My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.
Red is my favorite color, so I decided to start with my reds. These polishes look red in the bottle or have red in the polish name. They are not necessarily labeled red by the polish manufacturer and do not always look red once they’re swatched. Every time I get a new red polish, I will edit this to add the new polish in. Of course, the polish will also be featured in the article reviewing the purchase. If you’d like to see any of my other nail polish colors, I also have articles for Corals & Oranges, Yellows & Golds, Browns & Blacks, Blues, Greens, Beiges & Nudes, Grays & Silvers, Coppers & Bronzes, Sheers & Whites, Salmon & Wines, Purples, Pinks, and Nail Treatments, Base Coats, & Top Coats.
I photographed the reds in order from lightest to darkest and used a flash. Of course, the second picture starts with the darker reds that did not fit in the first picture. The flash is wonderful at picking up detail and finish. The individual pictures below use natural daylight for a more exact color. When I add new polishes, I will not take group pictures again, but I will place the new individual picture in order of where it lies within the shade meaning every article will have the lightest shade first and the darkest last.
Julep Hartleigh appears red thanks the red micro glitter. It has large white confetti dots and red hearts. The finish is matte and all the items in it make it rough. A top coat or two can smooth this out. See this featured in a manicure and a second manicure.
Julep Ruby Slippers appears red thanks to the red micro glitter. The finish is matte and slightly rough. A top coat can smooth it out.
Julep Everly appears red thanks to the red mirror glitter and confetti dots. The finish is matte and the items in it make it rough. A top coat or two can smooth this out.
Nails Inc Alexa Lace appears red thanks to contents that resemble lace. The finish is matte and very rough. Two top coats can smooth this out.
Deborah Lippmann 99 Luftballoons has a sheer red tint. It has gold, blue, green, and red glitter. The finish is matte and surprisingly smooth for a glitter polish. A top coat can make it even more smooth though.
Julep America appears red thanks to the red micro glitter. It has regular sized blue and silver glitter. The finish is matte and rough. A top coat or two can smooth this out.
Julep Tiffany is a jelly polish. That means she is intentionally sheer. She almost appears pink, because she is such a sheer red. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
Julep Aries is a risk-taker red iridescent flash with matching micro glitter. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Julep Rose is a juicy watermelon red crème. This is a pretty pink based red. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
Julep Lee is not a jelly polish, but she is somewhat sheer for a Julep polish. She is almost a pink-orange, red. The finish is semi-glossy and smooth.
Julep January is the same color as Lee (even though Julep describes them differently). The only difference is Lee is semi glossy where January is semi matte. Both look darker (probably multiple coats) and glossier (probably a shiny top coat) online.
Julep Myriam is an pink-orange red like Lee and January, but she has a tad more orange tint. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Strange Beautiful 4th of July Red is an orange-red. This polish was never sold and created specially for the July 2014 Glossybox. It is a good thing no one bought this hoping for a USA red only to find it has almost as much orange as red. Of every red polish I own, this is the most orange based. When I want a USA red, I will be grabbing another polish. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Sephora High Speed is mostly red with a very slight hint of orange. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
elf Red is from the Holiday 2017 set. This looks very red in the bottle, but it looks more like a magenta red in person. It is a creme, but it takes multiple coats to build opacity. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
wet n wild Red Red Rouge is a magenta red. This actually looks almost exactly the same as the elf one above. It is semi matte and smooth.
Nails Inc St James S is a maroon based red. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Orly Unlawful is the same color as Formula X Pyrotechnic. The only difference is Pyrotechnic is semi glossy where Unlawful is semi matte.
Nailtini Bloody Mary is a red shade with a hint of wine. The finish is semi smooth and semi matte.
Butter London Knees Up is a red with a hint of wine. The finish is semi glossy and shimmery thanks to the smooth micro red glitter.
Julep Scarlett is a red with a hint of wine and red micro glitter. The finish is semi glossy and semi smooth. A top coat can smooth it out.
elf Brick Red is from the Holiday 2017 set. This looks brick red in the bottle, but it looks wine in person. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
Julep Stephanie is a juicy cherry holographic. That means she is a glittery-red. I picked her up, because this shade named after my niece. She is as beautiful as her namesake. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Oribe The Lacquer High Shine Nail Polish in The Red is close to a classic red. With one coat (and this is fully opaque in one coat), it has that classic red. When you add a coat, it gets a little deeper. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
Christian Louboutin Rouge Louboutin is very close to a candy apple red (which is my perfect red). When I compare this to a polish that nailed candy apple red, I think this has a very slight tint of wine coloring. Until I hold both in the light and looked through the spoons, I thought they were the same. The finish is glossy and smooth. See this featured in a manicure.
Revlon Revlon Red is the iconic, classic Revlon red. This was a birthday gift received after the article published, so it is not pictured above. I am not doing an article on the gift either, so this is the only place I cover this polish. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
Formula X X Rouge is the perfect candy apple red. It is the only perfect one in my collection. You must be a Sephora VIB Rouge member to purchase this. If you are Rouge and do not already own it, get it. A Rouge friend can order one for you if you’re not Rouge. If you do not have any Rouge friends, Google candy apple red nail polish for suitable alternatives. The finish is glossy and smooth. See this featured in a manicure.
JINsoon Coquette is a berry red. The finish is glossy and smooth.
Formula X Atom + Eve is a berry red with red micro glitter. The finish is semi matte and semi smooth. A topcoat will smooth it out.
Julep Martina is a berry red with red glitter. The finish is semi matte and rough. A top coat or two can smooth it out.
Julep Genevieve is a red rock chrome. This looks more wine than red, but Julep calls it a red rock. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Deborah Lippmann Magnetic Wave Big Red Machine is a berry red. Magnets (when used) pull the polish to give an effect similar to nail stamping. The finish is semi matte and smooth.
Julep Charisma is a purple-red with a high concentration of red micro glitter. The finish is semi glossy and smooth.
Julep Iman is the same color as Julep Charisma. The red micro glitter is not as concentrated, which makes it look a tad darker. It is semi matte and smooth. See this featured in a pedicure.