Friday, March 9, 2012

Julep Anne

I love a good purple. It's almost as good as a great nude/neutral shade that I'd reach for if I wanted a "safe" pop of color without the eyebrow raising oomph of blue. I feel it's an acceptable deviation from the traditional pinks, reds and neutrals while maintaining the edginess of a non-traditional color. How I came up with this mentality can probably be traced back to my mom and her old school sensibilities. I've mentioned her overwhelming love for red, but she never did like my penchant for blue nail polish. "It looks like you've got frostbite" is what she usually says. Black nail polish merits the "Your nails look dead" comment. White brings about "Did you play with the correction fluid again?". Now, I don't take offense at all because she's always been frank about what she thinks and really, it's hard when you get such a laugh out of all that. So when she last came to visit, I cajoled her into getting out of her comfort zone. I wanted her to try this awesome navy I had just gotten, but she wouldn't budge. I gave her free rein to choose (although I hid all the neutrals, reds and pinks) and after much harrumphing, she ended up with a bottle of purple polish. (For the curious, it was Nubar Moonshadow aka Moon Eclipse.) So when I got the Julep Maven Valentine Mystery Box and saw this pretty purple, I knew it was the one that was getting first dibs on swatching:

I'm fairly certain my mom would approve.

The Quick Take

Brand/Name: Julep Anne
Color: Violet
Finish: Creme
Price: $14 USD for 8mL
Seen at: Exclusively available at
Note(s): I got a hold of this pretty from the Julep Maven Valentine Mystery Box from last month, along with a whole bunch of other awesome colors and products. I only paid $20 for the entire box so I'm not quite sure what the price break down would be for this single bottle of polish, seeing as it was a lot of stuff for the price. Maybe $1 or so..?

The Fun Facts

Awesome bottle for storage; takes up so little space!
But no fun when you're using it because it can be pretty unstable...

Love this picture window thing it has going.

Direction for use, etc.

Label and Serial.

Long brush that reaches the bottom of the bottle.

Truest to life that I could get the color to show on photo. (Had to tweak the colors.)

As pretty as purples often are, capturing their color accurately on photos is a huge PITA. (Please don't let me explain what that abbreviation stands for if you don't know it.) See, the variation of color often relies on the amount of red or blue each shade has. I tried to play around with the white balance in hopes of capturing this beauty without resorting to color correction but it was a fail of epic proportion. Nonetheless, all the bottle photos above have been adjusted accordingly so that should give you a better idea of what you see in real life. Basically, if you look at the nail swatches later on, it'll show up a bit more bluish than it actually is. It's a rich, vibrant violet that simply screams spring to me (yay for alliteration!). Surprisingly, Anne dries to a satin, almost matte finish. Alone, the surface isn't as smooth as you'd like but top coat does wonders for evening it all out.
***All nail swatches were done with Orly Bonder Base Coat and three coats of Julep Anne unless stated. All swatch photos are not color corrected. For color reference, please refer to the bottle photos from above.

Natural light/No top coat/No flash
Ultra-saturated violet, indeed!

Natural light/No top coat/Flash
Flash tends to wash out the color. But notice the satin texture of the finish.

Sunlight/No top coat/No flash
See the unevenness I was talking about? More apparent on the middle nail.

I have to be honest. As much as I love the color on this one, I was not at all pleased with the application. The first coat goes on pretty streaky as I noticed the formula tends to dry faster than most. You definitely need to work fast. It was opaque in two coats but I noticed that it was still strangely streaky and the finish wasn't even close to a nice, smooth and even surface. I added an extra coat in hopes it would level it out to no avail. The brush was easy to work with despite that, with just the right length and floppiness of the bristles. The consistency of the big 4 free (formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin, toluene and DBP) formula was pretty decent except it doesn't flow as well as you'd expect and dries fast, leaving you not much leeway to make sure you've gotten a good layer down. I'd say it dries as fast as you'd expect a neon polish to. Or maybe faster as by the time I was on the third finger on the same hand, the first nail I did was already dry. Crazy, huh? But the upside to all of this is top coat. I have never really appreciated top coat as much as when I applied it over that horrible uneven surface as I came up with this:

Natural light/Top coat/No flash
Whoa. Unevenness, schmunevenness.

Natural light/Top coat/Flash
Hammie says: Looks good to me!

Sunlight/Top coat/No Flash
Hammie says: Isn't that a thing of beauty?

The magic of top coat truly made Julep Anne shine (pun very much intended).

The Lowdown

Now that we've talked about application and color, the next thing I want to bring to your attention is value for price. You know I'm a bargain hunter. I will not pay retail if I know I can get it for cheaper elsewhere (legally, mind you), assuming of course that it's either the same product being considered or the quality of both are comparable if not completely the same. Now considering Julep Anne, you only get 8mL but you pay $14 USD. If I were to compare it to a luxury brand like say, Chanel that lists a regular polish at $26 USD for 13mL of product, Chanel charges $2 for each mL of polish you get while Julep charges $1.75 for each mL. Pretty close, huh? For even better context, OPI costs, on average, $9 USD for 15mL. That gives you $0.60 per mL for OPI. Granted, Julep donates $1 from each nail polish purchase to a charitable foundation, that still pegs the per mL cost at $1.63, only 12 cents less. That's still premium price right there! Now if I'm paying premium, I very well expect to receive high quality product, and with the less than stellar application experience that I had with Anne, I just don't think that justifies the hefty price tag. That being said, I doubt I'll outright purchase any nail polish from Julep BUT that doesn't mean I won't avail of the monthly boxes and mystery boxes because those actually are really good value for price. Right now, based on the box I got Julep Anne in, it only cost me maybe $1 or so for that single bottle of polish. And frankly, even with the application issues, that's not a bad deal at all. So what am I trying to say? Unless you have money to burn, it doesn't make sense to me to purchase the nail polish outright. A better deal would be to sign up for the monthly subscription box, where even if you opt for the It Girl option that gives you 3 nail polishes for the month, it brings your per mL cost down to $0.83 compared to $1.75 if you bought it outright. Makes sense, no?

But what if you really, really, really like this color that you can't live without it and it *must* be yours? Fear not, I found a great option for you. Apart from biting the bullet and dishing out $14 for this pretty violet, Shandi over at Diamonds and Pearls found a pretty good color match at Forever21. Yep, you read that right. Apparently, Love and Beauty Purple (imaginative with the names, are they not?) is a close dupe. I don't happen to have it, but I will definitely be looking for it now (expect a comparison post if I ever find it)! From her photos (clicky on the link to see for yourself), they do look fairly similar and for just a fraction of the cost! That's $2.80 for 14mL vs. $14 for 8mL. Before you dash over to Forever21, please don't clear out the stock, leave me one, okay?

As woeful as the application was, Julep Anne still stuns with its vibrant violet that I'd like to call a bright pastel if that makes any sense. Its soft looking shade makes it perfect for the spring months while that pop of color will ward off any residual winter blues.

Hammie was more than a bit horrified by the cost breakdown. His penny pinching heart went a-pounding when he heard just how much it cost compared to other brands. But even that could not sway his attraction to the pretty violet that heralded spring. He did have to knock off points for the high price and application issues. His final score for Julep Anne?

7 Hammie Points!

Happy Weekend! A quick head's up for those of you interested to try Julep. They have the St. Patrick's Day Mystery Box out now, with only a limited quantity of 2,000 boxes. Get it for only $20 with promo code: GREEN for $60 to $200 worth of Julep products.

Have you tried Julep nail polishes? What's the most expensive nail polish you own? What colors speak spring to you?


  1. That purple is fantastic love it and it really suits your nails :)

  2. So glad you like it! Thanks, Jo! I'm sure this would look just as amazing on you. ;)

  3. Hey Carmela!

    Haha, your mom needs to meet mine. They'd get along so well and heckle us to death about our polish choices. ;)

    When you break down the price and compare it to other brands, it makes me cringe. Still, though, this purple looks gorgeous on your skin tone. And, yes, thank goodness for a good top coat. :)

  4. This color is absolutely gorgeous!!!! I too don't plan on spending $14 for such a small bottle.

  5. Mary, I don't think that might not be such a good idea. I can already see them egging each other on and the comments will just get nastier over time.. *shudder* Hahaha! They'd have such a blast though, I can already see it. :P

    Isn't it pricey? I was pretty shocked while I was doing the calculations. It didn't seem right. But I triple checked and it came out the same. But yeah, it IS a gorgeous purple (I really love how it looks soft and vibrant all at once!). I'd never buy a back-up tho! ;)

  6. Isn't it just pretty? :) I hear ya, Marisa. *high five*


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