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!


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