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Julep Maven Subscription Service Review and Swatches

By beautopia · July 22, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

You may have heard of Julep Nail Vernis at some point recently, be it on the Sephora site or one of their stores where the polishes are $14 a pop (for a .27oz bottle, whoa). Or you may have seen the name on Twitter, or Facebook, or Pinterest, jeez man that name is everywhere. I watched the Julep Mania for a few months with a jaded eye until I finally gave in. If you haven't heard the name Julep, well, it started with a salon in Seattle, then grew to include a nail polish line, and now there is a monthly subscription box where you can have a selection of these polishes delivered to your door at a much lower price than their retail stickers. 

If you'd like to join, here's a referral link if you click it, thanks in advance, that's awfully nice of you:)  (if you refer people, it counts toward getting a free month, pretty nice) Don't forget to enter your code COLOR2012 to get the intro box for a penny. There are other codes to only pay $5 and $10 but I used the penny one and it worked just fine.

You can get the gist of what's going on here on their site, or on their freakishly busy Facebook page, but here's basically what happens:

  • Take a quiz about your favorite things and Julep will magick up your perfect style profile (you don't have to buy the one they choose for you)
  • You pay $19.99 (or a penny if you use the code COLOR 2012, duh which one would you rather pay?) and they send you your intro box. This box at this point comes with your two colors and a fairly amazing pedi creme, or three polishes and no creme if you choose the It Girl style profile).
  • If you like it, every month afterward you will have a four day period, between the 20th and 24th of each month to decide if you want to skip that month's box, or if you'd like to choose another style profile.
  • If you continue past the intro box, you get billed your $19.99 for your first monthly on the 27th of the month, which is the day the box is sent out. 

Here are some interesting things to add:

  • Each month has a new theme, and there are several new polishes added to the line each month, so there's nearly always something new.
  • Recently they have been doing a thing where you can add on two (sometimes more) items to your box for $4.99 each (which is way cheaper than you pay at Sephora). 
  • You get a 20% discount on anything that's not "new" that month in the Maven Boutique. (In my opinion the price on these items is still pretty steep, though I did purchase Taylor at retail price so who's stupid now, lol).
  • Each month in addition to polish there is another product. Last month it was a lip gloss (which I really liked) and this month it is a tote bag and a polish remover in a pump.
  • They always send little extras which range from files, cuticle oil, creams, to free polish vouchers, to candy, so it's sort of fun to open each month. 
  • Each month tons of "Golden Boxes" get sent out randomly to subscribers and they include the polishes from every style profile box that month which is actually a pretty rad idea. 
  • The customer service is very fast, very nice and very effective. 

Overall, I really enjoy the service. I wanted to wait a couple months and see what I thought before I blogged about it at all. The boxes have arrived in a timely manner, they're always packed according to that month's theme with confetti and all kinds of crazy business. I like the price considering for $20 I get at least two polishes that retail for $14 a pop plus other random crap. I like that I can pick my own box, and add on something for a couple bucks more if there's another polish from another box I'd like. You can skip boxes if you don't like what they're offering that month, but they usually entice you into not skipping by offering weird/neat stuff. I have to be honest, their Facebook page is massively active and it almost scares me, this Julep-worship that goes on on the interwebz, but honestly it's not enough to make me shy away. I have liked the polishes I've gotten so far enormously; the formulas are pretty good, I like the brush, and the colors are really nice, but I don't really like the bottles. They look adorable all lined up, but they just seem like they're about to tip at any given time. 

I think it's worth a look, even just doing the intro box, and honestly if you get it for a penny, who the hell cares if you don't like it. At the very least, the pedi creme that comes in the intro box is worth $20, it's like CND Solar Oil and Cuticle Eraser had a baby. It makes my feet look like I just had a full pedi, and never has any lotion whatsoever ever made me say that. That creme is like $22 on the site, which is just crazy to me, but having gotten it in my intro pack was excellent. 

Now on to the swatches:

TAYLOR - This one reminded me of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, but it's slightly more purple and just a bit darker. It's awesome though, and my favorite Julep polish so far. The formula is nice and pigmented, and has great two-coat coverage. It dries to a rubbery matte finish though, so a topcoat is a must. 

DAPHNE - This one reminds me a bit of Essie Greenport and Misa Dirty Sexy Money and all those. it's a slightly dusty but squishy creamy teal. Hard to explain, but very pretty. The formula is more akin to the Misa one as opposed to Greenport because it's very pigmented. The way it looks in the bottle, I was afraid it'd be sheer, but it's a two-coater. Very nice. 

HAYDEN - This one was one of the two polishes in my intro box, Boho Chic. Hayden reminds me of China Glaze Peachy Keen, but it's a flawless pastel. No streaking at all. I was impressed. I was hoping it would be a little less yellow, but no big. It's so stark it's almost neon, so keep that in mind. It's not a wishy-washy peach. It's pretty bold. Two-coater. Use top coat though, because this is one of the ones that dries to a rubbery sort of finish. 

COURTENEY - also came in my intro box, this one I liked a lot. It reminded me a bit of Essie Navigate Her, but more bold or something. It's also a two-coater, and the lettucey-green was really fresh and nice. I like this one. 

KATE - I know this was probably named with, like, Kate Middleton in mind, but I always think of Kate Austen from LOST, don't ask me why.  Maybe it's Evangeline Lily's blinding white front Chiclet teeth. Or maybe it's just she's my favorite Kate. This is my second favorite Julep polish so far, just behind Taylor. I love white polish, and when I can find one with a good formula it's instantly in my favorites stash. This one is a perfect two-coater with no streaks, plus it's got a delicate pearly sheen to make it more interesting and less Wite-Out looking. I have used this one three times already and may end up making this a repeat purchase, it stands up to all the other white polishes I've used and loved, and there have been very few that actually cut it. 

MILA (shown here over Kate) - This was one of the glitters that were in the July Boxes. Mila has just a ton of colors in it, but the overall color you get is like a light gunmetal. It reminded my a bit of OPI Mad as a Hatter, but when I put them together MAAH has more pink. I never though of MAAH as being particularly pink, but there you go. It's a thicker formula glitter, Mila, but it dries fast and covers decently. It dries matte, and I mean matte, so topcoat is a must even if you're not after making the texture smooth as glass. 

AMERICA - This is literally the crappiest picture of a nail polish ever, and I make no excuses. America was a free polish added to July boxes, (Canadians got one called O Canada) and it's really pretty good. It's a clear base with a lot of small and medium red glitter, medium blue and silver glitter and every once in a while you get a silver star. Whee! I used three coats here, and it dries super, super matte, so a topcoat is a definite must-do. 

There is a referral link in this post.

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