Zoya PixieDust Beatrix

All right, last swatch for tonight, and I’ll be all caught up. This is Zoya PixieDust Beatrix¬†from my untried stash, three coats, no top coat, outdoor natural light:

Zoya describes Beatrix as a “tangerine metal sparkle,” textured, matte, and foil twinkle. I’d say that’s pretty spot-on. The sunny, yellow-leaning orange is so juicy and cheerful looking! The texture is pretty much identical to that of other similar Zoya PixieDust polishes, not too chunky or rough, and it dries down to a nice textured metallic sparkle. The base is a little squishy-feeling, like a jelly.

I found Beatrix to be a little thinner than other PixieDusts, though, as it took three coats instead of the usual two, and the formula seemed to take longer to dry than usual – about average for nail polishes generally instead of super speedy like many textured polishes. Application was a piece of cake, though.

Thumbs up overall – fun color from the summer 2013 collection. ūüôā

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Zoya Muse

Zoya Muse, from the summer 2014 Bubbly collection, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

The jelly-ish sheer and squishy medium blue base is transformed to a shifty teal because of the gold shimmer, and it’s packed with iridescent glitters. I love this one, even though it takes three (thin) coats for good coverage. The formula’s a bit on the watery side, but it’s not too hard to work with. Dry time was average.

Such an awesome mermaid polish, perfect for #MerMay. ūüėÄ

Zoya Bela & LynBDesigns The London Season

In a moment of ambivalence, I asked Mr. ‘Fiend what color I should paint my nails this week. He said pink, then white-pink when I asked for more specificity. So, I dug out a pale pink I hadn’t tried yet:¬†Zoya Bela, which apparently achieved fame as the nail polish featured in Black Swan (which I haven’t watched yet but have heard is a great film).

This is day two of two coats, plus one coat LynBDesigns The London Season on the ring finger and all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

Bela is a semi-sheer cool-toned ballet-pink crelly/jelly polish,¬†designed for use as a French manicure base but soft and pretty on its own. It’s still pretty sheer at two coats, as shown here, and could probably be mostly opaque in three. I kind of like it semi-sheer, though. The formula is pretty good, though it’s got a tendency to streak a bit, even at two coats, so it takes a bit of care to apply evenly. Glossy top coat helps, though! Dry time seemed average.

The London Season is from LynBDesigns’ Downton Abbey-inspired Meet Me at the Abbey collection and is a really fun glitter topper loaded pretty densely with transparent tiny hex glitter in red, green, blue, pink, yellow, and purple, as well as a pinch of transparent iridescent squares and microglitter. I can’t help but think of confetti and birthday cake when I see this glitter. The formula’s a bit goopy, but it’s easy enough to dab on and spread out the glitter where you want it. Dries fast.

I’m pretty happy with both polishes. The sheer/nude Bela is a nice palate cleanser between bright colors (I’m going to try one of this month’s Julep holo polishes in the next swatch, probably), and it’s nice that I’ve got someone¬†that picks colors for me that I normally skip over when I pick out polish by myself! :]

Face-off: Zoya Dillon vs. Julep Francine vs. Julep Shay

This past week, I thought I’d compare a couple similar recently released¬†green-blue Julep polishes, Julep Francine from this May and Julep Shay from January, in case you (like me) were wondering if you’d accidentally bought two nearly identical polishes.¬†I threw Zoya Dillon in there, too, just for the heck of it.

In the bottle, they look somewhat similar, but definitely not identical, and this held true on the nail, as well.

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Here they are, two coats each and topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, Dillon on the index finger, Francine on the middle and pinky, and Shay on the ring. Photo taken in outdoor natural light.

As you can see,¬†Zoya Dillon¬†(on the index nail) is, by far, a mintier, less saturated color, I think partially due to the base color itself, but also because of its predominantly silver shimmer. I really only threw it in there for kicks, since it’s not super similar.

Julep Francine has a¬†somewhat sheer aqua/turquoise base filled with metallic shimmer, but the flash¬†tends to lean gold in typical lighting, giving it a warmer, greenish overall hue. In some lighting, though, the gold shifts to blue, giving the polish a totally different look. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to capture that, since it tended to happen in dimmer lighting when I couldn’t get a good shot. I think Francine’s meant to be worn semi-sheer at two coats, but¬†it’s sisters with¬†Regina, and I’m guessing it can probably be mostly opaque at three coats. Anyway, the shimmer tends to mask the sheerness, even at two coats.¬†In any case, the formula was easy to work with, and it dried on the fast side.

Julep Shay I’ve talked about in a previous post. Maybe it’s the drier weather we have here, but Shay dried slightly faster this time¬†than in the humid tropical climate I last tried it out in. Compared to Francine, Shay’s shimmer texture looks chunkier, though it still dries smooth. I can’t tell if it’s from the scatter effect of the holo shimmer or from the shimmer particle size itself. In any case, the overall effect is more glitter-like and less smooth than Francine. Shay also tends to lean bluer/cooler than Francine when Francine flashes gold. They’re more similar in hue when Francine leans¬†blue.¬†Francine doesn’t have Shay’s glass-fleck iridescence, though.

This next photo in indoor white-LED lighting is a bit blurry, but hopefully it shows a bit better what I mean about the finer shimmer texture in Francine, as compared to Shay.

Durability was typical for me on all three polishes and lasted around three or four days, at least. Dillon chipped first, but it was on my more heavily used index fingers, so that could have also been the reason it lasted the fewest days.

(UPDATE 6/11/2016:¬†Francine and Shay were both mildly staining. They left a slight turquoise tinge after removal with nail polish remover, though the parts that chipped off on their own didn’t leave stained nails underneath. Dillon didn’t stain at all.)

Tl;dr –¬†Francine’s gold flash and Shay’s coarser and cooler holo sparkle are what set them slightly apart, and Dillon’s noticeably more muted than the other two, cooler than Francine, and possibly a tad warmer than Shay. From a distance or at a glance, they could pass for the same polish, so whether you’d want both completely depends on how granularly you distinguish between colors and finishes.

 

Face-off: Zoya Marion vs. Julep Phia

As promised, here it is – a comparison of Zoya Marion¬†(index and ring), from June 2015’s Zoya Mystery Trio Box, and¬†Julep Phia¬†(middle and pinky), from last June’s It Girl Maven monthly box.

This is two coats of each, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in direct natural light:

Marion and Phia are very similar neutral purple-pink metallic/foil polishes with magenta-to-olive duochrome/dichroic flash. Julep describes Phia as a chrome, but because of the visible scatter in its finish, it looks more like a foil to me. The two polishes are pretty close, though not identical: if you look carefully, you can see that Marion comes off a bit pinker and brighter than Phia.

From this angle, Marion also flashes more olive/bronze than Phia.

These same subtle differences are also visible in indirect light:

Overall, Marion looks a bit warmer and Phia a bit cooler, though if they weren’t being compared right next to each other, you might not notice the difference.

Formula-wise, they’re also pretty similar. Both polishes are fairly sheer and require two to three coats for opacity. I used two coats for these photos, but you can still see the nail line somewhat with two coats. If you’re a stickler for opacity, three coats should do it. Phia is slightly sheerer than Marion, but the difference isn’t that significant.

Both had excellent application, and dry time is about the same – on the fast side. Functionally, I prefer the Zoya brush and bottle shape, as it’s easier to use than Julep’s tall bottle and long brush stem, which looks elegant but is less stable and tends to gather a lot of excess polish that can drip, if you’re not careful. Neither brush or bottle style is a problem if you’ve got a practiced hand, though.

The biggest difference between the two is probably price. Zoya polishes usually go for $9 for a full-size (0.5 fl. oz.) bottle, whereas Julep colors, including Phia, are normally $14 ($11.20 Maven price) for a roughly half-size (0.27 fl. oz.) bottle. Julep often has good discounts, though, and their polishes sometimes go for $7 or $5 and may even come free with a purchase, so the actual price could be comparable to the $5 I paid for the 0.25 fl. oz. mini of Marion.¬†In any case, at the time of this writing, Marion isn’t available for sale outside of the now-unavailable June 2015 Mystery Trio Box, so a true price comparison is moot.

Bottom line: Zoya Marion and Julep Phia aren’t exact dupes, but they’re close enough that you probably don’t need both. If I had to pick one or the other, I’d probably slightly prefer Marion, since it has slightly better coverage and an easier-to-use bottle, and it’s potentially the more economical choice. Otherwise, if I liked either pink or purple better, I’d probably pick the polish that leaned more toward my preferred color. ūüôā

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links. I don‚Äôt expect you to use my referral links¬†unless you want to, of course, and they don‚Äôt affect me giving my honest opinion. Referrals¬†go toward products reviewed on this site ‚Äď thanks!

Zoya June 2015 Mystery Trio Box swatches: Zoya Temperance & Zoya Violet

Quick swatch post – here’s Zoya Temperance¬†(primary) and Zoya Violet¬†(accent), two of the three colors introduced the Mystery Trio Box released earlier this month, two coats each, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. This is day two, hence the tip wear, without cuticle cleanup (sorry, no time!).

Direct outdoor natural light:

Temperance, shown on all nails except for the ring, is a somewhat cool-leaning gray creme/crelly, warmed up with subtle pink/green/gold shimmer, which gives the gray an almost purplish cast. The result looks neutral enough that I’d expect it to go well with most, if not all, complexions, and I don’t have any other polish like it. The formula is great, too – not too runny and not too thick – and even though it comes in a mini bottle, the regular Zoya brush tip (one of my favorites) and cap shape make it just as easy to apply as a full-size Zoya. It dried on the fast side of average for me.

Indirect outdoor natural light (shade):

Violet, on the ring finger, is a straight-up neutral-toned medium smoky¬†violet crelly. The formula is a bit thinner than Temperance’s, but it’s pretty similar otherwise and applies well. The brush, as expected, is the same, and it also dried on the fast side of average.

I have no idea if Zoya will be releasing these never-before-seen colors for sale, now that the Mystery Trio Boxes have been sent out. Both colors are fantastic, though, and would make excellent additions to their huge lineup. When I have a chance, I’ll swatch the last of the three colors – Zoya Marion – in a face-off post with Julep Phia. Stay tuned!

Zoya June 2015 Mystery Trio Box unveiling

I’m such a sucker for Zoya deals. Late May, Zoya sent out an e-mail offering yet another Mystery Trio Box, promising “3 brand new, never before released or produced colors in adorable mini 0.25oz sizes,” promised to flatter all skin tones, plus a “special gift,” all for $15 and free shipping. I figured that with a newborn to take care of, I’d probably be too occupied to keep up with my nail-polish obsession for a while, so this might be kind of my last hurrah for now. :]

Here’s what I received last Saturday! (Yep, this blog’s probably going to see sparser updates for a while.)

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The three mini-sized nail polish colors, from left to right:

  • Mini Temperance ($5 retail for Zoya mini polishes), a cool-leaning medium gray with dichroic/duochrome gold-to-magenta shimmer,
  • Mini Marion ($5), a dichroic/duochrome green-to-purple metallic, and
  • Mini Violet ($5), a dusty violet creme.

As promised, these are the Zoya mini 0.25 fl. oz./7.5 mL sizes, only slightly smaller than a bottle of Julep polish (0.27 fl. oz./8 mL).¬†All three colors are ones I’d be happy to wear, and I’m especially excited to try out Temperance, which is different from anything else I currently own.

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Just from looking at the bottles, Marion¬†looks like it could be pretty spot-on as a dupe or near dupe for Julep Phia¬†($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), a color that I love. I’d like to do a face-off post later on, if I can find the time. (7/11/15 UPDATE: It’s up!) If Zoya releases Marion as a regular nail color later on, I suspect it could be a more economical substitute for Phia, as Zoya frequently has excellent deals. Even at full retail price, Zoya full-size polishes are typically about $5 less than Julep polishes for about double the volume of polish.

The “special gift” turned out to be two items:

  • A 1 fl. oz./15mL bottle of Zoya Remove+ nail polish remover ($2.30 estimated retail value, based on $4.60 for the 2 oz. size) and
  • A 12 g/0.42 oz. tube of Zoya Hot Lips Glossy Lip Balm in Sweet Tart ($6), which looks like a lovely raspberry/plum with fine silver shimmer. (I found a swatch posted by another blogger, if you’re curious how it looks when applied.)

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The estimated retail value of this box is about $23.30, based on Zoya’s regular website prices. When you think about it, the $15 price tag is significantly¬†lower than that of a Julep monthly box ($19.99/month for grandfathered-in¬†older Mavens¬†or if you prepay for three months as a newer Maven with the option to fully customize your box, else $24.99/month), and the items are arguably a better value than what you’d get with a default Julep It Girl box – not that I’m saying that Zoya and Julep are necessarily interchangeable, but for those that don’t prefer one brand over the other, there it is. Not bad, not bad.

Did you pick up this mystery box, and did you like what you got?

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link. I don’t expect you to use my referral links¬†unless you want to, of course, and they don’t affect me giving my honest opinion. Referrals¬†go toward products reviewed on this site – thanks!