I gave two of my Julep Maven products from this month a try for this post – two birds with one stone and all that. :]
Julep describes Noelle ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven) as a “[s]andy beach silk,” with the silk finish described as “semi-matte with a hint of opalescence.” In these photos, I’m wearing Noelle on all nails, one coat on the index and middle fingers and two coats on the ring and pinky fingers, just to show you how little difference there is with the extra coat. No top coat this time.
In indirect natural light:
I like Noelle. I didn’t have anything like it in my collection before, and though it’s a bit muted for my usual flamboyant tastes, it’s lovely in a subtle way.
And in more direct sun to better show off the sparkle:
Julep’s description of the color and finish are pretty spot-on. Noelle is a soft silvery nude/sand, and the finish strikes me as a matte-ified frosty/pearly shimmer – not too different from using a matte topcoat over a shimmer, as far as I can tell, but convenient that it does it on its own. It reminds me of sugar and ice cream. :9 The swatch on the cap of my polish bottle felt a little more textured, but it’s actually got a velvety feel on the nail.
Application was smooth and very easy to control, though the formula is a teensy bit thick, and it was easy to accidentally have too much polish on the brush. I didn’t have any problems with it, though, and I think this one can be a one-coater. With two coats, the color’s a bit denser and actually becomes a bit cooler and grayer toned, at least against my nails and skin. I felt it was reasonably opaque in just one coat, though, and I prefer it at one coat, with the rosier tone.
The nice thing about this polish is you can easily tell when it’s dry because it goes from shiny to matte. You can kind of see the brush strokes in this polish, especially if you rush through the application like me, but it’s much less noticeable after it dries, thanks to the finish.
I’ve never used quick-dry drops before because I typically use Seche Vite over everything, so Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven) were a new experience for me. I did as instructed and applied 1-2 drops to the base of each nail after waiting about a minute. The drops spread out over the entire nail as soon as they hit the nail surface and left a bit of light oil on the nail and surrounding skin. They smelled strongly medicinal, not so much like acetone or other typical solvents in nail products, maybe because of the various plant oils in the formula (rosewood, sweet almond, rice bran, lavender, and ylang ylang). The pungent smell lingered on throughout the afternoon (I painted my nails during my lunch break) and is still there after washing my hands a bunch of times, but the herbal scent is pleasant once it’s not punching you in the face.
I’m not entirely sure how much they helped with drying the polish, since I’d never used Noelle before, but it’s definitely not instantaneous. It still took a few minutes, and I accidentally dinged my pinky maybe one or two minutes out (oops!), so it took longer than that to fully dry. I’ll have to test it out with a polish I have more experience with one of these days. If I do, I’ll update this post.