LynBDesigns Mind Palace

This is three coats of LynBDesigns Mind Palace, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Mind Palace is from LynBDesigns’ Sherlock-inspired collection, Baker Street. This one’s a beautifully glassy grape-purple jelly loaded with turquoise square glitters; variously sized purple, silver, matte black, and matte white hexes; and matte white diamonds. The glitters need a bit of help getting to where you might want them (I didn’t really help them along in these photos, so they’re not terribly tidy, but a little bit of dabbing and gliding would have fixed the clumping), but that’s to be expected of a glitter party like this. Lovely depth and bright colors!

The formula is pretty good. It’s not hard to apply compared to other similarly chunky glitter polishes, which take some gentle coaxing to even out their distribution and ensure that the glitters lie flat. As reference, I didn’t really do anything special because I was doing these quickly, but I still got a decent, if not amazingly even, spread. Dry time was faster than average for me, and the glossy top coat brightened up the finish, which dries to a semi-matte on its own. I bet this would look deliciously squishy with a matte top coat!

Durability was middling. Probably because of the chunky glitters, it chipped in maybe two or three days (versus my average of three or four) because the edges of the glitter tend to catch on my clothing and things. I didn’t use a specially thick top coat to smooth it out completely because it was reasonably smooth (though not perfect) with one coat of regular top coat.

Overall, thumbs up! Love this bright, fun polish!


Face-off: LynBDesigns Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS) vs. Essie Starry Starry Night (Retro Revival version)

Been too busy to post for a while now, so I’m playing catch up today. 🙂 Going to try to make it quick!


Quickie comparison between LynBDesigns Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS) and Essie Starry Starry Night (SSN), this year’s Retro Revival (RR) collection version, not the original. Index and ring are TARDIS, while middle and pinky are SSN, and both are topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. (Kind of sloppy application, but I was in a hurry packing to get on a plane!) In outdoor natural light:


I’ve previously written up a post about LynBDesigns TARDIS, so you can read all my earlier impressions it there. It could be from the pigments settling a bit, but I found the formula thinner than the last time I applied it last July, even after shaking up the bottle. Maybe it needed more shaking. In any case, these photos show four thin coats.


Essie SSN (RR) is not the same as the original SSN that so many nail polish collectors are crazy for and which I do not own. Michelle at All Lacquered Up did a really great swatch post comparing the two, as well as a few other polishes. Frankly, I almost didn’t pick it up because I already have Zoya Dream, which I love to death, and the finer sparkle in Dream captures more of what I love about the original SSN. After a lot of hemming and hawing, though, I gave in and purchased a bottle anyway. I wanted to give it a shot.

The new SSN’s got a deep sapphire-blue jelly base and small silver hex glitter (a bit smaller than the silver and turquoise square glitters of TARDIS) and is a much brighter blue than TARDIS and slightly brighter than the original SSN. These photos show two coats. Formula was fine and dry time was about average.

Here’s a shot after only one coat of each:


Durability-wise, I didn’t have much luck with either polish; both chipped pretty significantly after only maybe two days, despite my usual base and top coats.

Bottom line: Obviously, these two polishes are not dupes, and neither looks that close to the original SSN, but they’re both pretty in their own way. (Ultimately, though, I think I still prefer Zoya Dream over both of them.)

The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy & Candeo Colors Jellybean

Happy Easter! Thought I’d celebrate with a couple candy-sweet indie colors today. This is The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy (inspired by Wreck It Ralph‘s King Candy, from her monthly Disney villains series) and Candeo Colors Jellybean.

Have Some Candy is a salmon-pink jelly base loaded with gold shimmer and various sized holographic hex glitters in purple, fuchsia, and gold-green. The polish is good to go in two coats, was easy to apply with no special glitter placement needed, and dried on the fast side of average. Better yet? It smells of bubblegum! ❤

Jellybean instantly made me think of Peeps when I saw it for the first time. It’s a thin creme base in pale, cool-toned yellow, with turquoise, pink, and purple hexes and microglitters. This polish takes two to three coats to get good opacity and seems to have an average dry time, but the glitters distributed evenly on their own and didn’t take special placement. In the bottle, I wasn’t sure if the bright glitters would overpower the pale base, but it works beautifully on the nail; the thin base gives it that jelly-sandwich effect that mutes the glitters a little to excellent effect. Great Easter polish, for sure.

I love both these polishes! Jellybean is my first and only Candeo Colors polish at the moment, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve picked up quite a few colors from The Lady Varnishes, but Have Some Candy is definitely one of my favorites when the mood for pink strikes.

Anyway, have a great weekend, and eat lots of candy! 😀

Julep Hayley & Julep Rosie

I love beets. There may be other ways to describe Julep Hayley‘s deep red-purple – say, wine or Bordeaux or cranberry – but beetroot describes this color pretty well.

Here’s two coats on all fingers, other than Julep Rosie (also two coats) on the ring finger, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in direct natural light:

Hayley has super-rich color and great color payoff. It’s bright in direct sunlight and deeper/vampier in indirect light. It also has a slightly squishy, slightly translucent crelly finish that seems to glow in the sun but is opaque enough that there’s no visible nail line.

Hayley’s formula is on the watery side for a Julep, which I discovered when I accidentally flooded the cuticle on the first nail. I found it a little bit challenging to work with, especially because Julep’s unusually long brush stem tends to collect more excess polish, and since a thinner formula runs down the stem so much faster, it’s easy to accidentally have too much excess polish drip down the brush while you’re working. The clunky wide and flared Julep brush, which isn’t my favorite, has brush bristles are a little too stiff for easily applying such a liquid polish, though it’s manageable if you’re careful (unlike me). The dry time is also a little long, and a fast-dry top coat really helps here. I’d definitely recommend applying this in thin coats, though, which requires a little bit of care.

On its own, Hayley dries to a slightly squishy, glossy finish that looks even better with top coat. In indirect natural light:

Rosie is a charcoal jelly with what looks to me like multi-sized fuchsia glitters (including microglitter) and silver holo microglitter. The base is pretty sheer and is still sheer at two coats, but the glitters provide a decent amount of coverage. It’s not totally opaque, but I kind of liked the lace-like, slightly sheer effect. The formula was a bit goopy, kind of like Julep Celeste‘s, but it’s workable and suspends the glitter well (no special placement or application technique necessary). Rosie dries fast to a matte finish and isn’t too bumpy for a glitter, but I preferred the smoother, glossy finish with a glossy top coat.

I wish Hayley dried faster, and a different brush would have probably made the thin formula easier to work with, but I’m otherwise pretty pleased with these two polishes.

Julep Celeste

Finally had a chance to paint my nails again. This is three coats of Julep Celeste from January 2016‘s Julep Maven collection, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat.

Indirect natural light:

Celeste is a charcoal-gray jelly base loaded with various round/hex iridescent glitters. Julep calls it a “[c]osmic gray iridecent glitter” (sic), which describes it pretty well. At two coats, the glitter is less dense and less busy-looking, but the base also applied a bit patchily, so overall, I didn’t think two coats was enough. Maybe with some undies, two coats would be fine, though!

Formula-wise, Celeste is a bit goopy, so it takes a bit of care to apply without making a mess of things. It dries fast, though, and isn’t too bumpy for a glitter. On its own, it dries to a kind of squishy semi-matte finish. I preferred it extra shiny with a glossy top coat.

For comparison, here’s a shot in indoor bright white LED light:

As you can see, for the most part, some of the glitters seem to predominantly lean indigo/purple, and some seem to lean green. It looks kind of like Mardi Gras on the nails. In sunlight, though, I saw more color variation.

These photos were taken on day two of this manicure, and so far, so good, other than the usual tip wear. Great color overall. I’m so glad Julep is making some more interesting polishes these days and that they generally have pretty reliable consistency and durability.

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!

LynBDesigns Start with the Riding Crop

Belated swatch from New Year’s – LynBDesigns Start with the Riding Crop, from her Sherlock-themed Baker Street collection! (We just watched the Sherlock Christmas special about a week ago – still so good. ❤ Season 4 can’t come soon enough!)

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

Start with the Riding Crop is a black jelly loaded with silver holo glitters of all kinds – squares, huge hexes, microglitter, diamonds…there’s a lot going on in there! The translucency of the jelly gives it a nice depth effect. So fun.

The formula was easy enough to work with, though the bigger glitters took a little special placement. Nothing overly difficult, though! For the most part, the glitters arranged themselves as well as could be expected for such a chunky mix. 🙂

Really loved the cosmic sparkly black and all the rainbows in bright light. So awesome.

The only issue I had with this polish was the durability, as it seemed to be a bit brittle after drying and chipped after maybe a day or two of wear. Still, it’s a beautiful lacquer that I look forward to wearing again.

Space nails! LynBDesigns Amazingly Unlikely & Time and Relative Dimension in Space

I’d been admiring LynBDesigns indie nail polishes from afar for a long time before recently taking the leap and picking up a bunch I’d been eyeing, including Amazingly Unlikely (3 coats on all nails except for ring) from the About a Galaxy collection and Time and Relative Dimension in Space (3 coats on ring finger) from the The Doctor is In collection.

This is day 2, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat in indirect natural light:

Words cannot adequately describe how much I love Amazingly Unlikely. It’s like a galaxy in a bottle! It’s described as a “blue jelly base with multichrome shifting from purple to blue to pink to gold, aqua holographic micro glitter and blue to purple fantasy flakies.” The shift on the nail mostly shows up as pink to blue for me, and the overall effect over the blue jelly base and metallic shimmer looks like a shift from royal blue to a deep red-purple:

Seriously gorgeous.

The formula is a little goopy and looks streaky on the first two coats, but it’s nicely opaque in three. I accidentally flooded my cuticle applying this polish, as the goopiness took me by surprise at first, but I had no issues with it once I got a feel for the consistency.


Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS <3) is described as “a deep blue jelly like base that has blue, silver, navy, and dark silver glitters suspended in it.” My particular bottle has such a deep navy-blue jelly base that it looks almost black. Based on swatches online, I’d expected a slightly bluer/brighter blue and maybe less uniform glitter visibility through the jelly base (more of a jelly-sandwich effect), but this is beautiful all the same – and still reminiscent of space and starry skies. It probably could have been opaque in two coats, but I did three thin coats for these photos.

Both polishes have a pretty standard round, square-tipped brush, which I had no problems with, and dry time for both was on the faster side of average for me.

Though the TARDIS polish was slightly different from what I expected, I still love both polishes – Amazingly Unlikely, especially – and am pleased with my first purchases from LynBDesigns. I’ll likely be swatching the rest of my haul in the coming weeks. 🙂

Any of you have favorite indie brands you’d like to recommend to me?

Durability & removal update 8/2/2015: Both polishes lasted a week with just some minor chipping on the index fingers. Removal was easy enough using the 10-minute soak off I usually do for glitters. I didn’t try wiping off earlier than 10 minutes, but Amazingly Unlikely removed so easily, it might not have required the entire 10 minutes. TARDIS was stickier and required a little extra cleanup after soaking and wiping off, but it wasn’t bad. I didn’t have any staining with a base coat.