Julep July 2015 It Girl swatches: Juliana, Alyssa & Mara

I was so enamored with the color combination in this month’s Julep Maven It Girl box that I decided to swatch them together as skittles. (Well, that, and it’s so hard to find time to paint nails with a newborn – thank goodness for a helpful husband and family!)

Here’s two coats Julep Juliana on the index and pinky nails, two coats Julep Alyssa on the middle, and one coat Julep Mara on the ring. All nails are topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, except for the Mara, which stands alone. This is in indirect natural light:

Juliana (index & pinky) is a semi-sheer grapefruit-pink polish with what looks to me like a gold-to-pink shimmer. It could maybe build to opacity with a third coat, but I liked the luminous, translucent look at two coats. It looks so juicy! Even though the finish is a bit frosty, brushstrokes aren’t too obvious. The formula is easy to work with and dries pretty fast.

Alyssa (middle) is a bold medium turquoise creme that, if applied carefully, can provide full coverage in one coat. (I used two coats because I accidentally dragged the brush in one spot and left a bald streak.) The formula is a bit thick and requires some care to apply, especially in making sure excess polish doesn’t drip down Julep’s long brush stem. Dry time was average for me.

Mara (ring) is a saturated grape-sorbet purple textured polish with what looks like iridescent shimmer that seems to flash primarily gold and pink for me. It’s good to go in one coat! Application was flawless, and dry time was fast. I honestly can’t stop thinking of grape sorbet when I see this color, especially with the texture and sparkle reminiscent of frozen sweets.

Juliana’s sheerness and lit-from-within glow is maybe more obvious in this photo in indoor white-LED lighting:

I love all three colors, especially how they look together and remind me of summertime ice-box treats. Yum!

Did you get a Julep box this month, and what did you think of your haul?

Warm weather rainbow nails (skittles)!

Sometimes one, two, or even three colors just isn’t enough, and a rainbow is in order. :]

This is by special request from Mr. ‘Fiend, and I was happy to oblige.

From left to right, these are Nicole by OPI Challenge Red-y, Zoya Arizona, Julep Korin, Nicole by OPI Pros & Confidence, and Julep Charlotte. I later threw in Julep Lexie (not pictured) for a free-handed swipe of yellow between Arizona and Korin because the rainbow just didn’t look complete to me with yellow missing.

Here’s two coats of each, except for only one coat of Lexie over Korin on the middle finger, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat.

In outdoor indirect natural light:

Nicole by OPI Challenge Red-y (the cool-leaning, bright cherry-red creme on my thumb) and Nicole by OPI Pros & Confidence (the turquoise creme on my ring finger) are exclusive Nicole by OPI colors that I got for free from a Kellogg’s Special K offer in 2013. The formulas on these are great and apply like butter – they definitely had the best consistency of the bunch. The brush is the somewhat wide OPI brush, which I don’t always love but worked really well with these two formulations. Pros & Confidence could be a one-coater, but Challenge Red-y is a bit sheerer and looks better with two coats.

Zoya Arizona is the bright orange creme on my index finger. The color is almost mac-‘n’-cheese orange, but it looks to me that it’s got just that tiniest touch of white – not enough to make the color pastel, but enough to lend it a softer look. No complaint about this formula either, but it is a little thinner, so it may take up to three thin coats, depending on how thickly it’s applied. It’s got the usual short-stemmed, standard-sized round, square-tipped brush Zoya usually uses.

In outdoor direct natural light:

Julep Lexie is the warm-leaning cheery yellow creme on my middle finger, and the formula on this one is great, as well. (I also wore this color in an earlier nail skittles.) Julep Korin is the bright yellow-green creme on the other half of my middle finger. Korin’s formula isn’t quite as easy to work with as Lexie’s, since it’s slightly sheerer and goopier, but it’s workable enough. These colors use Julep’s newer, wider brush, which is similar in width to the OPI brush, but it’s stiffer, so I find it more challenging to follow the curve of the cuticle with the Julep brush.

Julep Charlotte is the grape-y purple creme on my pinky. This one’s also a potential one-coater. I could have left it at one coat because it looked evenly opaque in one, but I added a second just to make sure. My bottle of Charlotte is an older one from 2012 or so, so it uses Julep’s older, standard-sized brush, which is much easier for me to work with than the newer, wider brushes. Your mileage may vary!

All of the polishes featured in this post are pretty good, but again, I have to say that the Nicole by OPI Special K 2013 colors are the ones that really stand out, both in terms of pigmentation and application. The colors aren’t particularly unusual, but the formulas are so good. Highly recommended, if you don’t have these colors already and can find a bottle somewhere. I know there’s been new sets of Special K exclusive colors since the one I got, and Challenge Red-y was offered again, so it might be worthwhile to keep your eyes peeled. :]

(UPDATE 5/4/15: Stain alert! I’d forgotten since the last time I used it, but Julep Korin unfortunately causes horrible yellow staining, and Nicole by OPI Pros & Confidence also has a tendency to stain. The other polishes are fine, with Zoya Arizona being easiest and cleanest to remove. Just a heads up!)

Easter skittles with older Julep colors

Happy Easter! I wasn’t sure I’d have time to post this today, but I’ve got a few minutes’ downtime to type up a post while I wait for my Easter meringue cups to dry in the oven.

I decided to do pastel skittles swatching some of my older Julep colors this year, since I haven’t worn them in some time. :] From thumb to pinky, here’s two coats each of Julep Simone, Susie, Leila, Clara, and Martha, in indoor natural light, topped with Julep Freedom Top Coat:

Leila (yellow with subtle gold shimmer) and Simone (lavender with subtle blue shimmer) are technically shimmers, but the shimmer isn’t really visible on the nail, so I generally use them the way I would a creme. Their formulas are a bit chalky, especially Leila’s, so a third coat might have been better for even opacity, but I was in a bit of a hurry. They dried relatively quickly, though.

Susie is a straight up pale minty green creme, and it probably had my favorite formula and brush (pretty standard-width brush that is less wide than the newer Julep brushes) of all five.

Clara (peach) and Martha (pink) are both cremes/crellies. Martha took a little longer to dry than the other colors, but otherwise, both of these polishes also had pretty good formulas that went on smoothly. I may have liked Susie’s application better mostly because the finer-tipped brush was easier for me to use.

Susie is from 2012, and the other colors are from 2013, so many of these colors probably aren’t available from Julep anymore. I’ve got a special fondness for them because they were some of the first Julep polishes I’d ever bought, and my nail polish habit only started in 2012 – something I picked up to cover up my gel-polish-removal-damaged nails after having them done for the first time ever for my wedding. (Before that, I was definitely a strictly unadorned nails kind of girl, and I still generally wear no other cosmetics!)

I was amazed to discover in 2012 that since my childhood years, nail polish makers had actually broken out of that old-fashioned pink/red/nude rut and now embraced colors I actually wanted to wear – like blues, greens, and neon oranges – as well as glitter and other special finishes.

I’ve been enamored of nail polish ever since, and I don’t think that’ll be changing anytime soon. :] Anyway, my meringues are pretty much done now, so I’ll cut it off there.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!