Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Julep Maven

Have you heard of Julep Maven?  It's a monthly subscription box.  They make really pretty nail polishes, as well as makeup and skin care products.  I signed up about 6 months ago, after trying a Julep nail polish which I loved.  They boost oxygen technology for healthy nails, and free of harmful toxins.  I needed more colors!  They were offering the first box for free, so I decided to give this subscription a shot.

There are two options you can choose from.  The one I signed up for is the cheaper one of the two.  It is $24.99 a month and includes 3 items that you can choose from.  They pre-select the 3 items for you based on the profile you fill out when you sign up.  But you can swap out any or all 3 items if you like.  You can choose between nail polishes or makeup/beauty items.  You can also skip the month if you don't want anything and they won't charge you.  The second box option they offer is $39.99 a month, but I don't really remember how many items you get.  I just know that 3 nail polishes a month is plenty for me so I didn't even consider getting more.

The new box becomes available on the 20th of the month, and you have 5 days to swap items out or cancel the box.  Otherwise you will be getting what they pre-selected for you for that month.  Shipping takes about a week to me, which is rather slow.  So basically you should expect to receive your box around the beginning of the next month.

In a short few months, this is my current nail polish collection after chucking away many old bottles!  The Julep ones are the skinny bottles all on the front.  I like that they don't take up nearly as much storage room as other bottles:

So I think I've tried enough of Julep's nail polishes now to give an adequate review lol.  Here are the two rows of colors up close:

Colorful ones on the front!

Dark/neutral ones on the back

So if you are a Maven member, aside from the monthly boxes, there is also a "secret store" which opens only for a few days a month.  During that time, you can buy additional products at a discount.  My first month of being a Maven, I had gotten my first box for free, and I also ordered quite a few from the secret store.  In fact, the picture below is my order from the secret store.

I've tried mostly their nail polishes, but also a few beauty items.  Here are my thoughts on the nail polishes:

Color: Fantastic.  They have many rich and beautiful colors to suit your liking, and a lot of the colors are very unique.

Coverage:  Most of the colors I've tried go on pretty thick, even after only one coat.  I typically put on two coats though, with the second coat being very light.

Application:  Some of the colors don't go on very well and leave streaks, but most colors I've tried don't.  One trick I've found is by reading the color description for each color.  The ones that say "Finish: Creme" are usually the ones that go on very smoothly.  Most colors have reviews too, so that also helps a lot.  They tend to dry relatively fast.  But I do use my Seche Vite top coat which dries any polish instantly.  I haven't tried the Julep top coats, because when you find something that works as well as Seche Vite, you don't switch.  =)

Bottle Design:  Before I ordered my first box, I read reviews online about this service and people have complained about their bottle design.  It is true that you don't get very much product in these skinny little bottles.  But they look sleek and like I said above, I really like that they don't take up much space so they store very easily.  I don't mind this design at all. 

Brush Design:  This is another area people have complained about.  Many reviews I read had said that the brush design doesn't allow you to apply easily without smudging.  While I agree that the brush design is nothing special, I don't really find it to be that bad.  I have a pretty steady hand though.  So I normally don't get it all over the place.  If I do, it's not hard to clean up anyway.  But, I've definitely seen better.

Duration:  I find that most of Julep polishes last longer than other brands.  I can usually go 4-5 days without any damage.  With weight lifting, cooking/cleaning and typing all day, I think that's not bad at all.  Some colors also seem to last longer than others.  Also, if you apply too much, it tends to peel off quicker.  

Favorite Ones:  I thought I'd share some of the favorites I've tried.  I took into consideration both how pretty the color is and how well it goes on.

It actually surprises me that one of my favorites is a bright red with orange undertone called Myriam.  It actually came in my free starter box!  I am not usually a fan of bright red nail colors.  But this one just looks amazing on.  It goes on with absolutely no streaks whatsoever, and one coat provides perfect coverage.  This is still one of my favorites, if not my very favorite!

I really like the Alaina as well, because it's such a great neutral.  It's that perfect shade of taupe.  It also goes on super smoothly without streaks.

Another one of my favorites is called Jessica.  I've probably gotten the most compliments on this color.  It's a very pale baby blue.  Even though the color is so light, it still goes on very creamy and even one coat is enough.

Least Favorite Ones:  Well it's only fair that I list my least favorites colors as well.  There are two colors that look so pretty, but I'm very disappointed in them.  They are both light colors that go on very streaky.  Even after 3 thick coats, they somehow still show the streaks!  Also they take forever to dry, and then chip off very fast.

The first one is Fifi and it also came in my very first box along with my favorite Myriam above:

The second one is Ali, which has a "soft focus finish".  Whatever that means.  It doesn't work lol.

I've also tried their Oxygen Nail Treatment in sheer pink, and Oxygen Bonding Base Coat and am not that impressed with either.  

The Oxygen Nail Treatment seems to do nothing for me.  The Oxygen Bonding Base Coat actually makes my polish chip worse than not applying any base coat.

The Metamorphic top coats are kind of cool in theory.  They transform the color of the nail polish underneath into a pearlescent color.  I think I haven't found the right colors to go under them yet, because what I've tried so far just looked very dull and peeled off almost instantly.  These top coats have really good reviews though so I'm going to continue trying it out on top of different colors.

Beauty Products:  A quick summary here... I've tried a few of their beauty products so far.  I actually like the Illume Eye Brightener which you can use as a highlighter on your face as well.  But their other beauty products are just ok.  I've tried this 2-in-1 brow tool called Don't Leave Your Brows At Home, and lip crayon It's Balm.  They are not bad, but I'll stick with my Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products, and I have way too many lip gloss type of things around to consider buying more.  Their facial cleansing oil has really good reviews for some reason, but it is far inferior to my Shu Uemura cleansing oils, so maybe I'm just spoiled.  Overall I would stick with Julep's nail products rather than beauty/makeup products.

Conclusion:  So, after trying out this Maven thing for 6 months, I would say that it's worth checking out for a while.  But I don't plan to continue being a subscriber for much longer.  After all, 3 nail polishes a month is A LOT of polishes.  For $25 a month, it averages to $8 per bottle which is not that cheap considering each bottle only holds 0.27 oz of product.  Sephora sells them for $14 per bottle, which is also the regular price on Julep's website.  That's pretty high in my opinion.  You might as well just be a Maven for a few months, get your first box for free, and get a couple more boxes to stock up on colors, then cancel.  Each box I've received has come with discount coupons, and candies lol.

I skipped last month's box, and that was very easy to do (just log on and click a button).  But it's hard to always remember to log onto their site around the 20th of each month to do that, especially if you are traveling.  If you forget, you may end up receiving a box of colors you hate because you can no longer make any changes to the box or skip the month after the 25th.  I completely forgot about this box one month, but luckily I got colors I liked well enough.

One last thing is about their customer service.  One of the boxes I received was missing a product.  I emailed them and they responded promptly.  Apologized and sent out the replacement product right away.  Then they sent me another email a couple weeks later to follow up.  So I think that was pretty nice, even though I had to wait almost 2 weeks for the replacement to arrive (why must they use such slow shipping method??).  But they took care of it so that's all I can ask.

Anyway, these are my thoughts on this subscription box.  Have you tried this?  If so, I'd be interest in hearing your thoughts as well!


  1. I'm guessing (I don't know for sure) that shipping takes longer because nail polish is so flammable, it has to go ground.

    1. Yeah.. but Sephora can ship ground to me in a day from the middle of the country when I order flammable products lol.

  2. I know you used to be a big splits59 fan... Did you get anything on the hautelook sale today?

    1. I didn't see anything I liked/wanted. But I am going to the Splits sample sale next week. Hoping for great prices like last time. =)


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