Introducing a new sub to this blog (but likely not new to many of my readers): Julep Maven!
I had tried Julep this time last year and was not impressed. The products were great (I got some nail polish and a top coat) but they were making some changes as a company and it had a negative impact on their shipping time and packing. But I loved those polishes. . . so I kept an eye on what was happening in the Julep world and they really seem to have overcome whatever hurdles they were encountering last time around. They have also branched out more and more into make-up, instead of just nail polish, which I like. Since I've given up on Ipsy and am likely bidding Square Hue farewell in the next month or so, it seems like a great time to go for a nail polish and beauty sub. Additionally, unlike the other two, Julep offers some customization and, like Square Hue, is skippable (after the first month). Win-win!
This is a review of the Custom Welcome Box which was offered for only the cost of shipping! The products were selected just for me (probably just a match to the best fit) based on a 6-question quiz. Seriously, if you're interested in trying out Julep, one of my links will let you pick up a welcome box so you can get some stuff for cheap (it will enroll you as a Maven FYI)! While you're at it, signing up for a 3-month sub means each month costs $19.99 (vs $24.99 regular price). While those prices are in US funds, shipping is free for Mavens :)
Julep also sells their products (most of them anyway) to non-Mavens but I think the program is a) way more fun and b) better bang for your buck - especially when you factor in the value of the welcome box!
So what's in the box?
Julep knows how to do packaging. Their signature purple box arrived on my doorstep and it was lovely to open - I could totally gift this to a friend (or my sister?) as-is.
Julep Lip Gloss in Graceful ($20 value)
If you know me, you probably know two things about me: 1) I'm stupid pale and 2) I'm not a lip gloss person. So this is a miss for me. That said, the formula is less sticky than most lip glosses I've tried so that's a plus. But this colour is just so pale and sheer. If it weren't sheer, it would wash me out completely since it's so close to my skin colour (no joke - see the blurry swatch below). But since it is sheer, I feel like it's barely there. And I would never pay $20 for a lip gloss. That said, Allure magazine picked this as a fave in May so it works for other people. . . just not me, I guess.
Julep's NEW Light on Your Lips Lipstick in Footloose ($22 value. . . or $17.60? it seems to have been adjusted since I wrote this)
Julep's Light on Your Lips lipstick is described as a "full-coverage creme" and Footloose is their "Poppy creme" shade. Now I love a red lipstick but usually veer strongly towards a blue-based red (even venturing into a magenta at times) so I wasn't sure about this orange-leaning red when I opened it. But I love it. I actually love everything about this lipstick! The colour has great pay-off and staying power but is also buildable (so at first swatch, it's not too bright or orange. . . but you can add more colour with a second coat). The formula stays put yet is moisturizing and feels great on. And the case feels very luxe with its magnetic closure. I don't think I've ever owned such a fancy lipstick! What colour to get next?
I'm thinking blurry swatches could be my "thing", you know? Like people will be like "oh, shewasmuchbrighter? is she the one with the blurry swatches all the time?" and it won't be a criticism :) Am I dreaming? Anyway - Graceful on the left (told you it was basically my flesh-tone) and Footloose on the right.
Caitlin ($14 value*)
This box was supposed to include Poppy, "a vibrant azalea pink shimmer polish" - at least the ads for this welcome box indicated that this would be included in all welcome boxes, plus 3 extra items, chosen based on the quiz. I didn't get Poppy but I did get Caitlin and I'm happy I did :)
Julep categorizes all of its polishes (and its monthly boxes) into one of 4 style profiles: Classic with a Twist, Boho Glam, It Girl and Bombshell (there is a 5th, Modern Beauty, but that only applies to boxes - those ones get no polish, only beauty products). When you become a Maven, you take a quiz that helps pick your "style" and that's the box you will default to each month. That said, you can change to another profile or swap out items/colours you're not crazy about to create a box you love. Caitlin is a "shocking hibiscus with gold shimmer" and is considered to be part of the "Classic with a Twist" profile (mine, incidentally). Those who fit this profile are "drawn to chic, elegant colors that pair well with any occasion" and the monthly boxes for this profile include two polishes and a beauty product.
This is gorgeous and easy to apply, best in two coats. I wasn't sure about the pink/gold combo (and am not usually a fan of gold in general) but I like this, I really like this :) Caitlin was originally part of the April 2014 Vivid Collection. . . but I wasn't a Maven then so I don't mind getting something older.
Shelly ($14 value*)
Shelly is a "wintermint creme," originally part of the January 2015 Chrysalis Collection. . . so, newer. It is considered to best fit the "It Girl" profile. "It Girls" are into "cutting edge colors and finishes that make a statement" and will receive 3 polishes in their monthly box. I love this colour a lot - it's cool and fresh, more of a pale aqua than anything else. I could totally rock this with a silver gradient maybe? Very Snow Queen? The creme finish is also easy to apply but needs a good two coats for full coverage.
*So, a word on "value": Julep gives their polishes a $14 price tag but they are smaller than most other polish brands due to the shape of the bottle**. This drives a lot of people crazy since there are other excellent nail polish companies that don't do this. That said, they also offer great deals (like the Maven program, itself) and lots of coupons and mystery boxes which offer great value (there's one out right now - are you NY or LA?). . . so that price tag is just that, a price tag. . . and one that I wouldn't count on paying full price for often if at all :)
**What's with all these addenda (just learned the plural of addendum)? I know, right? But I do need to comment on the shape of the bottle since some people hate it. I love it. I know it's tall and thin so if you're not careful, you can get a gloop of polish unexpectedly (scrape the entirety of the brush length along the edge as you pull it out to minimize this possibility. . . works for me). But I love that it's tall and thin since I usually do my nails while relaxing on the couch in front of the TV. It's easy to hold the bottle between my fingers while still doing my nails with relative ease :)
Less blurry swatches! And no, those aren't my fingers - my 3 year old really wanted to help Mommy with her pictures this time around so he's sporting Caitlin on his thumb and ring finger (he wanted accent nails just like Mommy) and Shelly on the rest. These are all one thick-ish coat - you try getting a toddler to sit still enough for two coats! And they wore surprisingly well all things considered - I had to convince him to let me remove his pretty nails before he started preschool :)
My welcome box cost me virtually nothing and had a Julep value of $70 (or $65.60 depending on that lipstick price)!! I gladly welcome both polishes into my collection and will wear them often. And that lipstick is such a find! Love, love, love! The lip gloss will find a happy new home and I do think it's a great product. . . just not one for me. Best of all, this shipped in a reasonable amount of time, the tracking link worked, and it actually arrived at my door a day earlier than the tracking suggested it would :) Looking forward to next month, my first month as a real Maven, when I get to customize my box and love every item!
If this review encourages you to try out Julep, please consider using my links - I'd really appreciate it!