ILNP Rolling Hills

RollingHillsBottleI’ve made it no secret that I’m a huge fan of ILNP’s Ultra Metallic polishes, based on my experience with Juliette and Cherry Luxe. So, it was only natural that the last time I picked up some new ILNPs, I had to include more Ultra Metallics. With spring now in full swing, I thought it was a perfect time to wear Rolling Hills, “a refreshing, iced mint Ultra Metallic polish laced with an array of holographic micro flakes [with]…a subtle hint blue-to-teal color travelling shimmer for a finish that’s to die for!

Rolling Hills had a standard formula, with a smooth application and a very even distribution of flakes across the nail. The polish is really packed with metallic and holographic flakes, offering a fair amount of coverage with just one coat. I had complete opacity with the second coat, and found the dry time between coats to be fairly standard. The polish dries to a very reflective, metallic finish, and I topped with regular glossy top coat.

Rolling Hills has definite wow factor. Icy mint is a perfect description for the shade, which reminds me of the pale green of mint ice cream. The base is absolutely packed with green metallic flakes, true to the Ultra Metallic finish, creating an incredibly shiny look that catches and reflects the light. The metallic flakes are complemented and accented by the holographic flecks, which give just a touch of holo finish for added sparkle. Rolling Hills is a gorgeous, sophisticated shade that looks absolutely lovely in the bottle and on the nail.

I’m not surprised to find that Rolling Hills is another favorite for me. This refreshing, minty green is a perfect spring shade, especially stunning in the sun. I continue to be impressed by how truly metallic the finish is, giving the appearance of actual flakes of metal in the polish. I look forward to trying more Ultra Metallic shades in the future, as soon as I can decide which one to try next!

Thanks for reading,

Abby

Advertisements

Ever After February 2016 Box: Barista’s Brew

Barista'sBrewBox

Ever After’s second sub-box, released in February 2016, was coffee-themed, named Barista’s Brew. Like the Tea in Wonderland Box, I was fortunate enough to be able to pick it up in a later restock. The polish included was Orange Mocha Frappuccino, “a rich and creamy coffee color filled with sparkle”. The bath and body product was a Coffee and Cream Face Mask. The mini product was a cuticle oil dropper, in a few possible coffee related scents; I received Coffee. As usual, the box included an edible treat, matched to the theme. This month featured chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Barista'sBrewCard

I found Orange Mocha Frappuccino’s formula to be very smooth, leading to a very easy application. I applied three thin coats to achieve full color coverage, with a slightly faster than normal dry time in between coats. Once each coat was dry, I topped with Ever After’s Quick Dry Top Coat to finish off my mani.

Orange Mocha Frappuccino is a delightful, sophisticated nude polish that gives you a very classic look with a little something extra. Depending upon the lighting, the shade shifts from a warm, golden tan to a cooler, silvery taupe. The base is complemented by gold/copper flecks and some soft holo shimmer, which catch the light and give the polish a reflective finish. It isn’t excessively sparkly, but has a soft shimmer for a gorgeous and mature look. I really like Orange Mocha Frappuccino, which will probably be a go-to nude for me in the future. I actually ended up wearing this shade to a job interview about two months ago (I’m way overdue to share it, sorry), because I thought it gave me a very professional, polished look. Incidentally, I got the job. Must have been because of this lovely shade!

The Coffee and Cream Face Mask is made with real coffee grounds, and while I don’t usually use a lot of face masks, this one sparked my curiosity. I’m also always game to try a new Ever After creation, as they never disappoint. The first thing you notice about this mask is the scent, as it smells exactly like coffee with just a touch of creamer. It’s strong and invigorating without overpowering your sense of smell. To apply, you massage a small amount onto damp skin, leave on for five to ten minutes, and rinse off. The coffee gently exfoliates your skin, leaving it smooth, soft, and invigorated. I really appreciated the fact that the mask is quick to use and doesn’t require a lengthy dry time or peeling to remove. It’s easy to work into my routine but still feels like a luxurious indulgence.

I’ve reviewed Ever After’s oil a number of times, so I won’t go into great detail here, other than to say that the Coffee Oil smells just like the real thing. It’s an invigorating and lively smell, perfect for a little midday pick-me-up. I always love adding a backup cuticle oil in a new scent.

As usual, I was very happy with the curation of the box. Opening it was like stepping into a coffee shop, with each item evoking traditional coffee scents, colors, and even flavors. I enjoyed every item in the box, and was excited to have a chance to review it, despite not getting it during the original release. Ever After recently announced that they’ll be restructuring the box a bit moving forward, doing a monthly mystery duo of polish and crelly, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I have no doubt we’ll see many great scent and color combos in the coming months.

-Abby

 

Fantasmic Flakies November 2016

Ever After Burnt Amethyst and Great Lakes Lacquer Emerald Waters

FantasmicFlakiesNovember2016Bottles.JpegEver After Polish and Great Lakes Lacquer were chosen to be the makers for the Fantasmic Flakies November 2016 customs. Ever After created the first group custom and did an amazing job, so I was excited to see them back again. Great Lakes Lacquer was a new maker for me, as well as new to Fantasmic Flakies. The color poll selected brown for Ever After, and green for Great Lakes Lacquer. Based on the selected inspiration photos, Ever After created Burnt Amethyst, a “brown crelly packed with blue to purple iridescent flakes and purple and chrome flakes”, and Great Lakes Lacquer created Emerald Waters, “an emerald green glowing with aqua to green crystal flake, lime to teal multichrome flake, and electric blue and gold microflake”.

*Please Note: The inspiration photos are not mine, and all rights belong to the copyright holders. Because I don’t know where people pull the photos from, I do not know if they have the rights to them or not. I feel that it would be a disservice not to include it here, but I will remove them immediately upon request if I am violating any copyright by doing so.

Burnt Amethyst

Burnt Amethyst had a very smooth application, with even distribution of flakes and a sheer finish. Because the polish is a crelly it takes three medium coats (or four thin coats) to reach full opacity and remove any visible nail line. The polish has a faster than average dry time, though, so I didn’t mind needing slightly thicker (or more) coats. I topped with Ever After’s Quick Dry Top Coat.

Burnt Amethyst is a delicious, dark chocolate brown (but don’t eat it, it’s nail polish, people). The crelly base is full of iridescent blurple and purple chrome flakes, which really stand out against the brown. The flakes add a touch of cool tones, contrasting the warmer brown of the base. The polish is also accented by just a touch of scattered holo shimmer, which gives it a hint of rainbow sparkle in direct light. The elements work together to create a very interesting and unique polish, which really does look quite beautiful.

I think Ever After did an amazing job of staying true to the inspiration photo. I’ll be honest, when I saw the photo, I was skeptical that a polish would be able to stay true to the photo and be a lovely polish. I’m not a huge brown polish user, and I’m not a very visual person, so I had trouble picturing a lovely, brown flakie. However, Ever After was able to create a polish that is both attractive and looks just like the photo. The base clearly is inspired by the dominant brown tones in the photo, and just like the stone, the polish is accented with purple flakes. The subtle holo adds just a hint of additional shimmer, much like the polished finish of the stone. In my opinion, the polish perfectly represents the photo, and I wouldn’t change anything about it to make it better.

Emerald Waters

Emerald Waters had a standard formula, with easy application and well-distributed flakes across the nail. This polish has a jelly finish, so how many coats you apply depends on what kind of look you want. I’d recommend at least two, which gives you full coverage. I applied a third for more color saturation. The dry time in between coat was pretty standard, and I topped with Ever After’s Quick Dry Top Coat.

Emerald Waters is a gorgeous medium-dark green jelly polish. It is packed, and I mean absolutely stuffed, with a variety of crystal and multichrome flakes, which give the polish flashes of lime, green, teal, and even aqua. I did not notice the blue and gold flecks mentioned in the description very much, but they do have a subtle presence. The polish really does remind me of emeralds, as the flakes catch and reflect the light much like the facets of a gem. I also really enjoyed how dimensional the polish is, even though its elements are all green. It’s really a stunning shade, especially in the sun.

Great Lakes Lacquer also did an excellent job of representing the inspiration photo with the polish. The photo is almost exclusively green, with different parts of the picture taking on different shades along the green spectrum. In the same way, Emerald Waters is entirely green, with the flakes adding in a number of different shades in the green color family. Even the teal matches a teal shade in the photo. The reflectiveness of the flakes also mirrors the reflection of the leaves on the lake. Emerald Waters is exactly the inspiration photo in polish form.

Final Thoughts

I thought both makers really hit it out of the park with the November customs. Both polishes were lovely and unique shades that stayed true to their inspiration photos. On top of that, they had excellent formulas for smooth and easy application, which I always appreciate. I was already a fan of Ever After, as you well know. Based on Emerald Waters, I’ll definitely be trying Great Lakes Lacquer again. And while I’m always excited to see what other makers have to offer as well, I hope it won’t be too long before these brands are selected for Fantasmic Flakies again.

-Abby

Fair Maiden Space Riot

It has been far too long since I’ve shared a Fair Maiden mani, so I figured there was no time like the present to try a new shade. After consulting the polish pals, we decided that I should use Space Riot, a “yellow gold to orange to berry multi-chrome linear holo with magenta/orange/yellow ultra chrome flakes.” Space Riot was released in early January of this year, along with several other limited shades. Even though I don’t normally gravitate towards pinker hues, Space Riot was very interesting and multidimensional, so I decided to purchase a bottle.

Space Riot’s formula is just barely on the thicker side of average, and offers a smooth application with even coverage. I opted to apply three coats for full-opacity; I had almost complete coverage with two thin coats, but needed a third to fully remove any visible nail line. The dry time was slightly faster than normal, and the polish dried to a shiny finish. I topped with Fair Maiden’s It’s Magic Top Coat for extra shine.

Space Riot is a truly gorgeous shade, with several different elements working together to create a dynamic and cohesive polish. The base really is a true multichrome, shifting from the dominant magenta/berry pink to coppery brown, light gold, and even yellow-green at certain angles. The polish is packed with linear holo shimmer that gives extra shine to the already reflective chrome base, really catching the light. It also of course adds a strong rainbow effect to the shade, playing off of the different colors in the base. Further accenting the shade are the chrome flakes, which reflect berry pink, coppery orange, and pale gold; the pink flecks are especially noticeable. Despite having so much going on, the polish doesn’t seem scattered or busy. Each aspect works together to create a shifting, multidimensional shade that really wows.

Space Riot is one of those polishes that makes you think, “this is why I buy indie polish”. I was utterly impressed by this shade, and it’s one of my favorite FMs ever, if not my number one. It’s also currently in the lead for my favorite polish of 2017. I took way too many photos, some at very bizarre angles, in an attempt to showcase everything that’s going on here. I’ll be sharing some videos of this shade to my Facebook page as well (be sure to like the page to stay up-to-date on what I’m posting). Sometimes, however, my camera really couldn’t capture just how amazing this color is. Space Riot is a genuinely beautiful shade, and I’m beyond happy that I have it in my collection.

-Abby

Julep Capricorn

The 12th and final polish of the Zodiac Collection is Capricorn, for December 22nd – January 19th. Capricorn is an “evergreen starlit shimmer made to match your determined personality”.

In the online swatches, Capricorn is a true, forest green shade, leaning neither blue nor yellow. The dollop shows that the polish is complemented by brighter green microshimmer, giving it a sparkly finish. Capricorn appears to be a true shimmer polish, without the metallic look sometimes created by gold or silver shimmers.

Capricorn had a very smooth formula that applied evenly and without issue. I’m excited to report that I had full opacity with just one coat of polish. I opted to apply a second coat because (1) I have a hard time believing in one-coat coverage, and (2) having my nails painted helps me prevent a lot of breaks, so a second coat couldn’t hurt, right? That being said, you can definitely get one coat coverage with this shade. Each coat dried in normal time, and I topped with Julep’s Oxygen Performance Top Coat.

In person, Capricorn is a hint more blue than I thought it would be, but still quite true to the forest green depicted in the online photos. It’s a very deep, earthy green, especially perfect for fall and winter manis. The green shimmer finish is strong without creating a metallic look, allowing the polish to catch and reflect the light despite its deep color. Although it’s not a particularly springy shade, I really enjoyed Capricorn, and would definitely use it again, perhaps for some Christmas stamping.

Color Comparisons

Capricorn is not the only forest green shimmer that Julep has released, so I was unsure if it would prove to be a unique shade or not. I was able to quickly find a number of shades to compare and put Capricorn to the test.

I was pleased to find that despite many other dark green shimmers, Capricorn is still fairly unique among the collection. The tones of blue really differentiate it from the other shimmers which lean more brown, and it’s a slightly brighter shade than others as well. It’s not the most different, but it’s certainly not a dupe.

Capricorn did not disappoint. In terms of formula, I’d have to say that Capricorn is the best polish in the Zodiac Collection, offering one-coat coverage without a long dry time. Although it’s not the most unique polish of the Zodiac collection, it’s an excellent forest green shimmer and would a great addition to any collection. Overall, the Zodiac Collection was very hit or miss for me. Julep is a well-established brand, so I’m not very patient with them when they have faulty formulas. A number of the polishes in this collection were truly excellent, while others offered creative colors but terrible formulas. The Zodiac Collection was a very interesting idea, and hopefully the current, second collection will improve even further on this concept.

-Abby

Julep February 2017 Color Comparisons

The February 2017 Collection, Cozy in Love, featured a colors in soft, romantic shades and in deep, vampy tones. Overall, I liked the curation of this collection based on the online photos, and felt Christine’s review was generally positive. However, Cozy in Love included a number of crèmes and shimmers, the two most popular finishes for Julep, so I wasn’t sure how the polishes would stand up to the existing shades.  As I often say, the only way to tell for sure was to pull out my swatches and do some color comparisons, the results of which I’ll share below.

August

Julep has plenty of deep red/burgundy shades, so it was easy to pull comparisons for August. I know August is technically a ghost shimmer, but given how little shimmer shows up, I thought it was best to largely compare to crèmes. It’s somewhat hard to tell in the photo, but August is darker and more saturated than any other red in the collection. While I’m not sure I would need a red even darker than what Julep has, I have to give August credit for being unique.

Charissa

Because Charissa is really a red/pink blend, it was a little more challenging to place it in the spectrum. After trying a few places, I decided it fit best with reds, but compared it to both reds (to the left) and pinks (to the right). Charissa is definitely close to a number of the other polishes, but lacks the shimmer that seems present in almost every pink/red color. There weren’t any crèmes close enough to compare, so Charissa definitely adds a new color to the Julep crème catalog.

Mariolis

Mariolis also presented a little bit of difficulty, as peach toned shades often seem to be split among the oranges, pinks, and tans. I found that Mariolis fit best with the pink peaches, and was able to easily pull comparisons for it. Mariolis is most similar to Lynn and Cassie, but is slightly more saturated and leans more tan than either. It’s not the most creative color this month, but doesn’t duplicate anything in the existing catalog.

Ainsley

 

Ainsley was a pretty straightforward comparison. Because of the strong gold shimmer, it appears almost more tan than grey, so I largely pulled whites with gold shimmer and a few tan shades. Ainsley appeared most similar to Debra, but is a shimmer rather than a crème. It leans more tan than any of the whites, perhaps because of how the gold shimmer plays off of the grey base. Regardless of the why, it’s definitely a unique shade.

Jolene

 

For Jolene, I was able to quickly pull out dark silver and pewter shades for comparison. Because Jolene has some golden shimmer in it, I anticipated it would be very similar to Lydia, the pyrite stardust shade. I found Lydia to have far more gold, although the two are close. Jolene was also fairly similar to Stefani, in finish and tone of grey. Overall, I would still say Jolene is a different shade, although maybe not as unique as it could be.

Della

Della is a pretty standard, true purple, so I didn’t have high expectations that the shade would be particularly unique. As I pulled swatches, I was surprised to find that there really aren’t that many purples in this particular shade. Della is almost identical in shade to Yen, but differentiated by finish. While Yen is a crème, Della is almost metallic in finish, making it a creative and new color.

Maylee

There are several very deep navy shades in the Julep catalog, so I had a number of options to compare to Maylee. It turns out that Maylee is actually the darkest blue Julep has made, leaning darker than Kristy or Lolo, and having a hint of black or brown tones that aren’t present in the other navy blues. Most of the other blues are crème as well, so even though the shimmer in Maylee is subtle, the finish further differentiates this shade.

Overall, I think Julep did a great job making this month’s colors unique. I was worried that the use of common finishes would render the shades duplicates, but they were successful in finding shade/finish combinations that hadn’t been done yet. While I’d like to see Julep continue to explore more finishes moving forward, rather than focusing on the traditional crèmes and shimmers, I’m always happy to see a creative collection of new and interesting shades. The Cozy and Love Collection hit that mark, making it a success in my eyes.

-Abby

Fantasmic Flakies October 2016

Different Dimensions Raindrops on Roses, Different Dimensions Storms Don’t Last Forever, and Lou It Yourself Trip the Lights Flaketastic

FantasmicFlakiesOctober2016BottlesOctober 2016 was the first month Fantasmic Flakies had two makers, featuring Different Dimensions Polish and Lou It Yourself (now Bluebird Lacquer). Purple won the Different Dimensions color poll, and blue/periwinkle was selected for Lou It Yourself. The photo that was chosen for Different Dimensions was recently used in another custom group, so Different Dimensions created two colors, one using the original photo, and one using one of the other inspiration photos (I believe it was the second place photo). Based on the photos, they created Raindrops on Roses, a “medium violet jelly with added shimmers to create a duochrome effect [and] added multi-chrome and sterling silver flakies”, and Storms Don’t Last Forever, a “violet to copper to gold multi-chrome polish with added multi-chrome flakies, shimmer, and holographic flakies”. Lou It Yourself’s polish was named Trip the Lights Flaketastic, described as a “blue with purple, silver, and light blue microflakes”.

*Please Note: The inspiration photos are not mine, and all rights belong to the copyright holders. Because I don’t know where people pull the photos from, I do not know if they have the rights to them or not. I feel that it would be a disservice not to include it here, but I will remove them immediately upon request if I am violating any copyright by doing so.

Raindrops on Roses

Raindrops on Roses had a good formula with smooth application. I really liked the Different Dimensions Brush, which was easy to use and had a very even application. I had close to full opacity in two coats, but opted to apply a third just to be sure. The dry time was normal, and I finished my mani with regular glossy top coat.

Raindrops on Roses is an eye-catching, medium purple, with a lot of different elements working together to create dynamic, beautiful polish. The base is a true purple, not leaning red or blue. The polish is stuffed with silver shimmer, small, silvery flecks, and multichrome flecks that appear to be dominantly blue and purple/pink, and really pop against the base. I say flecks because these were fairly small compared to the more standard flake size. All of the elements give this shade a lot of shimmer and sparkle, catching and reflecting the light, and creating an almost metallic finish. The holo shimmer especially stands out. Despite having so much going on, it’s a very cohesive look, and a lovely polish.

I think Different Dimensions did a good job staying true to the inspiration photo for Raindrops on Roses. Based on the photo and the shade selected in the color poll, I would have expected a true purple polish with accents of blue (the raindrops) and purple/pink (the flower petals), which is exactly what Different Dimensions created. The holo flecks really mirror the blue and pinkish accents, and the base shade is close to the purples in the petals. The silver accents add extra sparkle, without deviating significantly from the original photo. Overall, I think Raindrops on Roses was quite successful.

Storms Don’t Last Forever

Storms Don’t Last Forever had a very similar formula to Raindrops on Roses, and applied easily without any issues. It had good color coverage right away, with an even distribution of flecks and holo. I opted to apply three thin coats for complete opacity on the nail. I found the dry time to be just a tad on the slower side of average. Once it was dry, I applied glossy top coat.

Storms Don’t Last Forever is a reddish plum shade, with tones of violet and copper. The duochrome effect is clearly present, as the polish sometimes appears strongly burgundy, and more of a deep purple at other times. The gold shift is harder to capture in a photo, and shows up less often. The base is complemented by a smattering of multichrome and holographic flecks, which lean silver, blue, and red against the base. There is a very subtle shimmer, but the duochrome shift and flecks are more noticeable in this shade. The polish sometimes appears to be more of a glitter than a flakie, so I would have liked to see some slightly larger flakes in it, but overall, I enjoyed it. It’s a rich, earthy color with a fun color shift and lots of sparkle.

Like Raindrops on Roses, Storms Don’t Last Forever is a pretty close match to its inspiration photo. There’s a lot going on in the photo, and it seems the maker chose to focus primarily on the redder purples in the center of the photo. Although there’s an argument for the polish not being strongly purple, since they already created a true purple shade, I think it was a good choice to work more with the redder inspirations in the photo. The chrome shifts in the shade mimic the various colors in the sky of the photo, and the silver flecks are a perfect match to the lightning. While Storms Don’t Last Forever doesn’t include every aspect of the photo, it’s a good match, and stays true to many of the elements in the picture.

Trip the Lights Flaketastic

Trip the Lights Flaketastic’s formula was pretty standard, and applied evenly on the nail. The shade goes on fairly sheer with the first coat, and builds to full color coverage with three coats. You could probably use it as a topper with just one coat. The dry time was standard, and I finished with regular glossy top coat.

Trip the Lights Flaketastic is a bright, sky blue with a strong shimmer effect. The base is almost a jelly, as it has a bit of the “squishy” look attributed to jelly polish and goes on semi-sheer. You can tell in the bottle that this polish has some glass-like micro-flakes in blue, purple, and silver. These flecks seem to disappear on the nail; the polish appears to have a silver and blue iridescent finish. I would have liked to see bigger and more flakes in this polish, or perhaps a different shade of flakes that contrasted more from the base. While it’s a lovely blue shimmer, I’m hard pressed to call this one a flakie.

Trip the Lights Flaketastic was not a strong match to the inspiration photo. The blue shade of the base matches the flecks in the geode, and the iridescent finish mirrors the overall look of the stone, but the photo is largely turquoise, with slight blue and purple accents. I would have liked to see a turquoise base, featuring deeper blue and purple flakes just like those in the geode. That being said, blue was the color poll choice, and perhaps the maker felt that turquoise would have been too much of a deviation from the poll. While not a perfect match to the photo, Trip the Lights Flaketastic honored some of the elements of the inspiration photo.

Final Thoughts

This month was really a mixed bag for me, in terms of the colors. One challenge for me was that none of these polishes appear to have the standard medium flakes, but instead used what I call flecks, a much smaller flakie. At first, I wasn’t sure I felt this really qualified them as flakies, but later came around and decided that regardless of size, a flake is a flake (of course, all of these definitions are just my opinions, and not hard or fast rules). Despite my preference for larger flakes, as the small ones sometimes look a lot like glitter, both Different Dimensions colors met the flakie requirement, stayed true to the inspiration photos, and are really lovely shades. I’d definitely wear them again, and am glad they created multiple colors to share with the group. Unfortunately, any flecks in Trip the Lights Flaketastic did not show up on the nail, and I felt like it was much more of a shimmer polish. While it’s a great shade of blue, as a flakie, it leaves a lot to be desired. November was definitely an interesting month, with three different polishes created for the group. I’m always excited to see what the makers come up with, and look forward to sharing more Fantasmic Flakies customs in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading,

Abby

Julep Sagittarius

The 11th polish of the Zodiac Collection is Sagittarius, for November 22nd – December 21st. Virgo is a “generous blue-violet starlit shimmer” which “sparkles lavishly like your enthusiastic nature.”

On the Julep site, Sagittarius appears to be a very purple-leaning indigo, with a strong shimmer finish. In some of the photos, it appears to be a true purple, with only a suggestion of blue tones. The dollop photo shows that the shade has silver microshimmer, as well as slightly larger silver flecks, giving it sparkly, semi-metallic finish.

While Sagittarius’s formula is slightly on the thicker side, it still had an even application without any lumpiness or balding. I had complete opacity with two coats, and was impressed with the color coverage. I noted that the dry time was on the slower side, and took a while to fully set. Once it was dry, I topped with standard glossy top coat.

In terms of color, I really liked Sagittarius. It’s a deeply saturated, rich indigo, with equal tones of blue and purple. It shifts slightly between the two, depending on the lighting. The silver shimmer and flecks give it extra sparkle, adding a slight metallic effect to this cool-leaning color. I think the silver makes the shade more dynamic and interesting. Like Virgo, it reminds me of stars sparkling in the night sky. Overall it’s a gorgeous shade, and one of my favorites of this collection.

Color Comparisons

There are a fair amount of indigo shades in the Julep catalog, so it wasn’t hard to pull comparisons for Sagittarius. I was curious to see how it would stack up, and if it would be similar to any existing shades.

I was pleased to find that nothing in Julep’s collection is the same as Sagittarius, as most of the indigos are créme finish. Danica is probably the closest, but is definitely a brighter and less saturated color, also lacking the same type of shimmer in the Zodiac color. Sagittarius definitely qualifies as unique.

Overall, I was happy with Sagittarius. While the dry time could be improved, I didn’t have any application issues with the formula, and found myself liking the shade and finish. It’s a lovely, deep indigo, with an interesting finish. To top it off, it’s not a duplicate of any other shade, leaving me quite pleased. While some of the Zodiac shades have been a bit of a miss, this one was a hit for me.

-Abby

Ever After January 2016 Box: Tea in Wonderland

TeaInWonderlandBox

As I mentioned in my last Sub-Box Sunday post, I want to share some of the early Ever After boxes. I started getting the box in March of 2016, two months after the boxes started (in January 2016). Luckily for me, Ever After re-released a number of boxes in late 2016, including the January and February boxes that I missed. I’m excited to be sharing them with you this week and next, which will mean I’ve reviewed every box! The debut Ever After monthly box for January 2016 was themed Tea in Wonderland. The polish, Drink Me, was described as a sky blue créme with copper sparkle and shimmer. The bath/body product was Lavender and Epsom Bath Tea. The mini was a rainbow flakie shifting holo topper named We’re All Mad Here. To top it all off, the box also included a selection of tea to enjoy while you admire your mani.

BathTeaBath Tea, the body product for the month, contains epsom salt to soothe the skin, and is scented with lavender for a calming, peaceful soak. As you fill the tub, you use one sachet and allow it to steep and infuse the water. When you put the sachet in the water, you can smell the lavender almost instantly. It’s a very relaxing scent that carries you away to your own little spa. As you soak, the epsom salt works its magic, soothing the skin and providing an all-around calming effect. I found the Bath Tea to be very effective, and would definitely keep more sachets on hand.

Drink Me had a very smooth formula with even application. The first coat goes on semi-sheer, with full color coverage/complete opacity after the third coat. I found the dry time to be on the faster side of average. I also decided to use We’re All Mad Here, the topper, and applied one coat to every other finger. We’re All Mad Here had a very even formula with good distribution of the flakes across the nail. It dried in standard time, and I topped with glossy top coat.

I enjoyed both polishes, and although the box was originally released in January, I can’t help but feel they’re also perfect for spring. Drink Me is a bright, cheery blue. It’s a perfect bright sky blue shade that really pops. The shimmer leans both copper and pink, catching and reflecting the light. I do tend to lean towards blue shades, and I have to say I really love this one. We’re All Mad here adds extra sparkle and shine, with shifting, iridescent flakes and holo shimmer. I’ve actually used the topper before in my Ultimate Holo Topper Showdown, and was excited to be using it again.  It really complements the bright blue of Drink Me; the two are perfectly paired.

As the first Ever After box, Tea in Wonderland did not disappoint. The Bath Tea smelled delightful (and this coming from someone who normally doesn’t like lavender), and was very effective. I liked that I received two sachets, so I’ll be able to use it again. I felt that Drink Me and We’re All Mad Here were an excellent match, and looked great together. It’s always fun to get a new topper, especially a mini one, which is perfect for travel. This box was a very strong start for the monthly boxes, and I’m really glad I was able to grab it.

DrinkMe3

Thanks for reading,

Abby

Julep February 2017: Cozy in Love

I’m really excited to be sharing Christine’s (aka C’s) Julep February Review with you. Since many of you most likely already knew who she is, I’ll be putting her posts under her name moving forward (with her permission, of course). Christine also has every Julep shade, and her collection now surpasses mine, as I’m no longer getting them all. It was a bit of competition to find all of those rare 2011 shades, but we both eventually completed our collections and became close friends in the process. I’m happy to have her sharing here and look forward to her thoughts on each collection. I hope you do too!

-Abby

February2017CollectionHeader

The Cozy in Love Collection included:

  • 7 New Nail Colors
  • 4 New It’s Balms
  • 2 New When Pencil Met Gels

February’s collection is supposed to be cozy love shades. I think the collection title is supposed to be a play on Beyonce’s song Crazy in Love. This collection size was about average for Julep, in terms of both nail shades and makeup. The collection included one metallic, one crème, two ghost shimmers, and three microshimmers. There was definitely a large variety in finishes this month. In my opinion, just about all this collection was unique, but I will let Abby make the final determination on this. Also, I will not be reviewing the beauty products (even though I did get them), as I know Abby will do a better job!

February2017BottleBottoms

August

AugustMainAugust (11) is a Bombshell color described as a chocolate cherry ghost shimmer. It is a dark oxblood shade. The first coat (pointer finger, top) is very sheer, but it is also where you can see the most red in the color. As the shades build up, it gets darker and darker, to where it is almost black. As per normal with Julep ghost shimmers, the shimmer is hardly noticeable. The formula was on the streaky side. While two coats could suffice (middle finger), I would suggest using three coats (ring finger, bottom) for best coverage. This shade does dry very quickly.

Charissa

CharissaMainCharissa (12) is Classic with a Twist shade described as a mineral red crème. This crème leans very pink. I think it’s like a paler version of Evan from last month. I found that I really loved this shade (and I’m not usually a crème lover). One thick coat is almost fully opaque, but I still recommend two coats. What is interesting about this color is that the first coat dries almost matte, whereas with each consecutive coat it dries glossier. This polish had an average drying time.

Mariolis

MariolisMainMariolis (13) is this month’s Wonder Maven, and is described as a dusty coral ghost shimmer. I wouldn’t necessarily call this color coral, as it is lacking on the pink side; it leans very much to the peach side. Mariolis was a surprising shade for me, because honestly, I expected to hate it because I am not one for neutral shades. However, after I put the third coat on, I found that I loved it. You could actually see the ghost shimmer for once! The ghost shimmer was only visible after the third coat, but that gold shimmer was certainly there. The first two coats were sheer, making it hard to see the shimmer. The shimmer is actually stronger in person than it is in the picture. This shade had a fast drying time.

Ainsley

AinsleyMainAinsley (14) is a Classic with a Twist color described as a feather gray with gold microshimmer. This color needed two coats to achieve full coverage, and dried fairly quickly. This color, in my opinion, leans more of an ice blue than a gray. One coat is super sheer, but two and three coats are fine. The gold microshimmer is very strong in this one, which I was pleasantly surprised about. The microshimmer gives Ainsley a warm glow. I think this is probably one of the most unique shades in this collection, and it is a shade that can probably be worn year-round.

Jolene

JoleneMainJolene (15) is a Bombshell shade described as an iron ore metallic. I’m just going to come right out and say it: I absolutely hate this shade. I wanted to love it because it is so sparkly in the bottle, but even after three coats there was still visible nail line. With one coat it looks like you have a weird infection on your nail. Trust me, it’s not very attractive, the picture makes it better than it truly is. On top of that, it is super streaky and takes forever to dry. Even after a good 10 minutes, it will still not be dry and the next coat will smudge the previous coat. Julep has some similar shades, so really save yourself frustration and money and skip this color.

Della

DellaMainDella (16) is a Boho Glam polish described as a misted blackberry microshimmer. This color is pretty much fully opaque with one coat. I don’t know if I would call this one a microshimmer. Sure, there is a silver glow to it, but it comes across more as a metallic once dry. The formula for the most part is great, and the color truly fits its description. The con of this color is that the first coat is streaky, but a second coat fixes the streaks and makes it look great.

Maylee

MayleeMainMaylee (17) is an It Girl color described as midnight navy with gold microshimmer. This color is odd, as it looks like black with gold flecks in the bottle, but once on the nail it becomes a blue ghost shimmer. On the nail it’s slightly brighter than navy would be. Even Julep’s dollop on the website shows this color as being almost black, when it is clearly a brighter blue shade. This color had about the same amount of shimmer as Mariolis, and not nearly as much shimmer as Ainsley. This color is very sheer for the first coat, and the second coat leaves some visible nail line. I would recommend three coats because of that. It dries quickly, so multiple coats isn’t much of an issue, but each coat does darken the color so I wouldn’t do more than three coats if you wanted to keep it on the bluer side.

Final Thoughts

For the most part I liked this collection. Ainsley and Della were my favorites in terms of shade and formula. Mariolis was a nice surprise to see a ghost shimmer finally having visible shimmer. Maylee was odd with how it’s black in the bottle, but blue on the nail. Jolene was a major fail for this collection. I’m not sure if I would call these shades cozy and loving, but they somehow seem to fit together. I think if maybe they got rid of Jolene and put a soft green in the collection instead it would be a nice transition from winter to spring collection.

-Christine