Sunday, June 1, 2014

Polish Review ~ butter London All Hail The Queen and Julep Gianna

P&S. Have you ever heard this expression? I have never heard this expression until I met a very special group of nail divas on Facebook (both new and old friends) who introduced me to the term. It means "Professional and Sh**". This can describe any polish in your collection that you would feel comfortable lending to your mother or grandmother without any eye rolling, and more specifically, a polish that you would feel very comfortable and polished wearing to a job interview, a first day on the job or a meeting with corporate higher-ups where your hands are going to be on the table in plain sight of the people around you. 

I work in insurance as a property insurance adjuster. It's a boring industry (at least from the outside looking in), but there it is. I also used to be a manager. I have both interviewed and been interviewed many, many times. Even though the line of work that I am in requires that I get dirty on a regular basis and sweat like a pig during the summer, it is still expected that I show up dressed to the nines for a job interview. You dress for the job you want, right? And when you are sitting across the table from the person who could be making the final decision between you and one other person, you don't want to even wonder later if it was because your hands looked like they had been run through a meat grinder. I always joke with my male counterparts that if they ever meet a female property adjuster who is getting acrylic or silk wrap manicures in a salon on a regular basis, you can guarantee that she is not checking her own roofs for hail damage. However, even though that is the case, I still make sure that my hands look nice whenever I am out with clients, in interviews, in meetings or on the first day of a new job. I didn't even relax on the first day of my new job until I saw that the receptionist was wearing teal nails with white accent nails. 

On the other hand, you don't want your nails (or makeup or jewelry for that matter) to scream, "Look at me! Look at me!" Elegant, understated and professional is the way to go. As I wrote about foot appearance when wearing flip flops, hand appearance is equally important when you are at the table with someone whose impression of you is going to be looking at your face, your clothes and your hands. I admit it...when I was interviewing someone for a job and they started to ramble, my gaze would drift down to their hands to see if they were a nail-biter, if they tore at their cuticles, if their polish looks like it was put on last year, whatever. Personal grooming says a lot about people. On the opposite, so does your choice in nail polish, makeup and jewelry. Until you have the job and you have taken the temperature of the people you are working with, you want to keep things a little toned down. Bright brassy colors are fun but can also send the message of "not serious". Glitters and prisms are eye-catching, but can be distracting to the person talking to you and...please note that I strongly disagree...can come across as immature to the older crowd even though they are so very in-style right now. I am very much a glitter, bling-bling and shiny stuff much so that the night before a day where I need a "Professional and Sh**" look, I have to pick out everything I'm going to wear right down to my lip gloss and make sure that it's not too much. Light shell pinks are always nice. They are feminine, pretty, understated and not too flashy. Sheer colors like white and lilac are very delicate and won't garner too much attention. Nudes, in my opinion, are the best choice of all because they are sure not to catch any eyes but will look very understated and proper when someone takes a look at your hands (and I promise you, they will).

Hence, the segue into my reviews on butter London's All Hail The Queen and Julep Gianna. 

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

I have a small rack of nudes specifically for job interviews and days when I need to be all P&S, and if you are looking for a high-end polish with a little sparkle, this will definitely fit the bill. I bought this polish on sale during ULTA's Twofer annual butter London sale a few months ago at the recommendation of a fellow butter London afficionado that said that this polish is perfect for everyone. Ummm....yes and no. The description that butter London gives All Hail The Queen: "Rock it like royalty in this opaque, holographic beige nail lacquer. If you love our best selling lacquer Yummy Mummy, then this winter version will delight!" The butter London dictionary even goes one step further and defines All Hail to be "used as an acclamation or welcome, as in 'All Hail this gorgeous lacquer'". I'm not really sure I would use the words "rock it" to describe this polish, but could I see Princess Kate or Queen Elizabeth wearing it? Most definitely, yes. I think that this is a polish that can look different on a lot of different people given their skin tone and color. On me, it wasn't a winner. In fact, it made my nails look...dead. To quote a friend who looked at it after I put the top coat on, a tad corpse-ish. She even went further to say, when asked if it looked professional, than why, yes, it did look professional...for a morgue. I'd have to agree. Just not my color. But would I feel comfortable wearing it for a job interview? Absolutely.

As always with butter London, the application was perfect. It went on smooth, dried to a glass finish and two coats was plenty for opacity. The durability was fantastic. I left it on for three days and did not have one chip. On the third night I had very, very hard to see tip wear and new growth appearing at the bottom near my cuticle, but I would venture to guess that I could have left my manicure on for several more days with some minor touching up. It does have a holographic appearance to it, but it is scattered and not linear, so it would be very nice for the proper occasion.

However, the appearance for me was the kicker. By itself, my nails looked very, very dull, albeit professional. But after adding one layer of Julep Gianna, the color almost changed to a milk chocolate. Julep Gianna is a flake glitter described on the Julep site as a "jagged gold glitter top coat". It is truly unique from the other gold glitters in my collection. What made me select it was that I honestly wanted a glitter with some size to it to mix up the lacquer, and this did that. It is like little pieces of gold foil in a clear suspension so there is no alteration of the below color. It spread very evenly and without having to dig in the bottle like is necessary for other flake glitters or hex glitters. It dried very smooth, although be wary if you get a flake that sticks out over the edge of your nail or doesn't lie down flat. After I applied my top coat and it dried down, I noticed that there were a few flakes that stuck up through the top coat or hung over the edge of my nail, and once they hardened they were borderline sharp. I was able to take care of them with a emery board applied very lightly so as to not blemish the finish, but the next time I use Gianna, I think I will take a closer look before applying my top coat. I also think that Gianna would make an excellent accent nail, but would require 3-4 coats for full coverage, so I would recommend a gold base first.

I will be keeping this, but it's definitely on my P&S shelf. 

You can order All Hail The Queen at butter London's site for $15 and Gianna on Julep's site for $14. My polish price point is $9, so obviously I got these both on sale. I would recommend that if you are interested in these polishes but not willing to pay the steep tags, put them on your wish lists and wait for the sales.

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