Zoya PixieDust Beatrix

All right, last swatch for tonight, and I’ll be all caught up. This is Zoya PixieDust Beatrix from my untried stash, three coats, no top coat, outdoor natural light:

Zoya describes Beatrix as a “tangerine metal sparkle,” textured, matte, and foil twinkle. I’d say that’s pretty spot-on. The sunny, yellow-leaning orange is so juicy and cheerful looking! The texture is pretty much identical to that of other similar Zoya PixieDust polishes, not too chunky or rough, and it dries down to a nice textured metallic sparkle. The base is a little squishy-feeling, like a jelly.

I found Beatrix to be a little thinner than other PixieDusts, though, as it took three coats instead of the usual two, and the formula seemed to take longer to dry than usual – about average for nail polishes generally instead of super speedy like many textured polishes. Application was a piece of cake, though.

Thumbs up overall – fun color from the summer 2013 collection. 🙂

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. 🙂 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. 😀

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!

Essie Lots of Lux

I think I’ve worn this color at least a couple times before, but a quick search in my nail journal here says I’ve apparently never posted a swatch! This is Essie Lots of Lux, from the Encrusted Treasures collection from the 2013 holiday season.

Lots of Lux is a royal-blue textured polish that Essie describes as a “shimmering lapis lazuli blue nail lacquer with a super fine matte finish.” It looks a bit brighter and less purplish than the blue I associate with lapis, but it’s definitely multifaceted and jewel-like, with what looks to me like a bright metallic blue base and a touch of both silver and turquoise shimmer, and maybe a pinch of silver micro glitter with the blue texture particles. There’s a lot going on when you take a closer look.

At two coats, the polish was pretty opaque, but it didn’t really dry matte for me and had more of a muted metallic finish. The photo above is on day 2 and without top coat. Application was easy. It dried relatively quickly but chipped pretty quickly, too. I think this lasted all of 3-4 days. Beautiful while it lasted, though! Also, textured polishes touch up easily, so there’s that to make up for the below-average durability.

Removal was easy compared to a hardcore glitter, but it’s tougher than a creme, as can be expected of this type of polish.

…I’ve got naked nails now. What color to wear next?

Julep Christina

Late post of my Valentine’s week nails/swatch. 😀 Julep Christina is an older Julep polish (from 2011, I think), one of the first I ever bought, yet untried until this month.

This is two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, taken in outdoor natural light (please excuse the second-day tip wear):

Julep calls Christina a “deep orange shimmer,” and I don’t know if it’s just me, but it looks to me like a hot red-pink glass-fleck shimmer in person. The photo didn’t capture the pink tones I saw in person somehow. After seeing  Julep’s description, though, I am sort of reminded of OPI Jinx, one of my favorite hot orange-pinks, but orange isn’t the first color that came to mind for me.

Christina has a hot-pink base (which is more obvious on the first coat), but it’s loaded with enough gold-flashing fine flakies that it ends up reading as more red than pink. At angles that the gold’s more muted, though, it definitely looks pink. Either way, the bright color, sheer-learning base, and the dense iridescent flakies combine for nice depth and juiciness. 🙂

Formula is good and dries on the fast side of average. It was durable, too, and didn’t have major chips until maybe five or six days in. No staining (with my usual base coat), either! Thumbs up.