Julep Christina

Late post of my Valentine’s week nails/swatch. ūüėÄ Julep Christina is an older Julep polish (from 2011, I think), one of the first I ever bought, yet untried until this month.

This is two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, taken in outdoor natural light (please excuse the second-day tip wear):

Julep calls Christina¬†a “deep orange shimmer,” and I don’t know if it’s just me, but it looks to me like a hot red-pink glass-fleck shimmer in person. The photo didn’t capture the pink tones I saw in person somehow. After seeing ¬†Julep’s description, though, I am sort of reminded of OPI Jinx, one of my favorite hot orange-pinks, but orange isn’t the first color that came to mind for me.

Christina has a hot-pink base (which is more obvious on the first coat), but it’s loaded with enough gold-flashing fine flakies that it ends up reading as more red than pink. At angles that the gold’s more muted, though, it definitely looks pink. Either way, the bright color, sheer-learning base, and the dense iridescent flakies combine for nice depth and juiciness. ūüôā

Formula is good and dries on the fast side of average. It was durable, too, and didn’t have major chips until maybe five or six days in. No staining (with my usual base coat), either! Thumbs up.

Julep February 2017 (Cozy in Love) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Late post, but no biggie, since it’s another custom with previous releases. This month’s box was a birthday gift to my mom, with some of my recent Julep favorites.

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This month’s quote:¬†“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.”¬†– Elinor Glyn, a British author who, according to Wikipedia, “specialised in romantic fiction that was considered scandalous for its time.” ūüôā

  • No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven), which I previously talked about¬†in September 2016¬†– I love it because it’s lightweight and dries smooth and matte;
  • Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil¬†($36 regular, $28.80 Maven), which I tried and enjoyed when it came out last month – I love the delicious bergamot scent, which always reminds me of Earl Grey tea; and
  • a sample of¬†Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil, this month’s freebie from Julep, which was unexpected but also a favorite Julep product of mine because it gently and easily removes makeup without stripping skin oils or irritating my sensitive skin.

The promo code that came with this box is¬†POLISHLOVE for a free polish ¬†with a $10+ purchase at Julep’s website.

I hope she likes them – sometimes it’s hard to tell!

Sonnetarium Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Pudding & Cucumber Salad

I bought these three minis from a blog sale some years ago and somehow never got around to swatching them! These are three colors from Sonnetarium‘s Fresh collection from 2013 – Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Pudding, and Cucumber Salad. They’re as yummy-looking as they sound, and there are two additional colors, Blueberry Yogurt and Raspberry Sorbet, that I wasn’t able to track down at the time. (Someday!)

I feel so hungry just typing out those polish names. All of these are milky jellies (ugh, that sounds yummy, too), so they’re pretty sheer, but they all create that lovely, squishy, sugary jelly-sandwich look in three thin coats!

Strawberry Smoothie is a light pink jelly liberally dusted¬†with¬†fine white, red, and pink glitters – plus some holo ones, too, if I’m not mistaken. Yum! It’s got the densest glitter of the three. This one was also the most challenging to apply of the three, since it’s got the densest glitter and is sometimes a little clumpy. It’s also chipping pretty noticeably on day five of this manicure.

Cucumber Salad¬†reminds me more of mint than cucumber, but it’s a lovely shade of blue-tinged green with a speckling of white and dark green glitters. This one was easiest to apply and is holding up beautifully at five days.

Banana Pudding¬†is a pale yellow with white and yellow glitters. This one was had the least even application, but it dried the smoothest and had the glassiest finish. It’s starting to lift a bit at the edges but has only chipped minimally after five days, even on my heavily used thumb.

All three have thin formulas that require at least three coats for some semblance of coverage, but they dry fast! No glitter placement necessary for these, either. They self-distribute perfectly.

I love how tasty these polishes look and hope to someday find Blueberry Yogurt, which was my actual favorite of that collection, but which sold out before I even knew about it. Again, someday! ūüôā

Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment (Take a Breather)

After that gel manicure in October 2016, somehow, my nails were just not as robust as usual. I know gel manicures aren’t supposed to really damage your nails, and maybe it was just the soak needed to remove the gel polish, but it definitely did a number on mine.

To try to combat the sudden peeling nails, I decided to try just using Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment¬†($18 regular, $14.40 Maven) for a few weeks. Julep calls it¬†Take a Breather now, but I got mine before Julep rebranded everything. This is the original color, which is now called Sheer Pink, since there’s also other colors available:

This is a nail treatment and not meant to really provide much color, but the sheer pink tint seems to even out nail color and make it look brighter and cleaner. I only applied one coat, no base or top coat, and left it as-is for about a week each time. Then I’d take it off with a little of my home-brewed nail polish remover (just pure acetone with a tiny bit of distilled water and glycerin – I’ll make a note to share my recipe later!), wash my hands with soap, let them dry, and reapply one coat.

The good: The nail treatment seemed to be pretty durable and lasted almost a week. It’d start chipping after about five days, though, which is pretty average for me and polishes, but it seemed to hold up pretty well and glued together the separated nail layers nicely. The peeling parts were almost invisible while it was on. Easy to apply and dries fast, too.

The neutral or less good: I realize this is highly dependent on each person’s nails/nail chemistry, so I don’t hold it against the product itself, but it did seem to make my nails more brittle, unfortunately. After a couple weeks, I noticed chunks of the nail tips chipping off from just everyday activities, nothing rough. The brittleness got a tad worse in the third week, so I stopped using the treatment.¬†My nails are naturally on the sturdy/hard (rather than flexible) side, and my skin and nails tend to be dry, so I guess I’m not surprised that I’ve been less compatible with the strengthening/hardening treatments I’ve tried. I think I might need something that encourages more flexibility instead. This treatment might work better for someone with softer or more flexible nails, though!

Overall, I like Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment and will probably still wear it sometimes when I feel like taking a break from nail polish, but I’ll probably have to restrict wearing it to one week or less at a time. I’ve heard good things about OPI Nail Envy but haven’t tried it yet. Do any of you have recommendations for me?

Julep January 2017 (Future Fresh) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!) | Julep Ginny & Julep Yulia

A bit of a late post, but here it is: my customized Julep January 2017 Maven box! Since I took so long to find time to post this, I’ve also already swatched the polishes that came in it, so I’m throwing that in here, too.

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Looks like Julep’s cutting down on packaging. Instead of the usual pretty tissue paper and paper crinkles, everything was cushioned in utilitarian brown paper. (Hey, I don’t mind. It works and is easier to clean up.) My picks this month:

  • Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil¬†($36 regular, $28.80 Maven), this month’s featured new product that I was pretty excited to try;
  • Ginny¬†($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), from Julep’s collection last month, described as a ‚ÄúSapphire Sunset Holographic,‚ÄĚ which actually isn’t a bad description; and
  • Yulia ($14¬†regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, described as a “Turquoise Sheer Iridescent Shimmer,” which is also accurate.

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Boost Your Radiance¬†was new this month and comes packaged like¬†What Your Skin Needs Restorative Facial Milk in a frosted glass bottle with a dropper. Julep touts this as¬†‚Äú[a] reparative ‘wonder booster’ that leaves all skin types radiant and hydrated. Prevents and repairs the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation while regulating oil production.”

I tried the oil for about two weeks, and it really does wonders for my face. I love that it takes only a drop or two, and though I have the annoying kind of skin that gets dry patches and eczema here and there, this oil seems to smooth out those spots without making the rest of my face feel greasy. It’s pretty great! Might be too early to tell, but I have no idea if it helps for hyperpigmentation, and I don’t really have fine lines to repair yet, so hopefully it’s doing its job preventing them!

And, for your reference, here’s some swatches of the two polishes from this month,¬†Ginny, plus one coat of¬†Yulia over accent nail, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Ginny is quite possibly my new favorite Julep polish and is a sapphire-blue jelly packed with just the right density of fine holo shimmer/microglitter to create that starry-sky look. It’s similar to Zoya Dream, another favorite, but it looks like it’s probably more purplish, with finer holo shimmer, and it has that extra, subtle pink flash. I love it.

Yulia is sheer, as advertised, and designed to be a topper. It reminds me of Pure Ice Heartbreaker, but I’d have to do a side-by-side comparison to really tell. You can see from my photo that from some angles, it’s hardly visible (at least at once coat), but at some angles, it’s got a strong teal flash.

Both polishes had excellent formulas and dried on the faster side of average for me and had pretty good durability. They almost lasted an entire week!

Also in this box:

  • Monthly collection intro & quote card: primarily introducing Boost Your Radiance and this month’s quote, “Never dull your shine for somebody else,” from Tyra Banks;
  • Tootsie Pop, this month‚Äôs freebie (which amused my toddler, then fed my husband); and
  • Promo code card: $10 off $25+¬†purchase at Julep.com (use WINTER10, expires 2/28/17).

That’s it for this box…and it’s already time to make our choices for the February box. Where does all the time go?

Face-off: Sephora Formula X Riotous vs. Julep

On my birthday last month, my pet human¬†husband gave me¬†Sephora Formula X Riotous as part of my birthday present, just because he liked the color. When I saw it, I couldn’t help myself. I had to sprint¬†to my stash, immediately dig out my bottle of¬†Julep Nellie (from my October 2014 Julep box), and do a little dance while comparing the bottles side by side. (I don’t know about you, but I have this profound feeling of resonance¬†when I see a polish color that looks just like something else I own…and I think Mr. ‘Fiend has an uncanny tendency to reliably buy me near-spot-on dupes all the time¬†possibly for the same reason.)

Anyway, before we go on: I’m sorry for the super crappy paint job. I kind of slapped this on half in the dark while watching¬†Stranger Things. ūüėÄ

Well, they’re pretty close, aren’t they? The formula on these two fuchsia creme/crelly polishes is almost identical, too. Both had slightly watery formulas (not too watery but watery enough that I accidentally flooded a cuticle when I wasn’t paying attention) but excellent coverage in two coats.

Riotous¬†dried faster than¬†Nellie, though, so it gets the edge¬†for that! Other than that, though, I really can’t say there’s much difference between the two. Durability was about the same. They lasted on the longer side of average for me (maybe four or five days). I honestly couldn’t tell them apart on the nail, so you probably don’t need both, even if you’re a polish fiend.

Sephora Formula X colors were originally $10.50 for a 0.4 fl. oz. bottle, but it looks like they’re currently on clearance for $5 each at the time of this writing, and Riotous is no longer available at their website. (I don’t know if this means Sephora’s discontinuing their Formula X line, but if so, that makes me sad!) Julep colors are usually $14 for 0.27 fl. oz. ($11.40 Maven), but they frequently have deals to pick up polishes for cheaper. Both are great!

Illamasqua Viridian & Glitterati

I got these polishes on clearance after the holidays from Sephora some years ago, before they stopped carrying Illamasqua products, and I busted them out again this year because I missed wearing them!

Here’s Illamasqua Viridian, one coat, on all nails, except for two coats Illamasqua Glitterati on the accent nail, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. In outdoor natural light on day 2:

Viridian¬†is a lovely metallic evergreen (blue-toned, somewhat dusty green) with fine silver shimmer. The bottle seems to show some blue duochrome/dichroic flash, but it doesn’t really show on the nail. Best thing is it’s got a great formula that’s completely opaque in one coat. So awesome. It’s still one of my favorite greens/teals. (I did a comparison post of several similar polishes earlier, if you’re interested!) Dry time was around average.

Glitterati is jewel-toned berry jelly with various sized holo glitters and some kind of fine iridescent shimmer that flashes blue from some angles. I seriously love this polish, and my crappy photo unfortunately doesn’t do it justice. The depth and coverage is good at two coats, but it’s a bit too uneven at one. No complaints about the formula, which dried pretty fast.

Both of these polishes lasted about four days or so with my typical base and top coats – pretty average for me.

Happy new year!