Julep January 2015 Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

Hi everyone! Today I have a ginormous post about my picks from the Julep January 2015 Collection (Chrysalis), so get ready! This time around, I went with the It Girl box and added on two polishes – Luna (the featured add-on) and Phyllis (Classic with a Twist) – plus I got one of the metamorphic topcoats (Tyra, the pink one) they put in if you signed up to get one. That’s six polishes in total that I’m going to write about in this post, which is a new record for me! As usual, I’ve swatched all the colors, done a few comparisons, and used four of the colors to make “chrysalis”-inspired nail art!

Julep January 2015 Maven Nail Art Chrysalis Luna Moths

This month, Julep decided to do something new in line with their increasing emphasis on beauty products, which was to put two products and one polish in three of the main boxes (Boho Glam, Bombshell, and Classic with a Twist) this month instead of two polishes and one product. Since I subscribe to Julep mainly for the nail polish, and I’m not in the My Maven customization program, this new way of doing things isn’t what I want at all. It’s pretty clear that, by making it less attractive to stay in the original program, this move is probably part of Julep’s push towards getting everyone into My Maven. I must say, it is working; I’m seriously thinking about switching over to the program. We’ll see! Anyways, read on to see all the polishes!

Julep January 2015 Swatches CompositeHere’s an unboxing photo! The box I got this month was HUGE! I got the six polishes, a mystery polish (Kendra), some Junior Mints, and a bonus gift of the Glycolic Hand Scrub for getting three add-ons. Pictured is the coupon code THIRTYOFF for 30% off.

Julep January 2015 Maven Unboxing

Janae (It Girl) is a “cool charcoal creme”, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. It’s a very dark gray creme with a slightly cool tone that dries darker than the color in the bottle. Usually I’m not a fan of gray polishes because they don’t look good with my skintone, but this one is passable and not awful. Although I wasn’t expecting to like this color, I wore it around for a day and, by the end, it grew on me. While this polish is clearly not black (see the side-by-side comparison below!), in some indoor/shaded lighting situations, the color by itself can look off-black. However, it’s pretty clear most of the time that it’s gray and not black! The first photo of the ones I posted is the most accurate to the color on the nails; the rest got a little funky during editing. Anyways, the formula of Janae is stellar: two coats of easy-to-apply polish perfection, and you’re good to go!

Julep January 2015 Maven Janae Swatch 4

Julep January 2015 Maven Janae Swatch 3

I found a couple of other dark gray colors to compare to Julep Janae, though neither of them are dupes, and I also painted one nail black to show that Janae is not exactly black. Zoya Kelly is a lighter shade of the same cool gray color, and is also a creme. Revlon Ace of Spades is a neutral dark gray with subtle blue shimmer; I threw in this one because it’s almost as dark as Julep Janae. I used Julep Jet (black) on my pinky to show what these dark grays look like next to black.

Julep January 2015 Janae Comparison

Luna (It Girl – featured add-on) is definitely an oddball, which is why I wanted it. It’s a polish with a sheer, luminescent shimmer base that’s a light turquoise with a yellow-orange flash. While it isn’t a true duochrome with color-shifting pigments, it does have a multicolored, iridescent effect. Within the base, there are small pieces of jagged-cut, iridescent Mylar glitter for added weirdness. Normally I don’t like shard glitter, but it kind of works in this polish. Surprisingly, the glitter isn’t as rough as I was expecting, and can get mostly smooth with two coats of normal topcoat. Overall, I dig Luna’s novelty. As for the formula, the consistency of the base polish is kind of gloopy, and the glitter is kind of difficult to manipulate to get the desired effect. Two coats of this polish will get you to a sheer “sheen” on your nails, three will get you to almost opaque, and four will get you all the way there. Personally, I prefer how it looks at two coats than than three or four, since I like the sheen; the photos below show two coats.

Julep January 2015 Maven Luna Swatch 3

Julep January 2015 Maven Luna Swatch 2

Since Julep Luna is such a unique polish, I couldn’t find any comparisons in my stash. Instead, I thought it would be fun to show how versatile Luna is! It’s pretty fantastic on its own, or layered over other polishes. In the first photo, I have a comparison of one, two, three, and four coats of Luna. In the second, I left two nails with just two coats of Luna, painted one nail with Luna over a similarly-colored creme (Julep Shelly), and one nail with Luna over a dark creme (Julep Janae). Luna with Shelly is a pretty combo, but I absolutely LOVE the combination of Luna with Janae! Putting Luna over a dark base color makes the orange flash really come out, and it’s super shiny with the glitter! WOW! Despite my issues with the formula, I’m so in love with how Luna looks layered that I’m going to forgive its problems and declare that I for sure like it.

Julep January 2015 Luna Comparison

Margit (It Girl) is a light-medium, mushroomy taupe with a funky shimmer that’s supposed to be pink, but ended up looking kind of speckled. I think the shimmer came out this way – “speckled” is the best adjective I can think of – because the shimmer particles are kind of larger than average. When they aren’t reflecting pink, which they don’t do very often, they just slightly off-color from the base, hence the speckles. Oddly enough, the color of the polish in the bottle looks putty-ish, but once on the nail it looks way more grayish and mushroomy…weird. Overall, this polish would probably flatter a variety of skintones, and would be very work-appropriate while still being more interesting than your average neutral. The formula was perfect: good consistency, and opaque in two coats. I have nothing in my stash that’s highly similar to Julep Margit, as my stash is pretty deficient in neutrals.

Julep January 2015 Maven Margit Swatch 2

Julep January 2015 Maven Margit Swatch 3

Phyllis (Classic with a Twist) is a light, peachy-toned pink creme that’s quite desaturated. I don’t really think this color was represented accurately on Julep’s website, since it is considerably more muted than I expected from the photos. Nonetheless, I like the color because it’s a warmer pink that goes well with my skintone, which is generally what I wanted from this polish. Best of all, the formula of Phyllis is pretty great! The polish is easy to apply, and is opaque in two coats. I was pretty impressed by this, seeing as how pastel colors like this one often have terrible formulas.

Julep January 2015 Maven Phyllis Swatch 4

Julep January 2015 Maven Phyllis Swatch

I don’t have a great dupe for Julep Phyllis, but I thought it would be worthwhile to compare it to Zoya Rue just to indicate how the color compares to other somewhat similar polishes. Zoya Rue is more cool and muted than Julep Phyllis, so they definitely aren’t dupes.

Julep January 2015 Phyllis Comparison

Shelly (It Girl) is a light, green-blue creme that Julep calls “wintermint”. As I discovered, this color does happen to be an exact match for the color of the “sweet mint” eos lip balm sphere. Personally, though, I’d consider it more of an aquamarine color with a hint of dustiness, since this color mostly looks blue to me rather than minty. Overall, I really like this shade because of the way the hint of dustiness makes the blue look just right, and keeps it from getting too bright and toothpaste-y. Just like the other cremes in the box, Shelly applied nicely in two coats. As with Phyllis, I was impressed by Shelly’s easy application. Yay!

Julep January 2015 Maven Shelly Swatch 3

Julep January 2015 Maven Shelly Swatch 4

I compared Julep Shelly to two other similar aquamarine cremes in my stash: Milani Color Statement Mint Crush and Essie Who is the Boss. Milani Mint Crush is brighter and slightly bluer, but is overall very similar in terms of color and formula (two coats, easy to apply). Essie Who is the Boss is decidedly more muted and requires three coats to get opaque instead of two for Julep Shelly. I also threw in Julep Kam if anyone wanted to know how “vintage spearmint” compares to “wintermint” (not very much at all).

Julep January 2015 Shelly Comparison

Tyra is the metamorphic topcoat that came as a freebie in my box, and is the biggest disappointment for me out of all six colors. Mostly this is because I really wanted one of the other two topcoats, and – lucky me – ended up with the one I didn’t want. Well, it was free – can’t complain about that! Anyways, in the bottle, the polish color looks kind of pearly white with a pink sheen. When applied by itself to nails, it looks like a subtle pink shimmer on bare nails – not all that interesting. But the point of the metamorphic topcoats that Julep released is that, when applied over other colors, they make the base color look way more interesting by “transforming it” with a different color effect. So I swatched Tyra by itself with one and two coats, and also with one coat over a couple of colors (Julep Janae, Ilsa, Joanne, Nic and Phyllis) to see what would happen. In the first photo, I didn’t use any topcoat, but in the second one I did over all nails but my thumb.

Julep January 2015 Metamorphic Topcoat Tyra Comparisons

I don’t know…I’m kind of underwhelmed. From the photos Julep released, the topcoats looked like they were going to be like WHOAH shiny and colorful, but the effect I saw was much less prominent. I didn’t see a total transformation of one color into another; instead, it just looked like a slight pink shimmer on top of most of the other colors. Except for the combination of Tyra over Joanne – that combo was gorgeous! Anyhow, in terms of formula, Tyra was easy enough to apply. It dries with a matte finish (I don’t know if the other topcoats do or just Tyra), so it’s necessary to put another layer of topcoat over it to bring out the colors and add shine. In the end, as much as I liked Tyra and Joanne together, I just wasn’t that excited about it; maybe I would have been more interested if I had gotten one of the other two topcoats in my box.

Aaaahhh! That was a crazy amount of swatches for me…now on to the nail art! When I was thinking of a nail art design to do with the polishes, I put together the “Chrysalis” theme and the name of one of the polishes – “Luna” – and arrived at the idea of painting luna moths on my nails. Hey, why not be literal? I’ve never seen one of these moths in person, but they look absolutely beautiful! Once I had the idea in my head, I decided that I was not going to use Phyllis and Tyra since they didn’t fit in with the color scheme. This design only uses Janae, Margit, Shelly, and Luna out of the polishes I picked.

Julep January 2015 Maven Nail Art Chrysalis Luna Moths 4

Julep January 2015 Maven Nail Art Chrysalis Luna Moths 3

Most of this was freehanded, so I don’t have any real tips and tricks to report. I started off by painting my nails with base coat and two coats of Julep Janae (dark gray), which I topcoated and wore around by itself for a day. Once I was ready to paint on the moths, I used a brush to freehand the upper wings of the moth with Julep Shelly (light aqua), followed by the lower wings. Symmetry was really difficult with the wings! This was definitely the hardest part of the manicure for me. After I was satisfied with the wing shapes, I put a little dab of Luna (light blue glitter) in the center of each wing and fanned it out a bit towards the tips. I then used Julep Margit (taupe) to make the bodies of the moths, and to outline the upper wings a bit (real luna moths have some brown on the edges of their upper wings). Finally, I used the base polish of Luna and a tiny brush to freehand a little trail of sparkles in the wake of each moth. And done!

Julep January 2015 Maven Nail Art Chrysalis Luna Moths 2

Julep January 2015 Maven Nail Art Chrysalis Luna Moths 5

I like it! It’s really cute and magical. While I don’t know if this manicure was one of my best ideas design-wise – it’s kind of weird to have all the moths going in the same direction – I really like the moths and the twinkles together on the dark background. Luna is really superb in this design; between making the wings iridescent and getting the twinkles to sparkle, it makes the manicure “work” for me.

To me, this box was different than I’d expected. I ended up liking Janae and Shelly a lot more than I anticipated, and was kind of weirded out by how different from the photos Phyllis and Margit turned out to be in real life. On the good side, Shelly and Phyllis had good formulas, which I didn’t expect because they’re both pastels. On the bad side, Tyra was way less impactful than I thought it would be from the photos. Luna, at least, was exactly how I thought it would be. Ultimately, I’d say I’m mostly positive about my box.

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

– Emi


7 thoughts on “Julep January 2015 Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

  1. Rachel says:

    I always do enjoy your posts. 🙂 I got Maryam and Luna. Maryam turned out to be a wonderful color for me, and has a good formula. I think I’ll be using Luna tomorrow as an accent over a purple, based on your advice!

    I got one of the other topcoats–Ilsa, I think–a pale blue shift. Like you, I was a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it’s partly that I tried it over Maryam, which wasn’t a good color combination.


    • emismanis says:

      Thanks so much! I enjoy your comments as well! Comments make me happy 🙂

      So Maryam is a good polish? I almost got it in my box, but decided not to in the end. Maybe I’ll get it soon…thanks for the recommendation. Luna over purple is a good idea too…

      I think it takes some experimenting to figure out the “magic combination” with the topcoats. Like there’s a few polishes that, when you put the topcoat over them, it’s like, “Oh, I get it!” At least it was that way with Tyra. Now I’m curious to know what the blue one looks good with!


      • Rachel says:

        Yes, Maryam had a great formula and color. 🙂

        I tried Luna over Padme and the topcoat over Reece as accent nails with Reece. Both were ok, but didn’t hit the spot, particularly because I wanted to wear them with Reece on the other fingers. I suspect I’ll like Luna better worn alone; I might even attempt going over it with a bit of polish remover to jazz up the glitter flakes.


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