Julep Kayla

From my untrieds, Julep Kayla, described by Julep as an “electric iris sheer with violet sheen.” This is two coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat, in outdoor natural light (both direct light and shade):

Kayla‘s got a jelly-like sheer, somewhat milky, quality, but it’s loaded with duochrome-y shimmer that flashes pink/purple. The base color is an interesting periwinkle blue-leaning kind of pastel-neon lavender – it’s hard to describe. The pink flash warms it up a bit, but it’s overall a cool-toned polish. By the way, my bottle isn’t nearly as dark as the swatches on Julep’s website.

It takes three coats for decent coverage, though it’ll still be sheer (as intended). Could be great for layering, I bet. Application was great, and dry time was average.

It’s a fun spring/summer color that’s somehow both bright and understated. 🙂 I’ve only worn it on its own so far, but I bet it could make a mean jelly sandwich!

Illamasqua Viridian & Glitterati

I got these polishes on clearance after the holidays from Sephora some years ago, before they stopped carrying Illamasqua products, and I busted them out again this year because I missed wearing them!

Here’s Illamasqua Viridian, one coat, on all nails, except for two coats Illamasqua Glitterati on the accent nail, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. In outdoor natural light on day 2:

Viridian is a lovely metallic evergreen (blue-toned, somewhat dusty green) with fine silver shimmer. The bottle seems to show some blue duochrome/dichroic flash, but it doesn’t really show on the nail. Best thing is it’s got a great formula that’s completely opaque in one coat. So awesome. It’s still one of my favorite greens/teals. (I did a comparison post of several similar polishes earlier, if you’re interested!) Dry time was around average.

Glitterati is jewel-toned berry jelly with various sized holo glitters and some kind of fine iridescent shimmer that flashes blue from some angles. I seriously love this polish, and my crappy photo unfortunately doesn’t do it justice. The depth and coverage is good at two coats, but it’s a bit too uneven at one. No complaints about the formula, which dried pretty fast.

Both of these polishes lasted about four days or so with my typical base and top coats – pretty average for me.

Happy new year!

Face-off: Julep Becky vs. OPI Peace & Love & OPI

It’s face-off time! This time, I’ve got Julep Becky and OPI Peace & Love & OPI to compare:

  • INDEX: two coats Peace & Love & OPI topped with Julep Silk Effect Top Coat
  • MIDDLE & PINKY: two coats Julep Becky, no top coat
  • RING: two coats Peace & Love & OPI topped with Essie Good to Go Top Coat (glossy)

This is in outdoor natural light:

My phone camera didn’t capture it well, but both polishes are dark gunmetal-gray shimmers with a green-to-warm-purple dichroic/duochrome flash. Becky strikes me as a silk-effect (semi-matte finish with a fine pearlescent shimmer) version of Julep Blakely, which seems to be a pretty close dupe of Peace & Love & OPI. Here you can see some of the green-to-purpleness, mildly. As you can see, Becky and the OPI are pretty similar, especially when the OPI has the silk-effect top coat over it.

At this angle, you can see the purple flash. You can also see that Becky has a bit more scatter in its sparkle. The OPI polish is smoother and has finer shimmer. (Hmm, I swear I swatched Blakely at some point, but I can’t find the post, so maybe I didn’t take photos or do a write up. Drat.)

Here they are in indoor white-LED light, which shows the very subtle difference between the shimmer texture a bit better:

Yeah, it’s not a big difference, and honestly, it’s almost not noticeable in person.

Formula-wise, they both apply well and dry on the fast side. They’re both almost opaque at one coat but could use a second to even things out. The Silk Effect Top Coat is a bit of a pain because it takes a bit to dry, unlike the speedy Good To Go, so if you’re impatient and like the silk effect (or don’t own the silk-effect top coat in the first place), it could be worthwhile to pick up Becky, even if you already have Blakely or the OPI. I normally like the silk finish, but I wasn’t feeling it with this polish. It reduced the impact of the color shift and detracted from that oil-slick look, which was what I liked best about these polishes.

Bottom line: Julep Becky is pretty much Julep Blakely with a silk finish, and Julep Blakely is almost identical to OPI Peace & Love & OPI. I prefer it glossy, so I didn’t really need to have both Becky and Blakely (let alone all three of these!), but the urge to swatch them side by side is just too great to resist. :] OPI’s the less expensive brand (around $9 full retail for a 15 mL bottle, versus $14 full retail for Julep’s half-size 8 mL bottle), and the formula is great, so if you don’t care for the silk finish or the smaller bottle, I’d go with the OPI.

Julep Summer & Julep Regina

Quick swatch post of last week’s nails: two coats Julep Summer (index & pinky) and three coats Julep Regina (middle & ring), topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

Summer is a cantaloupey semi-sheer polish with a pink flash and fine shimmer throughout. Because of the shimmer, the nail line isn’t all that visible, even though the polish itself isn’t completely opaque at two coats. No problems with the formula, and the dry time was about average. Personally, I don’t mind the sheerness; looks like candy!

Regina is a pink and purple iridescent glass-fleck-y shimmer, also semi-sheer. I liked it better with more opacity at three coats, though two coats is fine, if you don’t mind a sheerer finish. The cyan to pink dichroic/duochrome flash is what seems to give it that quality of flip-flopping between pink and purple. Formula was good, and dry time was relatively fast – in the time it took for me to apply three coats of this, Summer was still drying.

May 2016 has been my favorite Julep Maven month in a long time – especially Pepper, Francine (coming up in the next swatch post), Regina, and Summer. Of these two, I liked Regina more (personal taste and dry time, mostly), but they’re both lovely. Durability was great, too – they lasted a full week!

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!

Julep Pepper

Quick swatch post: here’s two coats of Julep Pepper from my Maven box this month, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light.

Pepper is described by Julep as a cornflower blue, which is pretty accurate in person, and it’s loaded with silver shimmer. Interestingly, it’s brighter and greener-leaning in the photo than it looks to me in person. It could be the purple/pink flash, but I find the polish looks more indigo in person – not dark, but definitely a bit of a deeper hue than my photos suggest. The dichroic/duochrome-y flash (which I think shifts from purple to cyan) is fairly subtle and shows a bit more in the bottle than on the nail. It mostly leans purple for me.

This second photo from another angle has more of the purplish blue I typically saw, but in person, it’s a bit cooler-toned than this.

Formula was easy to apply, but it dried infuriatingly slow, like Julep Shay. A fast-dry top coat helped, though I didn’t wait quite long enough, and at least one nail got dinged. Oh, well. Just a heads up in case you hate waiting for polish to dry, like me. Love the color, though.

Durability was okay but below average for me. I don’t know if it’s because I was on and off a plane and changing climates so many times while I had this polish on (since that dries and stresses out my skin and nails like crazy), or whether it’s because I didn’t wait long enough for it to dry when I applied it, but it started chipping significantly off after about two or three days. Not great, but since travel’s bound to beat up nails more than staying home, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

Overall, not bad, but I wonder what’s with the long dry times on Julep’s recent polishes. Is it a particular pigment in the polish?

Julep Jocelyn

This is Julep Jocelyn, the polish that convinced me to pick up this month’s Julep Maven Classic with a Twist box. It’s a burgundy-to-cranberry shimmer, courtesy of shimmer particles that seem to shift from magenta to gold and impart a bluer or more orange cast to what looks to me like a metallic maroon base, with holo particles interspersed throughout. So pretty.

Here is two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor direct natural light:

These photos in bright sunlight show off the complexity of this color pretty well. The holo microglitter throws off more rainbows in person, though.

The formula is a tad on the thicker side, so it has a tendency to cling to the brush stem and drip (so be careful with that extra-long Julep brush stem) but it provides good coverage and is almost opaque in one coat. You could probably get by with a single coat if you apply it carefully, but I still used two coats for better evenness. You can see the brush strokes a little bit, but it’s not too noticeable. The Julep brush still seems to be the slightly wider than average, slightly flattened, square-tipped one. It’s all right, but as I’ve mentioned in other reviews of more recent Julep polishes, it’s not the easiest brush for hugging the cuticle curve.

In outdoor indirect natural light (shade):

In indirect light, the dichroic/duochrome flash doesn’t show as much, so the maroon base predominates. It’s a lovely deep purplish red that reminds me of Dr. Pepper cans and cherries – the ripe, dark-red ones:

Finally, one more angle to better show off that golden shimmer:

Jocelyn is, in short, everything I was hoping for in this polish color. With fall coming on, I had such a hankering to wear a spicy, fruity color like this, and Julep totally nailed it (no pun intended). I imagine it’d be a fantastic color for winter, too. Thumbs up on this one!

If you’re digging these Julep colors, you might be interested in checking out Julep’s monthly Maven box, which is $24,99 a month individually, or $19.99 a month, if you prepay for three months at a time, and you can skip boxes and cancel whenever you like (a must in a subscription box, in my  book). I believe you can get the first box for free. 🙂

Anyway, Arielle is up next for swatching, probably, unless I end up obsessing over another color when I change colors at the end of the week. 🙂 Did you pick up this month’s Julep box, and what did you think of this collection?

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!

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!