Warm weather rainbow nails (skittles)!

Sometimes one, two, or even three colors just isn’t enough, and a rainbow is in order. :]

This is by special request from Mr. ‘Fiend, and I was happy to oblige.

From left to right, these are Nicole by OPI Challenge Red-y, Zoya Arizona, Julep Korin, Nicole by OPI Pros & Confidence, and Julep Charlotte. I later threw in Julep Lexie (not pictured) for a free-handed swipe of yellow between Arizona and Korin because the rainbow just didn’t look complete to me with yellow missing.

Here’s two coats of each, except for only one coat of Lexie over Korin on the middle finger, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat.

In outdoor indirect natural light:

Nicole by OPI Challenge Red-y (the cool-leaning, bright cherry-red creme on my thumb) and Nicole by OPI Pros & Confidence (the turquoise creme on my ring finger) are exclusive Nicole by OPI colors that I got for free from a Kellogg’s Special K offer in 2013. The formulas on these are great and apply like butter – they definitely had the best consistency of the bunch. The brush is the somewhat wide OPI brush, which I don’t always love but worked really well with these two formulations. Pros & Confidence could be a one-coater, but Challenge Red-y is a bit sheerer and looks better with two coats.

Zoya Arizona is the bright orange creme on my index finger. The color is almost mac-‘n’-cheese orange, but it looks to me that it’s got just that tiniest touch of white – not enough to make the color pastel, but enough to lend it a softer look. No complaint about this formula either, but it is a little thinner, so it may take up to three thin coats, depending on how thickly it’s applied. It’s got the usual short-stemmed, standard-sized round, square-tipped brush Zoya usually uses.

In outdoor direct natural light:

Julep Lexie is the warm-leaning cheery yellow creme on my middle finger, and the formula on this one is great, as well. (I also wore this color in an earlier nail skittles.) Julep Korin is the bright yellow-green creme on the other half of my middle finger. Korin’s formula isn’t quite as easy to work with as Lexie’s, since it’s slightly sheerer and goopier, but it’s workable enough. These colors use Julep’s newer, wider brush, which is similar in width to the OPI brush, but it’s stiffer, so I find it more challenging to follow the curve of the cuticle with the Julep brush.

Julep Charlotte is the grape-y purple creme on my pinky. This one’s also a potential one-coater. I could have left it at one coat because it looked evenly opaque in one, but I added a second just to make sure. My bottle of Charlotte is an older one from 2012 or so, so it uses Julep’s older, standard-sized brush, which is much easier for me to work with than the newer, wider brushes. Your mileage may vary!

All of the polishes featured in this post are pretty good, but again, I have to say that the Nicole by OPI Special K 2013 colors are the ones that really stand out, both in terms of pigmentation and application. The colors aren’t particularly unusual, but the formulas are so good. Highly recommended, if you don’t have these colors already and can find a bottle somewhere. I know there’s been new sets of Special K exclusive colors since the one I got, and Challenge Red-y was offered again, so it might be worthwhile to keep your eyes peeled. :]

(UPDATE 5/4/15: Stain alert! I’d forgotten since the last time I used it, but Julep Korin unfortunately causes horrible yellow staining, and Nicole by OPI Pros & Confidence also has a tendency to stain. The other polishes are fine, with Zoya Arizona being easiest and cleanest to remove. Just a heads up!)


Nicole by OPI Lay it on the Lime

Nicole by OPI Lay it on the Lime is from last year’s Seize the Summer collection and the only one that caught my eye out of the set. It’s a fresh and bright melon-y, citrus-y yellow-green creme – almost neon and almost pastel, but not quite either. Very fun, though.

This is three coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat (which I actually don’t recommend paired with this polish because of some color transfer issues), in direct outdoor natural light:

The color is fantastic. Cheerily bright, almost loud, but just slightly softened with a milky touch.

The formula is thin, so it goes on a bit patchy. I used thinner coats because the polish seemed to take slightly longer than average to dry for me, and even after three thin coats and a glossy top coat, it still wasn’t entirely smoothly opaque. Maybe thicker coats were in order, but the dry time might be on the long side if it’s applied more thickly. I might have added a fourth thin coat to even it out, if I’d had more time during my lunch break. ;]

The Nicole by OPI brush is a flat, wide, square-tipped brush, but not as mop-like as some, so I didn’t have any trouble with it. Application, other than the challenges of a patchy thin formula, was pretty easy. No complaints overall.

The color reminded me of another bright yellow-green polish that I own – Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase – so I thought I’d post a quick bottle shot for your referencing pleasure:

In person (and in my swatch post linked above), it’s easier to see the fine turquoise shimmer in Chartreuse Chase, so the colors have a somewhat more similar feel. As you can see from this photo, though, Chartreuse Chase’s base color is definitely yellower and not quite as bright as Lay it on the Lime’s. Both are excellent colors, and both have slightly patchy formulas, but Chartreuse Chase definitely dries faster, true to the Insta-Dri name.

Bottom line: Lay it on the Lime doesn’t have my favorite formula, but I love the color enough that I don’t really care. 😀 What about you? Are you a fan of this almost-fluorescent green?

China Glaze Sun Worshiper

I’ve had China Glaze Sun Worshiper in my collection for a while – a present from Mr. ‘Fiend because he likes bright orange as much as I do :] –  but never got around to wearing it until today.

Not my best swatching job (sorry!), but here’s 3 coats topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat in indoor indirect natural light:

Sun Worshiper is a neon mac-‘n’-cheese yellow orange – delicious – that dries to a matte finish if not topped with a glossy top coat. It’s pretty darn sheer (this is three coats, and you can still see the nail line!), and the formula is a pain (more on this in a bit), but the color is so freaking awesome. So bright! ❤ Definitely more neon than my photos can capture.

Like I said, the formula is a huge pain. Besides it being sheer, which I don’t necessarily hold against polishes because it’s just a different look, it’s a streaky mess. It dries really quickly, which would normally be a plus, but because it dries so quickly, it also tends to leave very visible brush strokes when it dries because it doesn’t have time to self-level before setting. I tried to apply it carefully, but going over any area twice left bald spots, and this is the smoothest it got with glossy top coat. The brush – a standard non-wide round brush with a flat tip – was fine.

Here’s a a couple photos in outdoor direct natural light:

Yep, not my best paint job, but I hope it helps someone as a color/consistency reference anyway!

If there’s one thing I recommend when it comes to tips on polishing nails, it’s this: don’t polish your nails when you’re hungry! I did this before breakfast, and the hypoglycemic shakes made the ordeal with the trying formula even worse than it would have been already.

Oh, also, I do not recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat with this polish. I used it on my right hand (not pictured) and had crazy color transfer onto the top coat brush (polish underneath was definitely dry). I think Miracle Gel Top Coat tends to dissolve and leach out the neon yellow pigment in polishes, from my experience. Yuck. A thicker top coat like Freedom or Seche Vite also hides Sun Worshiper’s streakiness much better.

Next time, I might try this with a coat of another, more opaque bright orange underneath, to minimize the patchiness. I know a white undercoat is often recommended for neon colors, but white polish itself is typically a huge pain to apply, so I might try the orange first. I’ll update this post if I get around to that!

UPDATE 4/23/15: Sadly, this manicure didn’t hold up so well. It might just be me, or the base coat I used this time, but Sun Worshiper started separating from the nail shortly after these photos, and it chipped so badly I had to remove it after a couple days. I also had a similar peeling problem with Julep Nina, another bright orange, so I wonder if it’s something to do with the ingredients that go into these bright polishes. I’ll have to try it with another base coat and let you guys know how it goes.

Julep Audrey with Revlon Transforming Effects Holographic Pearls

Weekend nails time!

This is three coats Julep Audrey, an older Julep color that’s still available, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat. The photo was taken in natural light, indoors:

Audrey is a pale, neutral-to-cool-leaning pink jelly with a yummy-looking spun-sugar glass-fleck shimmer. It’s pretty sheer and requires three coats for the opacity you see in my photos (nail line still somewhat visible), though if you don’t mind sheer, I also liked the subtler look at two coats. The formula’s easy to work with but seemed to have an above-average dry-time. My bottle came with Julep’s Favorite Things by Oprah box from 2012, so it has the older, finer-tipped brush that I like better than the current wide Julep brushes.

I later added one coat of Revlon Holographic Pearls (from the relatively new Transforming Effects layering top coat line) on the ring finger. This is in the shade, taken in outdoor natural light, which lent the pink a cooler tone:

…whoops, looks like a little lint got on my pinky nail. Please ignore. :]

Holographic Pearls is a clear layering top coat suspended fairly densely with fine silver holo glitter. It’s got a decently strong scatter holo rainbow effect, especially in direct light. The formula and brush are both easy to work with, though it dries a bit gritty. I’d recommend a layer of clear top coat over this one.

Here’s an out-of-focus photo to better show the rainbows on the accent nail and in the bottle:

No complaints about either nail polish – they’re both lovely. :]

Easter skittles with older Julep colors

Happy Easter! I wasn’t sure I’d have time to post this today, but I’ve got a few minutes’ downtime to type up a post while I wait for my Easter meringue cups to dry in the oven.

I decided to do pastel skittles swatching some of my older Julep colors this year, since I haven’t worn them in some time. :] From thumb to pinky, here’s two coats each of Julep Simone, Susie, Leila, Clara, and Martha, in indoor natural light, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat:

Leila (yellow with subtle gold shimmer) and Simone (lavender with subtle blue shimmer) are technically shimmers, but the shimmer isn’t really visible on the nail, so I generally use them the way I would a creme. Their formulas are a bit chalky, especially Leila’s, so a third coat might have been better for even opacity, but I was in a bit of a hurry. They dried relatively quickly, though.

Susie is a straight up pale minty green creme, and it probably had my favorite formula and brush (pretty standard-width brush that is less wide than the newer Julep brushes) of all five.

Clara (peach) and Martha (pink) are both cremes/crellies. Martha took a little longer to dry than the other colors, but otherwise, both of these polishes also had pretty good formulas that went on smoothly. I may have liked Susie’s application better mostly because the finer-tipped brush was easier for me to use.

Susie is from 2012, and the other colors are from 2013, so many of these colors probably aren’t available from Julep anymore. I’ve got a special fondness for them because they were some of the first Julep polishes I’d ever bought, and my nail polish habit only started in 2012 – something I picked up to cover up my gel-polish-removal-damaged nails after having them done for the first time ever for my wedding. (Before that, I was definitely a strictly unadorned nails kind of girl, and I still generally wear no other cosmetics!)

I was amazed to discover in 2012 that since my childhood years, nail polish makers had actually broken out of that old-fashioned pink/red/nude rut and now embraced colors I actually wanted to wear – like blues, greens, and neon oranges – as well as glitter and other special finishes.

I’ve been enamored of nail polish ever since, and I don’t think that’ll be changing anytime soon. :] Anyway, my meringues are pretty much done now, so I’ll cut it off there.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!