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. 🙂
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