Julep April 2015 Swatches, Comparisons, and Nail Art

Julep Maven April 2015 Nail Art Fish 6

Hi everyone! Today I have my Julep April 2015 box (Paradise Collection) to show off on the blog (even though I missed the end of the month…again…)! This month’s box was full of brights, and, given how much I love bright colors, I had a lot of fun with this collection. I ended up picking four polishes and, as usual, I swatched them, did a few comparisons, and made some nail art. Since two of the polishes I chose were shimmery blues, I went aquatic with my nail art and did a little seascape with brightly colored fish.

Julep April 2015 Swatches CompositeHere’s an unboxing photo! My box this month was pretty much just the four polishes I ordered because I didn’t get a bunch of add-ons. From this collection, I chose both Boho Glam colors and two of the It Girl colors.

Julep April 2015 Unboxing

Addison (It Girl) is one of the brightest colors I’ve ever gotten from Julep, and probably the brightest yellow I have in my collection (I don’t have a lot of neons…). As far as the color goes, Addison is a very, very bright green-toned yellow that’s just slightly less vibrant than “highlighter yellow”. It’s really fun to wear, and surprisingly not terrible against my skintone. While a lot of people were probably hoping this polish would be neon, it isn’t – it’s just very, very bright. Even though it was pretty obviously not neon in regular lighting, I checked Addison under black light and it wasn’t fluorescent (true neons should be). Anyways, the formula of Addison was quite nice to work with, especially considering it’s a yellow: no streakiness, no balding, etc. Impressively, this polish holds its own with three coats even without layering it over white. Nice! It dries with a waxy, semi-matte finish if you don’t put topcoat over it.

Julep April 2015 Swatches Addison 3
Julep April 2015 Swatches Addison 2

I compared Addison to two other Julep yellows: Sunny and Dawn. Addison is basically what Sunny would be without the shimmer: they’re the same color, but have extremely different finishes. Dawn is far less vibrant than Addison and a little bit darker, but is similarly a green-toned yellow crème that gets opaque in three coats. It also dries shiny, whereas Addison dries semi-matte.

Julep Addison Swatch Comparison

April (Boho Glam) was one of the polishes I wanted the most from the collection because, as I wrote before, I am REALLY into red-orange polish this spring. So this polish was like YEEEESSSS!!! to me. Color-wise, this polish is definitely a “vermillion” red: it’s slightly orange-toned, and very bright. April is less vibrant than Addison (and also not neon), but is still very bright. The formula of this polish was also quite good, and I didn’t have any issues with it. It was opaque in two coats (although it could probably be opaque in one thick coat), and I had no issues with streakiness or balding. Between the good formula and awesome red-orange color, I was very happy with this polish 🙂

Julep April 2015 Swatches April 7

Julep April 2015 Swatches April 3

I compared Julep April to two polishes that are similar, but not dupes. Zoya Rocha is lighter and more orange than April, and has a hidden shimmer to it. It’s also opaque in three coats, whereas Julep April is opaque in two. Wet n Wild Heatwave is the most similar to Julep April, but it’s not the same either. It’s a tiny bit darker, much less saturated, and is opaque in three coats instead of two (it’s easier to tell the difference in person vs. in the photo).

Julep April Swatch Comparison

Danica (Boho Glam) is the color my camera hates, so I hope you understand if my photos of it are not exactly the greatest. Just imagine that the color of the polish is more purple than blue, and that my hands aren’t that red.  Anyways, Danica is a very vibrant purplish blue shimmer with a bit of a fleck finish to it, sort of a hybrid of a shimmer and a glass fleck polish. Given the shininess and vibrancy of Danica, it overall looks very jewel-like – in this case, like a dark-colored tanzanite. The formula of this polish is quite nice except for one caveat: it STINKS. As in: it’s incredibly smelly. Whatever pigments Julep uses to make their blue polishes are extremely smelly when the polish is wet (other brands have this issue too), but fortunately the smell goes away when it dries. Still, it’s quite unpleasant to polish your nails when you keep getting whiffs of a skunk/weed/poop smell. I just thought I’d write that on the blog in case that’s a deal-breaker for anyone. Other than the odor, Danica has a nice, easy-to-apply formula that’s sheer on the first coat, but is pretty much opaque by two.

Julep April 2015 Swatches Danica 2

Julep April 2015 Swatches Danica

A lot of people on the internet were thinking that Danica would be highly similar to/the same as Julep’s Paula, which is another purplish blue shimmer polish. I, however, personally don’t think they’re at all similar. Paula is less saturated, darker, more blue, and has a gold iridescent “sheen” that’s much less strong than the intense shimmer of Danica. The most similar polish in my collection to Julep Danica was Eternal Oceans by Covergirl, which isn’t all that similar either other than being “blurple”. Eternal Oceans is strictly a shimmer polish, whereas Dancia has little glitter flecks in it, and it’s also significantly darker. Again, due to my subpar photography, the differences are harder to see in photos than in real life.

Julep Danica Swatch Comparison

Danielle (It Girl) is a shimmery turquoise blue duochrome, and the most unique polish to my collection out of the ones I chose. It reminds me of a tropical ocean, with its stunning turquoise blue color and “depth” of shimmer. Just as Julep advertised, this is a duochrome polish that shifts from a greenish turquoise blue to an almost-magenta purple when viewed at an angle. While it may not be a strong duochrome compared to some indie polishes, it’s still pretty visible; amusingly it was enough of a duochrome to confuse my boyfriend into thinking I’d painted my thumb a different color than the rest of my nails (haha nope!). I tried to capture it in some pictures without all that much success, but you get the idea. The formula of this polish is a little trickier to work with than those of the rest of the collection because the strong shimmer makes brushstrokes very visible, and also the formula is just generally on the thick side. All the same, this is a pretty great polish.

Julep April 2015 Swatches Danielle

Julep April 2015 Swatches Danielle 2

I compared Julep Danielle to two other shimmery blues I have, but neither is a dupe. JulieG Kickin’ It is darker, more vibrant, more green toned, and also not a duochrome. Revlon Surf Spray (from the Parfumerie line) is a similar color and also a subtle duochrome, but it’s lighter, more sheer, and has a more of a flecked finish to it rather than being straight-up a shimmer.

Julep Danielle Swatch Comparison

I had originally planned on doing a fun geometric manicure with these brights, but given that two of the polishes I picked were shimmery blues, I thought it would be more fun to do something aquatic. I settled on a seascape with fish because I thought that’d look nice. To make it easier to follow along, I made a little step-by-step and a gif.

Julep Maven April 2015 Nail Art Fish 7

I started with a base of Julep Danielle. Instead of painting on the last coat of polish like usual, though, I sponged it on with a makeup sponge to get rid of the shimmer (1). In this case, I wanted the shimmer to not be prominent so that the background wouldn’t distract from the little fishies. I then used the “Saran wrap mani” technique – which I had never used before – to get a watery look with Danica on top of Danielle. Essentially, the technique boils down to painting a coat of contrasting polish on top of an existing color (2), and blotting some of it off while it’s still wet with a piece of plastic kitchen wrap (3). The plastic wrap removes some polish while leaving some of it behind; I thought that would work well to get the aquatic look I was going for. It kind of worked, but Danica wasn’t quite as opaque or contrast-y to be ideal here. Oh well, it worked pretty well and was quite easy to do. I ended up enhancing the lines left behind by the plastic wrap using Danica and a small nail art brush (4).

Once I established the background I liked, I painted on the little fish with a nail art brush. I found it easiest to drop down a small blob for the body, and then extend it outwards to make the fins, adding more polish to the blob as needed (5). It wasn’t very hard to do, and I liked the result. I thought the fish needed a bit of “personality” so I gave them eyes (6)!

Fish Nail Art Tutorial



Julep Maven April 2015 Nail Art Fish 4

I LOVE this mani! It’s so adorable!!! These fishies are the cutest! I love how the bright cremes look on top of the two watery blue shimmers. This is so fun, and definitely puts me in the mood for summer.

Julep Maven April 2015 Nail Art Fish 3

Julep Maven April 2015 Nail Art Fish 2

I hope you’ve liked my post! Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the subscription box posts done in the month I actually get the boxes for once…I feel bad for not having done that the past two months – I’m sorry! Anyways, thanks for reading!

– Emi


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

  1. Jessica says:

    The fish are so cute! You are spot on about the smell of Danica. It’s gorgeous, but smells like weed. I’ve noticed many of Juleps 5-free polishes smell this way. Annoying, but worth it for gorgeous polishes! Anyways, love your posts and I especially appreciate the comparisons!


    • emismanis says:

      Thanks so much! I think that it’s the blue pigments they use that contribute to the odor because I’ve noticed it with blue polishes from other brands too. At least it goes away when it dries!

      I’ll definitely keep it up with the comparisons then 🙂


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