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).


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!


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

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  1. hi, I have been looking for weeks trying to buy a dozen Nicole by opi iceberg lotus nail polish, I even called opi in California. please advise, thanks, milan

    1. Hi. I’m not sure where you can buy a dozen bottles at once. I bought mine at Target in-store a while ago and don’t know what the availability is like elsewhere. I just took a quick look on Google, and it looks like it used to be available through, and the item is no longer available on the website, so it’s possible it’s being discontinued. I’m not sure where you’re located, but maybe you could check the Target stores in your area, if you have any nearby.

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