Face-off: Julep Jennine vs. Nicole by OPI Gumdrops That’s What I Mint

I didn’t realize it until I saw  Julep Jennine in person, but as soon as I held the bottle in my hand, I realized that it really reminded me of Nicole by OPI That’s What I Mint from the Gumdrops line. My gel manicure happened to suffer a bit of a mishap at work yesterday, so it turned out to be the perfect opportunity to go ahead and do a face-off.

Both shades are pretty true to how they look in the bottle. That’s What I Mint is visibly greener/yellower than Jennine. If you don’t look carefully, though, they’re similar enough to be mistaken for the same polish. Both colors are teal textured glitters with flecks of blue, green, and purple.

LF_140626

(UPDATE 7/23/14: My bad. I posted it on Instagram, then forgot to tell you in the blog post which colors are on which fingers! Jennine is on my middle and pinky fingers, and That’s What I Mint is on my ring and index fingers. Thanks for catching that, Joanna!)

Two coats each, no top coat, natural light (wow, did my skin actually learn to tan this year?):

Another angle that shows the color differences slightly better:

You can maybe see the difference a bit better on my right hand, since I applied thinner coats with my less-dominant hand:

Jennine is also slightly chunkier in texture than That’s What I Mint. Otherwise, they’re pretty close – close enough that I wouldn’t necessarily notice unless I was actively searching for differences. Jennine is a tad sheerer on the first coat, but both have easy-to-apply, fast-drying formulas that cover opaquely in two coats. They both dry semi-matte, which I like. I’m willing to bet money that both these colors would be amazing with glossy top coat, though.

My final verdict? Though they’re not exactly the same color, they’re similar enough overall that you probably don’t need both. The NOPI color is the more economical choice, of course, at 15 mL/0.5 fl. oz. for around $8-9 full price at my local CVS (easily cheaper on sale or with a coupon), whereas the Julep is 8 mL/0.27 fl. oz. for $14 full price ($11.20 if you’re a Maven).

By the way? Removing gel polish is such a royal pain! D: Honestly, I think that’s the primary reason I haven’t started doing my own gel manicures yet. It’s going to be regular nail polish for me for now.

ibd Just Gel Polish Siberian Minx

I don’t normally swatch gel polish because I don’t normally use it, but since I got a gel manicure for a friend’s wedding last weekend, I figure I may as well post a swatch for the reference pleasure of the Internets.

This is ibd Just Gel Polish Siberian Minx, from ibd’s Haute Frost collection, which is “[i]nspired by royal Russian winters, elaborate frocks and plush furs.” Two coats in these photos, indirect natural light. (I got this done at the salon, so it’s not my own work this time.)

Siberian Minx is a sheer base densely packed with pale, almost-silver gold shimmer. True to its “plush furs” inspiration, the color really strikes me as the shade of warmed silver-gray I associate with timberwolf fur. Unless you’re looking at my nails up close, like in these photos, it’s actually not that easy to tell it’s sheer because the dense sparkle provides pretty good coverage. I can’t speak as to the formula or anything, since I didn’t do it myself, but the manicurist didn’t seem to have any issues with it.

Also, my manicurist complimented me on my last manicure when she removed it, and I felt all flattered that a nail professional thought I painted my own nails well. She was flabbergasted that I never trim my cuticles, though.

I think I may be an odd beast because I actually don’t really like getting salon manicures/pedicures all that much because of the trimming and pushing. I enjoy the soaking and massage parts of the process, but all the trimming and scraping makes my fingers and toes sore for a couple days afterward. I also find that my cuticles tend to crack and peel if messed with at all, either by me or a trained professional, even if I put on my usual cuticle oil and balm afterward. I’ve only ever gotten two professional mani/pedis in my entire lifetime (once for my own wedding and this time for my friend’s wedding), each at different, well regarded salons, and I had the same discomfort both times. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, though, I do have exceptionally sensitive skin with dry patches and eczema, even with careful skin care, so that could be it. My friends who came with me didn’t have my experience, so I certainly don’t blame the nail techs. I don’t blame it on anyone but my own irritable skin.

Also, at least half of the reason I paint my nails at all is because I enjoy the painting part, so there’s generally not much incentive for me to pay someone else to do it for me. :]

Anyway, I may not repaint my nails for a while because I figured I should get the most out of the salon service that I spent $45 + tip on, so it might be a little while until my next swatch post. We’ll see how long I can go without needing a change of color!

Julep June 2014 Maven Box: The Three Wishes Collection, It Girl (with promo codes)

I got my June 2014 Julep Maven monthly box in the mail today! I went with the It Girl box this month because I liked the colors best. I did want to try the new oxygen base and top coats, so I threw in the set of them as an add-on. I had enough Jules (loyalty points) to get the whole shebang for free, so that was awesome.

julep140602

Here’s what was in my box:

  • Jennine – “[f]ull-coverage borealis blue stardust (matte glitter)”
  • Phia – “[a]lluring orchid iridescent chrome”
  • Savoy – “[a]ntique gold chrome”
  • 3 Pixy Stix, this month’s surprise freebie (it kind of amuses me that Julep misspelled these as “Pixie Sticks” on their ingredient/allergen warning insert)
  • A 30%-off promo code for the new base and top coats (Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat and Oxygen Performance Top Coat): OXYGEN2
  • A $10 off $20+ code: PERK1020
  • This month’s inspirational quote: “Promise me you’ll never stop dreaming.” – Melina Marchetta

Hey, I hate to be a downer, but I feel like I have to get some things off my chest. Is it just me, or is Julep trying just a little bit too hard on their color descriptions these days? I know it’s hard to uniquely describe ten-ish new colors per month, and maybe it’s just my being a straightforward kind of person, but words like borealis and alluring just mean next to nothing to me when it comes to color. Yeah, okay, Jennine’s got a bit of holo sparkle, and borealis could be short for aurora borealis, referring to the rainbow color shifts in auroras, but borealis itself just means “of the north.” I dunno, it’s a bit of a stretch. And alluring? That’s so oddly subjective. Personally, I don’t get how a color can be seductively attractive.

Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway! Close-up on the three nail colors:

julep140602b

I’m pretty excited about trying out Jennine. It looks pretty awesome. I like Phia, too. It looks like a slightly paler and less holo cousin of Reece, another Julep color I have in my stash. Check it out:

 

julep140602d

They don’t look like dupes, but they’re similar enough in hue that if I saw both at the store, I admit I’d probably only have picked up one of them, and I think I might have gone with Reece for the extra bling. (Sorry, Phia. I might think differently after wearing you, though.)

Savoy is lovely on its own, though because I have so many Juleps, I can’t help but think it’s basically Sienna (another Julep color) without the metallic sparkle. Here’s a comparison for you:

julep140602e

Yep, pretty much spot on, with Savoy being only a smidge redder. (The yellower tone near the bottom of the bottles is more accurate. I’m not sure why a pinker color came out in some parts of the photo. Might have been a lighting mistake, whoops.)

Here are the add-ons:

julep140602c

I’ll likely be posting a review of these at some point in the future, when I have a chance to try them out.

As an aside, my sisters and I were talking recently about how Julep’s marketing and other changes are frankly starting to turn us off a bit. The products are still generally nice, thankfully, but where Julep’s marketing used to be more to-the-point and professional, recent changes, like calling their polishes “Color Treat” instead of nail polish or varnish or lacquer, or whatever just feels very twee and artificial. Blech.

Similarly, their blog used to be mostly more (relatively) practical posts, like this one showcasing variations on the French tip and this one giving a tutorial on how to do newsprint nails. While these techniques can be found all over the web, and Julep still posts tutorials and tips, recently the blog’s also been bloated with a bunch of empty posts, like this most recent post that misleadingly starts off talking about “[m]acaron-inspired manis” and turns out to be just an advertisement for several pastel Julep shades without adding creative insight otherwise. What happened to better thought-out entries, like last year’s Julep MANven April Fool’s post, which actually made me laugh? This year’s Cat Color was just lame and didn’t elicit even a single chuckle from me. I think I groaned and regretted wasting my brain cells clicking that link.

Also, upping the nail polish add-on cost to $6.99 from the previous $4.99 just sucks. Why, Julep? Why? As if your steep prices didn’t already put your polishes out of the reach of many ladies who aren’t as fortunate as we are. 😦 Don’t even get me started on the wonkiness of Julep’s pricing math, either. Someday, I may write a separate post on that (or let my PhD-candidate sister do a guest post on it, since it especially annoys her).

Tl; dr – lately, my sisters and I have been feeling alienated by the shift in Julep’s marketing strategy, which now seems to target more of a flouncy, air-headed crowd than the smart, professional women that I thought Julep was trying to empower and inspire.

Okay, end of rant.

That being said, I’m still pretty excited about trying these guys out. As long as the products don’t let me down, maybe I’ll stick around for a bit longer.

Essie Mint Candy Apple

Ah, Essie Mint Candy Apple. It’s one of my favored Essie colors, even though it apparently sort of gives me lobster hands.

I’ve been wanting to write about this color for a while because I’ve found its actual color to be weirdly inconsistent. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve definitely seen some bottles that look more like a light minty blue and others that look more like a light minty green. I’ve even brought my bottle (which I bought online) and compared it to other bottles in stores, and my bottle is definitely bluer than some other bottles of Mint Candy Apple. Most of the swatches I’ve seen online also look greener than mine. It confuses me.

Anyway, here’s my particular bottle, swatched and held against the Rainbow Dash My Little Pony figure on my desk, to demonstrate just how blue my Mint Candy Apple is:

Sure, the nail color is a little greener, but see how close the color is to Rainbow Dash’s? (For you non MLP fans, Rainbow Dash is definitely very blue and not green at all.) I’m telling you, my bottle of Mint Candy Apple is weirdly blue.

This photo in indirect natural light looks maybe a bit greener, but still not the mint green that I was shooting for when I ordered Mint Candy Apple:

Don’t get me wrong. This pale aquamarine color is nice, too, but it just looks nothing like what I think it’s supposed to. See? Here’s Essie’s own product shot:

Image from Essie.com. Source linked.

I mean, it’s just not the same color. Essie’s bottle shot looks pretty accurate based on the other swatches I’ve seen online, too. Why is my particular bottle so blue? I’ve also seen other bluer bottles, like mine, when closely studying this color in stores. Does anyone know? Did Essie change the color formula at some point? It’s not like this is an indie polish.

Anyway, the above photos show two coats of Mint Candy Apple topped with Julep Freedom top coat. The formula was a little thick and streaky on the first coat, but it mostly evened out on the second. Some nails on my other hand (not shown) needed three coats, though, since I applied a bit more clumsily with my less-dexterous hand. Not the smoothest formula I’ve ever worked with – it wasn’t super even without top coat, even with reasonably careful application – but it dried fast and wasn’t too difficult to handle in the end.