Julep February 2015 Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

Hi everyone! I know it’s kind of late in the month (the March reveal is, like, today) but I of course need to do my monthly Julep Maven box post! Today I have a post about my picks from the Julep Maven February 2015 collection (Afterglow), which is the first box I’ve customized. That’s right – I reluctantly switched to My Maven so that I can get what I want out of each collection, and avoid things I don’t. It makes sense at this point, since I usually never want the beauty products and Julep has been putting more and more of them into the Style Profile boxes. Now it’s just polish for me! Yay!

This month, I chose my three favorite polishes from the February collection, plus I got another one (Hartleigh) as a freebie, for a total of four polishes. I used them all to create a nail art design that somewhat echoes the dark, rich florals that were part of the collection artwork.

Julep Februrary 2015 Maven CompositeHere’s an unboxing photo! Inside of my box there were the three polishes I ordered (Jess, Hazel, and Elise), the freebie (Hartleigh), and a bunch of paper stuff. The coupon code I got was TAKE30 for 30% off.

Julep February 2015 Maven Unboxing

Elise (Bombshell) has a dark, blue-green base with added fine purple shimmer for an overall indigo look. It’s not blackened, just dark – like the sky after the sun sets but before it gets super dark. When I saw the previews, I was intrigued, but worried that the purple shimmer would disappear too much. Fortunately that is not the case: the shimmer peeks out from the base most of the time, and it is really gorgeous. It was so great that I wore it on its own for a few days and loved it! While I really love the color, the formula has some issues. Most obviously, this polish will STAIN!!! Given that it has such a pigmented base, it’s likely going to leave a stain behind if you don’t double up on base coat. Admittedly, the stain wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, and the Julep Vanish stuff got rid of it pretty well. This polish does cover in two coats, but has a slightly thick consistency that gets pretty gloppy as you keep polishing.



I compared Elise to the closest Julep dupe I have – Julep Logan – but they are very different. Logan is blackened and more purple, and has a stronger, frosty shimmer.

Julep Elise Comparison

Hartleigh (CwT) is the Valentine’s Day-themed polish that came in each box this month as a freebie. It has a bunch of different kinds of glitter – red hearts, white hex glitters in different sizes, and small holographic glitter – in a clear base. I was expecting to hate this color when I saw it, but it’s cuteness won me over in the end! One coat is enough to get a good amount of glitter on your nails, although the hearts kind of need to be fished out and placed appropriately. The only problem with this polish is that the large heart glitters stick out from the base a little bit, and this makes the end result kind of lumpy. Other than that, it was really nice to have in the box! I tried Hartleigh as a topcoat over a number of different polishes (Julep Zora, Veronica, and Nic), and also by itself. I liked it best by itself, and over Nic because it’s a dark color. Putting Hartleigh over Zora kind of washed everything out, and putting it over Veronica was just kind of “off”.

Julep Hartleigh Comparison


Hazel (Boho Glam) is a purple-to-bronze duochrome shimmer and, to me, it’s one of the standouts of the collection. The color is FANTASTIC! I love the intensity of the purple – it’s quite vibrant. If you take a look down at the comparison photo I have below, similar purple-to-bronze duochromes don’t have that same intensity; this is what makes it special for me. The duochrome effect isn’t super strong compared to some duochromes, but it is definitely noticeable. I couldn’t get it to photograph very well, so you’ll have to trust me. As for the formula, it’s of an agreeable consistency, and needs only two coats to reach opacity.


I think that Julep Hazel really stands out when you compare it to its competition. I found a near dead-ringer for Hazel in Nicole by OPI Iris My Case, but I’d say that Hazel is pretty much the better polish in every way. It’s color is more vibrant, the color shift is more prominent, and the opacity is better (two coats of Julep Hazel versus three of the NOPI). So, yeah, Julep Hazel is basically the better version of this color. I also threw in Julep Katie into this comparison photo just to show how different they are.

Julep Hazel Comparison

Jess (CwT) is a warm dark brown creme that I picked because I found it oddly charming. While Julep called this color “tawny port”, which to me implied that it was going to be more towards red, it was pretty much just brown with a hint of red. Despite my confusion over what the color would actually look like, it was a really pleasant polish to wear for me, since it went nicely with my skintone. As for the formula, it was pretty great: nearly full coverage in one coat, and the formula was only slightly thick. Unfortunately, given the lack of neutrals in my stash, I didn’t have any good comparisons for Jess.

Julep February 2015 Maven Jess Swatch 4

Julep February 2015 Maven Jess Swatch 3

When I was thinking a way to combine all of this month’s polishes together, which was difficult because I wanted to put in Hartleigh, I drew a lot of inspiration from the collection artwork. The polishes were photographed in dark backgrounds with a lot of purple flowers punctuating the darkness; the end result was so pretty that I came up with my own nail art take on the idea using the polishes from this box. It even manages to use Hartleigh!

Julep February 2015 Maven Nail Art Dark Florals 3

Julep February 2015 Maven Nail Art Dark Florals 3

First, I started off by painting on two coats of Jess, which I wore around for a few days. I then used a small striping brush and Elise to paint the backbones of the four flower petals. Given that I wanted to include Hartleigh in the middle of each flower, I made the backbones of the petals fan out in the middle, allowing the petals to open up in the center and accommodate one piece of heart glitter. After painting the backbones of the petals, I made the petal shapes using Hazel and added a couple more lines of Elise near the bases of the petals to transition the colors nicely. Finally, I distributed Hartleigh such that there was one heart per nail coming out of the flowers, and that the flower had lots of other glitter coming out of it.

Julep February 2015 Maven Nail Art Dark Florals 2

Julep February 2015 Maven Nail Art Dark Florals 5

It’s kind of neat, I guess. The flowers turned out awesome, and I love the transition between the dark blue and vibrant purple. But the heart pieces are kind of distracting from the flowers, and I’m not sure they were the best idea design-wise. Personally, if I didn’t include Hartleigh and put in some other glitter polish instead, I think it would have worked better. Oh well, it was pretty fun to wear anyways.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post! Overall, I liked this box quite a lot, and got good use out of the polishes in it. My Maven seems to be the right way to go for me! Sorry for being so slow about writing; things, as usual, are rather busy. Thanks for putting up with my delays, and thanks for reading šŸ™‚

– Emi


5 thoughts on “Julep February 2015 Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

  1. Rachel says:

    I love this design! It may actually be one of my favorites of yours–and a good way to incorporate the hearts. I wore mine over Logan and skipped the hearts. You’ve made me look forward to using Hazel and consider Elise, too! They work really well together in your design. šŸ™‚ The flowiness speaks to me.

    A question–how do you get Vanish to get out stains in your nails? I got Ada in this box; I love love love it, but it stains, too. I think I’ve noticed a little lightening using Vanish, but I don’t want to damage the nail by scrubbing.

    Good to see another post. I check here almost every day. šŸ™‚


    • emismanis says:

      Thanks so much (and thanks for commenting)! I’m glad you liked it šŸ™‚ Haha yeah, the hearts in Hartleigh are kind of difficult to incorporate. I wasn’t too sure about how to use the hearts, but this seems to have been ok. Definitely try Hazel! It’s super awesome; plus, I’ve seen photos of Hartleigh on top of Hazel and it seems like a great combo. Elise is a good one to try too šŸ™‚

      Vanish works for me most of the time, but I do have to use a metal cuticle pusher (VERY lightly). I put enough on each nail to cover it completely (1-2 drops), let it pool in the cuticle for about 10 seconds, and then go over my cuticle with the pusher REALLY carefully. Sometimes I’ll go over my nails with the pusher really carefully too. I try to make sure I don’t damage my nails too much, but I don’t know how successful that is. It might be better to use an orange wood stick, since it’s probably less stiff than metal, but I don’t have any. Anyways, in the case of Elise, I could see the Vanish stuff turning green within the 30 or so seconds I put it on, so I knew it was working.

      I’m glad you check my blog – and comment – frequently! It makes me happy to know I have such awesome readers like you ā¤


      • Rachel says:

        Thanks! Maybe the key is leaving it on longer, then. I usually cover my nails with it and immediately do my cuticles. I don’t push them very much, though, because I don’t want to exacerbate their dryness or completely disconnect them from the nail.

        If you haven’t tried it, I’m currently loving Vivien–not great for nail art but I think it’d be beautiful for a wedding! And thanks to your post, I’m hunting down some of Zoya’s pixie dusts. šŸ™‚


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