Julep Swatch Me Stickers review

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I threw in the set of 3 Swatch Me Stickers as a $1.99 add-on to my last Julep order. I also mentioned in that post that I was mildly disappointed because the labels were made of an uncoated paper more akin to regular printer labels you can buy at the store than the nice glossy ones that come pre-applied to all newer Julep polishes.

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Time for a quickie review, in case anyone is thinking of picking these up, because I would’ve liked to know these things before I bought them myself, and I hope this post helps inform somebody!

Pros

  • Heavier, sturdier stock than your typical printer label
  • Same design, size and elegantly rounded square shape as existing Julep Swatch Me stickers for uniformity
  • Generally cut well enough that I didn’t have any label ripping problems when peeling them off the sheet

Cons

  • Not glossy coated, like the stickers that come on the newer Julep polishes
  • Not perfectly cut, so each side of the sticker still has a tuft of extra paper where it separated from the sheet (see photo below)
  • Polish soaks into the sticker! This results in splotchy wet-looking spots under the swatch, as you can see in the below photo

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See the mottling of wet/oily-looking spots under the swatches? The polish on the left is Natasha, a creme that actually has no color variation. The color on the right is Sheryl, which is a shimmer, but the wet spots are still distracting on the swatch. What’s worse? The swatches have already dried, and the wet spots didn’t go away. Argh!

The tufts sticking out of each side may also bother some (like me) – it’s not perfectly smoothly cut like the stickers that come pre-applied on newer Juleps.

In short: Would I buy these again? Probably not, even though they were relatively cheap. I bought them because I wanted relative uniformity across all my Juleps (I’m a little obsessive with my organizing), but because the stickers I got ended up being different and inferior in many ways to the labels Julep puts on their polishes themselves, it almost defeats the purpose. :\ I’m not sure I could get a better match making my own labels, but possibly. The wet splotches on the swatches is kind of a deal-breaker for me, too, and even plain glossy-coated labels would have been preferable to me.

Have you tried Julep’s Swatch Me stickers? Does anyone know if they ever came in a glossy version?

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Julep Marjorie, Cleopatra, and Casper, plus China Glaze Boo-gie Down

Halloween nails!

Thumb and pinky – 2 coats Julep Marjorie
Index – 2 coats Julep Cleopatra with a stripe of  Julep Marjorie and a 2 coats Julep Casper
Middle – 2 coats Julep Marjorie with a stripe of Julep Casper
Ring – 2 coats Julep Cleopatra with a stripe of Julep Marjorie and a coat of China Glaze Boo-gie Down

Marjorie is one of my favorite orange polishes ever. I got it in Julep’s August 2013 It Girl Maven box this year, and this type of bright, juicy orange is one of my favorite colors. Julep describes Marjorie as a citrus orange frost, but I’d describe it as more of a shimmer than a frost. It’s pretty opaque in even one coat and ready to go in 2 coats, though you might still see some nail line (which I don’t personally mind, but some people do). It was a bit slow to dry for me, but it applies super smoothly and is luminous with gold motes in the sun.

Cleopatra is an opaque black with what Julep calls a latex finish, which seems to mean it dries smooth and matte. Nicely opaque in 2 coats and dries really fast. You can’t really see the latex effect in my photo because I ended up covering everything with top coat in the end, but the matte finish is satiny and nice. I’m not sure how the latex finish differs from a black creme with a matte top coat, but if it achieves the same effect and durability, I can see how Cleopatra might save some time. This polish was from this month’s Bombshell Maven box.

Casper is also from this month’s Maven selections and was available as an add-on. It’s a sheer-ish shimmery silver-white, and it glows pretty brightly in the dark (slightly more brightly than China Glaze Ghoulish Glow, and without that greenish haze when it’s over another color)!

Finally, Boo-gie Down is part of China Glaze’s Monsters Ball collection for Halloween this year, and it’s copper, gold, black, and white hexes and round glitters in varying sizes, and. I think, some black bar glitter in a clear base. The copper and gold glitters are metallic, while the black and white glitters are matte. I love the glitter combination and bet it could look great over other colors year round. It’s a bit goopy in the way of glitters and requires some dabbing to apply, but that’s to be expected from this kind of glitter polish.

So now I’m all set for Thursday. Any of you planning any fun Halloween nails?

Julep “The Bogeyman” Spooky Set and Mystery Add-On

My sister alerted me to the Spooky Sets currently on sale at Julep, and I really love Halloween, so I went ahead and picked one up. I decided to go with The Bogeyman because it’s obviously the best value, and I like all the items. It’s going for $29.99 for a lightweight black skull scarf (not purchasable separately), white snake ring (not purchasable separately), and three polishes ($14 each regular retail, $11.20 Maven price, and may be cheaper on sale). At maximum (regular retail) value, the polishes already come to $42 on their own ($33.50 Maven), and I’ve seen Julep polishes go for about $5 each on sale, for a total of $15 value at estimated low-ball value for the polishes alone. That still leaves about $15 for the scarf and ring, which I think is a decent deal.

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As you can see, the box actually arrived with some surprise extras! In addition to the items I ordered, they threw in a second serving of candy corn (there was a baggie of it in the October Maven box) and cute Halloween nail decals! Awesome! The decals are apparently made by Etsy artist Alex Cole and usually go for $3.99 a set. They’re pretty sweet. (Photo with my snake ring repurposed as a necklace with a chain I already own.)

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The Bogeyman set includes Nicolette (opaque French white), Cleopatra (black latex crème, no latex in formula), and Marjorie (citrus orange frost). I actually own Cleopatra and Marjorie already, but I’m trading Cleopatra with my sister later (we plan ahead for these things!), and I love Marjorie’s bright pumpkin orange and thought it’d be nice to have a spare, since Juleps are little and go so fast.

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The black skull scarf is lightweight, delicate, and somewhat transparent (demonstrated against my polish rack below), with a loose, breezy weave – great for fall. The lace skulls are a nice touch. As you can see from my photo, it’s a big square. I had a slight issue with my scarf – it’s slightly defective, with part of the cream border missing (it’s in the photo on the left side). It’s not horrendously noticeable, but I think I’ll notify Julep anyway, since it’s still a bit disappointing to pay for something defective. I might estimate the value of this scarf around $10, based on similar-quality scarves I’ve seen.

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The white snake ring is definitely costume-jewelry quality, but it’s decent enough for that purpose. Unfortunately, it’s way too huge for any of my fingers, including the thumb (I think it’s a size 8 or so, and it’s not adjustable) – but luckily, it makes for a really cool pendant when hung on a chain! Then again, I love snakes, so it’s awesome that snake accessories are sort of in right now. Definitely something I would wear. I might estimate this to be around $8, based on rings I’ve seen at, say, Claire’s.

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The mystery add-on, which was offered with the Zig Zag Mystery Boxes earlier this month but surprisingly made available to purchasers of Spooky Sets, was $9.99 and promised to have a value of $42. Mine included Julep’s Sugar Smooch Lip Scrub ($14 regular retail, $11.20 Maven), which I have one of and love. I have super sensitive lips – which react to almost very lip product other than really plain stuff, like Vaseline, cocoa butter, and olive oil – and this lip scrub doesn’t set off my allergies at all. Instant love. I already have Karen (peach Bellini frost from the July 2013 California coast-themed collection – $14 regular, $11.20 Maven) and love having a spare, but Zora (frosted pink pearl from the May 2013 1920s-themed collection – $14 regular retail, $11.20 Maven) is new for me. Both awesome colors that I’m happy to have. This comes out to a maximum value of $42, Maven value of $33.60, and estimated minimum value of $15. Good deal any which way!

I also picked up a set of Swatch Me stickers because I can be kind of OCD about my polishes not all having the swatches on top, but I was deceived! The Swatch Me stickers are not glossy like the ones that come pre-applied. They’re more like the plain labels you can print at home. :\ Meh. This isn’t going to help my obsessive tendencies much, unfortunately! At least they were cheap – $1.99 for three sheets, 20 stickers per sheet. I guess I’m just going to have to practice discipline when I look at my polish caps, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing.

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Better yet, I bought this all with a 20% discount from the above prices with the code FIRST20.  BG74L8U ($5 off $20) was also valid at the time I made my order, but I used FIRST20 for a better discount.

Except for the mild disappointment with the labels and the small defect on the scarf, I’m pretty happy with this haul! Anyone else pick up a Spooky Set? What did you think?

UPDATE 10/23/13: I e-mailed Julep about the defective scarf and about something I forgot to mention – my packing slip said I was supposed to have a free cabochon ring thrown in for apparently being one of the first 200 people to order a Spooky Set, and it wasn’t in the box! Hopefully, I’ll hear back soon. I’ll update the post with my customer service experience when I hear back.

China Glaze Howl You Doin’

2 coats China Glaze Howl You Doin’ (from China Glaze’s Halloween 2013 collection, Monsters Ball) on all fingers, except 3 coats on the middle finger, just to see how the opacity would build up. Topped with 1 coat of Seche Vite. I left a bald spot on the ring finger so you can see how the base jelly of the polish is a pretty grape purple, though it layers to an almost black when opaque, if you don’t look carefully. This photo was taken on day 2.

I hear around the blogosphere that Howl You Doin’ is kind of similar to Orly Fowl Play and OPI Merry Midnight, though they’re definitely not exact duplicates. I don’t own the other two, so I’ve never tried them, but you can see a pretty good comparison at the links I’ve posted. Howl You Doin’, like I mentioned, is a deep grape purple jelly chock full of what looks to me like purple-blue (blurple) micro glitter and coppery orange flakes. It’s a bit translucent and builds up to full opacity in 2-3 coats, depending on how thickly you paint it on, but the color shows better when it’s still a bit sheer at 2 thin coats. It dries pretty gritty, both to touch and sight, and requires top coat to make the most out of the glitteriness.

It’s now the end of day 3, and I’ve sort of got mixed feelings on this polish. I definitely like the deep purple of the base and the overall concept of the polish, and it applies well enough, but the glitter and flakes don’t seem to pop for me, and I kind of prefer the color of the base when it’s not fully opaque. I think I might have liked it better with an additional coat of top coat, but results I’ve seen across the web seem to be kind of similar, regardless. Just from looking at other bloggers’ comparisons, I might like Merry Midnight the best of the three cousins. Still, Howl You Doin’ is nice in a murkier sort of stealth-glitter way. I’m also having some chipping issues with this polish. Granted, I’m pretty tough on my nails, but this polish started chipping after 2 days and had some pretty major chips by day 3. In comparison, last week’s lacquer (Orly Nite Owl, etc.) lasted a week without any significant chipping with the same activity level. I still like it overall and may try it again with a different base coat and more top coat to see if that improves things.

Orly Nite Owl, Nfu-Oh 58, and Essie As Gold As It Gets

I’m in the process of moving here from Tumblr and my other Tumblr for more flexibility (and also to combine the two blogs), so this is going to be kind of a beefed-up dual post from my the old blog.

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn around here, so I thought I’d do some fall-themed nails. The photo shows day 2 – holding up pretty well!

All fingers have at least 2 coats of Orly Nite Owl (the middle finger has 3 coats and looks slightly grayer and more opaque), and the ring finger has an additional 2 coats of Nfu-Oh 58 and 1 coat of Essie As Gold As It Gets.

Orly Nite Owl official color swatch, via OrlyBeauty.com

Orly describes Nite Owl as a taupe shimmer, which is pretty accurate, but there’s just something amazing about this polish. I usually don’t go for nudes because I find them boring (just for myself, not on others!), but Nite Owl is not boring! The fine silver shimmer adds a lot of dimension and looks subtle and soft, rather than flashy. Reminds me of a cozy sweater. The formula is a bit sheer but builds up to full opacity in 3 thin coats. It’s mostly opaque in 2, but not completely. Really easy to apply, too.

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Nfu-Oh 58 is a rust/burnt-orange jelly with matching opalescent flakes. It shifts rainbow colors in the bottle, but on the nail, it’s mostly in the peridot-to-orange spectrum, at least on me. Still very pretty, like fallen leaves in this combo, and the formula was easy to work with. I nabbed this – along with Nfu-Oh 51 (finally!), the polish that launched my nail polish obsession – from FabulouStreet.com slightly on sale for $11.25 (reg. $12.50). I love this line (Nfu-Oh Victorian Series), but it’s sadly discontinued. At least it’s still available readily for now.

Essie Luxe Effects As Gold As It Gets official bottle shot, via Essie.com

As Gold As It Gets added just that subtle gold flaking that I was looking for. It’s sparse, small gold flakes in a variety of sizes, suspended in a clear base, and applies smoothly. Some dabbing might be needed in the way of glitters, but that’s to be expected.

This set, used with Gelous and Orly Bonder below and Seche Vite on top, is proving to be nicely durable and looks about the same on the third day (just some tip wear and barely noticeable tiny chips), despite my usual shenanigans.