Julep is a new brand to me. They're another nail salon that has branched out into the nail polish market, like my beloved Rescue Beauty Lounge and the newcomer, The Painted Nail. There are four Julep Boutique Nail Parlors in the Seattle area and an online shop where you can browse their color and treatment lines. They're a very "girl power" centered line, with all their polishes being named after women and a very mushy mission statement. That's not really my style, but the colors certainly are.
These are the shades I had the opportunity to try:
Anne. This is an absolutely gorgeous color. It's a light violet- I'd call it a pastel except it has this unusual brightness to it. It reminds me a lot of Illamasqua Jo'Mina which is my favorite light purple, so of course I liked this. I have to say that I had a lot of trouble with the formula on this shade, though. It's very thick- very very thick. I even got a replacement bottle because I thought it had dried out, but the second one was just about the same. This shade would definitely benefit from a dropperful of thinner.
Blake. This is a pale yellow creme. Very cute, like a fuzzy baby chick. I always like these types of yellows, don't I? It's a nice one, though. Not chalky or white-out looking, just creamy and soft.
Michelle. So sorry about all the fingerprints, please ignore them, they look gross. Cuticle oil. Anyway, Michelle is a smooth navy blue creme. It's a muted type of navy and it always looks blue, not black.
Niecy. A very fresh looking warm pink. It's bright but not neon-bright and it seems like it has a bit of a coral tone to it. I don't usually wear pink but this one doesn't look so bad against my skintone.
Taylor. A really fascinating blue. It's not pastel and it's not neon. It has a weird softness to it at the same time it has a bright look. Very hard to describe. The closest thing I can compare it to is Sally Hansen Pacific Blue- you know how it's soft and bright at the same time? It's like that. Really cool.
The formula on these was thick but opaque. I had a lot of trouble with Anne, but the other shades were slightly thinner and easier to control. All but Blake were opaque in one coat, but I did two coats anyway. The drying time is very long so I would really recommend a quick dry topcoat with these (if you aren't already in the habit of using one).
I tried out Julep's basecoat and quick dry topcoat while testing these. The basecoat was nice- thin, seemed to prevent chipping while I wore these, didn't stain. But the quick dry topcoat didn't impress me- it certainly wasn't quick dry and it wasn't very shiny. I'll stick with my Qtica and Seche Vite.
Since this is a brand new (to me) brand, I took notes while testing them. My observations:
What I liked:
- Reasonably interesting color selection- lots of nudes, pinks and reds but also a smattering of more interesting shades like violet, turquoise, teal, yellow, dark green and grey.
- Thick, opaque formula. Most shades I tried are opaque in one coat.
- Anne is an amazing color.
- $1 from each bottle is donated to charities for women. I'm not sure which ones, though.
- The bottles are unstable due to the tall height, narrow width and unweighted bottom and the bushy brushes don't work as well with the super thick formula like a softer, rounder brush might.
- I consider these to be overpriced at $14 for 0.27 fluid ounces. Your standard salon polish is around $8 for .5 fluid ounces, while a higher-end brand like Illamasqua is $14 for 0.5 fluid ounces. That makes Julep more expensive per ounce than even Chanel ($25 for 0.5floz).
- Long dry time with some bubbling.
- No truly unique shades in the line; all seem dupeable.
Overall, some nice shades and great opacity but a rather steep price point. $14 is not a lot of money, but because the bottles contain half as much product as most other brands, I don't feel like I'm getting as much bang for my buck.
(These were sent to me for review.)