Julep Carrie Ann

Sometimes after wearing some bolder colors, I just get this urge to wear something more boring – relatively anyway. Here’s Julep Carrie Ann, a sheer nude with some subtle holo sparkle:

You can’t see the holo sparkle that well in my photos, unfortunately, but it’s definitely there and shows up better in brighter light. It just happened to be an overcast day.

I liked the way this polish looked better at one coat, actually, but it’d be a no-go if you don’t like sheer polishes/visible nail line. At one coat, it applies evenly and has a your-nails-but-better look, and the holo shimmer seems to be, if anything, more visible. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo!) At two coats, I ended up with what you see here – something that somehow looks infinitely more boring and more humdrum creme-like. Oh, well. Work appropriate to the max.

Formula was fine, easy to work with with average dry time and average durability. Like many lighter colored polishes for me, though, it started getting a bit dingy looking after a few days, with some dark stains at the tips that didn’t come off with even vigorous hand washing. :\

Next time (if I get around to a next time with this polish), I’ll wear it with one coat and see if I like it better. At two coats, it’s okay but a little too drab for me!

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!

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.

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! 🙂