Julep Ava & Revlon Transforming Effects Nude Graffiti

I’m not normally a huge fan of pale pink, but Julep Ava was sitting untried in my stash (I’d gotten it for free with one of my Maven monthly boxes at some point), and I thought it’d go well with Revlon Nude Graffiti, one of the Transforming Effects top coats just released this year.

I mentioned in my last post that I was interested in picking up Holographic Pearls from the same Revlon Transforming Effects line. Well, my local CVS happened to have a buy-two-get-one-free deal, which I was able to combine with some other coupons, so I went ahead and picked up some of the fun new top coats that appealed to me. They were just a couple bucks each after the coupons stacked – such a steal! I’ll swatch the others sometime.

Anyway, this is three coats of Ava with approximately one swipe-dabbed coat of Nude Graffiti on the accent nail, topped with Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat, in outdoor natural light:

Julep Ava is described as a “[b]allet slipper pink frost.” Honestly, though, the finish isn’t all that frosty and is closer to Julep’s other subtle shimmers. Ava’s more like a neutral pale pink creme with a barely-there pearlescent shimmer.

It’s not really my kind of color, but honestly, the real let down of this polish is how terrible the formula is. I think it was worse than Julep Zora, a similar color I previously swatched. It’s not that visible from my photo because the top coat helped even it out somewhat, but it applied very patchily and didn’t self-level well at all, even after two coats. I had to apply a third coat to make it opaque, and even then, it wasn’t very even. Even worse, it took way longer to dry than most polishes I own. Based on the formula, I can’t really recommend this polish, even if pale pink/neutral is your thing.

I liked Revlon Nude Graffiti much better than Ava, and I do think it pairs well with a pale neutral pink! It’s a smorgasbord of matte nude glitters in various shapes (hex, bar, and round), sizes, and shades (what looks to me like peach, pink, ivory, silver/gray, and white). The combination of soft colors somehow really appeals to me, and it adds subtle interest to an otherwise potentially boring neutral. It’s meant to be a layering polish, so the glitters aren’t too dense.

The formula is middling. The clear base is a little runny for my tastes, kind of like the clear base in Hearts of Gold FX. I found I sometimes needed to let some of the base run off the brush before I could apply the glitters without extra goop flooding the cuticle. Because the glitters in this one are smaller than the hearts in Hearts of Gold FX, though, it’s not as much of an annoyance to dab the glitters where you want them. It dries relatively quickly and not too bumpy for a glitter, which is great. If you don’t mind some texture, you might not even need another top coat, but I like it with one extra layer of clear coat so the glitters don’t snag.

As I mentioned, I used Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat with these nails. This top coat works well with some polishes, but maybe because Ava was a little weird/thick/goopy and didn’t quite dry right (even after waiting 15 minutes or so), it didn’t work quite as well with this combination. I think the top coat did as well as can be expected in smoothing out Ava’s unevenness, but it just didn’t dry with the same durability I’d gotten with Julep Phia – I ended up gouging one of my nails some hours after application when I accidentally nicked a zipper. 😛

Anyone else pick up any of Revlon’s new Transforming Effects polishes? What do you think?

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