Julep Carrie Ann

Sometimes after wearing some bolder colors, I just get this urge to wear something more boring – relatively anyway. Here’s Julep Carrie Ann, a sheer nude with some subtle holo sparkle:

You can’t see the holo sparkle that well in my photos, unfortunately, but it’s definitely there and shows up better in brighter light. It just happened to be an overcast day.

I liked the way this polish looked better at one coat, actually, but it’d be a no-go if you don’t like sheer polishes/visible nail line. At one coat, it applies evenly and has a your-nails-but-better look, and the holo shimmer seems to be, if anything, more visible. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo!) At two coats, I ended up with what you see here – something that somehow looks infinitely more boring and more humdrum creme-like. Oh, well. Work appropriate to the max.

Formula was fine, easy to work with with average dry time and average durability. Like many lighter colored polishes for me, though, it started getting a bit dingy looking after a few days, with some dark stains at the tips that didn’t come off with even vigorous hand washing. :\

Next time (if I get around to a next time with this polish), I’ll wear it with one coat and see if I like it better. At two coats, it’s okay but a little too drab for me!

Face-off: Sephora Formula X Riotous vs. Julep

On my birthday last month, my pet human husband gave me Sephora Formula X Riotous as part of my birthday present, just because he liked the color. When I saw it, I couldn’t help myself. I had to sprint to my stash, immediately dig out my bottle of Julep Nellie (from my October 2014 Julep box), and do a little dance while comparing the bottles side by side. (I don’t know about you, but I have this profound feeling of resonance when I see a polish color that looks just like something else I own…and I think Mr. ‘Fiend has an uncanny tendency to reliably buy me near-spot-on dupes all the time possibly for the same reason.)

Anyway, before we go on: I’m sorry for the super crappy paint job. I kind of slapped this on half in the dark while watching Stranger Things. 😀

Well, they’re pretty close, aren’t they? The formula on these two fuchsia creme/crelly polishes is almost identical, too. Both had slightly watery formulas (not too watery but watery enough that I accidentally flooded a cuticle when I wasn’t paying attention) but excellent coverage in two coats.

Riotous dried faster than Nellie, though, so it gets the edge for that! Other than that, though, I really can’t say there’s much difference between the two. Durability was about the same. They lasted on the longer side of average for me (maybe four or five days). I honestly couldn’t tell them apart on the nail, so you probably don’t need both, even if you’re a polish fiend.

Sephora Formula X colors were originally $10.50 for a 0.4 fl. oz. bottle, but it looks like they’re currently on clearance for $5 each at the time of this writing, and Riotous is no longer available at their website. (I don’t know if this means Sephora’s discontinuing their Formula X line, but if so, that makes me sad!) Julep colors are usually $14 for 0.27 fl. oz. ($11.40 Maven), but they frequently have deals to pick up polishes for cheaper. Both are great!

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! :]

Julep Tomi

I finally got around to polishing my nails for the first time in over two weeks! This week’s polish swatch: Julep Tomi, the Wonder Maven color from this month’s box. Here’s two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in natural outdoor light (bright sunlight):

Tomi is a yummy blue-raspberry-Icee turquoise crelly with fine holographic shimmer. I already liked the color when I saw it in Julep’s preview and in the bottle, but once I put it on – BAM! – I was flooded with nostalgic flashbacks to my childhood, of wandering the mall with my parents and that delicious, unnaturally blue slushie in my little hands. I can virtually taste it. That holo sparkle (just there enough to cast a noticeable but not-too-in-your-face twinkle throughout) helps bring on the fond Icee memories, too. Love. ❤

The formula wasn’t bad. It’s easy to apply and reasonably opaque in two coats – just slightly transparent enough to give off that squishy jelly vibe and lend the shimmer some depth. I wish it dried a bit faster, though. I’d say dry time was a bit longer than average for me, but it’s not interminable like some other polishes I own. Quick-dry top coat helps a ton on the second coat!

…Seriously, it’s been almost two decades since I’ve had one, and I kind of want one of those blue Icees now.

Vacation nails & Taiwanese nail lacquer: Julep Shay, LynBDesigns Thirsty & UNT EA055 愛情的微光 (A Glimmer of Love; English name: Mint to Be)

I recently got back from a two-week trip to Taiwan and had a great time there! Can’t go wrong with the company of beloved family, copious amounts of great food, and lots of hiking in brutal island sun to kick this post-baby body back into some kind of shape.

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…Plus, I had the chance to snag some Taiwanese nail polish while I was visiting the motherland! xD This is UNT EA055 愛情的微光 (Ai Qing de Wei Guang, or A Glimmer or Love) from UNT’s Love Captain collection:

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(UPDATE 5/7/16: I just discovered UNT has an English website, and this color is named Mint to Be for the English-speaking customers. I’ve updated the references below with the official English name, as well.)

It was 99 NT, or about three bucks, on sale (normally 199 NT, or about six bucks). UNT might be a drug-store polish, but I can’t be sure. I found it at a FamilyMart. In the department stores, I mostly saw familiar brands like OPI and such, so I was excited to try UNT when I saw that it’s a made-in-Taiwan brand.

I also picked up another UNT glitter topper called 欲望是合理的 LV035 (Desire is Reasonable; English name: Daily Miracles) that I’ll swatch on another day.

Anyway, I brought Julep Shay from my January 2016 Julep Maven box and LynBDesigns Thirsty on the trip with me, knowing that I’d be in the mood for some bright untried colors while I broiled in the tropical heat. The trip was so hectic that I almost didn’t get around to polishing my nails, but two days before I left, I threw in the towel and just painted my nails on the moving tour bus. It didn’t come out especially well as a result, though I tried to take maximum advantage of stop lights and traffic, and I didn’t have a chance to take better photos, but eh, other things took higher priority. 😉

This is two coats Julep Shay on all nails, except for two coats LynBDesigns Thirsty on the ring finger, topped with two coats UNT EA055, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. The photo was taken on the Taipei subway in artificial light of some sort, probably white LED. The color’s not too off – though, of course, Thirsty’s neon doesn’t photograph properly.

Shay is a turquoise glass-fleck-y shimmer (described by Julep as a “[c]eladon iridescent chrome”) that’s beautifully bright. Perfect tropical vacation color. The formula was easy to apply, but the dry time was annoyingly long! I dinged some of my nails because I didn’t wait long enough for them to dry. Takes patience, but it’s a beautiful polish.

Thirsty is a neon mac-‘n’-cheese orange (yum!) crelly that is definitely way more impressive in person than in a photo, which just can’t capture those blazing neons. (Well, either that or monitors can’t display it.) Love. Perfect formula, fast dry time.

EA055 (愛情的微光/A Glimmer of Love/Mint to Be) is mint-green and teal multi-sized glitter topper with a clear base. Like an average glitter topper, it requires a tiny bit of fishing for glitter in the bottle and dab-and-glide glitter placement, but it’s not too bad. I needed two coats to get the glitter density I wanted. Dry time seemed average or maybe slightly longer than average for a glitter, but not bad.

Durability on this combination was fantastic, though; this mani lasted me a good week before chipping significantly. Happy with all three polishes overall. ❤ I hope I have more chances to travel abroad and collect foreign nail lacquers!

Julep Hayley & Julep Rosie

I love beets. There may be other ways to describe Julep Hayley‘s deep red-purple – say, wine or Bordeaux or cranberry – but beetroot describes this color pretty well.

Here’s two coats on all fingers, other than Julep Rosie (also two coats) on the ring finger, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in direct natural light:

Hayley has super-rich color and great color payoff. It’s bright in direct sunlight and deeper/vampier in indirect light. It also has a slightly squishy, slightly translucent crelly finish that seems to glow in the sun but is opaque enough that there’s no visible nail line.

Hayley’s formula is on the watery side for a Julep, which I discovered when I accidentally flooded the cuticle on the first nail. I found it a little bit challenging to work with, especially because Julep’s unusually long brush stem tends to collect more excess polish, and since a thinner formula runs down the stem so much faster, it’s easy to accidentally have too much excess polish drip down the brush while you’re working. The clunky wide and flared Julep brush, which isn’t my favorite, has brush bristles are a little too stiff for easily applying such a liquid polish, though it’s manageable if you’re careful (unlike me). The dry time is also a little long, and a fast-dry top coat really helps here. I’d definitely recommend applying this in thin coats, though, which requires a little bit of care.

On its own, Hayley dries to a slightly squishy, glossy finish that looks even better with top coat. In indirect natural light:

Rosie is a charcoal jelly with what looks to me like multi-sized fuchsia glitters (including microglitter) and silver holo microglitter. The base is pretty sheer and is still sheer at two coats, but the glitters provide a decent amount of coverage. It’s not totally opaque, but I kind of liked the lace-like, slightly sheer effect. The formula was a bit goopy, kind of like Julep Celeste‘s, but it’s workable and suspends the glitter well (no special placement or application technique necessary). Rosie dries fast to a matte finish and isn’t too bumpy for a glitter, but I preferred the smoother, glossy finish with a glossy top coat.

I wish Hayley dried faster, and a different brush would have probably made the thin formula easier to work with, but I’m otherwise pretty pleased with these two polishes.

LynBDesigns I am Beyond Impropriety

This is another polish from LynBDesigns‘ Meet Me at the Abbey collection, I am Beyond Impropriety.

Here’s two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor indirect natural light (shade):

My bottle of I am Beyond Impropriety is a neutral-ish, slightly blue-leaning, slightly dusty lavender crelly base with a good helping of what looks to me like somewhat iridescent golden flakies. That is, in person, the fine flake glitter seems to flash pink sometimes, though it just looks gold in the photos. My bottle wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, since the official swatch photos are definitely way more pink/mauve, and LynBDesigns even describes the color as “a mauvey purple crelly with intense golden shimmer.” My photos of this color are pretty much color accurate to my bottle, and it’s definitely more of a lavender. The base also looks more opaque to me, such that the flakies don’t layer as visibly. The flake glitter looks a bit coarser and more random-sized in my bottle than in the official swatch, but that’s all right with me. Such is the way of indie polishes, though, so even though I’d have preferred the pinker tone and more translucent base, I’m cool with it.

Here’s a shot in outdoor direct natural light (bright sunlight):

This polish was pretty easy to apply and was opaque in two to three coats. I used two for these photos, but on my other hand (not pictured), I applied it thinner and needed three. Dry time was faster than average. The polish dried fairly smooth, but the finish was something of a semi-matte. I thought it looked better with a coat of glossy top coat.

Again in indirect outdoor natural light (shade), but different color temperature:

Here’s another angle on those flakies:

Durability doesn’t seem to be this color’s strong suit, unfortunately. It started chipping pretty badly on me at the end of the second day, and the typical polish usually lasts four or five days.

Long story short, it’s a pretty color with easy application but only lasts a couple days, even with a generally reliable base and top coat. That’s not necessarily much of an issue if you like to change your nail color often, though, and as always, your mileage may vary, particularly since this is an indie polish that may have some variation from bottle to bottle.

Do you have any thoughts on this color or indie polishes in general? I’d love to hear from you!