Julep November 2014 Maven Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

Julep November 2014 Blizzard Swirls Nail Art

Hi everyone! I’ve got my picks from the Julep November 2014 collection today (Friendsgiving)! While work has been quite busy for me (and will be until January), I really wanted to get this post going because I am quite excited about it. This month, Julep’s “Friendsgiving” collection had a nice fall-to-winter transitional look – some warmer, muted fall colors mixed with cooler and more saturated winter shades. And there were a variety of different finishes between all the polishes, so there was something for everyone. For me, that “something” was the It Girl box this month. While I liked the overall look of the collection, and a few of the polishes looked intriguing, I decided to go for just the It Girl box with no add-ons. Mascara was a no-go for me (I have never worn mascara, and never will), leaving my options as It Girl, Polish Lover’s, or nothing. Two of the colors in the It Girl box looked awesome, so I used some Jules (store credit) and went for it! I swatched all the polishes, did a few quick comparisons, and combined all three colors into a wintery nail art design. Read on to see everything!

Julep November Maven It Girl Swatches CompositeThe It Girl box had the usual three colors (Kiki, Marzia, and Ilsa), a Plie Wand overcap, and two milk caramels. I haven’t had much success with the Plie Wand for regular polishing – my results were worse when I used it instead of better – so I don’t think I’ll use the overcap. The caramels were tasty, though! The coupon code I have is 20PLUS ($10 off of a $20+ order).

Julep November 2014 It Girl Box Unboxing
Ilsa (I have no idea where they may have gotten this name from…ahem*ELSA*ahem) is an “ink blue” creme, meaning that it’s a very saturated, purple-leaning navy creme. The color is very intense, and not at all dusty or muted. Compared to other dark blues, it does lean towards the purple end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, all this vivid color goes away once you apply Ilsa because it goes on darker than the bottle would indicate; in many lighting situations, it just ends up looking underwhelmingly off-black. The formula is nice, though: Ilsa has a great consistency, and applies to full opacity in two coats without any problems. So there is a plus! Hopefully it doesn’t stain my nails once I remove it, in which case I can give it another plus (I’ve had bad experiences with navy polish in the past).

Julep November 2014 Maven Ilsa Swatch

Julep November 2014 Maven Ilsa Swatch 2

Unfortunately, any positive feelings I had for Ilsa went away when I found an exact, 100% drugstore dupe for it in my stash. I compared Isla to two navy blue cremes, and found that Covergirl Sapphire Flare is an exact match. The base color is the same, the darkness is the same, the formula is pretty comparable…yeah, I found a dupe. And it’s cheaper! The other color I compared to Ilsa was Sally Hansen Night Watch (from 2013), which is similar but much yellower in tone. Ah well, I knew Ilsa would be the disappointment of the box for me. Since I didn’t pay real money for it, I don’t feel too bad that I ended up with a dupe.

Julep Ilsa Comparison
Kiki is an “oceanic” silver shimmer, which I would describe as a medium, ocean-blue shimmer that leans towards a foil metallic. This was one of the polishes I was looking forward to in the box, and I was not disappointed. I LOVE this polish! I’m digging the muted, greenish blue shade, and the shimmer is just perfect. This polish is way more reflective than I expected, and the result is mesmerizing! The finish is almost like a foil metallic, but not quite there. The formula is equally excellent: Kiki is workable though slightly thick, and is opaque in two coats (nearly one!). Definitely my favorite of the box!

Julep November 2014 Maven Kiki Swatch 3

Julep November 2014 Maven Kiki Swatch 2
Even though I knew they weren’t dupes, I compared Kiki to Zoya Rebel to see how similar they are. Rebel is lighter and bluer, and has a more golden cast to its shimmer than Julep Kiki. Rebel also requires 2-3 coats to get to opacity, versus Julep Kiki’s 1-2 coats. Nope, not the same. I realized after I finished swatching that Julep Kiki may be somewhat similar to Revlon Sky’s the Limit, so I may update this post later with another comparison.

Julep Kiki Comparsion

Marzia- a pewter chrome- was the other polish I was highly interested in from this box. Pewter is an interesting color to me, and I have nothing like this polish in my collection. The pewter of Marzia is mostly silver-toned but with a subtle golden cast, and is much darker than silver. I was really intrigued by this color once it was on my nails – like silver, but not. Very cool! On my skin tone, it was nicely flattering, which made me like it even more. However, the formula of Marzia can be a bit tricky. Since the polish has a chrome finish, it does show brushstrokes significantly. Other than some extra finagling to get rid of the brushstrokes, it applied nicely. Even with the chrome finish issues, I still really like it. Given the inevitable brushstrokes, I don’t like Marzia as much as Kiki, but I am still very fond of it. I’ll let this polish have its moment in the sun soon in an upcoming manicure.

Julep November 2014 Maven Marzia Swatch
I was curious how Marzia would compare to Julep Savoy – an antique gold chrome – and a standard silver chrome. Savoy was suggested as a dupe for Marzia in some online discussion boards and, I must say, they do look similar in the bottle. But once they’re on the nails, they couldn’t be more different. Savoy is far lighter and more gold, while Marzia is darker and more silvery. Not even close in my mind. I added the standard silver chrome (Nicole by OPI Positive Energy) so you can see how pewter compares to silver.

Julep Marzia Comparison

The icy, wintery palette of the It Girl box colors (and the name of Elsa sorry – ILSA) inspired me to do nail art reminiscent of winter storms. Never mind that my hometown doesn’t experience snow ever except once every 40 or so years… To give a winter storm look, I came up with the swirls idea, which kind of looks like a vortex or blizzard. While I could have water marbled the swirls, I decided against doing a water marble because 1. I am not very good at water marbling, and 2. water marbling wastes a ton of precious polish in the process. So I free-hand painted the whole thing!

To begin, I painted two coats of basecoat to prevent staining, and two coats of Ilsa. I added topcoat to protect these layers just in case. I then used a striper brush to free-hand the large middle swirl with Marzia, beginning at my cuticles and working inwards. This was a tricky maneuver, and quite time-consuming. I made sure to get all the nails done before moving on to the next step. Here’s what this intermediate step looked like if you’re curious:

Blizzard Swirls Intermediate

I then worked one nail at a time to get the rest of the swirl going. Working clockwise from the central swirl, I added each “swoosh” to the swirl, painting from my cuticles to the existing swirl. For this process, I alternated between using Kiki and Marzia, starting and ending with Kiki. To prevent the look from getting too monotonous, I varied the widths of each swoosh and the distances between swooshes. That’s about it in terms of instructions. This whole design was rather difficult and laborious, so I don’t recommend it to most people (which is why there is no tutorial).

Julep November 2014 Blizzard Swirls Nail Art 3

While this look may have been hard to achieve, it was worth it to me! Wow!!! I love the swirls! Kiki and Marzia were great polish choices for the swirl because they are opaque, easy to freehand with, and shiny. The pewter and ocean blue set each other off so excellently. The darkness of Ilsa makes a nice backdrop for the shiny polishes, and helps the whole look come together. I’m very pleased with this design – these polishes really made it work!

Julep November 2014 Blizzard Swirls Nail Art 4

Julep November 2014 Blizzard Swirls Nail Art 2
EDIT: someone on Instagram wondered what my right (dominant) hand looks like, so I’m adding a picture of it below. I did the swirls on my right hand as well as my left (I always do the same design on both hands no matter how difficult), but they are a little less precise because I was painting with my non-dominant hand. Someday I’ll do a short post on the pictures I’ve taken of my “Cinderella hand” so you can see how my right hand compares to my left.

Julep November Swirls Right Hand

Overall, I’m moderately satisfied with the box. All the polishes look great together – definitely a look I like. Kiki and Marzia were excellent, and I am thrilled to have them in my collection. Marzia especially, I think, will really get a chance to show how awesome it is once I use it again. Ilsa, however, was a big disappointment for me because I have an exact dupe for it already, and it looks black in a lot of lighting conditions. Since I didn’t pay real money for my box, I’d say it was worth it because I got Kiki and Marzia out of it. But I would be really disappointed if I paid money and ended up with a dupe. In summary, I’d say I have mixed feelings that are slightly positive.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post! Thanks for reading!

– Emi


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