Julep October 2014 Maven Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

Hi everyone! I hope you’re ready for this because I have my biggest post EVER! My biggest work task got postponed to November/December so I had more free time to make this post amazing. Today I have a huge review post about my picks from the Julep October 2014 Maven collection (Black Magic). Like I have done in previous months (July, August, and September), I swatched all the colors, did some comparisons, and then combined all my picks into nail art. This month, I have a tutorial for my nail art as well! Julep’s October polishes were mostly dark colors with a mix of different finishes. I was most interested in the Classic with a Twist (CwT) box, but added on two polishes from the It Girl box (Shailene and Dana) because they looked intriguing. Funny enough, CwT is my default style profile, but I never picked that box for any of the months I’ve been in the Maven program…until now.

I was much more intrigued by the color choices for October than for September. If you recall, I tend to prefer other finishes than cremes because I think they allow for more diversity and originality compared to solid colors, especially when I’m buying expensive nail polish. Given the abundance of non-cremes in this collection, I was hopeful that I’d get something I was really happy with. From the online swatches Julep provided, though, I had some reservations about what some of the polishes would look like in real life. The shimmers looked a little, well, “un-shimmery” in the photos. Since I’m not interested in shimmers that basically look like cremes, I was apprehensive I wouldn’t like my choices. Thankfully, I am quite happy with most of the colors I chose, so, without further rambling, I present: my Julep October 2014 swatches!

Julep October 2014 Maven Swatches Composite

This is what my box looked like I “unboxed” it. The Classic with a Twist box contained DeAnn, Logan, and the Night Shift Sleeping Mask. I got three add-ons to the Classic with a Twist box: Shailene, Dana, and the chevron decals. I might give away the chevron decals to my friend Kimi, since I feel like she would really like playing with them. The two other polishes in the photo (Karmen and Catrina) were a bonus for getting three add-ons. Fortunately, I didn’t have either, so I’m not stuck with more than one bottle of these colors. The code pictured is 15PLUS (free polish with $15 purchase). The freebie item in the box was candy corn, which I immediately gobbled up because I’m one of those weirdos who actually likes candy corn. This is probably because my mom loves to use candy corn as a decoration for birthday cakes, so I associate candy corn with her, birthdays, and parties.

Julep October 2014 Maven Unboxing

Dana (It Girl) is one of the most original polishes I’ve seen from Julep, which is why I added it onto my box. I just HAD to get it because of its description as “white with a reflective blue sheen”, and because it’s black light-reflective! This was one of the polishes I was worried about, though, because the sheen doesn’t appear too well in the photos, and white polishes tend not to be well-formulated. Thankfully, Dana was AMAZING. The blue sheen absolutely is apparent in real-life, and it is SO. COOL. YOU GUYS. OH MY GOSH. In my photographs it isn’t as apparent as it is in reality, but it is quite visible. Overall, the color looks rather futuristic to me, mostly because it reminds me of the new Enterprise in the rebooted Star Trek series: white with a bright blue shine to it. The formula of Dana was also way better than I expected: the first coat goes on a little streaky, but it isn’t hard to smooth out, and subsequent coats go on nicely. It gets pretty opaque if you do two thick coats like I did, but I’d recommend three medium coats to avoid bubbling. I’m so pleased I added Dana to my collection!

Julep Dana Swatch 3

Julep Dana Swatch 2

For the sake of a thorough review, I also tested the black light reflectivity of Dana. I even bought a black light bulb specifically for this purpose (well, also for funsies in general). Just when I thought Julep Dana couldn’t get any better, it did! It does indeed glow strongly blue in black light.

Julep Dana Swatch Glow Black Light

I was curious how the glow compared to both an ordinary white polish (Covergirl Snowstorm) and to other black light reflective polishes (like Polished by KPT Fluorescein). The plain white polish doesn’t glow at all, and Dana is unexpectedly even brighter than Fluorescein.

Julep Dana Comparison

DeAnn (Classic with a Twist) is a “loganberry creme”, which means it’s a dark, purple-red berry creme. Even though it is a creme, I ended up buying it because I do like berry shades, and getting CwT plus add-ons was cheaper than It Girl plus add-ons if I wanted the sleeping mask. On the plus side, the color is likeable enough and quite flattering on my skin tone. And, though the formula was on the thin side, it applied nicely in two coats. However, I seem to have forgotten how many berry cremes I have in my collection because I have SO many colors like DeAnn that are a little too close for comfort. It dried darker on the nail than it was in the bottle, so it was more similar to my other polishes than I thought it would be. I ended up comparing DeAnn to an unprecedented four different colors in my collection. Since I have so many similar polishes to DeAnn, I’m personally not thrilled with it. Oh well…

Julep DeAnn Swatch

Julep DeAnn Swatch 2
I stuck the two comparison photos together for brevity. The first shows Julep DeAnn compared to Julep Evelyn (brighter and more purple-toned berry) and OPI In the Cable Car-Pool Lane (highly similar color but slightly darker, more crelly formula). The second shows DeAnn compared to Zoya Veronica (lighter and redder) and American Apparel Port (darker, redder, browner). None of them are exactly the same, but I really don’t need this many similar berry cremes. Some of them will have to go!

Julep DeAnn Comparison

Logan (Classic with a Twist) is a “sultry aubergine shimmer”, and the reason why I stuck with CwT this month. I was really interested to know what it looked like in real life because, from the swatch photos, the shimmer looked nonexistent. Luckily, this was not the case, and Logan is a fabulously sexy shimmer! Granted, the shimmer is on the subtler side, but is definitely there. The base color is indeed a very blackened eggplant, and the shimmer is quite lovely. It’s just so gorgeous in my mind! So dark, so sultry, and THAT PURPLE! I can’t get over how beautiful it is! I have no similar colors in my collection, so I have nothing to compare it to. As for the formula, Logan has a good consistency, and goes on in two coats. Be careful to avoid brushstrokes though – the shimmer is on the frosty side. Overall, Logan is my favorite this month for sure (could you tell?), and I am so glad I got it!

Julep Logan Swatch

Julep Logan Swatch 3

Lastly, I have Shailene (It Girl) – another add-on. It’s a gorgeous “bewitched purple with gold iridescence”, which means that it’s a blackened purple base with metallic gold flecks in it. I imagine it would be similar to Zoya Sansa or OPI First Class Desires, but I have neither so I can’t compare (isn’t it funny when different polish brands put out the same unusual color at the same time? Like last year’s Essie For the Twill of It and OPI Peace, Love, and OPI?). Unfortunately, the best thing I can say about Shailene is that it’s a nice color. The formula of my bottle was a DISASTER – I won’t even sugarcoat that statement. The best way to describe it is “barely liquid”. It’s a goopy, viscous, unevenly-mixed catastrophe that is impossible to apply unless you thin it out. It’s so thick that, when I first tried to open the bottle, I actually struggled to pull the brush out because the polish had almost solidified. The thick formula also caused the brush to get weirdly bent, so it was difficult to use. I thinned it out with copious amounts of nail polish thinner, which made it much more reasonable to work with. Since I eventually got it to be of an acceptable viscosity, I wasn’t too upset about having purchased it. I got Shailene to apply in two coats once it had been thinned, and I had no other issues. It is a fabulous color, when it comes down to the end result. But if you don’t have polish thinner, it might be a lost cause.

Julep Shailene Swatch

Julep Shailene Swatch 3

After reading some of the comments about it on Julep’s social media (Instagram and Facebook), it seems like there was a bad batch of Shailene that went out that didn’t meet their quality control standards, and so a lot of people ended up with bottles similar to mine. Julep has been telling all the people with this batch of polish to contact customer service to fix the problem. I called them this morning, and the representative offered me the choice between getting a replacement or a different free polish entirely; I chose the latter option. If any readers have this problem, I highly encourage you to call customer service to get it fixed, since this batch of polish is unacceptable. It only took me about five minutes, and the rep was quite nice about it, so it wasn’t too much of an ordeal to go through.

Julep Shailene formula

“It’s an outrage! It’s a tragesty!”

When I was thinking of a way to combine all the colors into a nail art design, I drew my inspiration from the space scapes on the Julep promotional materials for this month, and decided to do a galaxy manicure! Since I had a bunch of dark colors and a white (that glows!), it seemed like an awesome idea for using all the colors and everything fell into place. Before this, I never had done a galaxy manicure, but the technique didn’t look difficult so I attempted it and I think it turned out well. I even made a picture tutorial for it! Julep beat me to the punch, though, and released a full tutorial on how to do a galaxy manicure before I did mine. Theirs is good, so you should check it out if you want to do a basic galaxy look. Mine is extremely similar, with a few modifications: instead of a sponge piece, I used a Q-tip, and I made some twinkling stars using a striper brush.

Julep October 2014 Nail Art Galaxy 3

Julep October 2014 Nail Art Galaxy 2

I have a tutorial, so I’ll keep my description of the process minimal. I chose to use Logan as the base because it was the darkest color, and it was also less flashy than Shailene. After painting on base coat and two coats of Logan, I used the Q-tip to dab on Shailene in selected areas in a very diffuse way. The “diffuse” aspect is very important: you don’t want to have globs of really opaque polish masking the base color – you want a thin, translucent layer to blend in with the base color and transition you to more intense color. My method for getting Shailene to go on diffusely was to paint a small amount of the polish on the Q-tip, dab it on my palm a couple of times to get a lot of the polish off, and then apply it to my nail. The next step was to add DeAnn within the region I had put Shailene in a similarly diffuse manner, and then add a few more dabs of Shailene to blend it in well with the background. Once I was satisfied, I used a dotting tool to apply various sizes of dots to my nails, not necessarily perfectly in the lighter regions. The twinkling stars I added on last using a striping brush. And that’s it! Aside from the twinkling stars, which can be omitted, the technique is super easy. I’d recommend practicing making galaxy nails on a piece of paper or a single nail at first, and then working on all nails once you’ve figured out how to get results you like.

Julep October 2014 Galaxy Nail Art Tutorial

I like this manicure a lot more than I thought I would actually. I am totally digging the moody purples (LOGAN!!! SO PERFECT!!!), and I like the diffuse stars. AND THEY GLOW IN BLACK LIGHT!!! I’m so thrilled by that aspect. If you’re going to do a galaxy, better make the stars really shine! I do prefer the normal light look, though, because the clouds put the stars into context nicely. And it’s PURPLE in normal light!

Julep October 2014 Galaxy Nail Art Comparison 3

Julep October 2014 Galaxy Nail Art Comparison 2

Despite my issues with Shailene and the dupey-ness of DeAnn, I really like this box. Dana and Logan are incredible! Both are stellar polishes, and I am so glad that Julep put them out. And, once it was thinned out, Shailene was a good polish as well. DeAnn is nice enough, but it didn’t win me over because I have so many colors like it. This month’s Julep offerings definitely satisfied my tastes. Next month, though, I’m not so sure. The teaser for the beauty product for November indicates that it will be mascara, which is something I have absolutely no intention of ever owning (or ever paying money for). So for me, it’s either It Girl, Polish Lover’s or nothing. Basically, don’t expect me to put out a November post because there is a good chance I might skip next month if I don’t like the colors.

I hope you liked my post! It was rather lengthy, but I wanted to write a lot and get some stress out of my system. My day wasn’t the greatest, so this amount of writing turned out to be quite therapeutic for me. It’s over 2,300 words, though, so I don’t blame you if you didn’t read the whole thing. I’m impressed if you did! Exciting things will be coming to the blog soon, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading 🙂

– Emi


2 thoughts on “Julep October 2014 Maven Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

  1. Katherine says:

    I just found your blog and I love it! Great pictures, love the comparisons, and your posts are so informational about the formulas! 🙂


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