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!

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Unboxing: Wet n Wild Summer Season in a Box – Unicorn Glow!

I don’t really keep up with beauty trends, so I completely missed the unicorn highlighter craze that apparently happened late last year. I only just discovered rainbow luminizer in a recent Ulta e-mail a couple weeks ago, advertising the limited edition release of Wet n Wild Summer Season in a Box – Unicorn Glow.

Ulta was releasing the box one day early (May 21), and I was pretty excited (rainbow highlighter! iridescent lipstick!) but I hemmed and hawed about it. By the next day, though, the box had sold out at Ulta, and I was a bit disappointed…but I was still on the fence. Was I just being lured in by the holo unicorn marketing scheme? I had to think about this a little.

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In the end, I decided I didn’t care. Wet n Wild is so affordable ($29.99 for this box of nine items!) that I figured I might as well throw in the towel and nab some fun unicorn makeup. I mean, I’m not much of a makeup wearer, but when I do wear makeup, I do it for fun!

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This box was only available at a New York beauty convention, Ulta, and the Wet n Wild website, it seems. Wet n Wild e-mailed a notice the second day after release, around 6am when I was heading into the office, that they only had 50 boxes left. I made my order right then and there on my phone. 😀 Good thing, too – they also sold out shortly thereafter.

Seriously, good job on that marketing, Wet n Wild. Way to reel in the children of the 80s and 90s. 😉

My box came in a few days later on May 27, and it did not disappoint! Wet n Wild may be an inexpensive drugstore brand, but their products are pretty solid.

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(1) Unicorn Glow Highlighting Brush – check out that oil-slick iridescence! This is one of those rare cases where the actual product is way prettier in person than in the marketing photos. I like how you can see the colors of the highlighting powder really well on the white brush, and it does a decent job, too. It looks small, but it’s just the right size for sweeping over the top of a cheek bone.

Gotta admit the brush was a large reason for my attraction to this box. This and the rainbow highlighter:

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(2) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Unicorn Glow – surprisingly wearable rainbow highlighter. Once applied, it’s not as garish as you might think – just a hint of sparkle and color. It’s buildable to greater opacity, too, but I’ve only worn it sheer. The pan is a bit too large for applying every color of the rainbow over the cheekbones, though. I settle for about half the colors at a time.

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(3) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Bronze Over The Rainbow – this one imparts a warmer, gold-tinged glow.

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(4) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Everlasting Glow – this one is a cooler-toned pale golden pink when applied. A surprise favorite for me!

I’m guessing these highlighters probably go fine with most complexions, though I found that the cooler-toned Everlasting Glow looked a bit more flattering on my cool-leaning neutral-toned light complexion. I’m guessing Bronze Over The Rainbow might look better on warmer-toned complexions.

Each of these can be applied as is or swirled together. I kind of like the subtle bands of different colors, though!

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(5) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Mythical Dreams (purple),

(6) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Pegasus Flutter (pink), and

(7) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Unicorn Wishes (blue) – I haven’t tried these yet, but the packaging says they can be applied anywhere, not just the eyes.

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(8) Mega Last Prismatic Lip Color in Immortal Tears – sheer with blue-purple shimmer. It’s pretty similar in effect to Bite Beauty Opal Creme Lipstick (which I bought sometime earlier and really like), as you can see above.

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(9) Mega Last Prismatic Lip Color in Unicorn Soul – this lipstick looks blue, but it’s one of those color-changing lipsticks that turns pink/fuchsia after application. The blue shimmer remains, though. I think it’s Wet n Wild’s version of Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Unicorn Tears, but I don’t own that one (yet), so I can’t compare. In any case, I really like this one, even though it feels slightly gritty and doesn’t glide on as smoothly as other, nicer lipsticks that I own. (Immortal Tears is smoother.) Surprisingly wearable (though I wouldn’t wear it to work).

I was surprised by the quality of the products, especially for the price. (Where were these fun colors when I was a teen and didn’t have to worry about looking appropriate for work?) Even better, they’re all vegan and cruelty free, and my sensitive skin didn’t react badly to them. ❤

Woot! Guess what arrived over the weekend! #wetnwild #unicornglow #rainbow #unicornmakeup

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The Unicorn Glow box may be sold out, but it looks like the individual items are still available as of this writing if you’re interested in them, and they may be eligible for promo codes that the box wasn’t eligible for.

Next up on my radar, Chaos Makeup Kaleidoscope Rainbow Highlighter, my dream rainbow luminizer.

LynBDesigns Oh Captain, My Captain

I had LynBDesigns Oh Captain, My Captain sitting around in my stash for a long time, and I have no idea why I’d forgotten to wear it until now! (This polish is from the October 2014 Spark of Madness collection inspired by Robin Williams.)

As usual, two thin coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Oh Captain, My Captain is a beautiful polish, with what looks like a sheer black (or maybe super dark blue?) base with scattered holographic shimmer particles and an oil-slick-like multichrome (iridescent, if you want to skip the nail polish jargon ;)) flash. At the edges of the nail, I could maybe see some dark blue, but for the most part, it seemed to shift from purplish pink to gold and olive for me. The overall effect reminds me of outer space – stunning!

Application was great, covering well in two coats and drying faster than average. Durability wasn’t so good, unfortunately. I had major chips on the third day with my typical base coat and top coat. So awesome while it lasted, though! Ah, well. I guess that gives me a good reason to repaint my nails in pastels for Easter. :]

P.S. Here’s a link to the Walt Whitman poem “O Captain! My Captain!” the polish name references. 😀

Face-off: Julep Ellis vs. L’Oreal Masked Affair

A couple years ago, in February 2015, I went through considerable trouble to track down a bottle of L’Oreal Masked Affair and was elated when I succeeded in obtaining this drugstore polish that was, for whatever reason, popular enough to be a bit hard to find.

A few months later, in September 2015, Julep released its own silvery lilac called Ellis, and while it doesn’t seem to be a true holo, it’s still got some linear holo in there, and the color is so spot on that I can’t help but wonder if they took a page from L’Oreal’s book.

Anyway, here they are, side by side, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat and in natural light, two coats each (Masked Affair on the index and ring, Ellis on the middle and pinky):

As you can see, Masked Affair has larger shimmer particles and has a more visible linear holographic effect than Ellis, which is a finer and denser shimmer with a subtler linear holo effect. Ellis is also opaque in two coats, whereas I think Masked Affair looks better with three thin coats, as in my original swatch post.

Both have good formulas and dry pretty fast. Masked Affair dried faster but would benefit from a third coat that Ellis doesn’t need. Unfortunately, I didn’t find either polish very durable, and I had minor chips by the second day when I took these photos, but Ellis lasted about one day longer (about three days instead of two) before developing major chips.

Long story short, the polishes are very close in color but not in texture or holo effect. I love them both!

Julep January 2017 (Future Fresh) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!) | Julep Ginny & Julep Yulia

A bit of a late post, but here it is: my customized Julep January 2017 Maven box! Since I took so long to find time to post this, I’ve also already swatched the polishes that came in it, so I’m throwing that in here, too.

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Looks like Julep’s cutting down on packaging. Instead of the usual pretty tissue paper and paper crinkles, everything was cushioned in utilitarian brown paper. (Hey, I don’t mind. It works and is easier to clean up.) My picks this month:

  • Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil ($36 regular, $28.80 Maven), this month’s featured new product that I was pretty excited to try;
  • Ginny ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), from Julep’s collection last month, described as a “Sapphire Sunset Holographic,” which actually isn’t a bad description; and
  • Yulia ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, described as a “Turquoise Sheer Iridescent Shimmer,” which is also accurate.

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Boost Your Radiance was new this month and comes packaged like What Your Skin Needs Restorative Facial Milk in a frosted glass bottle with a dropper. Julep touts this as “[a] reparative ‘wonder booster’ that leaves all skin types radiant and hydrated. Prevents and repairs the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation while regulating oil production.”

I tried the oil for about two weeks, and it really does wonders for my face. I love that it takes only a drop or two, and though I have the annoying kind of skin that gets dry patches and eczema here and there, this oil seems to smooth out those spots without making the rest of my face feel greasy. It’s pretty great! Might be too early to tell, but I have no idea if it helps for hyperpigmentation, and I don’t really have fine lines to repair yet, so hopefully it’s doing its job preventing them!

And, for your reference, here’s some swatches of the two polishes from this month, Ginny, plus one coat of Yulia over accent nail, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Ginny is quite possibly my new favorite Julep polish and is a sapphire-blue jelly packed with just the right density of fine holo shimmer/microglitter to create that starry-sky look. It’s similar to Zoya Dream, another favorite, but it looks like it’s probably more purplish, with finer holo shimmer, and it has that extra, subtle pink flash. I love it.

Yulia is sheer, as advertised, and designed to be a topper. It reminds me of Pure Ice Heartbreaker, but I’d have to do a side-by-side comparison to really tell. You can see from my photo that from some angles, it’s hardly visible (at least at once coat), but at some angles, it’s got a strong teal flash.

Both polishes had excellent formulas and dried on the faster side of average for me and had pretty good durability. They almost lasted an entire week!

Also in this box:

  • Monthly collection intro & quote card: primarily introducing Boost Your Radiance and this month’s quote, “Never dull your shine for somebody else,” from Tyra Banks;
  • Tootsie Pop, this month’s freebie (which amused my toddler, then fed my husband); and
  • Promo code card: $10 off $25+ purchase at Julep.com (use WINTER10, expires 2/28/17).

That’s it for this box…and it’s already time to make our choices for the February box. Where does all the time go?

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!

Nuance Nightshadow | Face-off: Julep Desiree vs. Revlon Holographic Pearls

Here’s a quick comparison of Julep Desiree, a holographic top coat that came as a free gift with this month’s Julep Maven monthly box, and Revlon Holographic Pearls, which I previously tried over a shimmer polish with less dramatic effect. (They’re not all that similar, and I may even own other holo toppers that are more dupe-y, but this is just what I grabbed.)

In outdoor natural light, I’ve got two coats of Nuance Nightshadow (a dark blue creme) on all nails, plus:

  • index: Essie Good to Go top coat (1 coat)
  • middle & pinky: Julep Desiree (1 coat)
  • ring: Revlon Holographic Pearls (1 coat) + Essie Good to Go top coat (1 coat)

First things first: Nuance Nightshadow is great – dries on the fast side and super glossy even without top coat, and the formula is easy to apply. Opaque in two coats. (Nuance is Salma Hayek’s CVS-exclusive brand, and the nail colors I’ve seen aren’t especially adventurous, but the ones I’ve tried have good formulas and durability.)

Julep Desiree is a delicate holo top coat with a clear base. It’s a subtle and beautiful effect, and the formula is easy to apply and provides good coverage (in terms of shimmer density, not opacity, obviously) in one coat. It dries a tad on the slow side, though. A quick-dry top coat could help with that.

Revlon Holographic Pearls is like a gaudy disco ball next to Desiree, but hey, sometimes that’s what you want! Against Nightshadow, it’s clear how glitter-packed HP is in just one coat, and it’s definitely not subtle. HP dries matte on its own, but I added an extra layer of glossy top coat for better rainbows. This one dries pretty fast, and no complaints on application.

Here’s another shot in different lighting, to give you a better idea of the holo rainbow effect:

I had the coffee shakes and was pretty sloppy, sorry!

Anyway, there you have it, in case anyone ever wondered how these two holo toppers look side by side.