Dot Cluster Flowers

Yet again, I was inspired by Mr. Candiipants.  Check out her tutorial for these nails here.  Even though I like hers a lot better, I’m still completely in love with these.

cluster flowers

I started with a base of Essie After School Boy Blazer, and dotted on the flowers using OPI My Vampire is Buff, OPI Dating a Royal, OPI Do You Lilac It?, OPI You’re Such a Budapest, Sation Super Nail-tural Powers, Julep Dianna, and Essie Rock the Boat.

cluster flowers

These turned out a bit brighter than I had planned – next time I’ll try more muted colors.  I still think they’re super pretty!  What do you think?

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Vintage Dots and Stripes

Lately I’ve been obsessed with combining polka dots and stripes, especially on my nails.  I love that it is simple and interesting.  I wanted to use some of my new polishes (I’ve had a rather large haul for the month of July), and ended up with this vintage-y color scheme.  I love it!

vintage dots and stripes

The yellow is OPI Fiercely Fiona, which came out over two years ago, but I finally found it on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.  My OPI Shrek collection is nearly complete – I’m only missing What’s With the Cattitude? – which is saying something since I started collecting them over a year after they pretty much completely sold out.  The white is OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls, and the green is Julep Dianne.

vintage dots and stripes

I think these are some pretty cute summer nails.  After I did them, I actually found a hair bow on Etsy that was almost identical, but was dumb and didn’t save the link (or buy it right then and there).  I hope you haven’t been getting tired of the polka dots, because I’m definitely not!  So you will be seeing them again very soon (maybe with something more interesting than stripes) – unless I get a lot of anti-polka dot hate mail 😉

 

Review Diary: Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

Day 1: I’m starting this process of trying Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment because I, and several of my readers, are curious as to how well it works. Now seems like a great time because 1. I’ve pretty much stopped my polish everyday so I can test wear; 2. You’re not really supposed to wear another polish over the treatment, and I’m not really supposed to wear polish at my new job, so that works out; and 3. My nails are completely trashed from washing my hands 50+ times a day, and that’s not including using hand sanitizer. My nails have always been thin, but after taking care of them almost daily for the past year, they’ve gotten so much better. Until a few days ago, when I started working at my family’s frozen yogurt shop, and my nails decided they couldn’t handle it. Heck, my hands can’t handle it. They’re dry and peeling, and I have too many hangnails to count. So it feels like the right time to test a product like this. I’m planning on doing a daily journal type thing, and then publishing it when I’m done. Hopefully it works out!

julep oxygen nail treatment

My nails before using the Julep oxygen treatment

I applied the nail treatment last night. Application was easy, and I really like the way it looks on my nails. Julep calls it “nail makeup,” because it is supposed to make naked nails look better. I definitely agree with that. My nails don’t look amazing, but they do look cleaner, shinier, and have a very slight light pink tint to them. Imagine one coat of a sheer pink polish (like OPI Bubble Bath). I only used one coat, so you could probably increase your “nail makeup” coverage with two.

julep oxygen nail treatment

Right after application

It was dry to the touch within maybe ten minutes. I did notice it is a total fuzz magnet, even when it seems to be pretty much dry. I didn’t touch anything but my phone and computer, and still had little black fuzzies stuck all over my nails. I had to redo my index finger because I messed it up trying to get the fuzz off. I let it completely dry for an hour, and even banged my nail on the desk to test it – no dents.

julep oxygen nail treatment

Weird sticky/melting effect caused by the cuticle oil

Here’s where it got a little interesting: I put on some cuticle oil (Glitzology’s Cupcake Oil) – which is pretty much just some natural oils (olive, etc.) and the scent. Nothing super fancy. But it seemed to melt the Oxygen Nail Treatment. Everywhere the oil touched the treatment, it immediately became sticky, full of fuzz, and in many places, it looks like it completely dissolved. On my thumb, it looks like I have a bunch of sticker goop (you know what I’m talking about) all around the edges of my nails. But it won’t come off, because it’s the treatment, just warped.

First impression: meh. It looks nice, but so far hasn’t improved my nail strength (not that I expected it to in one day) and the melting (?) thing is just bizarre. I’m going to reapply tonight, and skip the cuticle oil (I might just use some Rosebud Salve because my cuticles need something).

Day 2: I applied the Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment again last night. Same experience with application, except that I avoided the cuticle oil and therefore the weird melting thing. So the treatment is still covering my entire nail.

I’ve been pretty impressed with the wear of the treatment.In only had one chip yesterday and none today, despite the fact that I spent over an hour doing dishes and slammed my fingers in various cupboards more than I can count. This might have something to do with the fact that I only did one coat, but I’m still impressed. I did have a break today, though. What was left of my left index finger nail (I didn’t know there was anything left) broke off when the cash drawer decided to shoot out extra fast during a transaction. Word of warning: do not work in the food industry if you like long nails. Just saying.

As for nail strength, I see no improvement. I actually just re-read the back of the box and it says the treatment is designed to condition and restructure nails in (just) four weeks. I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’m going to last that long. I’d have to go polishless for a month (anyone else think it’s weird that a polish company designed a product that you’re notsupposed to use with nail polish?). And I’d probably have to repurchase, and quite frankly, I feel it’s a little overpriced ($14.40 for Mavens, $18 for everyone else, and you only get 0.27 fl oz of product – about half a bottle of OPI). I’m committing to this until at least next Thursday (since that’s my first day off!), and even though it’s not the recommended length of time, I feel like I’ll probably be able to tell if it’s working in ten days. We’ll see.

julep oxygen nail treatment

At the end of day 2

Day 3: I’m already starting to not like the Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment. First off, this is the second day of wear on this application, and it’s already starting to look worn all over and kind of weird and crusty near the cuticles. I don’t have time to reapply today, and I’ll be out of town for the weekend, so it’ll be on until at least Sunday. So I should have a decent report on the wear time. Still no chips, but I had another break. I usually break a nail maybe once a week, so that’s really annoying. I don’t think it’s caused by the treatment, but it’s certainly not doing anything to help. My nails are just as weak as they started out. I know it’s too early to call, but I’m itching to take this stuff off and start using the OPI Nail Envy I just got.

julep oxygen nail treatment

Weird, orange, splotchy stain – you can see that it is under the treatment and in the area I accidentally rubbed off (after noticing the stain under the polish)

Day 4: This morning I noticed an orange stain on my left pinkie nail. Ithought maybe it was something on the polish, so I tried to rub it off. Instead, the polish came off in the middle of my nail but the orange stain was still there! Not ok. I have no idea where the stain came from, but based on this incident, I would definitely advise against using the Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment as a base coat. I don’t think it would do a very good job of preventing stains, and according to the box, wearing polish on top also prevents the oxygen from permeating the nail.

Day 5: So not only has the Oxygen Nail Treatment chipped pretty severely, both on the tips and in the middle of my nails, my nails have chipped too! They never do that. They either break off or peel. They’re weak and thin, but they have never been brittle! I’m really starting to hate this treatment. Still no improvement strength wise, and it seems to be making my nails worse! The polish around my cuticles has also started to peel and is looking pretty crusty, which is really gross. I can’t wait to take it off tomorrow. I’m debating whether or not to actually reapply because it doesn’t seem to be working at all.

Day 6: By now, you might have guessed that I’m not a fan of Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment. It wasn’t working at all, and even seemed to be worsening the condition of my nails. But I was willing to stick it out until Thursday, as promised, until today. Today my nails were actually sore! Like, when I pressed them with my finger, it actually hurt, just a little, and sent a tiny jolt down my finger. Not normal! This, in my opinion, is completely unacceptable, especially for $18. So I took it off.

It wasn’t going to magically start working had I left it on any longer (even the recommended four weeks), and I was starting to worry I was having a bad reaction to it. That said, I am allergic to a lot, and I mean a lot, of things. So it may have been incompatible with my body chemistry. It may work for you. But I can’t recommend it. It did not strengthen my nails at all, they peeled and broke just as much, if not more, and my actual finger nails started to chip in the middle of the edge, which has never happened to me before. It is nice as a sheer pink color, but other than that, it didn’t work for me. (I’ve read several other reviews stating the same thing, just google it.) Also, I thought it’s worth mentioning that I couldn’t not find a single bit of research on the benefits of getting more oxygen to your nails. News flash: your fingernails are essentially just a bunch of dead skin cells. Like your hair. So it makes sense that oxygen doesn’t really make that much of a difference. On your skin, sure. But not on your nails. My recommendation? Don’t waste your money.

I’m switching to OPI Nail Envy (which I got for less than $5 on Amazon) and so I will try to do a review of that one, too. Any other recommendations for nail strengtheners are welcome!

February Julep Maven Box

I just got my February Julep Maven box, and I wanted to show you right away because I don’t have another post prepared for today. This month I got the Boho Glam Box (and realized that I rarely stick with my American Beauty subscription).  I just really loved the colors, and I’m excited to try the new “Freedom” topcoat.

Here’s how it looked when I opened it up.  I always love the little cards.

feb boho glam maven box

The February box came with an Oxygen Nail Treatment, which is supposed to strengthen your nails.  We also got Julep’s new Freedom Topcoat, which seems like it is along the lines of Seche Vite… it’s supposed to dry super fast and give the look of gel polish (you can even “cure” it under a regular light bulb if you want.  I haven’t tried gels, mainly because of the damage and because I just like doing my own nails, so I’m excited to try the Freedom Topcoat to see if I can get a similar look and wear time.  I will try to do a wear-test soon if anyone is interested.

feb boho glam maven box

I got a few little extras this month.  First, I got some little heart-shaped chocolates for Valentine’s Day.  And in the little gold bag is an eyelash curler.  It’s small and plastic (you can see it in the last pic) and seems much more user-friendly than the spindly metal ones.

feb boho glam maven box

And here is everything that came in the box.  The two polishes are Julianne (inspired by Julianne Moore, who I love) and Ingrid (inspired by Ingrid Bergman).  I also added Sally, but she’s not here yet, so I will have to show you later.

feb boho glam maven box

Overall, I think this month’s box is probably the best one I’ve gotten yet, if only because it seems like I got a lot more for my my money.

What do you think of this month’s box?  If you’re a Maven, too, I’d love to hear which box you got this month and what you think of it!

Not a Julep Maven?  Sign up HERE or by clicking the “Become a Maven” button on the right hand side of the page!  Use code JULEPVIP to get your first box for only a penny!

Julep’s Black Sparkle Duo

Since I skipped my January Julep box (I think I’m good with neons, and none of the nudes seemed special enough), I decided to pick up a few things in their end of the year sale.  I ordered a scarf, a crystal nail file, and these two polishes… for less than the price the monthly box.

The two polishes are called Patti and Brandt, and came in a set called “Black Sparkle.”  The set is no longer available, but both polishes can still be purchased individually.  Here they are:

julep black sparkle duo

I really liked them both, so I decided to do a simple accent mani using both colors. For most of my nails, I used Brandt, an “off-black” creme.  For reference, Brandt is only slightly darker than Essie Power Clutch or OPI Nein, Nein, Nein, Ok Fine!, but lighter than some dark grays I have, such as OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees.  It pretty much just looks like a soft black.  Really nice.  I used two coats.

julep black sparkle duo

I painted my ring fingers with Patti, a very sheer black jelly base filled with black microglitter and more sparse silver glitter in two different sizes.  I kind of wish you could see the little black glitter more, because it just looks like black polish, and that’s not really worth having to remove a million black specks.  Formula was a little thick, but standard for a glitter like this.  I used three coats and two coats of topcoat to smooth it out.  I do think it is really pretty, and I like the sheerness, because I think it might make a decent topper.

julep black sparkle duo

Julep polishes are available on their website or from Sephora.

Become a Julep Maven and get monthly boxed sets of polish and other goodies, plus free shipping and discounts on everything else on their website.  Sign up HERE or by clicking the “Become a Maven” button on the right hand side of the page!

December Julep Maven Box

I got my December Julep Maven Box in the mail yesterday, which is always exciting.  This month’s theme was sparkle, so all of the nail polishes were either super shimmery or glitter. I was immediately drawn to the ones in the It Girl Box, so I switched to this one.  Here’s what came in it:

december julep box

The card on top shows the three polishes that came in this box.  From right to left, they are Vivien, a metallic/foil-y gold polish with chunky gold glitter, Ivy, a gorgeous duochrome blue, and Harper, a light teal with iridescent glitter.  They’re not super holiday-esque, but they’re very winter appropriate and very rich looking.  I really like them!

As always, the wrapping was super cute, and there were a few extras included in the package.

december julep box

Here are the three polishes that came in the box, as well as a (delicious) peppermint and a polish ring with instructions on how to make it yourself.  Super cute!  I did some quick swatches of the colors just to see how they’d look on, and they’re actually really nice.  Vivien gives surprisingly good coverage in two coats.  I will definitely try to post swatches soon!  I’ve been really bad about posting swatches and reviews of the Julep polishes, and I need to fix that.

december julep box

If you haven’t seen polish jewelry before, its basically a clear cabochon, or rounded piece of glass, that you paint polish on the back of, and mount in a setting.  Here you can see how big the ring is.  It’s large, but not overly so.  Since I am allergic to most metals, I don’t think I will be able to wear this myself, but I will most likely put it together and then gift it to a friend.

december julep box

What do you think of this month’s box?  If you’re a Maven, too, I’d love to hear which box you got this month and what you think of it!

Not a Julep Maven?  Sign up HERE or by clicking the “Become a Maven” button on the right hand side of the page!  Use code COLOR2012 to get your first box for only a penny!

December Julep Maven Polishes

Julep just released their polish choices for the December Maven box!  This month’s “theme” is glitter!  I’ve actually been really liking glitter accents on my nails lately, so I’m pretty excited to try these.  They all look very appropriate for the holidays.  Click here to see swatches on the Julep Blog.

I’m waiting to see what this month’s Maven’s Choice box looks like, bur right now, I’m planning on getting the It Girl Box for this month – I am completely in love with Ivy (the blue), and I feel like all the other boxes contain polishes similar to ones I already own.

If you’re already a Julep Maven, I’d love to hear which box you’re getting this month and what you think of the colors!  And if you’re not, you can sign up HERE, or by clicking the “Become a Maven” link in the right-hand menu bar.  Use code “COLOR2012” to get your intro box for only a penny!