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Monthly Manicure Reviews Featuring Nail Polishes: Deborah Lippmann Prelude to a Kiss, Julep Virgo, Ulta Pro Green and Wear It, AND a Call to #Putthenailinit

One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. This story of Fernando is a reminder that men are victims, too. Someone I love very much is in an abusive relationship she is not ready to leave yet. I am sure there are other loved ones in past or present abusive relationships. My heart breaks for all victims, whether I know them or not. This is an epidemic that Safe Horizon wants to call attention to. Visit to learn more about Moving Victims of Violence from Crisis to Confidence. To join the movement and call attention to the cause, write #putthenailinit on social media, and paint your ring finger purple. You can also donate to or share this cause from

My nail polish collection is large, and thanks to my Julep Maven subscription, I keep adding to it. That means Julep polishes represent my biggest percentage, but I own a lot of brands. Once a month, I will share all of my monthly manicures listing the polishes I used, how many coats of each I used, and how long each lasted. This should give me an opportunity to use my polishes more often and actually review them. Since my polish collection keeps growing rapidly, I am not going to list them all in one place. Swatches and descriptions of every polish I own go into an article listing all polishes in the same color family. Typing the name of the polish you want to see in the search bar will pull up its respective article if I own it. If you have any requests on polishes I own that you want reviewed, please list them in the comments. As long as the polish you want reviewed is close to the color or finish I am looking for when I paint, I will consider it.

Tools of the Trade

I will only share pictures and reviews of each manicure tool the first time I use it in an article. If I use the same tool in the future, I will not picture it or review it again, unless it either improves or falls short from its past performance on a subsequent use.


I needed something a little stronger than my usual buffer to remove the blue stain Gladys left on my left ring finger. After all, I buffed during my 09/14/16 manicure below, and it barely removed anything. That polish was for a formal wedding, so I hid my hands a lot. The Julep event I attended at the end of last month had most of the polishes from the October collection available for swatching. There was no base coat, and Julep greens and blues are notorious for staining the nails without a base coat. Lolo, a darker blue, did not stain my pinky finger, so that is the polish I selected for my upcoming Julep box. We have family members with both names, so I only decided on Lolo when I saw that Gladys stains. The Julep Buffer Block did the trick. It is a little rougher than my usual buffer, so it removed the stain and stripped a bit of my nails. Unless you a desperate to remove a stain or are extremely gentle, I would not recommend these. They will take stains out better than anything else I own though, so they serve their purpose.


Polish and Nail Art

I will always include every product I add to my nails from start to finish (even if I’ve reviewed the product in the past). A different product combination can affect wear time. Unless I use a single product on its own (which I have and will do), it is almost impossible to attribute the single product responsible for poor wear time or longevity. Only when I wear a single product will I review wear time for the individual polish. When I wear multiple polishes together, I will review wear time for the combination.


The OPI Lay Down That Base is not available for purchase any more. I got this when a Gwen Stefani polish. It is a thinner base coat, so it dries quickly. Compare this to my other base coats.


I should have used the Julep Buffer Block to remove the blue stain on this left (picture right) ring finger, but I did not use it until just before the next manicure. My brain does not always work as well as it should. Anyway, I used Deborah Lippmann Prelude to a Kiss, because it is the perfect pink for a french manicure. This shade is no longer available. It is a really pale pink with one coat, so I file it with white polishes. Compare this to my other pink polishes (where I have similar colors).


The Essence French Manicure Tip Guides are awful. I wanted the white tips to look stark against the nails, so I wanted to lay the pink down first. Even though I waited a long time between the pink layer and the tips, this removed the pink polish on a few fingers when I peeled the stickers off. My white tips were not crisp either. There are 30 tips in a set, so I removed all of my polish and started over. This time, I applied the tips to bare nails. It looked terrible when I removed them and parts of the sticker stuck to my bare nail beds. If I am brave enough to try this again, I will use my 10 remaining stickers. Odds are I will toss them or repurpose them, because they are not working for me as intended.


I finally decided to paint the white tips by hand. My hands are extremely shaky, which is the reason I bought the tips in the first place. Julep Brigitte is the perfect white shade for a stark look, but I cannot paint in straight lines. This was a hot mess, but surprisingly less of a mess free-hand. The Perfect Formula Pink Gel Formula is a nail strengthener, so I probably should not have used it as a top coat. It has a pink tint that is a lot lighter than the Deborah Lippmann shade. I wanted it to soften the white shade a bit while still making it look white. Compare this to my other treatments and white polishes.


This combination starting chipping within 4 days, but I did not use a traditional top coat. I wore it for three days while it was chipping until it reached a point where it no longer looked good. It is really hard to say how it would have performed with a traditional one. That is why I always judge the combination instead of blaming or thanking one when I use multiples.


Base coats help my manicures last longer, but they seem to shorten the lifespan of my pedicures. My average pedicure without a base coat lasts a month or more. When I use a base coat, I lose at least two weeks of chip free wear. As such, I sometimes skip base coats on my feet. That is not always smart, because polishes stain and toenails grow slowly. I am still growing out stains from a past bad decision not to use a base coat. This means I had to bring out the big guns, Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat. It is my favorite, because it breathes, goes on matte, and prevents stains from getting through. Compare this to my other base coats.


Julep Virgo is my latest from the Zodiac Collection. Well, Libra is getting shipped here as I type. This deep blue is so dangerous to put on my toes (Julep blues can stain, as I mentioned above), but I have faith my base coat will hold on. I guess we will see next month when I remove this. Compare this to my other blue polishes.


The Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat does an unbelievable job of making polishes look matte, unless they start very glossy. It is really hard to tell in photographs of feet, but I have some of my hands below. Compare this to my other top coats.


This has been on a little over two weeks. There is some very light chipping at the tips of a few toes. That is nothing I’d remove polish for, especially when my feet are almost always covered. My sandals and flip-flops are temporarily retired.


The Ulta Professional Get a Grip Base Coat is a medium density polish. It goes on semi matte. Ulta does not make this professional line any more, which is too bad. I really hate how the lids peel into a tar like substance when you try to remove spilled polish from them. My green and purple are the only Ulta Pro bottles that survived a broken polish spill. There are other Ulta Pro polishes in my collection as shown by the base coat, but those are the only two that survived a mass spill in an Ulta shipment. Compare this to my other base coats.


These were the first ones that came to mind when I realized I needed a purple. This Ulta Pro Crown Jewels is not only a beautiful purple, but it is a survivor. The Ulta Pro Green and Wear It is the only polish I wanted to pair it with, because it is also a survivor. Six polishes got buried that day, including the one that arrived in glass shards. Compare this to my other green and purple polishes.


I had to wear the Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat again in the same month, because I knew the pedicure did not show off how this transforms polish into matte formulas. In the picture above, you can see these shades are not naturally matte. They look almost completely matte in the picture below, especially the green. Compare this to my other top coats.


I’ve only been wearing this combination for less than 24 hours. It still looks crisp, but I would not expect anything less so soon. The only thing I would have done differently looking at them is to apply two coats of color to each nail instead of one. These colors are mostly opaque, but both colors show a bit of patchiness. Julep crème polishes usually only take one, so I always try that with other brands. Ulta Pro makes great polishes though, so these would have been better with another coat.

See all nail polish reviews or all nail polish articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.

Disclosure: Affiliate and Direct Links

notcreative View All

I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (13 and 8) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 13-year-old to apply it.

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