’m not usually one for nudes, but this one’s not too boring, and the formula is fantastic. Excellent coverage in one coat, and it’s incredibly easy to apply. It’s an older polish, though, so I doubt it’s 3/4/5-free. Dry time was maybe on the long side of average, but hey, it more than makes up for that by being completely opaque in a single coat.

Best thing by far about these polishes is that they were both done in one coat!

Essie Sable Collar

Trying out a different way of pulling my images from Instagram.

Swatched Essie Sable Collar for this week’s nails. It’s from Essie’s winter 2013 collection, and I’ve had it for a long time but just somehow never felt like wearing it.


It didn’t photograph especially well for me, unfortunately, and I didn’t have a chance to take another photo before it chipped (oops), but it’s kind of a metallic puce. Essie calls it a “luxurious pearlescent cocoa plum.” I suppose that’s a fancier way of saying that it’s puce (purplish brown) with a bit of subtle pinkish shimmer. It’s so subtle that I can hardly see it in some light. Not a bad color, though. When the shimmer actually shows, it gives Sable Collar a nice lit-from-within look.



The formula was fine, easy enough to apply, though I was sloppy. It’s a bit on the watery side, as Essies tend to be. Dry time was average for me. Durability was not so good, at least with Julep Nail Therapy as my base coat, and chipped on the second day. Ah, well.

By the way, FYI, Wikipedia says: “Puce is the French word for flea. The color is said to be the color of the bloodstains remaining on linen or bedsheets, even after being laundered, from a flea’s droppings or after a flea has been crushed.”

Lovely, huh?