Julep India & Julep Bjork

Another quick and dirty swatch post: Julep India, two coats, with one coat of Julep Bjork (Metamorphic Top Coat) on the ring finger, all topped with Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat.

This is in natural light (shade):

A tad messy, sorry – ‘Fiend Jr.’s battering-ram kicks to my internal organs don’t do much for my concentration! I would’ve done some cleanup afterward, but the sun was setting, and I wanted to snap a few photos before it got dark.

I really love this kind of multidimensional blue and wish I had a car in this color. While I’m wishing, make that a Tesla in this blue.

Julep describes India as a “[f]reshwater blue shimmer.” I prefer straightforward color descriptions to empty-calorie marketing descriptors like “freshwater” (I sure hope fresh water wouldn’t be this color!), but I guess I can see how it gets the refreshing feeling of the color across.

It looks to me like a somewhat frosty metallic, medium cool-toned blue with fine shimmer that flashes green or teal. The base itself is a bit dichroic/duochrome-y, too, and seems to shift from cobalt blue to turquoise. The result is a polish with a lot of depth and mesmerizing sparkle that could probably flatter a wide range of skin tones.

I added Bjork (“[b]lue pearlescent silk top coat”) to the ring finger, just to see what would happen. The dichroic teal-to-purple shimmer in Bjork definitely adds to the scatter effect – and when looked at carefully, you can tell it looks a bit milkier than India alone – but it otherwise doesn’t do much for India.

Nothing to complain about, formula-wise, and dry time seemed average. As I’ve said before, Julep’s recent brushes have been a tiny bit too square-tipped and stiff for my taste, since they tend to make painting the curve at the cuticle a bit challenging for smallish nails like mine. It’s workable if you’re careful (and not getting beat up by your future offspring), though. Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat worked great for this polish and dried fast.

India’s a win. I wish I hadn’t passed up the August 2014 Maven box that had this color (I think it was because it was out of stock at the time I made my selection), but I’m definitely glad I picked it up later! ❤


Essie Haute As Hello & Revlon Brilliant Strength Dazzle

After last week’s moody dark-green polish, I really wanted to wear something bright, so I thought I’d swatch a couple colors that I don’t think I’d posted yet.

Essie Haute As Hello and Revlon Brilliant Strength Dazzle are both older colors in my collection. Haute As Hello is a summer 2010 color, and I believe Dazzle was from 2012, from the Brilliant Strength line that’s been discontinued. Both have the same issue for me: I love the colors, but I’m just not a huge fan of the formulas. More on that in a bit.

Here’s three coats of each in natural light. I topped Haute As Hello with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, but Dazzle is shown without top coat:

Essie Haute As Hello is a hot pastel coral/peach creme that sometimes looks muted and sometimes looks like a soft neon, depending on the light. As I mentioned, I love this color. The formula, though, is honestly a bit of a pain to work with. It’s a bit thin, applies a bit patchy, and doesn’t self-level super well. It took me three thin coats to get a relatively even finish, and even then, the ridges from the brushstrokes didn’t completely level out. A glossy top coat fixed that, thankfully.

I wouldn’t recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat with this polish, though. As I’ve mentioned before, though this top coat has great durability, it tends to have some color transfer with some polishes, even if you make sure the polish is dry before applying top coat, and Haute As Hello is one of them. The top coat brush ended up picking up the yellow pigment in the polish and some of the actual polish itself, even when I applied only light pressure. Again, not recommended.

Revlon Dazzle is a bubblegum-pink jelly with an iridescent glass-fleck shimmer. Like most jellies, it’s pretty sheer and still shows visible nail line after the three thin coats I applied. I think I’d used five thin coats for opacity the last time I used this polish.

In any case, the sheerness isn’t what bothers me about Dazzle; it’s that this polish just refuses to dry! I waited about half an hour between coats and checked that the polish was dry to the touch before applying a new layer, but no luck. Even with the help of quick-dry drops, the polish half-dries to a malleable, clay-like consistency that doesn’t wholly cure until maybe the next day, so it’s really easy to ding up the finish (or make weird textured indentations in it) in the meantime. Ugh. It’s really too bad because I otherwise really love this color, and the brush (rounded tipped and slightly wider and thicker than a standard brush, but not nearly as thick and mop-like as the OPI brush) and application are excellent, if you don’t count the atrocious dry time.

The Brilliant Strength polishes were advertised as all-in-one formulas and meant to be worn without a base coat or top coat. Some of my Brilliant Strength polishes are better than others, and they don’t all have this drying problem, but I’m guessing the formulation is part of why the line isn’t available any longer.

The colors look more similar in the bottle, but Dazzle is much cooler-toned on the nail.


Obviously, I love these colors enough that I haven’t relegated either to a nail polish sale yet, but are they worth the struggle? For Haute As Hello, maybe. It at least dries fast and can be fixed with a good top coat. For Dazzle, I’m not so sure. I’ve worn this color maybe three times because I like the color too much to give up, but it makes me angry every time! I might try it one more time with a quick-dry top coat and see how that fares.

Zoya Veruschka

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m doing a second polish swatch for the day because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to be festive. :]

Zoya Veruschka, one of Zoya’s MatteVelvet polishes that come in the classy frosted-glass bottles. I believe it was first introduced in the winter of 2009 as a limited edition polish, though I picked it up during a re-release this past winter. A quick look at Zoya’s site says Veruschka is gone again, though, so if you’re looking for this color, I’m guessing you’ll have to find it through a third party.

This is two coats, no top coat, in natural light (shade):

Veruschka is a deep, rich, somewhat blue-toned green with silver shimmer that reminds me of evergreen trees. As suggested by its MatteVelvet label, it dries to a satiny matte finish and is meant to be worn without top coat. Judging from how it looks wet, though, I’m sure it’d look great with a glossy top coat, too. The matte finish isn’t very forgiving with bumps or unevenness on the nail, but the second coat does help smooth that out. A glossy top coat could probably help with that, too.

In any case, I found I needed a second coat to get good coverage. No complaints about the formula or brush (standard size with a relatively short stem), and this polish dries pretty fast. As with most polishes, though, even if it feels dry to the touch, it probably has to cure a bit before you, say, handle a dog. I gouged one of these nails doing that almost immediately after these photos, hehe. Whoops.

Anyway, happy St. Patty’s, and have a beer for me. No beer for me for a while, else I’d really love a milk stout!

Orly Beautiful Disaster

Quickie swatch post – this is three coats Orly Beautiful Disaster from Orly’s Summer 2013 Mash Up collection, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat and in natural light (with some tip wear, since I didn’t have a chance to photograph it until day 3):

Beautiful Disaster is a red-toned purple/magenta with shimmer that shifts gold for that lit-from-within look. In certain light, it has a blue flash that cools the color to more of an electric purple, which you can see a bit on the upper part of the nails in this next photograph.

Fabulous color, if not the most unusual one I own. The formula is a tad thin, but it builds up to full opacity in two to three coats, depending on how thickly you apply it. (I prefer thinner coats, so I used three.) No complaints about the application, brush or dry time.

My favorite color from the Mash Up collection is still Mayhem Mentality (a neon orange creme), though. I’ll have to swatch that one for the blog sometime. :]

Zoya Dillon, plus Revlon Transforming Effects Gold Glaze & Matte Pearl Glaze

I’m back with another experiment using this year’s new Revlon Transforming Effects toppers! :] This time, I decided to try out Gold Glaze, a clear top coat with a warm yellow-gold shimmer, and Matte Pearl Glaze, a matte top coat with what looks like a blue-to-magenta dichroic/duochrome shimmer.

I started off with Zoya Dillon from last spring’s Awaken collection. I purposely picked a shimmery polish to experiment with, since I’ve seen some swatches of the toppers on cremes and bare nails, and I wanted to test how they’d interact with something that already had its own shimmer.

Here’s three coats of plain Dillon in strong outdoor sunlight, no top coat (again, please excuse the dry/dehydrated fingers!):

Dillon is a minty medium blue-green metallic with silver shimmer. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I sometimes see a bit of gold in the shimmer. The polish is a bit sheer and takes three coats to reach a good opacity, and it dries with a squishy finish, like a jelly. Formula is easy to work with, though it’s not the fastest drying, and as usual, I like the standard-sized (not wide like many brands’ brushes) Zoya brush.

In this next photo, taken in the same strong outdoor sunlight, I’ve added:

  • Index & pinky – Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, one coat (glossy clear)
  • Middle – Revlon Transforming Effects Gold Glaze, one coat
  • Ring – Revlon Transforming Effects Matte Pearl Glaze, one coat

Gold Glaze‘s effect isn’t immediately obvious in all lighting, but it does add just that touch of extra gold shimmer and scatter to the finish. Because Dillon’s already got a similar shimmer effect to begin with, it’s not quite as dramatic as it’d look over a creme, but it’s there. It’s also a bit more visible in person.

Matte Pearl Glaze obviously matte-ifies the finish and adds a cool-toned shimmer. The magenta in the shimmer is still there, somewhat, but I found that it mostly looked blue over Dillon.

I also feel like the Miracle Gel Top Coat seems to bring out the gold notes of Dillon’s shimmer that I mentioned earlier.

It might be slightly easier to see some of the differences in the shade (indoor indirect sunlight):

And, finally, I slapped another coat of Gold Glaze over Matte Pearl Glaze on the ring finger, just to see what would happen. Here it is in strong outdoor sunlight:

And in shade/indoor indirect sunlight:

The gold sparkle from Gold Glaze creates a pretty interesting effect over the cooler-toned shimmer from Matte Pearl Glaze, resulting in something relatively neutral with a bit more depth. Pretty neat.

Anyway, that’s my layering experiment for the week. Hope it’s helpful or interesting to someone out there!