Julep describes Phia as an “[a]lluring orchid iridescent chrome,” though the metallic finish has much more scatter to it than I would have associated with a chrome. Then again, I tend to group chromes, metallics, and foils together as metallic for the sake of tagging posts on this blog, since different brands use these marketing terms to describe different effects, and I’m not entirely convinced there’s no overlap.
Anyway, Phia’s a lovely pale purple-pink that I’d probably have described as a foil because of the more noticeable scatter/sparkle mixed in with the finer, smoother gleam of the base metallic finish, except that it has an added gray shift from certain angles that reminds me of Julep’s molten-finish polishes, like Blakely. The fine sparkle I mentioned earlier is iridescent and mostly twinkles magenta to green in stronger light, though it doesn’t show in my photos. Phia’s interestingly complex if you look really hard, but from a quick look, it’d probably just come across as a pinkish-purple metallic. I do like how it looks paler or darker from different angles because of the gray shift, though.
Another angle to show how the color shifts with the light your viewing angle:
Subtle, but neat.
Phia goes on very sheer on the first coat, and it’s technically still sheer on the second, but the metallic particles are dense enough that you won’t really notice unless you look carefully. Dry time was faster than average, and the Julep brush – which is slightly wide, stiffer than average, and square-tipped – works fine and is the same brush I’ve seen with all Julep polishes from the last few months, at least. It’s not the easiest to mimic the curve of the cuticle when the brush is so wide, stiff, and square, but it’s manageable.
I used Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat ($18 regular, $14.40 Maven) under Phia. I mentioned in a previous post that this base coat didn’t protect my nails from staining when I wore Julep Jennine. With Jennine, though, the nail color swiped onto the base coat evenly, whereas with Phia, I noticed that the base didn’t bond as well with the color and went on unevenly on the first coat. That was a little odd, but the second coat of color looked fine and even. No chipping or flaking yet on the second day.
I topped it all off with Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat (also $18 regular, $14.40 Maven). For those of you who have used Julep Freedom Top Coat: in comparison, Oxygen Performance Top Coat goes on much thinner, but it gels up and dries super fast – faster than Freedom, I think. I’m only on the second day of these nails, so I can’t attest to its longer-term durability, but it’s holding up really well so far, and I opened up a computer and dug through its scratchy guts today, so I take that as a good sign.
I’ll update my thoughts on these products again when I’ve had a chance to test out their durability some more.
UPDATE 7/21/14: The combination of Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat and Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat provided great durability with Phia! Even after a full week, I mostly only had very minimal tip wear, despite typing constantly throughout most of my waking hours, vigorous piano playing, dish washing, hand washing, showers, and all that. I also had some minimal chipping, but that only happened from the nails themselves breaking from my being rough with my hands (e.g., forcefully hitting piano keys, prying open and working with electronics, and installing computer hardware). If you don’t engage in activities like that, you could probably get through the week without significant wear. Impressive!