Face-off: Julep Glam Roc vs. OPI Alcatraz…Rocks

Remember how I mentioned that I wanted to compare Julep Glam Roc (a Stardust Finish polish from Julep’s February 2014 Dramatic Collection, apparently “[c]urated and named by Jay-Z’s ROCNATION”) and OPI Alcatraz…Rocks (a Liquid Sand polish and my absolute favorite color from OPI’s San Francisco Collection last year)? I love Alcatraz…Rocks to death and didn’t mind having a potential dupe, so I picked up Glam Roc almost purely for the purpose of this face-off. They just looked so similar in the bottle that I had to see for myself, especially to compare Julep’s Stardust to OPI’s Liquid Sand finishes.


Ultimately, they’re both sand-textured polishes of similar grit/roughness with a deep, almost black, indigo-purple base and fine multicolored glitter. They also dry to a similar glittery matte. The camera didn’t catch the beautiful glitter colors well on the nail, unfortunately, but in person, I see some flickers of magenta, green, silver, and gold in there. It’s awesomeness distilled in a bottle.

This is day 2 in direct natural light (Alcatraz on the pinky and middle fingers and Glam on the ring and index fingers, no top coat):


(Super dry skin as usual, I know. :P) This is in indirect natural light – it looks less purple indoors, I’ve found:

In indoor artificial light on the first day:


If you look carefully, you’ll see Glam Roc is just a tad darker and less purple, but they’re otherwise pretty similar in both color and finish. Both had great formulas that were easy to work with. The main difference? In my photos, I used only one coat of Glam Roc, while I needed two coats of Alcatraz…Rocks. I didn’t mind doing the two coats, and most polishes require it, but being able to halve the application and dry time gives major extra credit to Glam Roc.

I love that Glam Roc is a one-coater, but it’s also significantly more expensive. Here’s the breakdown from my standpoint:

  • The Julep polish is $14 regular or $11.20 Maven for 0.27 fl. oz (about $52 per ounce, or $42 if you’re a Maven subscriber).
  • The OPI is about $9 regular for 0.5 fl. oz ($18 per ounce).
  • If you got Glam Roc as part of your February 2014 Maven box ($19.99 for three polishes, making it about $6.66 for the one color, or about $25 per ounce) or as a Maven monthly box add-on that month ($4.99, or about $18.50 per ounce), and consider that you can use the polish twice as long (which I see as essentially halving the price per ounce, since you need only one coat instead of the usual two), the Julep polish becomes the more economical choice.

In short, I love both polishes, but I think they’re close enough to be interchangeable, so if I was looking to collect this color, I’d of course go for the best value. If you didn’t get Glam Roc in your Maven box earlier this month, the OPI’s probably the cheaper way to go.

I know these polishes would look amazing with a glossy top coat, but I haven’t tried it yet because I like the sandy texture too much right now. The PolishAholic has some stunning photos of Alcatraz…Rocks with top coat in her swatch post, though.

Hope this is helpful to some of you!


Face-off: Orly Galaxy Girl vs. Julep Ciara

I’d mentioned in an earlier post on one of my old blogs that I suspected Julep Ciara (from Julep’s October 2013 Rebel collection) could be similar to Orly Galaxy Girl (from Orly’s fall 2010 Cosmic FX collection). This past week, I finally got my mitts on a bottle of Galaxy Girl, so I finally had a chance to compare the two. They’re both deep purple jellies with a blue-to-magenta color-shifting shimmer.


Here’s a shot, in indoor fluorescent lighting, of one coat and two coats of each color. I think it helps to show the base color difference:


As you can see, Ciara is definitely bluer toned than Galaxy Girl overall, though the magenta-to-blue shimmer looks about the same. Galaxy Girl is also significantly sheerer than Ciara. I think Ciara could be ready to go in one coat if applied carefully, but Galaxy Girl definitely needs two coats.

From a different angle, again in indoor fluorescent light, to better show the sparkle:


In natural light on the second day (hence the tip wear and grossness from top coat shrinkage) for truer color reference:


From some angles, they look almost the same (i.e., the index and ring finger in the last photo), but the base color is just slightly different. Galaxy Girl generally looks noticeably browner, more like a raisin color (most accurately represented on the ring finger nail), but only if you look carefully. In conclusion, I wouldn’t call them exact dupes, but they’re pretty darn close.

From what I’ve seen poking around the web, it looks like there are a few other pretty similar polishes, including:

Orly Galaxy Girl is now out of production, but it’d usually be about $8-9 for 0.6 fl. oz., or about $13 per fl. oz.  (I bought it for about $6 online, plus shipping, which ends up coming out to about the same amount), and Julep Ciara is regularly $14 ($11.20 for Mavens) for 0.27 fl. oz., or about $52 per fl. oz. (or about $42 per fl. oz. for Mavens).

I don’t own the Duri or MAC versions, so I can’t compare their formulas, but the Orly and Duri versions seem to be the best bang for your buck, if the slight color differences don’t matter to you. Whether the MAC or Julep are most expensive depends on whether you’re a Julep Maven subscriber. Even if you pull off one coat instead of two per nail, Ciara is more expensive than Galaxy Girl by a bit, and depending on how color-sensitive you are, you may not even consider it the same color.

Sephora by OPI Ruby Without a Cause & SpaRitual Imagination

Bah, I super love Golden Romance, but it chipped off shortly after I wrote up that last post. :[ I blame myself for skipping Orly Bonder – for the one nail that I repaired with Bonder as an experiment, the nail polish didn’t chip off, so it’s not entirely the fault of the polish. In other words, don’t let my experience deter you from buying it!

Anyway, since my polish chipped off early, here’s a quickie swatch post. I used one of my untried polishes, Ruby Without a Cause from the now-discontinued Sephora by OPI line. It’s a one-coater!

This is one coat, topped with one coat of SpaRitual Imagination (from the 2013 holiday Illuminate collection) on the index and ring fingers, plus Seche Vite on all nails. In indoor fluorescent lighting (hence the greenish cast), day 2:

Not my best application ever because I rushed it, but the flat, slightly wide brush is actually very easy to control, if you’re willing to take my word for it.

And here it is again in indirect sunlight, also day 2:

No complaints on the formula or brush for either. In the bottle, Ruby Without a Cause looks like it’s got some veins of dichroic teal/green shimmer, but this doesn’t translate onto the nail at all. Instead, it looks like a straight-up rose shimmer/metallic once applied. Not as amazing as it looks in the bottle, but still a pretty color. It’s also got perfect coverage in one coat.

Imagination‘s a sheer brownish mauve – puce, almost – loaded with dichroic magenta-to-blue shimmer. It gives Ruby Without a Cause a purplish tinge, and the shimmer shows up as mostly teal to blue on this color. SpaRitual polishes are usually $12, but I picked this up for $5-ish on clearance and with a 20%-off coupon at Ulta – score!

Official SpaRitual Imagination swatch.

I’ll leave you with a bottle shot of both colors so you can get an idea of how even more awesome these look in the bottle. I only wish they were as iridescent on the nail!


Happy Friday!

Milani Golden Romance

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! ♥ I’m not into the idea of commercialized love, but I still enjoy the holiday, in all its pink, red, and chocolate glory. Blame the residual warm fuzzies from trading elementary-school valentines all those years ago – I loved it!

Anyway, I picked Milani Golden Romance (from Milani’s new spring 2014 collection) to swatch and wear this week because 1) its name and color are so Valentine’s Day, and 2) my husband gave me this polish! (He’s one of those rare men who loves going nail polish shopping as much as I do.) It’s hard to capture in photos exactly how extremely mirror-shiny this polish is, but it’s extremely shiny. It’s densely packed gold metallic microglitter (almost too fine to be called a glitter, really) and multi-sized pale pink hex glitters in a clear base. Also, I could be wrong, but the base looks a touch pearlescent to me.

This is two coats, topped with Seche Vite:

The formula is good – a little watery, but not too runny to apply easily – and it dries fast. It’s a little bit sheer, probably purposely so, but I think it stands well on its own. My only issue with the polish is that it started flaking off my nails a bit on the second day. That could be partially my fault, though; I didn’t use my usual Orly Bonder underneath, and that tends to make a noticeable difference in polish durability for me. The chipping’s not too noticeable, though, because of the polish’s subtle color.

This is two coats, before top coat, in direct sunlight:

You can kind of see how the polish is a bit sheer, such that the pinkness of my nail shows through in some lighting. You can also maybe see what I mean by a slight pearlescence in the finish.

And, here’s two coats, before top coat, in indirect sunlight, to better show the coverage of the gold glitter/shimmer, which tends to look reasonably opaque in most lighting:

I just really love this polish, and I love that it’s an inexpensive drugstore polish. In person, it’s super shiny like a foil/chrome polish but has more going on, with the multi-sized glitter texture. I can’t help but wonder if it looks anything like Maybelline Gilded Rose (from their line of Brocade polishes) or Sephora Formula X Love Chemistry (from the Sparklers line). I don’t own either right now, but if they somehow end up in my possession, maybe I’ll do a face-off. :]

Julep February 2014 Maven Box: The Dramatic Collection, Boho Glam (with promo codes)

My Julep Maven February box came in today! I went with the Boho Glam box this month.


As usual, it was attractively packaged, this time in a bed of burgundy scrunchy paper shreds and metallic charcoal tissue paper. This month’s inspirational quote is from Emile Zola: “If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you…I came to live out loud.”

Julep threw in three promo codes with this box: ALIST20 for 20% off their Ink Gel Eyeliner and Angled Liner Brush duo, SHEEN10 for 10% off their eye sheens, and BEMINE for 2-for-1 nail polish. These codes expire March 1, 2014.

The Boho Glam box this month included Cameron, a “[s]ilver lilac stardust (matte glitter)”, Rooney, a “[w]alnut bark crème”, and one eye sheen liquid eyeshadow (I went with the dusty taupe shimmer). I also added on Glam Roc (“[m]idnight purple & gold stardust (matte glitter)”) and Diamond Theory (“[f]ull-coverage multidimensional copper glitter”) from the It Girl box. The bonus this month was Love, an extra nail polish (“Jane’s gift– [g]old, pearl & fuchsia microglitter”) and the one I was most excited about, myself.


I’ll definitely update this post with links to swatches when I get around to them.

Meanwhile, I’ve, once again, got some interesting color comparison shots to show you all.


It’s almost another Margot/Sienna moment. I suspected from the February 2014 promo shots that Rooney would be a slightly browner/warmer Fiore, and from looking at the bottles, I could be right. The swatches are a bit more promising, as Rooney looked significantly more chocolaty and had a thinner, more jelly-like formula than Fiore on handling:


I don’t know about the walnut bark creme descriptor for Rooney, actually. As far as I know, walnut-tree bark is usually pretty grayish, and Rooney’s not gray enough to make me think walnut bark. Oh, well.

I also have my suspicions regarding the similarities between Glam Roc and OPI Alcatraz…Rocks.


I suspect that they’ll be somewhat similar, even finish-wise, if the matte glitter “stardust” finish bears any resemblance to OPI’s Liquid Sand finish. Just from looking at the bottles, I expect Alcatraz will be cooler-toned/bluer, but otherwise, the mixture of colors looks pretty similar.

I’ll be posting face-offs of these sometime in the near future, I’m sure.

What box did you get this month, and what did you think?

A quick look at eDivv, a new beauty products trading site

A short time ago, I was contacted by PR folks representing eDivv, inviting me to check out the new beauty products/samples trading site. I don’t currently have anything I’m looking to trade away, but I have friends and readers who might be interested, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to check it out, ask them a few questions, and share my initial thoughts.

According to the site, it’s a free service allowing users to trade samples and products from various beauty subscription services (e.g., Birchbox, Ipsy, Julep, and others) with other users. EDivv’s press release describes a reputation system that allows users to rate each other based on their transactions.

Mobile site screencap.

eDivv’s mobile site is functional, organized, and easy to navigate.

I asked eDivv what benefits it offers over previously existing channels for swapping products, such as various forums, Facebook groups, eBay, etc., other than providing a reputation system. Their reply:

eDivv come offers a seamless and safe place to swap beauty samples and accessories. While groups like this have existed in forums and on Facebook as long as beauty boxes have been around, no platform has made the process easy until now. eDivv has a built in negotiation system that allows you to look at what the other person has to offer and go back and forth regarding which items you’re willing to trade for what they request and vice versa. Additionally. you’re not sharing your personal information out in the open like with other methods.

I also asked them how the reputation system was monitored to ensure fairness, and I was told, “A one-time link is sent to each individual involved in a trade after the trade has been completed. The eDivv team looks into any issues that arise within the feedback, so if someone failed to send their products for example, eDivv would facilitate a conversation to correct the issue.

Seems like their value proposition is in shielding users’ personal information from other users, providing a reputation system, and helping to mediate potential problems between users, on top of offering a platform for people to hopefully conveniently negotiate trades of their unwanted beauty products/samples. Users pay no fees for the service (other than shipping costs for mailing their trades) and can negotiate trades of multiple items at once, which makes eDivv more attractive than eBay for this sort of product exchange.

I was also curious how the eDivv service is funded, since trading is free. After all, website maintenance costs have to come from somewhere. This is what eDivv had to say on the matter:

eDivv.com is completely free to users. The only fee they incur is the cost of shipping their products to their trading partner. Most people are trading 2-3 items at a time, so this is a very nominal cost when you consider that you’re not getting more out of your beauty boxes than you would if the products you didn’t like just sat in the closet.

Their statement didn’t really answer my question, unfortunately, so I decided to poke around the website a little.

eDivv’s privacy policy discloses that they may collect personal information, though only what is voluntarily submitted, and their uses of the information don’t seem terribly nefarious (to improve customer service, personalize user experience, improve their site, process payments, run promotions or other site features, and send periodic e-mails – pretty typical stuff). Otherwise, I saw some mention of ads on the site and use of Google Adsense, so my guess is that the site runs on advertising revenue.

Overall, eDivv looks potentially useful for those of you sitting on mounds of subscription box goodies you’re not planning on using. The website’s cleanly designed and easy enough to navigate, from what I’ve seen, and I didn’t notice anything skeezy on this first pass. I didn’t sign up for the site or try the trading system hands-on since I don’t have anything to trade at the moment, but if any of you end up trying eDivv out, I’d love to know about your experience!

Note: This post is not sponsored by eDivv, and I didn’t receive anything in consideration for writing this post.