Julep Christina

Late post of my Valentine’s week nails/swatch. 😀 Julep Christina is an older Julep polish (from 2011, I think), one of the first I ever bought, yet untried until this month.

This is two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, taken in outdoor natural light (please excuse the second-day tip wear):

Julep calls Christina a “deep orange shimmer,” and I don’t know if it’s just me, but it looks to me like a hot red-pink glass-fleck shimmer in person. The photo didn’t capture the pink tones I saw in person somehow. After seeing  Julep’s description, though, I am sort of reminded of OPI Jinx, one of my favorite hot orange-pinks, but orange isn’t the first color that came to mind for me.

Christina has a hot-pink base (which is more obvious on the first coat), but it’s loaded with enough gold-flashing fine flakies that it ends up reading as more red than pink. At angles that the gold’s more muted, though, it definitely looks pink. Either way, the bright color, sheer-learning base, and the dense iridescent flakies combine for nice depth and juiciness. 🙂

Formula is good and dries on the fast side of average. It was durable, too, and didn’t have major chips until maybe five or six days in. No staining (with my usual base coat), either! Thumbs up.

Face-off: Zoya Dillon vs. Julep Francine vs. Julep Shay

This past week, I thought I’d compare a couple similar recently released green-blue Julep polishes, Julep Francine from this May and Julep Shay from January, in case you (like me) were wondering if you’d accidentally bought two nearly identical polishes. I threw Zoya Dillon in there, too, just for the heck of it.

In the bottle, they look somewhat similar, but definitely not identical, and this held true on the nail, as well.

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Here they are, two coats each and topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, Dillon on the index finger, Francine on the middle and pinky, and Shay on the ring. Photo taken in outdoor natural light.

As you can see, Zoya Dillon (on the index nail) is, by far, a mintier, less saturated color, I think partially due to the base color itself, but also because of its predominantly silver shimmer. I really only threw it in there for kicks, since it’s not super similar.

Julep Francine has a somewhat sheer aqua/turquoise base filled with metallic shimmer, but the flash tends to lean gold in typical lighting, giving it a warmer, greenish overall hue. In some lighting, though, the gold shifts to blue, giving the polish a totally different look. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to capture that, since it tended to happen in dimmer lighting when I couldn’t get a good shot. I think Francine’s meant to be worn semi-sheer at two coats, but it’s sisters with Regina, and I’m guessing it can probably be mostly opaque at three coats. Anyway, the shimmer tends to mask the sheerness, even at two coats. In any case, the formula was easy to work with, and it dried on the fast side.

Julep Shay I’ve talked about in a previous post. Maybe it’s the drier weather we have here, but Shay dried slightly faster this time than in the humid tropical climate I last tried it out in. Compared to Francine, Shay’s shimmer texture looks chunkier, though it still dries smooth. I can’t tell if it’s from the scatter effect of the holo shimmer or from the shimmer particle size itself. In any case, the overall effect is more glitter-like and less smooth than Francine. Shay also tends to lean bluer/cooler than Francine when Francine flashes gold. They’re more similar in hue when Francine leans blue. Francine doesn’t have Shay’s glass-fleck iridescence, though.

This next photo in indoor white-LED lighting is a bit blurry, but hopefully it shows a bit better what I mean about the finer shimmer texture in Francine, as compared to Shay.

Durability was typical for me on all three polishes and lasted around three or four days, at least. Dillon chipped first, but it was on my more heavily used index fingers, so that could have also been the reason it lasted the fewest days.

(UPDATE 6/11/2016: Francine and Shay were both mildly staining. They left a slight turquoise tinge after removal with nail polish remover, though the parts that chipped off on their own didn’t leave stained nails underneath. Dillon didn’t stain at all.)

Tl;dr – Francine’s gold flash and Shay’s coarser and cooler holo sparkle are what set them slightly apart, and Dillon’s noticeably more muted than the other two, cooler than Francine, and possibly a tad warmer than Shay. From a distance or at a glance, they could pass for the same polish, so whether you’d want both completely depends on how granularly you distinguish between colors and finishes.

 

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!

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 Emily

Time for a quick swatch post. Here’s two coats Julep Emily, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Please excuse the day-two naked tips. Somehow, wrapping the tips has never really helped me all that much because it’s already worn away by the next day!

Emily‘s Julep’s blue-topaz birthstone polish for December! Highly pigmented formula that’s almost opaque in one coat, but I did two thin coats for these photos. It’s the perfect mermaid blue, with glass-fleck-y shimmer that looks like a cyan-to-magenta duochrome in the bottle and maybe from more extreme angles but typically really only flashes cyan on the nail. Still, absolutely stunning polish.

Formula was buttery smooth and a joy to apply, even with the Julep brush and its weird splayed-ended wide-tipped shape that I admittedly do not love. Dry time was about average. Durability-wise, it didn’t stay on the longest for me (chipped after maybe three days, even using the same base coat and top coat that I frequently use), though I can’t say for sure that wasn’t because of other factors, like my daily activities or the weather. I also noticed that the strong pigment made for some messy removal and didn’t want to completely come off my skin and nails after I removed it, but it didn’t actually stain, as the blue haze washed off after I washed my hands a few times.

UPDATE 3/20/16: I took a bottle shot of Emily (and the gold nail tape Julep originally forgot to send me, which they sent me Emily as an apology for) and totally forgot to include it in this post. Here it is.

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TL;DR – overall, thumbs up. Highly pigmented, but cleanup is a bit of a bear.

Julep Nicola

This year, I didn’t do particularly festive nails for Halloween – no time! I did put on Julep Nicola, though, for the glow-in-the-dark finish. 🙂

Nicola is a very sheer peachy apricot base loaded with iridescent glass-fleck-y micro particles. It’s way sheer, though – way more sheer than I anticipated from the marketing photos. Even at three coats, like shown in my photos, you can barely see the polish, except that it adds a little bit of a blush tint to the nail, as well as the lovely iridescent sparkle and glossy sheen. It’s a subtle beauty, but definitely not for people who hate sheer polishes.

This is taken in strong direct outdoor natural light:

The consistency is fine, but it has a weird, strong skunky smell (blech) and seems to take longer than average to dry. Be prepared to sit tight – and maybe hold your hands away from your nose – especially if you use more than one coat of this polish!

Another angle in strong direct outdoor natural light:

The iridescent flakes stand out more in slightly less direct outdoor natural light. They mostly flash cyan to pink for me:

The peachy tint is nice, but it does make the whites of the nails look discolored.

I couldn’t snap a photo of the glow-in-the-dark effect because my phone camera couldn’t capture it. It does glow visibly greenish yellow in the dark, though.

Nicola is a pretty polish, but it’s a little more sheer than I typically like in a polish – almost more of a nail perfector, though blingy. The smell and long dry time are also not my favorite. Maybe it’ll be good layered over something else; I might experiment with that later on. Ultimately, I’m not sure it was the best use of my $6.99 (it was an add-on for my October 2015 Julep Maven box). I certainly don’t hate it, though.

Did you pick up Nicola? What did you think?

July 4th: The Lady Varnishes Stay Puft, Pure Ice Deja Vu & Sinful Colors Star Blast-Off

I’ve swatched a few festive colors for July 4th! Here’s The Lady Varnishes Stay Puft, two coats, on all fingers except the ring, which is two coats Pure Ice Deja Vu layered with one layer Sinful Colors Star Blast-Off.

This is day two of this manicure in outdoor natural light, all nails topped with Essie Good To Go top coat:

The Lady Varnishes Stay Puft, from The Lady Varnishes’ I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost collection, is a fun glow-in-the-dark glitter topper with a sheer white base and multi-sized matte white hexes, translucent blue-raspberry blue and red hexes, and white glass-fleck-y shimmer. The sheer white is subtle but gives the nails a cleaner look. Also, my bottle is marshmallow scented!

The formula is a bit goopy and clumpy, but it’s not too bad to work with, since it’s sheer and hard to mess up. The brush is a bit thicker and wider than the typical standard nail-polish brush and easily fans out to cover the entire nail. I typically prefer the finer standard-size brushes, but I didn’t have trouble with this one, though it did pick up a lot of glitter at once. Dry time was super fast, always a plus.

Did I mention that it glows in the dark? It’s beautiful, too – the glow is primarily a soft blue and looks like a galaxy with all the glitters:

Super sweet!

Pure Ice Deja Vu is one of my favorite Pure Ice polishes. It’s a royal-blue metallic/shimmer with a fuchsia/purple duochrome/dichroic flash, and it’s opaque in two coats. The formula is a tad more watery than optimal, but it’s not too hard to work with, and the brush is pretty standard. Dry time seemed average.

Sinful Colors Star Blast-Off, which I picked up at the same time as Green Ocean from the Having A Blast display at Walgreens, is a glitter topper with matte white stars, small matte white round and hex glitters, and medium matte blue and matte red hexes suspended in a clear base. The base is a bit watery, so some fishing, dabbing, and manual glitter placement is needed to get a good distribution of glitters. The brush is pretty standard and picks up glitter decently. Dry time was a bit longer than average for me.

I think Stay Puft is a new favorite for me. I even like how it looks sheer. 🙂 It goes for $11 at The Lady Varnishes’ Etsy store and is still in stock as of this writing. The other two polishes were $2 polishes at Walmart for Pure Ice and Walgreens for Sinful Colors.

What are your favorite July 4th polishes?

Have a happy and safe Fourth!

Durability update 7/8/2015: Stay Puft started chipping within 2-3 days, but the other two colors lasted about a week without too much damage.