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!

Counting Sheep… and my first stamping set

I’ve been wanting to try stamping for a long time, but honestly, I didn’t really know where to start.  And then KKCenterHk generously offered to send me a some products for review.  Of course I jumped at the chance, and picked out a few plates.  This is what they sent me:

I got plates M80 and M92, as well as a stamper/scraper set.  This is my first experience with stamping plates, so obviously I can’t compare them to other brands.

To be honest, stamping is much more difficult than I thought it would be, at least for me.  This was like nothing I had tried before.  It took over an hour of practice just to get something decent looking, but I think I got the hang of it.

The stamper is smaller than I expected, but I think that helps see what you’re doing, and it is big enough for all my nails.  I like the scraper because it is plastic, so it doesn’t scratch the plates like I’ve heard the metal ones do.  Like I said, I have no way to compare, but the plates themselves seem to work well.  I had to experiment for a while to find which polishes worked best, and found that super opaque (obviously) or old, goopy polishes were best.  I really like the designs and can’t wait to try more!

This is my first stamping mani! I’m clearly still learning, but I think it turned out really cute.  I started with a few coats of Essie Mojito Madness, and then I used Spoiled Correction tape to stamp the little sheep image from plate M80.

I had a little trouble placing the image where I wanted, but I think that’ll improve with practice.  And I definitely need to work on my timing – you have to work pretty quickly with these!  They did get a little smeared when I added topcoat, but that’s just a matter of waiting a few extra minutes next time.

I think the little sheep are adorable! Will definitely be using this image again!

You can shop these products and more at KKCenterHk – they have everything from wigs to nail polish to water decals and microbeads, so you should definitely check them out if you’re interested in nail art!  They have some really cute water decals I might just have to order soon 🙂

AND all my readers can use coupon code THEPOLISHSQUIRREL to get 10% off any order from KKCenterHk until the end of January! Let me know what you get!

I can’t wait to show you the stamping mani I put together for tomorrow! I absolutely love it!

My First Julep Maven Box

Finally got home and opened my Julep Maven Intro box (along with some other super exciting nail mail that I will show you later)!

This is what it looked like when I first opened the box.  I love the packaging!  There were also two cards on top, one telling me what is in the box, and the other welcoming me to Julep.

The package was wrapped in a pink paper bag and tied in a bow with some toe separators.

This is what was in the pink bag: my two Julep nail polishes, wrapped in bubble wrap, and a tube of The Best Pedi Créme Ever!, which I am really excited to try!

According to the card that came in my box, The Best Pedi Créme ever “exfoliates with alpha hydroxy acids, hydrates with shea butter and coconut oil, nourishes with vitamin E.”  You’re supposed to apply nightly and the bottle claims you’ll see results in only 1 to 2 uses.  I’m planning on trying it tonight, so I’ll let you know how well it works.

I got the American Beauty intro box, which came with Eva, a “juicy raspberry creme” and Renee, a “spring lilac creme.”  Not terribly unique colors, but they’re ones I will actually wear, so that’s a plus.

The Best Pedi Créme Ever! retails for $22 for 2oz of product and Julep polishes retail for $14 and are only 8ml, about half the size of a regular OPI or Essie, but I do really like the rectangular bottles.  The Julep Maven subscription runs for $19.99 a month, so you’re getting a lot more than you pay for.  I got mine during a promotion (which may still be going on) so this box only cost me $0.01.  Yup.  A penny.  And once you’re a subscriber, you get discounts on all their products.

I will be posting swatches of the polishes soon.  Which one do you want to see first?

Have you tried Julep yet? What do you think?

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If you’d like to sign up for a Julep Maven subscription CLICK HERE!

Essie Good to Go

Since my camera died and I can’t find the battery charger, I thought I’d share my favorite topcoat with you guys.  I will get back to regular swatches soon, I promise!  This has been featured in almost all of my posts, and I’m seriously in love with it.

You should know that the only similar product I’ve tried is Orly Sec N Dry.  I have not tried Seche Vite or Poshe topcoats.  I found one that really works for me, so I figure, why keep experimenting?

Essie Good to Go is a quick dry topcoat designed to work with Essie nail polishes.  Though it tends to work best with Essie, I’ve had absolutely no problems using it with other brands.  Some polishes, including some Essie colors, do require two coats to completely dry, but for the most part, this is only an issue with jellies.

I’ve heard from many people that thickening is a big problem with the ever popular Seche Vite topcoat.  Good to Go does thicken up a bit once you reach the bottom third of the bottle.  However, it starts off so thin that every last drop is useable without thinner.  Major plus in my book – no need to buy another product just so you can use the second half of the bottle.

I also like that this is a very thin, slightly watery formula (at least the first few times you use it), because it spreads quickly and doesn’t add bulk to the layers of polish, making it less likely to chip.  I usually get bored with polish after a day or two, but I’ve worn this a full four days without it chipping.

Finally, Good to Go is super fast drying.  Again, it depends on the number of layers you put under it (if it’s more than three, I’d use two coats of GTG just to be safe).  Drying time is about the same as Orly Sec N Dry, though I can’t compare to any other fast drying topcoats.

This stuff is completely worth it!  I literally buy a new bottle when mine is half full because I never want to run out.  I paint my nails before bed, and have only woken up with sheet marks twice, and that’s because I had used like five coats of polish and only one of GTG.

So if you haven’t found your “holy grail” topcoat, definitely give this a try! It’s usually about $8 at drugstores, about the same price as many others, but because you can use the entire bottle, it’s a great value.

UPDATE: Good to Go also does NOT have the harmful chemicals found in some other topcoats (including Seche Vite) if that influences your decision.  It’s the reason I haven’t even tried Seche Vite.

UPDATE #2: I found a bottle of Seche Vite for $3, so I bought it to compare.  Even though it dries slightly shinier than Good to Go (which isn’t noticeable at all unless you’re looking really closely), I still like Good to Go better for several reasons: 1. No harmful chemicals (as previously mentioned), 2. The dry time is the same, but GTG has less shrinkage, and 3. Major peeling with Seche Vite.

Hope this helps!  Now that I have both and can compare, feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll do my best to answer.