Throwback Thursday: Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Precious Pearl

I’ve never done a Throwback Thursday post, but hey, I just happen to be wearing the first nail polish that started this whole nail polish obsession: Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Precious Pearl. More on that in a bit.

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

Precious Pearl is a very sheer, frosty ivory pearl with a strong pink shift. At two coats, it’s still almost transparent, especially from certain angles. The formula’s a bit watery, but it’s not bad to work with, especially in thin coats. It had an average dry time for me. Overall, it’s a decent polish, if you feel like wearing something sheer (which I was, for some reason, probably as a palate cleanser, so to speak).

I think the formula does possibly speed up nail growth a tad (at least when worn without base coat), though I can’t be sure because I haven’t taken down empirical data or anything. 😉 I have pretty fast-growing nails as it is, and I itch to trim them every few days, so I’m basing this purely on my qualitative impression that I’ve felt like trimming my nails again even sooner than usual.

Precious Pearl probably isn’t in production anymore; I haven’t seen it in stores in years. Also, if I saw it now, I think I would scan over and pass it up almost immediately, in favor of something loud, like a neon orange or teal holo. A few years ago, though, I owned zero nail polishes and had no interest in nail polish whatsoever.

So what got me started on nail polish? Wrecked nails after a gel manicure (my first manicure ever!), which I got for my wedding. I think my nails got buffed a bit too much before the gel polish was applied, so they felt horribly sensitive after the polish was removed. I ended up going to the drugstore that night and picking this up, hoping the Nailgrowth Miracle part wasn’t just a gimmick and wanting something that looked as close to my natural nails as possible…without being too boring. 🙂

And with that, my fate was sealed. I’m still not big on getting salon manicures (well, I’ve only ever had three in my life, two for weddings and one freebie when I got that first gel manicure removed when I didn’t know how to do it myself yet!), but maybe fourth time’s the charm? I usually feel bummed out afterward that my fingers are sore and that I could have painted my own nails just as well and cheaper. Maybe tomorrow’s (again wedding-related) salon visit will be better. ❤


Julep Pam & Julep Alysha

I’ve got swatches for two Julep August 2016 colors today, Julep Pam and Julep Alysha! These photos show two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light.



Pam is a somewhat frosty, somewhat metallic orange-soda orange with holographic shimmer. The frosty finish shows brushstrokes a bit, but it’s better with topcoat. The holo effect isn’t especially strong in this one, but it gives the polish a cute carbonated appearance. 🙂




Alysha is a deep berry-purple shimmer with occasional maroon undertones and linear holographic shimmer. I didn’t really photograph it well, but the rainbows are pretty vibrant.

Both Pam and Alysha have good formulas that are nearly opaque in one coat and even out well in two coats. They both dried on the fast side of average for me. No problems to report on either polish.

Julep Aubrey

Julep Aubrey is a color from September’s It Girl Maven box, labeled as a “[r]osewood shimmer.” The color’s hard to describe, but if I were to give it a shot, I’d say it looks like a dusty, rose-leaning deep grape to me; a little too purple for a rosewood color, at least to my eye. The finish is a frosty metallic shimmer, and brushstrokes do tend to show, but somehow it doesn’t look bad with this color. Maybe it’s just because it’s been compared to a wood that I expected the brush texture, but it doesn’t bother me with Aubrey.

Here’s two coats in direct outdoor sunlight, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

And in the shade:

And, finally, in a combination of indoor fluorescent lighting and sunlight coming in from a window:

In person, I find that it’s usually got the warmer tones of the first photo in direct sunlight, even in indirect light. Formula was easy to work with, opaque in two coats, and dried in average time – no complaints. Durability is excellent, too. At this point, I’ve worn this polish for almost a week – five days, at least – and it’s just showing some minor tip wear and no chipping, even with the usual beatings my fingertips get from rigorous piano playing.

I actually like the color a lot more than I expected: a little edgy, almost vampy in some lighting conditions, and unlike any other color in my collection. Overall, I give Aubrey a thumbs up.

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 July 2015 It Girl swatches: Juliana, Alyssa & Mara

I was so enamored with the color combination in this month’s Julep Maven It Girl box that I decided to swatch them together as skittles. (Well, that, and it’s so hard to find time to paint nails with a newborn – thank goodness for a helpful husband and family!)

Here’s two coats Julep Juliana on the index and pinky nails, two coats Julep Alyssa on the middle, and one coat Julep Mara on the ring. All nails are topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, except for the Mara, which stands alone. This is in indirect natural light:

Juliana (index & pinky) is a semi-sheer grapefruit-pink polish with what looks to me like a gold-to-pink shimmer. It could maybe build to opacity with a third coat, but I liked the luminous, translucent look at two coats. It looks so juicy! Even though the finish is a bit frosty, brushstrokes aren’t too obvious. The formula is easy to work with and dries pretty fast.

Alyssa (middle) is a bold medium turquoise creme that, if applied carefully, can provide full coverage in one coat. (I used two coats because I accidentally dragged the brush in one spot and left a bald streak.) The formula is a bit thick and requires some care to apply, especially in making sure excess polish doesn’t drip down Julep’s long brush stem. Dry time was average for me.

Mara (ring) is a saturated grape-sorbet purple textured polish with what looks like iridescent shimmer that seems to flash primarily gold and pink for me. It’s good to go in one coat! Application was flawless, and dry time was fast. I honestly can’t stop thinking of grape sorbet when I see this color, especially with the texture and sparkle reminiscent of frozen sweets.

Juliana’s sheerness and lit-from-within glow is maybe more obvious in this photo in indoor white-LED lighting:

I love all three colors, especially how they look together and remind me of summertime ice-box treats. Yum!

Did you get a Julep box this month, and what did you think of your haul?

Julep Ava & Revlon Transforming Effects Nude Graffiti

I’m not normally a huge fan of pale pink, but Julep Ava was sitting untried in my stash (I’d gotten it for free with one of my Maven monthly boxes at some point), and I thought it’d go well with Revlon Nude Graffiti, one of the Transforming Effects top coats just released this year.

I mentioned in my last post that I was interested in picking up Holographic Pearls from the same Revlon Transforming Effects line. Well, my local CVS happened to have a buy-two-get-one-free deal, which I was able to combine with some other coupons, so I went ahead and picked up some of the fun new top coats that appealed to me. They were just a couple bucks each after the coupons stacked – such a steal! I’ll swatch the others sometime.

Anyway, this is three coats of Ava with approximately one swipe-dabbed coat of Nude Graffiti on the accent nail, topped with Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat, in outdoor natural light:

Julep Ava is described as a “[b]allet slipper pink frost.” Honestly, though, the finish isn’t all that frosty and is closer to Julep’s other subtle shimmers. Ava’s more like a neutral pale pink creme with a barely-there pearlescent shimmer.

It’s not really my kind of color, but honestly, the real let down of this polish is how terrible the formula is. I think it was worse than Julep Zora, a similar color I previously swatched. It’s not that visible from my photo because the top coat helped even it out somewhat, but it applied very patchily and didn’t self-level well at all, even after two coats. I had to apply a third coat to make it opaque, and even then, it wasn’t very even. Even worse, it took way longer to dry than most polishes I own. Based on the formula, I can’t really recommend this polish, even if pale pink/neutral is your thing.

I liked Revlon Nude Graffiti much better than Ava, and I do think it pairs well with a pale neutral pink! It’s a smorgasbord of matte nude glitters in various shapes (hex, bar, and round), sizes, and shades (what looks to me like peach, pink, ivory, silver/gray, and white). The combination of soft colors somehow really appeals to me, and it adds subtle interest to an otherwise potentially boring neutral. It’s meant to be a layering polish, so the glitters aren’t too dense.

The formula is middling. The clear base is a little runny for my tastes, kind of like the clear base in Hearts of Gold FX. I found I sometimes needed to let some of the base run off the brush before I could apply the glitters without extra goop flooding the cuticle. Because the glitters in this one are smaller than the hearts in Hearts of Gold FX, though, it’s not as much of an annoyance to dab the glitters where you want them. It dries relatively quickly and not too bumpy for a glitter, which is great. If you don’t mind some texture, you might not even need another top coat, but I like it with one extra layer of clear coat so the glitters don’t snag.

As I mentioned, I used Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat with these nails. This top coat works well with some polishes, but maybe because Ava was a little weird/thick/goopy and didn’t quite dry right (even after waiting 15 minutes or so), it didn’t work quite as well with this combination. I think the top coat did as well as can be expected in smoothing out Ava’s unevenness, but it just didn’t dry with the same durability I’d gotten with Julep Phia – I ended up gouging one of my nails some hours after application when I accidentally nicked a zipper. 😛

Anyone else pick up any of Revlon’s new Transforming Effects polishes? What do you think?

Julep Zora

I’m not usually a “work-appropriate” colors kind of girl – there’s just usually something flashier that catches my eye more – but somehow the mood struck me this week. For whatever reason, I was excited about Julep Fifi (“[t]ea time pink crème”) when it was announced as one of this month’s limited-edition colors. Something about that pale, cool, milk-glass pink just struck me, even though I’d guess there are many pinks like it out there. It didn’t hurt that they marketed it with the word tea. I’d been planning on wearing Fifi this week when it arrived, but because Julep made a shipping error and didn’t send me my Fifi (more on that at the end of the post), I had to find a different color to wear, and I still felt like pale pink.

Luckily, I had Julep Zora sitting around untried. It’s no Fifi (though the reviews on Fifi make me wonder if that might actually be a good thing), but it was as close to my color craving as anything in my current stash could get.

Here’s two coats on the ring and pinky fingers and three coats on the index and middle fingers, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, in outdoor natural light:

Zora is a pale, slightly warm-leaning, ballet-slipper pink with a fine, silvery mica shimmer. The shimmer is pretty subtle, at least on me. I find that you can’t really see it much, like in the sunlit photo above, unless you look fairly closely and in stronger light. Usually, Zora looks to me like a creme, with maybe a hint of frost here and there.

I love the color, but I didn’t so much love the formula. It’s a little thick and doesn’t level well, so getting the polish to look even is a bit of a pain. Some thinner may fix that, but I haven’t tried it, myself. Because of uneven application and some bald spots, I tried three coats on the index and middle fingers, but you probably only need two, if you’re more careful than I was. The brush is flattened, slightly wide, and square-tipped, and it’s easy enough to use, though slightly clumsier for smaller nails. The dry time was a bit above average for me (hence the stupid ding on the middle finger). Overall, the formula could be better, but it’s not unworkable.

Here’s a shot in indoor fluorescent lighting to better show the shimmer texture, which does tend to show brushstrokes. Since it’s so subtle most of the time, though, it’s not really very bothersome.

Back to Fifi: I mentioned in my September 2014 Julep Maven box post that Julep had left Fifi out of my box, presumably by accident, since they didn’t say anything about it. When I contacted customer support, though, the reply I got back minimized their shipping error. It was a passive “we’re sorry to hear [your shipment] was incomplete,” rather than something acknowledging their mistake and communicating that they cared about me as a customer, like, say, “we’re sorry we didn’t ship you everything you ordered, and we’d really like to make it right.” To add insult to injury, I was then told they had run out of Fifi and would not be able to ship me the item they forgot to send me. They could not even guarantee that Fifi would ever become available again. I was offered either a different color or a refund, and that was it.

To be completely honest, I feel a bit slighted. It’s not that I want to demand anything more from Julep; I mean, I’m bursting at the seams with nail polish at all times. I’d just like to be treated like a valued customer, like I’m sure most people would, and I just don’t think this is the right way to respond to a customer when you’ve made an error that damaged that customer’s faith in you. If I were Julep, I’d have offered the alternate color or refund, as well as a nominal something or other just to apologize for 1) the shipping error, and 2) the inability to fulfill the customer’s shipment as ordered and paid for. Isn’t a customer’s goodwill worth that much, at least?

Okay, I’m done venting now.

To end on a lighter note, this is what Zora will always mean to me:

From Zeldapedia. Image source linked.

Revlon Parfumerie Wintermint & Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Mint Sorbet with Julep Gloria

I’d bought Revlon Parfumerie Wintermint sometime ago and never gotten around to wearing it. Good thing I met up with my sister over the weekend, and she was wearing Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Dream, which reminded me to do that. In fact, for fun, I decided to duplicate her nails, except with similar polishes that I had on hand.

This is Wintermint, two coats, on all fingers, except for the accent nail, which is two coats Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Mint Sorbet and a heart painted on in Julep Gloria, all topped with one coat of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat. Outdoor indirect sunlight:

I’ve heard that Wintermint is pretty close to Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Dream, if not an exact dupe. I don’t own the latter, but here’s a detailed comparison from KittyKam’s Nails.

Wintermint is a frosty minty, seafoamy green base with small marine-blue hex glitters and what looks to my naked eye like holo microglitter. The round Parfumerie bottle cap was a little more awkward for me to hold than the typical cylindrical cap, and the brush stem is a bit shorter than average, but the brush itself is pretty standard: round, flat-tipped, and medium width. The formula is smooth, easy to apply, and reasonably opaque in two coats, with no special glitter placement needed. Despite the glitter, it’s not too bumpy when dry. Dries fast.

By the way, my nails smelled pleasantly minty for all of one evening before the scent was no longer noticeable. That was kind of disappointing, since Autumn Spice kept its smell for maybe a few days. Still, the fragrance is a fun novelty.

Mint Sorbet is a straightforward mint creme and can probably be a one-coater, if you’re careful. I wasn’t, so I smoothed it out with a second coat. This polish also dries fast and has a good formula. The brush is flat, flat-tipped, medium width, and very easy to use.

Gloria is a reddish coral creme, one of Julep’s older colors, I think. I’ve never worn it on its own, so I’m not sure how it’d apply normally, but in my application dotting it in a heart shape, it felt a bit thick and dried almost too quickly. I was getting bald spots and threads of dried polish as I lifted my dotting tool sometimes! The upside is that it was very opaque on the first application.

The heart ended up bleeding a little because, as I mentioned before, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat tends to melt the polish under it, even when the polish already feels dry to the touch. I guess it’s a risky top coat to use with nail art, though maybe it could’ve worked out better if I’d let the polish dry even longer after it felt dry to me. My right hand (not shown) had more smearing because I top coated it first. Oops.

By the way, Julep’s Plie tool did help me out here. I tried the Plie dotting attachment both with and without the Plie handle, and I think the handle does help with balance. I’m not sure it’s superior to a typical dotter, though, since I haven’t used others.

And, here’s the original manicure that I was imitating. :] My sister used Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Dream instead of Wintermint, Revlon Jaded instead of Mint Sorbet, and Revlon Provoke instead of Gloria:

Can you tell our hands are related?

I was hoping to do a face-off of sorts, comparing her nails to mine in the same photo, but she tells me her nails have already chipped, so I don’t think we’ll be able to do that this time. I’ve got to get her to try the Miracle Gel top coat!

Maybe next time, we can collaborate on something.