The Meh about Julep Maven

In my recent foray into the world of beauty subscription boxes, I managed to snag a Julep Maven box for free. This wasn’t a difficult feat, as they often have freebie codes on their website to entice newbies to give them a try. Click the link above, enter your e-mail address and Bam! Free box. This isn’t one of the boxes that initially attracted my attention for a few reasons:

The first would be that it’s mostly nail polish. While I love a good polish, I already have more than I need. It would have to be a truly spectacular polish to keep me coming back for more every month, and I’m talking super quality, not just pretty colours. I always have my toes painted, but I just don’t have the patience or the skills to keep my fingers done all the time. Plus, Finn sticks my fingers in his mouth on a regular basis, and I really don’t want him eating nail polish if it can be avoided.

Secondly, the price seemed a little high to me. At $24.95 USD per box, plus a small shipping fee, you get three items a month. Granted, you do have the ability to swap items in your box for stuff that you really want, and there are also add-on options (for an additional fee), but that’s still one of the priciest boxes I’ve seen. I know, I know… Julep polishes run $14 USD each if you’re not a Maven member, so the box price is quite a steal. But added up every month? I wasn’t sure it would be worth it.

I couldn’t pass up the free box, though, so I forked over my shipping fee and eagerly awaited my package in the mail. I chose a box with two nail colours and a fancy top coat, and I was stoked to see what the brand could offer me.

Maven Box 1The dark, almost Barney-ish purple is called “Bette” and the coral, which has a lovely shimmer to it, is called “Laree”. This was my favourite of the two. I was stoked to learn that the formulas are formaldehyde free. The last free polish I tried, by wHet, had minimal odor and a nice long wear, so this gave me hope that the Julep polishes would perform the same way.

I was also really excited to try the top coat. It claimed to set like a gel, giving an ultra long lasting finish, drying in just five minutes, and lasting even longer if cured for two minutes under a 60 watt bulb. If I’m going to paint my fingers, I need something that’s going to stand up to hard use, so this was looking like a great at-home solution. My hopes were high and my fingers were crossed.

I started with the coral. The first coat applied smoothly and with a lot of pigment, but it seemed to take a long time to dry. This may have been why the second coat seemed to go on really… gloopy? Is that the word I’m looking for? Sure, the day I applied it was hot and humid, but I don’t think that should have made a difference. I did do the second coat outside, though, because this colour smelled terrible! For something that is supposed to be low on chemicals, it reeked. If I breathed the fumes too directly, I ended up coughing, and that is not a good thing.

In spite of these minor set backs, I was happy with the results. I used three coats of colour and one of the top coat:

Sorry about the crap picture; this is the only one I took with the finished nails in it. For shame.

Sorry about the crap picture; this is the only one I took with the finished nails in it. For shame.

The top coat dried quickly to the touch on most of my fingers. The middle finger on my right hand got a little damaged, but I probably hadn’t let the colour on that finger set all the way before applying the last layer. That was my own fault. The colour itself made me insanely happy. It’s gorgeous and bright. I just wish it had lasted longer.

I did my nails on a Sunday, and by the following Wednesday they were already starting to chip and peel. This is not what I was expecting from such a high end brand, particularly when I used their “gel” top coat. I wasn’t hard on my hands. I didn’t abuse them or so anything crazy like pull Lego apart. I just went about my every day stuff, and it didn’t hold up.

What a let down.

The other colour wasn’t much better. Where the coral applied really well, the purple went on runny and uneven on both my fingers and toes. I made sure to use a base coat, but I just couldn’t get a nail to come out evenly. This colour didn’t have such a harsh smell, but it took forever to dry. I only applied one coat every ten hours or so, and I was still getting nicks and dents in the finish. The fifth, and last, coat was left to dry for over two hours before I went to bed and it was nearly destroyed when I got up. I felt like I needed drying drops for this colour, and I really shouldn’t need them. Take a look at the result of base coat, five coats of colour, and a top coat:

Julep Bette (2)You can see how uneven it is. With five coats, I should have a glorious, lush colour. Instead, I got a watery, streaky, mess. I didn’t even bother to clean up any polish I got outside my nails, because at the first chip this colour is coming off. My toes look no better.

I don’t think I need to say it, but I will not be keeping my Maven subscription. In my opinion, the quality is just not there. I love some of their colours and tools; shipping was fast and efficient; it’s the product that’s not living up to my standards. If I feel like trying them again in the future, I’ll pick up a colour or two at Sephora.