A few months ago I heard about a new-ish brand of nail polish called Julep. I heard about it through a youtuber that I watch periodically, MissJenFabulous, who made a video about how awesome the quality and formula was and I was immediately intrigued. I’m always looking for amazing brands to try out, so when I heard that Julep was doing a new service I was even more intrigued. Julep started a service that is basically birchbox for nails and hands! I never subscribed to the monthly subscription services because I didn’t feel as if small samples were worth my money and there were too many mixed reviews from bloggers and youtubers. This service on the other hand seemed like it might be worth checking out.
The Julep Maven program is a monthly subscription service where they automatically charge your credit card every month and send you nail polish and nail treatments in the mail. This is extremely similar to the other monthly beauty subscriptions, such as birchbox or eco emi, but the difference in this service is that you can see what you’re going to get before they send it and you also have options if you don’t like what you’ll receive. You first go to Julep.com and take a style quiz, where you answer a series of questions like which of these 5 shoes is your style and what nail polish color are you most likely to wear. They also ask you about your nail type and skin type, since they send you treatments as well as colors. You can fall into 1 of 5 categories: Classic with a Twist, Bombshell, Boho Glam, American Beauty or “It” Girl. All of these categories are supposed to reflect your personality and your style, and I fell into “It” Girl the first time I took it. I ended up taking the quiz 4 times and got Boho Glam, American Beauty and “It” Girl and ended up going for the one that had colors that I felt I would wear the most.
As you can see, I got 2 nail polish colors, a treatment and a hand scrub. The service is $19.99 per month and they automatically change your credit card on the 28th of every month. The first month, there was a 50% off code (WELCOME50), so this box only cost $9.99. One huge plus for this program is that once you become a Maven you automatically get 20% off every purchase and free shipping boxes and any additional purchases. They send you an email about 10 days before they charge your credit card and let you know exactly what you are going to be getting in your upcoming box, complete with pictures. You have 4 options at this point: You can either do nothing and receive the box pictured in your email and your credit card will be automatically charged, if you don’t like the box you can skip the month and you won’t be charged, if you like the box but don’t wish to receive it you can send it to any one of your friends, or if you don’t like the box you can request 1 of the 4 other boxes (from the 4 other style categories). I love this aspect of the service! I like to know exactly what I’m getting and I love that I have options if I’m not overly thrilled about the colors.
I have to say that I was also very impressed with shipping and customer service. I ordered my box on a Wednesday night around midnight and I received my shipping confirmation the very next day. The box came in on a monday, which means that shipping was about 3 days! Very impressed, especially since shipping is free! Now onto the contents:
The box was a plain black box with a plain black bag that was tied with a pink ribbon inside. And inside the bag were these goodies and a note from the company. Another thing that really impressed me was the fact that my name and the signature on the bottom of the letter were both hand signed. Although the note itself wasn’t all handwritten, the extra time it took to write my name and sign the letter was very nice touch and really speaks about the customer service of this company. So I got 2 nail polishes, a treatment, a full size hand scrub and a sample of their lotion and another sample of the hand scrub.
I tried everything in the box for the sake of this review and I must say, the scrub I am very happy with. It isn’t as gentle as I thought it would be and I’m happy about that. Based on the packaging I assumed that it would be more creamy with small beads to exfoliate, but it was gritty and thick and definitely scrubbed the heck out of my hands. It has a slight citrus smell which I liked and overall am very happy with it. It made my hands feel very soft and ready for the lotion. This lotion on the other hand, was a major disappointment and I really hope that I don’t end up getting it in a box in the future. The lotion is described as a hand cream with SPF in it, but I feel like it’s the opposite … a sunscreen with some moisturizing properties. It was so watery that I had a hard time rubbing it all in and when I finally did, it seemed like I had no lotion on at all. I don’t like watery lotions, especially ones that don’t leave my hands feeling moisturized. And then there was the smell. Since it has an SPF of 30 it smelled like pure sunscreen, and not the tropical type of sunscreen. I used this hours ago and the sunscreen smell is still extremely prevalent. If I do end up getting a bottle of this, I’ll save it for next summer or some tropical vacation but as an everyday use, but it is nothing special and I wouldn’t pay for it.
And then to the colors and the treatment. When I first opened the box I was convinced that the third bottle was actually a cuticle oil. I was excited to try out a new cuticle oil and luckily I decided to take off the sticker that was over top the directions. The only thing the bottle said was “Nail Treatment” and there was a huge bar code sticker over top of the directions. After peeling that off, the directions informed me that it was a treatment that can be used as a basecoat and it is for strength and flexibility. I’m a little confused there … Aren’t strength and flexibility sort of opposite when it comes to nails? I have flexible nails because I have thin nails and they can be bent easily, but I always thought that was a bad thing and that I wanted strong nails that wouldn’t bend. I’m confused on that one but I tried it out anyways. It was a typical basecoat that wasn’t sticky and dried pretty fast. The only thing to report, and you will see from the pictures, is that it doesn’t do anything to help with the ridges in my nails.
Now onto the colors: “Emilie” is a medium toned green creme shade and “Sienna” is a pale gold metallic. Although I’m not a huge fan of gold, I picked this style profile because I really wanted to try out the green. I loved Emilie but Sienna, well, if I add some glitter I’ll probably end up liking it.
Brush and Bottle: The bottle is a tall, skinny glass bottle that is completely different from any other bottle I own. But I have HUGE issues with this bottle. The amount of product you get is so miniscule I’m kind of upset. No, not kind of, I’m really upset. You get .27 fl oz of nail polish in these tall skinny bottles that normally retail for $14. Lets compare that to other brands: Orly is .6 fl oz for $6-$8 (depending where and when you buy), OPI is .5 fl oz for $8.50, China Glaze is .5 for $6 and my favorite nail polish brand of all time is Butter London, which retails for the same price as Julep but is .4 fl oz. So for almost twice the price as OPI you get half as much. Sound fair?? Not at all. This is way over priced for practically no product. So that is a huge negative for Julep right now. The brush, its long and skinny and fans out across the nail. It isn’t my favorite brush but it is alright. The square top does make it harder to maneuver but I’m getting picky right now. The other downside of this bottle and this brush, because they are both tall and skinny they are also easier to tip over than regular bottles. So, word to the wise, be careful when dipping the brush in to grab more polish.
Formula and Application: Here is where I need to give a glowing review. These polishes have one of the best formula’s I’ve ever used! Both of the pictures swatched are 1 coat! These are one coat polishes for sure!! Sienna could have done with 2 if you want it to be perfect, but if you are careful enough on the first coat you don’t need to waste this over priced polish to do a second. I’ve never ever used a polish so opaque, and that includes Sally Hansen InstaDri which is supposed to be opaque in one coat and super fast drying. These beat InstaDri hands down! By the time I was done with my second hand, my first hand was 100% dry. Both of the above pictures were taken without a top coat and with just 1 coat. The application was so smooth and these are so easy to work with. The only thing I can pick out to complain about was the fact that they showed the imperfections in my nails. I blame that more on the base coat than the polish but the polish still shows the ridges and the imperfections on the tips of some of my nails. But overall, these polishes are amazing quality!
Removal: I wanted to put in this little section because I was also impressed when I went to take the polish off. The only time I use acetone is for glitter polishes so I’m not spending forever to get the polish off. Every other time I use a non-acetone remover and generally that takes a few minutes longer to remove any polish. I used a non-acetone remover for these and my normal 3 minute process took me about 30 seconds! No joke, it was one or two swipes of the cotton ball to fully remove this polish. So not only did it go on smooth, but it came off smooth as well.
Overall, the jury is still out. So I listed my pro’s and con’s …
– amazing quality polish, opaque in 1 coat and fast drying
– impressive customer service and shipping
– I love the options they give you and the fact that you can see what you’re getting before you’re obligated to purchase
– way too overpriced! You are getting half the amount of normal nail polish for twice the cost. Even the box itself is $19.99 a month which feels very expensive for 2 polishes and a treatment
– there isn’t a large color range to choose from and they don’t have really innovative colors
– the bottle shape and brush handle isn’t idle for applying the product.
Did anyone else try out the Julep Maven Program? If so I would really appreciate some opinions! I am going to try this out for a few more months but as of right now I’m leaning towards cancelling. As of right now, the cons are outweighing the pros but who knows, I could love next months box so much that I’ll be singing a completely different tune. But what do ya’ll think? Is it worth the $20 or is it overpriced? Does the quality of the polish outweigh the small amount?