Thursday, October 01, 2015

First Julep Haul and Product Reviews

Julep is best known for being a monthly nail polish subscription box.  I recently re-joined after they made some changes for the better in my opinion:  for $24.99 per month (or $19.99 per month if you sign up for 3 months up front), you will receive your choice of 2-3 nail polish / beauty items each month according to your profile.  "Classic With a Twist", "Bombshell" and "Boho Glam" profiles receive 2 polishes and 1 beauty item; "It Girls" receive 3 polishes and "Modern Beauties" receive 2 beauty items.  But now, no matter what profile you are, you can totally customize your box or even switch to a totally different box! And you can skip any month after your first month as a Maven (Welcome Boxes don't count).  Sounds perfect to me!  If you're interested in trying out the subscription, my links will take you to a FREE Welcome Box, just pay the cost of shipping - this will sign you up for the subscription so be forewarned about that (if you scroll down though, you can get in for the 3 month rate of $19.99 per month).  Check out the Welcome Box I received here.  This is an American sub so do factor in the cost of exchange although, aside from Welcome Boxes, shipping is free for Mavens - even Canadian ones from what I can tell! :)

Julep also sells their products in their online store and Mavens get discounts and free shipping on everything.  I had a 50% off code arrive in my Welcome Box so. . . I splurged and bought some more beauty items.  While I love nail polish, I was really impressed by the lipstick that came in my Welcome Box and wanted to try a few more things.  Here's what I picked up:

Clockwise from left:  Light on Your Lips Lipstick in "Happy Hour," Gel Eye Gliders in "Bronze Shimmer" and "Regal Teal," Plush Pout in "Cardinal Red" and "Magenta Plum," and Julep's Bonding Base Coat

Mai Tai Trio ($20 special):

Light on Your Lips in "Happy Hour" ($22 retail, $17.60 Maven pricing)

This is a full-coverage magenta creme lipstick.  As I mentioned in my Welcome Box review, I really like the formula of these lipsticks.  It is creamy and moisturizing but stays where you put it and lasts for quite a while without being drying.  While this colour (and the one I already have) are pretty vibrant, the coverage is actually quite buildable allowing you to customize how vibrant you actually want it on your lips.  Of course, there are more neutral offerings as well.  The case also feels very luxe with its magnetic closure.  I'm not sure it's a $22 lipstick (since I've never owned one before) but I think the Maven price is fair and am happy that I got it for way less than that. . . because I don't like paying full price for anything :)

Gel Gliders in "Bronze Shimmer" and "Regal Teal" ($16 retail, on sale for $8)

Julep has changed the name of this product to "When Pencil Met Gel" which is. . . kinda cheesy to be honest.  But this is still a nice product.  It glides on smoothly without any tugging and sets relatively quickly (so if you want to smudge it - do it fast).  I find this lasts all day and then some as even after my double cleansing at the end of the day, I sometimes have to go back with an eye make-up remover.  I've definitely never had that staying power with anything but my liquid liners. . . and even then, not always.  

The "Bronze Shimmer" was the one I was least excited about but I figured I could use it as an inner eye highlight at least.  Well, it's a little dark for that but is a very wearable bronze with just the right amount of shimmer.  I think it looks like a better version of brown liner on me (since I don't like brown) and am exploring some new looks that go with it since I like it so much.  

I thought the "Regal Teal" would be more "me" but, while I do like it, I don't find myself wearing it as often.  It's a little brighter than expected and that makes it less of a daily eye look for me (although I still wear it for day - just not every day, lol).

All told, the "Mai Tai Trio" offers a retail value of $54 but I think the sale/Maven pricing of $33.60 is probably a bit more accurate.  In either case, a great value for $20 (and an even better value for the $10 I paid because of the half off code!).  I really like all 3 products and will get a lot of use out of them.  This set is still available at the time of publication.

Swatches, top to bottom:  "Happy Hour," "Bronze Shimmer," and "Regal Teal"

Bold Lip Look ($28 special):

Plush Pout in "Cardinal Red" and "Magenta Plum" ($20 retail, $16 Maven pricing)

Plush Pout is a product that was just coming out when I tried Maven last year although I ended up moving on from the sub before trying it out.  At the time, I was torn between these two shades but ultimately bought neither. . . so obviously I had to pick up this set with my coupon code! Plush Pout, now called "It's Balm," is described as a "full coverage lip crayon. . . with major staying power and a moisturizing treatment core."  You can kind of see the white core surrounded by colour in the unboxing photo above.  This is definitely full coverage - no buildability here! What you see is the colour you get which is, I feel, standard for a lip crayon.  Unfortunately, the other thing that is standard with a lip crayon is that I find them rather messy and prone to sliding, kissing off on everything, and ultimately not lasting as long as other products.  I find the plush pout to slide a little less than I expected, to kiss off about as much as I expected and to last a little longer than I expected. . . I know that's not a glowing review but I do think it's a good lip crayon.  I do like the amount of moisture which is, I suppose, the trade-off for this type of product.  I will definitely be more likely to reach for these in winter when my lips aren't in the best shape. . . but think the Light on Your Lips lipsticks will get more use overall.  I guess I'm just more of a traditional lipstick gal.

As for the colours, as you can see in the swatches (Cardinal Red at top, Magenta Plum at bottom), they are both pretty dark and pretty vibrant which is good for me since I like to play up my Snow White vibe.  They do have some more neutral shades available if that's your thing though :)

I think the value on this set was pretty fair at $14 a crayon ($7 with my code!) but find even the Maven pricing to be a little high - even though it's a pretty nice lip crayon, it's not huge or earth-shattering in my opinion.  This set is still available at the time of publication.

Oxygen Bonding Base Coat ($18 retail, $14.40 Maven pricing)

When you make a purchase with Julep, you have the option of purchasing "add-ons" for steeply-discounted prices (I think of them as the rack of sale items near the cash register, lol).  Purchasing 3 add-ons nets you a surprise gift (usually an older polish judging by other reviews).  This haul, I picked up only one add-on, a base coat for $8.99.  I had never tried a base coat and was interested in this one's promises to help my colour last longer (it's described as "double-sided tape"), prevent staining, and keep my nails healthy and strong by "allowing oxygen to permeate the nail bed."  I've been using it since I got it, and I do change my polish 2-3 times a week these days, and I like it.  I do notice a difference in how the polish glides on over the base coat (it seems to stick more. . . which meant a little learning curve in getting enough on for each stroke) and my nails do feel a bit stronger.  It's not magic but I do like it.  For $8.99.  That's the price I like it for.  I think that retail price is nuts!

Overall Verdict:

With my coupon code, I paid only $26.99 including the add-on and picked up products worth $112 retail (although probably more like $70 using the values I've indicated I think are more appropriate above).  In any case, I think that's an absolutely incredible value! Julep isn't cheap and their products certainly don't feel cheap, but there are deals to be had for sure - especially for Mavens.  Out of these products, I would recommend the lipstick and eye gliders.  I'm a little less sold on the lip crayons but if you like that type of product, they might be worth a try.  I like the base coat but would never pay anything close to retail for it so I'll pick up more as an add-on at some point :)

Edit:  Oh! I almost forgot! Julep does offer cash back through Ebates as well so. . . that's awesome.  If you haven't heard of Ebates, here's a link to my new Frugal Friday post on just that topic ;)

As always, if this makes you want to try this subscription, my links are referral links and if you use them, that would be awesome.  Thanks!

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