Sephora by OPI S-age is Just a Number

S-age is Just a Number is from Sephora’s Spice Market collection from fall 2012, and it’s since been discontinued (when the Sephora by OPI polishes were completely replaced by Sephora’s current Formula X line last year), but it’s still one of my favorite gold polishes. I hear it’s pretty close to Chanel Peridot, but I don’t own that one and can’t do a direct comparison.

Here it is in indirect natural light (shade), three coats topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat:

S-age is a brassy gold metallic with an iridescent/multichrome finish that, in the bottle, shows a spectrum of flash from indigo to teal to olive to a rosy bronze. It doesn’t quite have the same range of colors on the nail, sadly, but hey, it’s still pretty awesome. Typically, I see some of the rosy bronze through the teal on my nails, though the polish comes off as just another gold metallic if the light’s too strong.

I don’t know whether to classify it as a regular metallic, foil, or chrome – and that’s all pretty subjective marketing talk, anyway. It looks chrome-y in the bottle, but I think it’s got a little more scatter than I typically associate with chromes. It does have a super shiny finish, though.

The formula is pretty good, but it’s on the sheer side, like many chrome-y metallics. It took me three thin coats to get the opacity you see here, and if you look carefully in person, it’s still a tad sheer. Application is easy, though, even with the slightly wide, square-tipped Sephora by OPI brush (which is a bit on the large side for my smaller nails), and dry time was maybe on the quicker side of average for me. The end product shows brushstrokes, but it doesn’t detract from the polish, in my book; I kind of like the added texture on this one.

From this angle, you can see the olive flash very clearly:

And in direct sunlight (very sparkly!):

Really, it’s a fantastic polish, and because of the iridescent finish, it easily matches with a lot of things. I don’t usually match my nail polish to my clothing, but hey, it’s still nice when it matches!

Here’s a bottle shot, just so you know what I’m talking about when I say the multichrome in the bottle promises so much more:

Ah, well – it does still almost have that scarab-shell sheen on the nail. :] I’m going to miss this polish if I ever run out. Fortunately, I have a full size and a mini of this, so that’s not happening anytime soon.

Any of you have any discontinued favorites you’d like to share?

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Zoya Magical PixieDust Bar

This week’s swatch is Zoya Bar from their summer 2014 Magical PixieDust collection, the same collection Arlo (another lovely polish) is from. I picked this up in a BOGO sale Zoya had a few months back. I’m kind of sad that Zoya’s discontinuing their PixieDust polishes this year, but at least they had some good clearance sales for me to grab the ones that I hadn’t gotten around to collecting yet.

Anyway, here’s two coats, no top coat, in direct natural light:

Bar is a sheer-ish, somewhat rosy sand/peach jelly packed with multi-sized glitters, including what looks like a finer silver-gold glitter and different sized holographic glitters. It could probably be opaque with a third coat, but I kind of liked it semi-sheer at two coats, and the sheerness isn’t anywhere near as obvious in person because of all the glitter. You know, I think Bar could be my mannequin polish (it looks pretty close to my skin tone, especially in person), if it weren’t a textured  glitter.

As with Zoya’s other PixieDust polishes, Bar is meant to be worn without a top coat and dries to a moderately textured matte finish – rougher than the regular PixieDust polishes, but nowhere near as harsh to the touch as Essie Belugaria. I like it the way it’s meant to be worn, so I didn’t swatch it with top coat added, but I’m sure it’d be amazing with a couple coats glossy top coat, as well. Just be prepared to use a lot of top coat; the chunkiness of the glitter will probably make this polish a thirsty one!

The formula and brush are excellent and super easy to control. It also dries super fast – a definite plus for someone as impatient as me. 😀

Here’s the same polish in the shade (natural light):

Yep, I like this one. It’s got kind of a subtle (nude color) but not-subtle (huge flashy glitters!) look when seen from farther away, and the glittery, sandy color and texture make me think of a sunny day at the beach. :] Fun!

Nicole by OPI Iceberg Lotus | Face-off: Julep Freedom Top Coat vs. Julep Matte Top Coat vs. Julep Silk Effect Top Coat

I picked up this beautiful Target-exclusive polish, Nicole by OPI Iceberg Lotus, some time ago and hadn’t had a chance to try it out yet. Today was the day!

Iceberg Lotus is a stunner of a color – peacock blue-green glass fleck-y shimmer, with a dichroic teal-to-purple shift – but it’s very sheer. For your reference, this is one coat (in natural light):

See what I mean? Even after three coats, it’s still kind of sheer, as in there’s definitely visible nail line going on. It probably could have used four coats, but the polish has a bit long of a dry time, so I didn’t have the patience to spend the extra time. The shimmer is bright enough to mask the sheerness somewhat in most light, at least, but I still wish it was a bit more opaque.

On the flip side, the sheerness might make Iceberg Lotus a good transformative topper over a base polish, such as a black creme.

This is three coats, no top coat, in natural light (please excuse my dry skin – I didn’t want to apply moisturizer until I’d swatched the top coats!):

Other than the sheerness, the formula is good. The wide Nicole brush wasn’t hard to work with, fortunately, even with my smallish nails.

I used Iceberg Lotus as the base for swatching three Julep topcoats: Julep Freedom Top Coat (their basic, fast-drying glossy top coat – ring finger), Julep Matte Top Coat (middle finger), and Julep Silk Effect Top Coat (semi-matte with fine, pearlescent shimmer – index and pinky fingers).

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Again, in natural light:

The differences look pretty subtle in the straight-on photo, but it’s slightly more visible in this second photo, as well as in person:

The top coats work as expected. The glossy top coat is pretty self explanatory, though, from my experience, Freedom Top Coat seems to dilute the polish underneath if applied more thickly, as it did on the right edge of my ring finger in the photo above. The Matte Top Coat gives that squishy, velvety look that I love.

The Silk Effect Top Coat, meanwhile, adds a bit of a milky cast with a fine pearlescent shimmer that still dries glossy, though it’s not obviously different from a glossy top coat over Iceberg Lotus, unless directly compared with Freedom. If you’ve tried any of Julep’s silk finish polishes – like some of my favorites, Noelle and Shannon – this top coat does seem to add a similar finish.

I think I may have to swatch these top coats over another polish later on, especially to better demonstrate the silk effect top coat. I’ll update this post if I do!

UPDATE 1/17/2015: This polish/top coat combination had pretty good durability and lasted most of a week (about 5-6 days) without chipping. Even then, only my right thumb (using Julep Matte Top Coat) chipped, and tip wear was only minimally visible on all nails. Iceberg Lotus slightly stained my nails on removal, though, even with a base coat. I guess that’s the typical price for wearing teal!

Julep January 2015 Maven Box: The Chrysalis Collection, Modern Beauty + add-ons (with promo code)

My Julep Maven January 2015 box came in yesterday! Once again, I opted for the Modern Beauty box, and I have the feeling that’s how things are generally going to go for me from now on, since I’m so saturated with Juleps – and nail polishes in general – that most of their new offerings look pretty similar to something I already have, else the colors are just not so interesting to me that I feel like springing for them.

Meanwhile, the Modern Beauty box contains two full-size beauty products and consistently seems to be the best value, compared to one beauty product and two nail polishes (at 0.27 fl. oz., Juleps are about half a normal-sized 0.5 fl. oz. polish), or three nail polishes.

In any case, here’s what I got this month, packaged nicely in pearly white tissue paper and turquoise paper crinkles:

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January 2015 Julep Maven Modern Beauty box ($19.99):

  • Brilliance Glycolic Hand & Body Scrub, 7.3 oz. ($32.00 regular, $25.60 Maven)
  • Luxe Lip Conditioning Treatment in Sheer Magenta, 0.42 oz. ($24.00 regular) – the color was our choice
  • A small box of 5 Junior Mints – this month’s freebie (immediately devoured by Mr. ‘Fiend and me :])
  • Bjork – a freebie “Metamorphic Top Coat” Julep offered to Mavens this month – this looks to me like a teal-to-purple dichroic/duochrome topper, and it doesn’t appear to be available on Julep’s website
  • This month’s inspirational quote: “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power inside ourselves.” – J.K. Rowling
  • The Chrysalis Collection description card
  • Promo code for $10 off a Julep.com order of $20+ – TENOFF

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Add-ons:

  • Margit, a “[m]ushroom with rose shimmer”, $6.99 ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven)
  • Luna, a “[l]ight blue duochrome with jagged cut glitter”, $6.99 ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven)
  • Orbital Eyeshadow in Borealis (“[c]harcoal with peacock pearlescence”), $9.99 ($18.00 regular, $14.40 Maven)
  • and a bonus freebie for taking three add-ons: Glycolic Hand Scrub, 3 oz. ($23.00 regular, $18.40 Maven)

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Happily, the Borealis Orbital Eyeshadow did not disappoint me like Zenith did. The charcoal with teal-to-purple dichroic flash looks pretty spot-on to the promo photo, and the case, like Zenith’s, is sturdy and attractive.

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I’ll have to try it sometime to see how it applies, though. I’ve gotten at least one shadow where the duochrome effect on the palette doesn’t translate to the skin. I hope this one doesn’t disappoint!

(UPDATE 1/11/2015: The Luxe Lip in Sheer Magenta has the same yummy sugary frosting scent and glossy finish as the regular Luxe Lip. As advertised, it has a very subtle, sheer tint, so that it looks natural when worn.)

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I really liked the bonus freebies with this box. Junior Mints? Excellent choice, Julep. I’m guessing Bjork could turn out similar to Pure Ice Heartbreaker. I’m going to have to compare them side by side sometime! The Glycolic Hand Scrub I already have, but hey, it’d make a great gift.

Best yet? I got this box for free because I traded in my Jules for it. 😀

Overall, great box. I’ll update this post with links when I’ve had a chance to try the products and do some swatches!

Zoya Rebel & Essie Peak of Chic

For my first nails of the year, I wanted to do something wintry before the season’s over. I went with Zoya Rebel (from the spring 2014 Awaken collection), two coats, and Essie Peak of Chic (from the winter 2013 Encrusted Treasures collection), about 1.5 coats, applied in a gradient on the ring finger.

This is in full direct sunlight, all topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat, on day two of the manicure (forgive my horribly dry winter skin, please!):

Rebel is an icy-looking, mostly cool-toned sky-blue and silver shimmer/metallic. When I look more carefully in some types of lighting, I can see some flashes of gold in there, too. It was reasonably opaque in two coats for me, but the formula was a little gloopy and took longer than average to dry. The consistency was a bit thicker than optimal, but it was still reasonably workable, and I had no problems with the fairly standard brush.

Peak of Chic is a mixture of matte white and holo silver bar glitter suspended in a clear base. I picked it for this combination thinking it might look reminiscent of snow, as I’m guessing from the name that Essie intended, but I’m still a bit lukewarm on the bar glitter. I don’t hate it, but in the end, it makes me think more furry Yeti than snow. I guess that’s all right. It looks okay over Rebel, but I may have to brainstorm some more to figure out a better way to use this polish. Maybe over a shimmery white or some kind of silver for Yeti/tinsel nails? The formula is slightly thick, as many glitter suspensions are, but it’s not too hard to work with. I almost wish the glitter density was higher to give a truly furry look with fewer coats, though. It dries relatively quickly.

As often happens with Julep’s Freedom top coat, I had some pretty noticeable shrinkage when it dried, causing the weird lines in the polish and visible tip wear by the second day. Drat. I think shrinkage has been a bit more drastic now that my bottle is nearing empty, maybe because the consistency may be getting a bit thicker. I’m guessing more care may be needed to thickly wrap the nail tips and deliberately cover more surface area than the polish itself when the bottle runs low. I’d thought I’d top-coated all the areas I painted, but maybe that wasn’t enough.

I think I still got the wintry look I was going for, though, so I’m reasonably satisfied. Rebel’s a great color and totally up my alley. I’m still looking for Dillon, the minty green from the same collection, though. If I ever catch that one on clearance (like Rebel is at Ulta right now) or sale, I’ll nab it for sure. :]

Lupicia Tea 2015 Happy Bag

Happy 2015!

New Year’s means Lupicia has their annual Happy Bags – a mystery bag of tea advertised to be worth double the price you pay – for sale again! This year, they had a $30 bag worth $60 and a $50 bag worth $100. I picked up the $50 bag at our local store, and this is what I got:

The total value of this bag came out to $89.00. Hmm. Maybe my bag was missing an item? It’s under the guaranteed $100 value by $11, which is about the price of a loose-leaf tea packet. I’ll probably go back to the store and check with them, just in case.

It’s a nice selection of tea, though. I’ll update this post when I’ve gone back to the store to check if I got all the contents they intended.

(UPDATE 1/8/2015: I did go back to the store and double check with them, and I did get everything I was supposed to have. :] Thanks to reader Lana D. for sending me the correct link to the 50g loose leaf bag of Oriental Beauty – I corrected the list price from $12.00 to $24.00. That brings the total value of the bag to $101.00, not $89.00. :D)

Again, happy New Year!