Zoya Muse

Zoya Muse, from the summer 2014 Bubbly collection, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

The jelly-ish sheer and squishy medium blue base is transformed to a shifty teal because of the gold shimmer, and it’s packed with iridescent glitters. I love this one, even though it takes three (thin) coats for good coverage. The formula’s a bit on the watery side, but it’s not too hard to work with. Dry time was average.

Such an awesome mermaid polish, perfect for #MerMay. ūüėÄ

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Sonnetarium Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Pudding & Cucumber Salad

I bought these three minis from a blog sale some years ago and somehow never got around to swatching them! These are three colors from Sonnetarium‘s Fresh collection from 2013 – Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Pudding, and Cucumber Salad. They’re as yummy-looking as they sound, and there are two additional colors, Blueberry Yogurt and Raspberry Sorbet, that I wasn’t able to track down at the time. (Someday!)

I feel so hungry just typing out those polish names. All of these are milky jellies (ugh, that sounds yummy, too), so they’re pretty sheer, but they all create that lovely, squishy, sugary jelly-sandwich look in three thin coats!

Strawberry Smoothie is a light pink jelly liberally dusted¬†with¬†fine white, red, and pink glitters – plus some holo ones, too, if I’m not mistaken. Yum! It’s got the densest glitter of the three. This one was also the most challenging to apply of the three, since it’s got the densest glitter and is sometimes a little clumpy. It’s also chipping pretty noticeably on day five of this manicure.

Cucumber Salad¬†reminds me more of mint than cucumber, but it’s a lovely shade of blue-tinged green with a speckling of white and dark green glitters. This one was easiest to apply and is holding up beautifully at five days.

Banana Pudding¬†is a pale yellow with white and yellow glitters. This one was had the least even application, but it dried the smoothest and had the glassiest finish. It’s starting to lift a bit at the edges but has only chipped minimally after five days, even on my heavily used thumb.

All three have thin formulas that require at least three coats for some semblance of coverage, but they dry fast! No glitter placement necessary for these, either. They self-distribute perfectly.

I love how tasty these polishes look and hope to someday find Blueberry Yogurt, which was my actual favorite of that collection, but which sold out before I even knew about it. Again, someday! ūüôā

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 ‚ÄúSapphire Sunset Holographic,‚ÄĚ 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¬†‚Äú[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‚Äôs 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!

Julep Dakota & The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head

I did my Halloween nails a bit early this year, since I’ll be at Cuttlewig’s wedding this weekend and will probably be wearing something less garish. ;D

This is 2 coats¬†Julep Dakota¬†(index & pinky) and¬†The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head (middle & ring), topped with¬†Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light. (The light’s a bit bluish because it was early in the day.)

Julep Dakota is an older Julep polish that I’d had sitting around but hadn’t gotten around to trying until now. It still had its shrink wrap on! Dakota’s a “[r]ose gold metallic chrome,” per Julep. Very coppery, like a new penny, with a kind of frosty finish that shows brushstrokes if you’re not careful. Top coat helps, though. I had no problems with the formula and got full opacity in two easy coats. Dry time seemed average.

The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head is a lovely grape-soda purple jelly packed with “brown microglitter, iridescent hexes and a mix of orange, copper and green dots” (from the maker’s description, which seems accurate!). Mine smells like pumpkin pie¬†(you can pick a scent when you order) because I thought it’d be fun – and it really does smell kind of like a pumpkin spice latte or something along those lines! I had to fish around for the bigger glitters and do some dabbing to get them in place, but otherwise, the formula was great. Reasonably opaque in two coats and dries on the faster side. A little bumpy, like you’d expect from a chunky glitter, and it’s got a semi-matte finish if you don’t add top coat.

No complaints about either of these polishes! They were fun to wear, especially Pumpkin Head, and they lasted an average length of time for me without chipping (about 3-4 days).

Julep Tanith & Pure Ice Private Show

This past week’s colors:¬†Julep Tanith (index and pinky) and¬†Pure Ice Private Show (middle & ring). I was going to do all Tanith, but I didn’t feel like going all nude, even with the gold sparkle! Kind of a weird combo, but I guess I was vaguely¬†thinking ballet and Swan Lake when I picked out these colors.

Anyway, swatches in outdoor natural light, two coats of each, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Tanith is a mauve-y nude jelly with gold shimmer. At two coats, it’s definitely still a bit sheer, but I kind of liked it that way, so I left it as is. It’d probably be opaque at three coats. Not too boring for a nude. ‚̧

Formula was easy to apply, and dry time seemed average. Dries smooth.

Pure Ice Private Show is a black jelly generously dosed with fine glitter in what looks to me like red, pink, blue, and silver. Good stuff, especially with glossy top coat. I hear it’s a pretty close dupe to Butter London The Black Knight.

The formula is easy to apply and opaque in two coats. Dry time seemed faster than average. It dried slightly gritty, but top coat smooths it over nicely. My main issue with this polish is its durability – it chipped pretty badly in a day! I remember it being prone to chipping the last time I wore it, too. (Still, Pure Ice polishes are only $2 a pop at Walmart compared to Butter London’s $15, so if longevity isn’t an issue, it’s not too bad.)

Zoya Bela & LynBDesigns The London Season

In a moment of ambivalence, I asked Mr. ‘Fiend what color I should paint my nails this week. He said pink, then white-pink when I asked for more specificity. So, I dug out a pale pink I hadn’t tried yet:¬†Zoya Bela, which apparently achieved fame as the nail polish featured in Black Swan (which I haven’t watched yet but have heard is a great film).

This is day two of two coats, plus one coat LynBDesigns The London Season on the ring finger and all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

Bela is a semi-sheer cool-toned ballet-pink crelly/jelly polish,¬†designed for use as a French manicure base but soft and pretty on its own. It’s still pretty sheer at two coats, as shown here, and could probably be mostly opaque in three. I kind of like it semi-sheer, though. The formula is pretty good, though it’s got a tendency to streak a bit, even at two coats, so it takes a bit of care to apply evenly. Glossy top coat helps, though! Dry time seemed average.

The London Season is from LynBDesigns’ Downton Abbey-inspired Meet Me at the Abbey collection and is a really fun glitter topper loaded pretty densely with transparent tiny hex glitter in red, green, blue, pink, yellow, and purple, as well as a pinch of transparent iridescent squares and microglitter. I can’t help but think of confetti and birthday cake when I see this glitter. The formula’s a bit goopy, but it’s easy enough to dab on and spread out the glitter where you want it. Dries fast.

I’m pretty happy with both polishes. The sheer/nude Bela is a nice palate cleanser between bright colors (I’m going to try one of this month’s Julep holo polishes in the next swatch, probably), and it’s nice that I’ve got someone¬†that picks colors for me that I normally skip over when I pick out polish by myself! :]