Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Julep: February Maven - Rebel, Joan & Freedom Top Coat Review

Let me just preface this with...I'M SORRY. It's been a while since I've posted here, really just because I've been busy. Being a professional nail technician is quite a bit different than nail art as a hobby. Usually, I don't get time for my own nails or a chance to really experiment. 99% of my clients either want shellac, very basic nail art, or pink & white acrylics. Not much room for play there, huh?

What does that mean for this blog, you ask? Not much, really. Actually, I take that back. It means I'll probably be able to post more. I'll want to play more, to focus on my own nails and actually have time to review things! Shock!

With that, I bring you to today's post. Julep! I've been a Maven for a while now, and I adore it. I've never skipped a box, bought several mystery boxes and even done a few side orders for things I really want. As a Maven, not only do you receive a box in the mail every month with fantastic products for only $20, but you get discounts around the site and special perks like sneak peaks of new products. It really is something I adore having. :)

Out of the entire time I've been a Maven, I've never been more excited for a box as I was February. So excited, even, that I switched up from my normal "Classic with a Twist" box to "It Girl" to get Rebel. You see, not only is Rebel named after the awesome Rebel Wilson of Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect! fame, it's a silver holographic. *insert drooling here* I've always been a huge fan of holographic nail polishes. Nfu Oh 61 was such a gorgeous polish to me, and I own it and still love it. But it's an utter pain in the ass, even with the proper base coat. Let's not forget that top coat absolutely ruins the effect and so your wear is barely even a day...if that. Rebel though....oh Rebel.

Let me begin with application. Rebel goes on super smooth with NO DRAG. The biggest problem I had with 61 was the drag. You HAD to go thin to get an even layer and god forbid you touch it again with that brush until it was completely dry. Even then, drag happened and there were three coats before you got a perfect holographic finish. With Rebel, I had full coverage in ONE. COAT. ONE. OOOONNEEE. How many times do I have to repeat this? I was absolutely in love from the get-go. Now, I'd pulled a stupid and done Shellac on my nails today (Black Pool & Wildfire) forgetting that my Maven box would be in the mail when I got home. EVEN over Black Pool I had complete coverage in one coat. I did two on my fingers and toes, simply for wear.

Rebel reverse french/border over Black Pool, Joan over Wildfire

Picture in full sunlight of Rebel with the Freedom Top Coat. Adjusted just enough to get the same effect as RL. :)

I don't think ANY image, DSLR or not will ever really capture how amazing holographic polishes look when done right. This is taken in normal house lighting with only minor exposure adjustments. Had there been sun left today, I would have taken a picture outdoors. I'll probably add that tomorrow. Daylight photo added!!!! Even so, the holographic effect IS visible...WITH TOP COAT. 

Rebel Verdict? A+

Now, on to the other product I was drooling over for this box: Freedom Top Coat. If you're not familiar with it, Freedom is a polymer-based top coat. This means instead of being evaporation-set like most typical polishes, it is light cured. This is similar to the technology behind gel polishes, with the main distinction being that ANY light will cure this top coat. Packaged in a black bottle to prevent curing, Freedom goes on smooth and quick and is set within 3-5 minutes in normal light depending on proximity to the light source. Mine was set within 3, I think. You can cure it quicker by placing your nails close to a normal 60watt bulb to maximize the cure time to 60 seconds. This could be as simple as placing your hand under a desk lamp for a minute to have perfectly dry nails!

The ONLY downside I see to this top coat is the fact that the polish underneath DOES have to be dry. Normal polish can take up to 24hrs to completely set, but is usually dry to the touch within five. I usually have a completely set manicure (provided I don't do something stupid, like dishes) in about an hour with a fast-dry top coat. I have a feeling if you put this on too-wet polish, you're going to dent and slide and your polish underneath will never properly set. At least, I know that's what happens if you attempt to use a UV-cured top coat over regular polish that is not 24hr set. I have a feeling Freedom breathes a lot better, though, so you probably want dry to the touch when you apply it.

Since I used it over two coats of Rebel and only one of Joan, I was able to apply it after about five minutes. Holographic polishes set quick, so even on my toes it was a matter of minutes before I could apply it and then it was set. *__*

I've had several clients ask me if there is any way to do a gel-like top coat over their regular polish and until now I've had to turn them down. The Freedom Top Coat is a great tool for any tech and definitely a fantastic at-home product. :) Now I just wish it came in professional size ;)

Freedom Top Coat Verdict: A+++

If you're interested in Julep Maven and haven't signed up yet, go here and type in the code "FREEBOX"to get your first month free!