Julep Danica

Julep Danica, from maybe a couple weeks ago. Three coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat and taken in outdoor natural sunlight.

Danica‘s a lovely sheer-ish blue-violet metallic (what Julep calls a chrome finish) with a pink-to-turquoise shift. I think it’s primarily the pink flash that pushes it over to blurple. The base color seems to be more of a straight-up car-paint blue.

No problems with the formula, though it took a little longer to dry than average and needed three coats for reasonable opacity. Durability was roughly average, though I can’t tell if it chipped because I was hard on my nails that week.

I don’t know if you can see it in this photo (it’s visible in some of my swatch photos from the recent past, I think), but I’d accidentally sliced into my middle fingernail with a cleaver sometime ago while cutting a particularly recalcitrant lime, and it left a gross (and painful) U-shaped flap in the nail that finally couldn’t hang on any longer after I removed Danica. I had to take a little break from nail polish to let it grow out and heal, but it’s nearly there , so I’ll probably resume this lacquer journal soon!

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Julep Dakota & The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head

I did my Halloween nails a bit early this year, since I’ll be at Cuttlewig’s wedding this weekend and will probably be wearing something less garish. ;D

This is 2 coats Julep Dakota (index & pinky) and The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head (middle & ring), topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light. (The light’s a bit bluish because it was early in the day.)

Julep Dakota is an older Julep polish that I’d had sitting around but hadn’t gotten around to trying until now. It still had its shrink wrap on! Dakota’s a “[r]ose gold metallic chrome,” per Julep. Very coppery, like a new penny, with a kind of frosty finish that shows brushstrokes if you’re not careful. Top coat helps, though. I had no problems with the formula and got full opacity in two easy coats. Dry time seemed average.

The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head is a lovely grape-soda purple jelly packed with “brown microglitter, iridescent hexes and a mix of orange, copper and green dots” (from the maker’s description, which seems accurate!). Mine smells like pumpkin pie (you can pick a scent when you order) because I thought it’d be fun – and it really does smell kind of like a pumpkin spice latte or something along those lines! I had to fish around for the bigger glitters and do some dabbing to get them in place, but otherwise, the formula was great. Reasonably opaque in two coats and dries on the faster side. A little bumpy, like you’d expect from a chunky glitter, and it’s got a semi-matte finish if you don’t add top coat.

No complaints about either of these polishes! They were fun to wear, especially Pumpkin Head, and they lasted an average length of time for me without chipping (about 3-4 days).

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. 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links. 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!

Sephora by OPI S-age is Just a Number

S-age is Just a Number is from Sephora’s Spice Market collection from fall 2012, and it’s since been discontinued (when the Sephora by OPI polishes were completely replaced by Sephora’s current Formula X line last year), but it’s still one of my favorite gold polishes. I hear it’s pretty close to Chanel Peridot, but I don’t own that one and can’t do a direct comparison.

Here it is in indirect natural light (shade), three coats topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat:

S-age is a brassy gold metallic with an iridescent/multichrome finish that, in the bottle, shows a spectrum of flash from indigo to teal to olive to a rosy bronze. It doesn’t quite have the same range of colors on the nail, sadly, but hey, it’s still pretty awesome. Typically, I see some of the rosy bronze through the teal on my nails, though the polish comes off as just another gold metallic if the light’s too strong.

I don’t know whether to classify it as a regular metallic, foil, or chrome – and that’s all pretty subjective marketing talk, anyway. It looks chrome-y in the bottle, but I think it’s got a little more scatter than I typically associate with chromes. It does have a super shiny finish, though.

The formula is pretty good, but it’s on the sheer side, like many chrome-y metallics. It took me three thin coats to get the opacity you see here, and if you look carefully in person, it’s still a tad sheer. Application is easy, though, even with the slightly wide, square-tipped Sephora by OPI brush (which is a bit on the large side for my smaller nails), and dry time was maybe on the quicker side of average for me. The end product shows brushstrokes, but it doesn’t detract from the polish, in my book; I kind of like the added texture on this one.

From this angle, you can see the olive flash very clearly:

And in direct sunlight (very sparkly!):

Really, it’s a fantastic polish, and because of the iridescent finish, it easily matches with a lot of things. I don’t usually match my nail polish to my clothing, but hey, it’s still nice when it matches!

Here’s a bottle shot, just so you know what I’m talking about when I say the multichrome in the bottle promises so much more:

Ah, well – it does still almost have that scarab-shell sheen on the nail. :] I’m going to miss this polish if I ever run out. Fortunately, I have a full size and a mini of this, so that’s not happening anytime soon.

Any of you have any discontinued favorites you’d like to share?