Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Julep Nail Polish by Julep Nail Parlor

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.
What I didn't like:
  • 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.
One interesting thing about this brand is the design on the bottle. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but one side is painted all black with a little clear cutout. This gives the illusion that someone has painted a streak of the polish color inside the bottle onto a black surface. Still not sure of the purpose this serves, but it's a little something different!

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.)


  1. I totally agree on the bottles being unstable! I keep thinking it will break since it falls over easily.

  2. These colors are super pretty, loving the pink and yellow one! I've heard about that brand on youtube. I should really get me some, since I'm a nail polish junkie! haha

  3. I love SH Pacific Blue, so of course I love Taylor as well! I love those medium-to-light but still bright colors. Anne is really nice too!

  4. I'm testing these right now, in fact I just painted my nails with Emmanuelle. I like them - the colors are very pretty - but the price tag just seems way too high.

  5. I'm pretty much in love with Anne and Violet, but since the cost vs. the size of the bottle is just way too much -- my love will be a long-distance and likely never fulfilled sort. Until I find a cheaper dupe, anyway.

    First-time poster, long-time reader. Thanks for another excellent review! :3

  6. Oooh, I like Blake! Funny, I've never heard of this place before, and I'm in Seattle!

  7. I have 3 colors from them that I got from a giveaway, and I've only used Natalie, but it's sooooo thick, I don't even want to bother thinning it. I heard Misa Push Up Bra is pretty dupey, so I'm getting that and ditching the Julep polish.

  8. Nice colors. I don't need to want any more companys polishes.

  9. Those colors look gorgeous! I'll have to check out that brand, recently I've seen the name pop up in several blogs and etc.
    You do such great reviews and swatches, I've awarded you with the Sunshine Award! Check out my blog and pass along the award if you wish =)

  10. Half the amt for that $ point is hard to justify...but I love the bottle shapes. Think how much more we would get into our stash space if bottles were not fat and round for the most part!

  11. the bottle design is so cool. too bad it's unpractical.

  12. Thanks for bringing this new brand to my attention, along with honest opinions regarding advantages/disadvantages.

    Nice colours, but still debating whether to try one for the price to formula ratio. Maybe just the one with my name, for sentimental value!

    Thanks! :)

  13. I'm familiar w/them. i ordered a couple colors from them and returned them unopened b/c they were(like you said) easily dupable for less. I see they have new bottles now too :-)

  14. I don't mind paying a little more if the quality is there-such as Rescue Beauty Lounge (my fave), but this seems a little ridiculously overpriced and the quality just isn't there.

  15. Overpriced, but I appreciate the names. They all suit the celebs they're named after. I mentally shrieked at "Niecy" and had fond memories of "Clean House" and prosthetic big butts.

  16. I'm discouraged by the formula, bottle size/shape, and price, but I'm always looking for a good navy creme that doesn't come off royal or blackened. That alone could get me to give Michelle a try. Does anyone know of any really good dupes for this? I may already have something and not realize that this is close. (My current best navy is probably RBL Dead Calm but it's still a tad too royal blue to satisfy my navy lust.)

  17. Love your review! Saw someone wearing Anne on YouTube and it looked pretty. But I am hesitant when you mentioned the brush to be below standard. I really need gd brushheads. I will stay long distance!

  18. I was intrigued by this polish and bought "Pippa" mainly because it was a neutral shade, which I tend to use often on my hands and also, because I like the name "Pippa," like Princess Kate's sister.

    I don't like the formula at all. It's way to thick and kind of chalky or puttyish. I was thinking of getting "Anne" but the texture of this polish has really turned me off so, I think I'll pass.

  19. I bought "Pippa" and "Natalie." The colors are very pretty in the bottle but the very thick formula is not my cup of tea. I had wanted to get "Anne" and "Taylor" but the formula has discouraged me from getting them.

  20. Actually Chanel is more expensive, the size of their bottles is actually 0.40 oz


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