Julep Kayla

From my untrieds, Julep Kayla, described by Julep as an “electric iris sheer with violet sheen.” This is two coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat, in outdoor natural light (both direct light and shade):

Kayla‘s got a jelly-like sheer, somewhat milky, quality, but it’s loaded with duochrome-y shimmer that flashes pink/purple. The base color is an interesting periwinkle blue-leaning kind of pastel-neon lavender – it’s hard to describe. The pink flash warms it up a bit, but it’s overall a cool-toned polish. By the way, my bottle isn’t nearly as dark as the swatches on Julep’s website.

It takes three coats for decent coverage, though it’ll still be sheer (as intended). Could be great for layering, I bet. Application was great, and dry time was average.

It’s a fun spring/summer color that’s somehow both bright and understated. ūüôā I’ve only worn it on its own so far, but I bet it could make a mean jelly sandwich!

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

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

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. ūüėČ 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. ūüôā

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. ‚̧

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! :]

Julep Amity

Two coats of Julep Amity, plus a coat of Essie Shine of the Times making a cameo appearance on the ring finger, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light. Direct sunlight on top and shade on bottom:

Amity, described by Julep as a white-gold metallic signifying friendship, is a sparkly¬†semi-sheer silver-white metallic shimmer, part of Julep’s limited edition Champagne Trio (along with Clio for celebration and Reiko for gratitude) celebrating their Maven program’s second anniversary in 2014. It’d probably build up to opacity with another coat or so, but I was fine with the semi-sheer look. It’s a bit frosty/pearly/brush-stroke-y, but¬†the streaks aren’t¬†that visible except under direct light, as you can see from the top set. The lighting also determines how sheer the polish looks:

Formula is generally good, though it’s hard to get the brush strokes not to show and is probably meant to be semi-sheer. Otherwise, I had no issues with this polish, and it dried on the fast side of average for me. Durability was good. I put these nails on in a rush for a wedding last weekend, and they’re still going strong with hardly a chip five days later.

As I mentioned, I brushed on Essie’s iridescent¬†flakie topper Shine of the Times on the ring finger in an attempt to match my opal jewelry, but it’s hardly noticeable. You can see it if you look¬†really carefully at these photos, but it’s basically invisible. Ah, well. I’ll put it to better use next time!

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.