I’ve been a Julep Maven for three months now, and each month has tempted me to upgrade my box so I get the whole set. But each time, there has been something holding me back: May was my first box and I could only get it free if I didn’t upgrade, June had the DD cream (which I totally didn’t want). But July’s California Coast box finally did the trick: ten beachy polishes, sea salt spray for hair, and beach oil tonic for skin. Yup, sold.
So before I show the swatches, let me apologize for the picture quality. Since it was raining so hard, I raised the light levels in the camera, but that made the pictures grainy. Sorry about that! Also, I swatched these in batches, two nails per color. I’ll go left to right in the descriptions.
First up are the sea colors. Blakely is what Julep calls a “molten,” which seems to be their word for duochrome. Blakely goes purple to green, but it’s a very subtle shift: you can sort of see it in the difference between my first and second finger in the image. The formula was great, one-coat coverage, and even though it has a frost-like finish, the brushstrokes weren’t all that noticable. Blakely is sort of a stormy sea color next to my pale skin, something that will look nice in winter as well.
Julep calls its textured sparkle finish “sea salt.” I have one of their earlier colors, Sadie, which is a dead-on dupe for Zoya’s Dahlia PixieDust. I thought Julep’s July offering, Tracey, would be similar to Zoya’s Liberty, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s lighter, more of a denim color. It might be a dupe for Zoya’s Nyx, which I have but haven’t tried on yet. Still, I like Tracey; it’s a wearable color, nice and sparkly, and the texture finish adds a fun dimension. The formula was great, with full coverage in two thin coats.
Next, with the artistic cropping to hide the big chip I accidently put in my nail while playing with the camera, is the second molten, Angela. Angela is supposed to be a “deep sea blue,” and the bottle color and swatches on Julep’s site are a saturated dark blue that shades a very subtle purple. On my nail, though, it’s very dark, with no hint of color shift. Part of that is the angle of the photo, but it just dries darker than expected. Another good, one coat formula, but I’m a little disappointed with the murkiness of this color. It seems more muddy riverbed than deep blue sea.
On the other hand (fingers?), I love Johanna, a lilac frost. Like with blues, I could happily own every shade of lilac out there. This one is beautiful, light but not too gray, and with more of a shimmer finish than a real frost. Full coverage in two coats with none of the brushstroke issues frosts can have. I’ll wear this color year-round.
The first of the sand colors, Faye is another disappointment to me. The formula was great and it has a pretty shimmer. Julep describes it as a liquid bronze, which I was super excited to see, but on me it looks awful. It’s got a sort of olive tint to it that probably looks great on a skin tone different from mine. It’s a lovely color in the bottle, although much more green and less bronze than I wanted, but it’s just not working on my hand.
However, Karen, a “peach bellini frost,” turned out much better than I expected. I thought this peach would look terrible on me, since it’s a straight peach tone, not leaning coral or pink, but it’s actually prettier than I anticipated. The shimmer (it’s really not frosty) in it adds a nice dimension of color that makes it a little more interesting.
My absolute favorite in this collection, though, is Cassie, which Julep describes as a “soft coral sheer,” but is like a creamier, pinker version of Karen. It did take three thin coats for no-streak coverage, but once it was on I loved it. I’ll wear this soft color all year when I want a more delicate and neutral look. Cassie is one of only two creme finishes in the collection. I really loved that last month’s collection was nearly all cremes, because it’s my favorite finish, and I’m still sort of kicking myself for not upgrading then. Oh, well.
Nadia, a yellow shimmer, just reminds me why yellow just isn’t my color. It’s a pretty polish, with good coverage in three thin coats, and a noticable shimmery finish. It just looks bad with my skin color. I’ll probably use this sunshiny color during the holidays with some red or even black for a luxurious look. I once had a friend from California named Nadia, and this color would be perfect for her, actually.
Finally, the last regular polish is Alaina, the other creme, a pretty taupe-grey shade. I love this color too; I can never have enough neutrals. Coverage is great in two coats since the color is darker than Cassie. This wet sand color will look good well into fall.
The collection has a bonus polish, Adele, which is a gold shimmer top coat. I love this color as much as I love the golden-voiced singer who gives it her name. I layered one coat over Cassie and Alaina in this picture, and you can see how it dresses both colors up even though one is warm and the other cool. I wouldn’t wear this stand-alone, as I hate visible nail line, but layered with another sheer might produce an interesting effect.
The box came also with two beauty products: sea salt texture spray for hair, and beach tonic dry body oil. I like both of these products; they’re mid-to-good quality, which is just fine for me. I have curly hair, but using the sea salt spray adds a little more texture and volume to my super thin, fine curls. Although it’s been so crazy humid here that I can’t really tell what’s the effect of the product and what’s the soupy air. It has a nice subtle scent that makes me think of the sea, but again, I can smell the actual sea in the air today, so I may be fooling myself. The body oil, however, has a strange, kind of floral scent that I don’t really like, and that clings for hours. As a moisturizer, though, it does a great job. I have sensitive dry skin and mild psoriasis, but this product didn’t give me hives and softened my skin without feeling at all greasy, which makes it worth the unusual scent. I really like spray oils, so even though I probably won’t repurchase this one (I can get similar quality for cheaper in other brands), I’ll absolutely use this up.
In all honesty, Julep is wicked overpriced for the quantity of product, but I really do like their colors. And when I do the math, I got 12 products for about $4.58 each, plus a 40-count pack of green tea blotting papers as a bonus. If I want, I can skip months; when I do purchase boxes, I earn points that can go towards a free box. If you’d like to join, please click the blue Maven button on my sidebar; it earns me extra points.
So what do you think of the California Coast collection? Does it make you long for the beach?