Face-off: Essie Leggy Legend vs. Julep Luz

Quick comparison post! I mentioned earlier that I thought Essie Leggy Legend and Julep Luz might be fraternal twins. On a closer look, though, I think they’re probably more like cousins – not too alike, but maybe with some general similar features.

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Here they are in outdoor natural light, two coats each (Leggy Legend on the index and ring, Luz on the middle and pinky), topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, on the third day:

They’re both bronzy and metallic, somewhat coppery and somewhat golden, but that’s about where the similarities end. As you can see, Leggy Legend is definitely redder-toned and has a much finer texture than Luz. The shimmer particles are smaller and have way less scatter when the light hits them.

It’s a bit easier to see the difference in the overall hue in this next photo, also taken in outdoor natural light on the same day and around the same time, but with the sun coming in at a different angle:

I’ve already talked about Leggy Legend in a previous post and am still in love with this polish.

Luz is also a good one, though it’s got a different personality – less slick, more flamboyant. There’s a bit of a rosy, coppery undertone to it, as with Leggy, but in brighter or more direct light, the predominant color seems to be a metallic, less saturated yellow gold. Its loud sparkle makes me think foil – though I guess terms describing finishes are kind of arbitrary, anyway. Formula is great and dries pretty fast, and so far, durability is good. I’m now on my fifth day with these nails, and it’s just showing some expected tip wear. Not bad.

Here it is in indoor white LED light (again demonstrating how Luz’s paler gold sparkle tends to take over):

Not all that similar, but they play well together. 🙂

Leggy strikes me as the stand-out of the two polishes, mostly because its intense, glowy copper-gold is truly one-of-a-kind in my collection, whereas Luz’s predominant gold is more similar to other gold polishes I own. Both are lovely and apply wonderfully, though. Maybe I’ll do side-by-side comparisons of my other gold polishes someday.

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Julep Elsa & Julep Judy

It’s finally December, my favorite month and totally the best time to wear wintry whites and tinsel-esque metallics! I love winter polishes, I really do – and this month‘s Julep Maven featured add-on, Elsa, was a love-at-first-sight polish for me.

Here is two coats Elsa (no top coat) on all nails, except for two coats Julep Judy on the ring finger, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in indoor indirect natural light:

Elsa‘s described as a “[s]nowdrift iridescent stardust,” which is pretty much spot-on. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of attempts at a snow-textured polish (China Glaze There’s Snow One Like You and Essie Peak of Chic, I’m looking at you), and I think they generally miss the mark a bit. Elsa, however, fully lives up to its snowdrift description. It’s a milky, semi-sheer cool-toned white base with fine white texture beads and opalescent/iridescent flake glitter, and it looks surprisingly like snow/slush in the best way.

In outdoor indirect sun (shows more of Elsa’s translucence and opalescent flakes):

Elsa dries matte and textured, and is meant to be worn without a top coat. The formula is easy enough to work with and dries on the fast side. No complaints whatsoever.

Meanwhile, Judy is a demure, somewhat desaturated and slightly sheer pale gold/champagne metallic – pretty foil-like with how sparkly it is – with some subtle iridescent/holo shimmer thrown in. (Julep describes it as a “[m]oonbeam iridescent chrome,” but I would’ve expected a cooler hue, like a pale bluish or cool pearlescent silver, if given that description without a visual.) It reminds me of Julep Love, but without the fuchsia microglitter.

In direct outdoor natural light:

No problems with Judy’s formula, either. It was easy to work with and also dried on the faster side. Shiny and festive!

I really loved both these polishes. It was so awesome that they came in an add-on duo (Chilled Bubbly) for $7.99 this month (if I remember right). Such a great deal, especially because the colors added on separately would have been $6.99 individually. I’m not sure who in their right minds would have chosen to get just one of these polishes with the duo available – well, maybe if someone really hated one of them, though I can’t imagine why anyone would. I hope Julep makes more of these great-value duos available as add-ons in future boxes. 🙂

(TL;DR: Elsa = <3)

Julep Kris & Julep Cheyenne

Today’s swatch post is two coats of Julep Kris topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, except the ring finger, which is one coat of Julep Cheyenne. These were the November 2015 Julep Maven Bombshell box colors, which I borrowed from my sister, since I skipped that month. (Application’s kind of messy, since I slapped these on in a rush before Thanksgiving preparations. Also, please excuse the tip wear – I didn’t have time to take photos until day two!)

In direct outdoor natural light:

Kris is described by Julep as a “[a]rctic iridescent chrome.” The polish isn’t what comes to mind for me when hearing the words “iridescent chrome,” but I guess I can see where they’re coming from. It’s a clear base suspended with super-shiny cool-toned silver shimmer particles – not especially densely so, but it’s buildable and semi-opaque in two thin coats, like in my photos. The shimmer particles are a bit chunkier than a typical shimmer and give a slightly textured effect, but it’s not quite chunky enough that I’d call it microglitter. The particles are a touch iridescent, but it’s not immediately obvious. The finish also isn’t a smooth metallic, like I associate with chromes. Instead, it strikes me as more of a slightly sheer/sparse foil, if that makes sense.

The formula was easy enough to apply, but as I’ve mentioned, it’s a tad sheer and could have maybe used a third coat for better opacity, though it looks fine with two. It also seems to have a longer than average dry time (unfortunately).

Another shot in direct sunlight:

Cheyenne is a brick-red matte metallic, which Julep describes as a “[a]uburn matte metallic.” The description is spot-on, though I found the color a tad more orange/brown-leaning than the swatches Julep posted. The formula was perfect on this one: applied carefully, it was opaque in one coat, and it dried fast! Gorgeous color overall.

In indirect sunlight (shade):

So shiny!

I liked both these colors pretty well. The slow dry time on Kris stressed me out before meal prep, but the shininess of the finish kind of makes up for it. No complaints whatsoever about Cheyenne.

Did you get a November 2015 Julep box, and how did you like your box?

Essie Leggy Legend

As soon as I saw Essie Leggy Legend from this fall’s rock era-inspired collection, I knew I had to have it.

This is two coats in outdoor natural light in overcast weather, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Leggy Legend isn’t just any gold-toned polish. The color is a unique bronze-y, shimmery metallic with bright gold and rosy copper notes that I haven’t seen in any other gold-family metallic polish I own. I expect the multi-faceted color makes it adaptable to many skin tones. It’s also super shiny and overall amazing.

The formula is fantastic, too. Like most Essies I’ve tried, the consistency is very fluid, but it’s not as runny as some, yet goes on buttery smooth. It dries on the faster side, and requires only two coats for good coverage. Win! The shimmer particles do tend to show some mild brushstrokes, but it’s minimal if applied carefully. No complaints about the fairly standard brush.

Here it is again from another angle, also in outdoor natural light (still overcast), for more dramatic lighting:

The richness of this color – I don’t even know how to properly express how much I love it.

I snagged my bottle from CVS (regular $8.50) with a 25% off coupon for about $6.38 + tax. Probably not the lowest price you can get an Essie for, but I was dying to wear it. Worth it. :]

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?