Nail Polish

JULEP – Classic with a Twist Box July 2014

JULEP - Classic With A Twist Box July 2014

To find out more about the JULEP Maven subscription service, click here.

Another month, another Julep nail polish collection. Now that we’ve hit the midst of the summer I’m more then ever drawn to bright colors so this month’s Poolside collection was right up my alley. I’m not quite brave enough for the blues and greens in this collection but I was immediately drawn to the Classic with a Twist box (of course).

The Classic with a Twist box contains two nail polishes and a beauty item. This month the polish colors were Kelsey, a powder peach creme, and Vicki, a pink flamingo creme. While the whole Poolside collection is pretty bright, the Classic with a Twist colors are more subdued and washed out. I was hoping that Kelsey would be a good dupe for Essie’s Resort Fling (which I returned) but Resort Fling is quite a bit more saturated than Kelsey. Vicki is the color that I fell in love with from the swatches. In the bottle it looks a bit less coral and more like a hot, but washed out, pink. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed in the colors when I opened my box because they weren’t really what I was expecting. I’m hoping, though, that these polishes will grow on me once I have them on my nails.

I also decided to add on Colette from June’s Three Wishes collection. Colette is described as poetic violet shimmer. I had my eyes on this color last month but ultimately decided to be frugal and skip altogether. This month Julep offered some of the past collections’ colors as add-ons so I jumped on the opportunity to add Colette to my stash.

JULEP - Classic With A Twist Box July 2014 - polishes

The beauty item this month was the Bare Body Milk (6.8 fl oz, $24, $19.20 Maven price). This is an ultra-lightweight lotion that absorb really fast without feeling sticky or greasy. The scent is described as Julep’s signature Beach Tonic fragrance which, frankly, means absolutely nothing. To me it smells fresh and sweet, citrusy with hints of floral – I like it a lot.

Lastly, Julep also threw in two US-themed Tootsie Rolls for good measure which made my sweet tooth really happy.

JULEP - Classic With A Twist Box July 2014 - contents

Overall, the verdict is still out for this box until I get  a chance to try these colors and see if they grow on me. I do like the body milk more than I think I would so that makes up for my initial disappointment.

I paid $19.99 for this box, plus $4.99 for Colette and received $66 worth of items ($52.80 Maven price). Each Julep nail polish is 0.27 fl oz and costs $14 ($11.20 Maven price) if bought individually.

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JULEP – Evie

Julep - Evie

As a confessing nail polish addict, I swoon about a a lot of nail polishes on this blog. However, I think I found a new favorite: Julep’s Evie.

I gifted Evie to a friend of mine with the same name for her birthday and when I received it in the mail I knew I had to have it too. I was really disappointed when I found out that it was out of stock but I got lucky and Julep restocked it a few weeks later. Yay!

Evie is described as a fresh-picked raspberry creme with gold shimmer. It’s a blue-leaning red but the golden shimmer gives it some warm undertone. The shimmer is more apparent in bright sunlight, giving this polish a little something special.

This polish applied beautifully. The consistency was neither too thin nor too thick. I didn’t have any issues with pooling around the cuticles. Evie leveled out really well so streaks weren’t a problem either. I needed two coats to achieve opacity. The dry time was a bit better than usual with Julep polish but this didn’t lead to any problems with dragging or balding.

The wear time with this polish is awesome. I usually get 3-5 days out of a manicure before the polish begins to chip but Evie lasted for a full week with only minor tip-wear. That’s a new best for me.

The only problem I had with this polish was that miniature air bubbles started to form after I applied my top coat. I’m not sure if I should’ve let Evie dry longer before applying the top coat or whether I applied too thick of a layer but I’m sure this problem can be preempted by tweaking my application a bit.

Evie officially has my vote for summer polish shade of 2014. It certainly will adorn my toes during my upcoming beach vacation. Summer can’t come soon enough.

Each Julep nail polish is 0.27 fl oz and costs $14 ($11.20 Maven price) if bought individually.

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The Essie Resort Collection 2014

Essie Resort Collection 2014

Essie Resort Collection 2014 - Packaging

What is better than one nail polish review? Four nail polish reviews of course! I recently purchased a set of mini nail polishes of the Essie Resort Collection 2014 which includes the colors Resort Fling, Under The Twilight, Find Me An Oasis, and Cocktails & Coconuts. Even though I’ve been on a nail polish low-buy, these four summery shades caught my eye. I didn’t have any Essie nail polishes in my collection at that time so I thought that this little set would be perfect to give this brand a whirl.

Essie - Resort Fling

Resort Fling is described as “alluring coral peach.” It definitely leans more orange and is brighter than it appears in the bottle. The finish is a mix between a jelly and a creme which makes it hard, if not impossible, to achieve opacity. I used three coats in the above pictures and it’s still somewhat translucent. The wear time was pretty good though and I didn’t have any problems with chipping.

Essie - Under The Twilight

Under The Twilight is a smokey plum creme. It’s a very dark, vampy shade but I like it a lot. It went on very evenly and was mostly opaque in one coat. I still applied two coats in the above picture. Unfortunately, this one chipped incredibly fast on me, within less than 24 hours.

Essie - Find Me an Ocean

Find Me An Oasis is described as a “refreshing ice blue.” Although I don’t really like white nail polishes, I really enjoyed this almost-white, super-pale shade of blue. Sadly, it was very hard to achieve even coverage. This polish went on streaky and with a lot of drag. Even after three coats there was still balding. The wear time was average and I did have some chips after a few days.

Essie - Cocktails & Coconuts

Cocktails & Coconuts is a subtle, shimmering warm sand. The silver shimmer doesn’t really show up on the nail so it ends up looking pretty much like your average beige. It’s still a pretty color, though. The wear time was average with this polish but when it chipped, it also peeled off the top layer of my nails. I never had that happen before with any nail polish and it’s really not acceptable in my book.

Overall, my first impression of the Essie brand is a bit underwhelmed. I had really high expectations for these nail polishes but the quality left a lot to be desired. Out of the four colors in this set I would solely recommend Resort Fling and only if you don’t mind the jelly-creme finish. The runner up is Under The Twilight for its great application but the fact that it chipped in less than a day is a no-go for me. I will probably end up returning this set.

This mini set contains four 0.16 fl oz polishes and is available for $17 at Ulta, BeautyBrands, and other retailers. Individually, each nail polish retails at $8.50 and contains 0.5 fl oz.

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JULEP – Color Crush Box May 2014

Julep - Color Crush May 2014

To find out more about the JULEP Maven subscription service, click here.

For various reasons, it’s been a few months since I’ve decided to take any of the Julep Maven boxes. I’ve way too much nail polish already, I’ve been trying to save money, and the latest collections haven’t really spoken to me. They have been full of very bold colors and I’m more of a neutrals kind of gal, you know.

The latest collection, though, something about it just caught my eye. It seems like now that the temperatures are warming up I’m getting a bit tired of subdued hues and ready to see some brighter colors on my nails. The Fresh Twist collection is a nice arrangement of pastels and vivid summery colors that still appear pretty wearable.

This month Julep also shipped out the crowd-funded plié wand. The plié wand is a tool that attaches to the nail polish brush to make application easier, especially when working with your non-dominant hand. At this point I’m pretty good at doing my nails without getting polish all over my cuticles so while the concept of the plié wand is intriguing to me, I didn’t see an immediate need for it for myself.

In order to get the plié wand to all funders, it was included in every regular box, even It Girl. Since It Girl normally doesn’t include any products Julep curated an additional box, Color Crush, containing three polishes only, which is the box that I decided upon. This was an easy decision since I didn’t care that much for the plié wand but loved all the colors in this box.

Color Crush contained the two It Girl colors Jules, a warm powder-pink creme, and Iona, a hydrangea blue creme, as well as the Boho Glam color Paulette, a golden lilac tulle shimmer. I also decided to add Maddy, a raspberry sorbet shimmer, to my box.  

This box probably wasn’t the best choice value-wise. All the regular boxes contained the plié wand and two nail polishes bringing their value to $52 ($42.40 Maven price) while the Color Crush box only has a $42 value ($33.60 Maven price). I’m still very happy with the selection because I love all the colors I got. I paid $19.99 for the box and an additional $4.99 for Maddy as an add-on so I still got my money’s worth. My box also contained a foil package of the Luxe Repair Skin Serum which is just ‘meh’ for me because I haven’t really used the full size I got with my introductory box or the foil sample I got with the November box.

As a small side note, the Color Crush boxed shipped in a much smaller package than usual which I really appreciate since it’s more environmentally friendly.

Each Julep nail polish is 0.27 fl oz and costs $14 ($11.20 Maven price) if bought individually.

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Nails Inc – Brook Street

Nails Inc - Brook Street

Now that the temperatures are warming up I’ve been getting into the mood for summery shades on my nails. I recently received a sample of the Brook Street nail polish from Nails Inc in a swap. This is my first Nails Inc polish and I’ve been very excited to give this British cult company a try.

Brook Street is described as a “soft pink coral shade.” It leans more pink than OPI’s My Chihuahua Bites! and Butter London’s MacBeth while at the same time being somewhat lighter and appearing a bit washed out. While Brook Street is not an exact dupe, it’s pretty similar to the above shades so if you own any of them it’s safe to skip this one.

I had a hard time applying thin, even coats with this nail polish. While the consistency is not particularly thick, there was a lot of drag during application, requiring more polish on the brush than I usually like to use. I applied two coats in the above pictures and the result turned out a bit uneven.

Wear time with this nail polish hasn’t been all that great either. I had the first minor chips within 24 hours. On the upside, I’ve now worn this polish for four days and while more chips have appeared the manicure overall is still passable. There also hasn’t been a lot of tip wear which is pretty impressive since I type on a keyboard all day.

Overall, I’m not blown away by this nail polish. I love the color but I wish application was a bit easier. I’m excited that I finally got to try a Nails Inc polish but at the same time I’m happy that I didn’t pay for this one out of my own pocket.

Nails Inc polishes are 0.33 fl oz and retail for $9.50.

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JULEP – Joanna

Julep - Joanna - sunlight

JULEP Joanna in bright sunlight

In the spirit of Easter I wanted to show you one of my favorite nail polish colors for this spring – Julep’s Joanna.

Joanna is a lilac frost with blue undertones. The shimmer is especially visible in bright sunlight which makes the color more vibrant. When looking at the bottle in direct sunlight the shimmer also shows a red shift but that doesn’t translate to the nail.

The swatches below were shot in the shade which makes the color appear a bit more subdued, warmer, and less shimmery.

Julep - Joanna - shade

JULEP Joanna in the shade

The consistency of this color is perfect, neither too thin nor too thick. It makes application a breeze. I didn’t have any difficulty with streaking which can be a problem with some shimmers. The color was opaque in two thin coats.

I also didn’t have any issues with chipping with this polish. I wore it for four days until I got a bit tired of the color and tip-wear was minimal.

Overall, I think that this is a great color for spring. It’s a beautiful pastel and the frost finish gives it that bit of an edge that I love.

Julep nail polishes are 0.27 fl oz and retail at $14 ($11.20 Maven price).

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My Spring Beauty Picks

My Spring Beauty Picks

My Spring Beauty Picks

My Spring Beauty Picks

Spring is probably my favorite season. I love when the days get longer, the temperatures warmer, and the flowers and trees start blooming. As far as makeup goes, I like to go for bright and fresh colors so this is definitely the season for pinks and pastels for me. Here are my beauty picks for this spring.

On my nails I’ve been loving pastel colors like Julep’s Abigail, a light peony pink, and Farrah, a lilac (0.27 fl oz, $14 each). Another recent discovery is Essie’s Resort Fling (0.5 fl oz, $8.50), a subdued coral peach. Resort Fling isn’t a color I would normally gravitate toward but this shade is so cheery, it just instantly brightens my mood.

This spring my cheeks have been adorned in different shades of pink. NARS – New Attitude (0.16 oz, $29) is a bright cherry blossom pink that gives a nice flush of color. The tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush in Thankful is a limited edition color that was part of the Thoughtful Treasures Christmas Set ($19) which I just recently acquired on eBay. This blush is described as a golden pink that reads as an apricot pink on me. It’s warmer than New Attitude which makes it very versatile. Lastly, I’ve been reaching for my sample of Benefit Cosmetics’ Dandelion (0.25 oz, $28) which is a baby pink with beige undertones. It’s not very pigmented so it’s perfect when I just want a natural hint of color on my cheeks.

On my lips I generally tend to gravitate toward my-lips-but-better shades but even more so now that the temperatures are warming up. This is the time of the year where I like to switch to lighter, semi-sheer formulas, like balms and lip crayons. The Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry (0.1 oz, $17) is one of my favorite lip colors. It’s just a tad brighter than my natural lip color and gives a hint of sheen. The tarte LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint in Energy (full size: 0.1 oz, $24) also came with the Thoughtful Treasures Set. It adjusts upon application and on my lips it gives a pop of bright pink color that’s semi-sheer so it still looks natural. I’ve also been reaching for the L’Oréal Colour Riche Lip Balm in Heavenly Berry (0.1 oz $7.99). It’s the darkest of the three – a nice berry pink. None of these are long-wearing but I like it that way.

Lastly, I want to give an honorable mention to my favorite eye color palette and fragrance this spring. I don’t wear eyeshadow on an everyday basis but when I do I’ve been reaching for the Urban Decay Naked3 Palette ($54).The rose colors are just perfect for spring. In terms of fragrance, I’ve been loving Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh (full size: 4.2 fl oz, $97). The top notes of raspberry, grapefruit, and pear make this a light, fresh, and fruity scent that embodies spring for me.

What beauty products have you been loving this spring?

Recent Repurchases #3

Recent Repurchases #3

I’ve been doing pretty well with my beauty product low-buy  but I ran out of a few favorites recently that needed to be replaced.

The REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk (5.1 fl oz, $28) is a firm staple in my skin care routine and I rarely use any other cleanser in the mornings. Once I started to run low I didn’t waste any time to pick up a new bottle. When REN renamed this cleanser they also gave the bottle a face lift. They got rid of the inner bag that used to hold the product and went with a more conventional airtight pump design. I didn’t really mind the old design but this new one is a bit more sleek and modern.

After many months of serving as my favorite mascara, the Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (0.29 fl oz, $24) I received in last year’s September Birchbox ran dry. Although my makeup stash is overflowing with mascara, Birchbox lured me into this repurchase with a coupon offer. I’m holding back with opening it until I make a bigger dent into my stash but I’m happy to have it as a backup.

I’ve raved about the Batiste Dry Shampoo (6.73 fl oz, $7.99) a few times before. It’s hands down the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used. I didn’t waste any time to replace it when I ran out. I decided to go with the paisley scent since I found the cherry scent a bit too artificial.

Although my initial review of the OPI RapiDry Quick-Dry Top Coat (0.5 fl oz, $12.95) wasn’t all that positive, I’ve really been growing to love this top coat. It took a bit of trial and error to figure out the best way to use it but by now I wouldn’t want to be without it. My last bottle has been running low and the remaining product has become a thick, goopy mess so when BeautyBrands had a special on OPI polishes I decided to purchase a replacement.

What have you been repurchasing recently?

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April Wish List

April Wish List

If you’re a beauty junkie like me you probably also follow some of the more popular beauty bloggers. Those ladies are really inspiring but, man, are they enablers. Every time I browse my Bloglovin’ feed I end up adding another item to my beauty wish list. I narrowed it down to a few products that I can’t wait to add to my beauty stash.

I’ve been running low on the Caudalie Hydrating Toner and although I’ve really been enjoying it, I’ve also been eyeing the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (3.4 fl oz, $49).  It’s “part-toner, part-serum mist of essential oils and plant active ingredients” that “smooths the skin, tightens the pores, and provides an instant burst of radiance.” Caroline Hirons swears by it, which makes it a must-have in my book.

I probably need another foundation like I need a hole in my head but during my last visit to Ulta the Urban Decay Start Getting Naked Three-Piece Perfect and Set Complexion Kit ($49) caught my eye. The Naked Skin Liquid Makeup is a relatively new release that promises to make skin look “natural, illuminated and bright,” offering “buildable coverage with a weightless feel and a luminous finish” – basically everything I look for in a foundation. This set also includes a mini blurring brush that is designed for application of this foundation, as well as a sample of the All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray which I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

Another Caroline Hirons recommendation is The Body Shop’s recent addition to the Vitamin E line, the Overnight Serum-In-Oil (0.94 fl oz, $26). Facial oils have become a staple in my evening beauty routine. I like that this is a two-in-one product, combining the nourishing powers of a facial oil with the hydration of a serum. “Yay” for one less step in my routine!

Next up is the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Treatment Mask (2.5 fl oz, $39). I’m somewhat of a face mask junky. If I could apply a mask every day, I totally would. This one has been making the rounds in the beauty blogger world, getting rave reviews along the way. It promises to deliver a “deeply moisturizing, cleansing and anti-oxidizing treatment.” Manuka honey has antibacterial and astringent properties which makes this mask great for combating breakouts while also giving your skin some nourishment.

I’ve expressed my love for silk and satin finish nail polishes multiple times before but so far I’ve searched in vain for a gray nail polish with that finish. That is until I stumbled upon the Sally Hansen Satin Glam Nail Color in Metal Iced (0.33 fl oz, $5.99). It may be a bit too blue to be the perfect color but it’s close enough that I will definitely have to add it to my collection. I also have my eyes on some of the other colors including Go Gold, a beautiful bronze-gold, but Metal Iced is the one I plan on picking up soon.

What’s been on your wish list lately?

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March Favorites

March Favorites It’s the last day of March so you all know what that means: Favorites Time!

Now that the weather is warming up and the sun is shining more it’s becoming super important to use sunscreen regularly. I’ve been using the  Clinique City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector (1.4 oz, $22) religiously every morning. The SPF 25 is perfect for this time of the year. It’s tinted and gives just enough coverage that I don’t need to wear any foundation on good skin days or when I only need to run a quick errand. It also pulls double duty as a primer and works especially well in combination with the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint.

My favorite new addition to my skin care routine is the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser (6.8 fl oz, $32). I use it almost every night for my second cleanse and it has really helped with clearing up my skin. While most acne cleansers are very harsh this one doesn’t strip your skin. It’s nourishing and gentle which makes it perfect for everyday use even for dry skin.

One step I’ve added to my routine a couple of months ago is a moisturizing toner. I’ve especially been liking the Caudalie Moisturizing Toner (3.38 fl oz, $14) which I use in the evenings because I find it very calming. I only wish that it came in a spray top bottle so I ended up buying one at Target and decanting the toner into it.

During the treatment stage of my evening skin care routine I’ve regularly been using the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend (1 fl oz, $36) which is a lovely nourishing facial oil. I haven’t been using it long enough to evaluate whether it helps fade my acne scars but I do think that I’ve had less breakouts since I started using it. I also love the glow it gives to my skin.

In the mornings I’ve found myself reaching for the Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-On (0.5oz, $10.99). I’m normally not one for eye roll-ons because I prefer something a bit more nourishing but this one has a nice cooling effect which is like an instant wake-up call.

In regards to hair care I’ve really been loving the Batiste Dry Shampoo. You know a dry shampoo is doing a great job if it extends the time between hair washes by a whole day. Using this dry shampoo I can go three days between washes instead of two. I love that it doesn’t leave a residue and keeps my hair fresh all day long, and then some.

Lastly, I’m very ready for spring to finally arrive at my door step so for my nails I’ve been drawn to pastel colors, especially my lavenders, lilacs, and periwinkles. I’ve been rotating between Zoya’s Megan, Julep’s Farrah and the newest addition to my nail polish collection: Julep’s Joanna which I got in a recent sample swap. These colors just really brighten my day and are getting me excited for the warmer temperatures.

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