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.



Ipsy Glambag Reveal: July

I’m new to the whole makeup subscription thing. Yes, I’m late to the party, and I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to get it started. Let’s just say I’m doing it now, and so far, things have been good. My fist subscription is Ipsy. I had a Facebook friend post a referral link, so I went to check it out. Premium makeup samples for $10 a month (plus shipping)? Sign me up!

There are two ways you can get a subscription: one is to stick in out on the waiting list for a few weeks/months/who knows how long, and then you get an invitation to join up. The other is a little gimmicky, but for me it was well worth it in order to skip the wait. I had to share a referral link on Facebook, like their Facebook page, and subscribe to a YouTube channel. It was simple, and easy to unsubscribe if I found the updates to be too onerous.

Billing happens on the first of the month for each new bag you get, and that’s also when previews of what might show up in your bag start going out. Shipping starts in the middle of the month, but I didn’t get my July bag until it was almost August. Apparently, according to some long time subscribers that I talked to, this isn’t a common thing, but I was really frustrated. I had my tracking number, but my bag got stuck in North Carolina for weeks. E-mailing ipsyCare didn’t really do anything to help me out, either. I did get my bag, and that all the products arrived intact, so that’s the important thing. I will have an issue if shipping is still all over the place this month.

I would call the bags semi-custom; you take a little quiz when you first sign up, and that’s supposed to be used, in combination with feedback that you give on subsequent products, to put together your bags. I don’t know how well the quiz is actually used though, because my bag was a little all over the place. I did go in to review my products from this month, so we will see if I get any more duds in upcoming bags as things go on.

When my bag finally did arrive in the mail, I was very pleased to see the metallic pink bubble mailer. How pretty is that? I know it

Pink! Shiny!

Pink! Shiny!

doesn’t really matter what things are packaged in, but pretty packaging makes me happy. What would you rather have: yellow paper or metallic pink? I’ll take the fun mailer every time, because more zazz is a good thing.

The actual product comes in a new mini makeup bag each month, and for July it was a square neon bag with a scalloped edge. It might be a little on the bright side for some people, but I really love it. I was pleasantly surprised with how much it holds. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with a new bag each month. It will depend on the theme and size of the bag as to whether I use them for storage/organization or regifting. We will see how it goes.

The Bag and The Goodies!

The Bag and The Goodies!

My bag contained:

~Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 8

I was not excited to get tanning oil. I’m a lighter shade of see-through. I don’t tan, I burn. I shouldn’t be out in the sun with anything less than SPF 60; even if I could tan, I am fully aware of how terrible tanning is for your skin and your health. In short, don’t do it. I did, however, take a look at the ingredients. This stuff is chock full of hair healthy oils, so I thought I would give it a try as a hair oil. While it did make my hair ultra-soft, I was a little heavy handed with it, and my locks ended up a touch greasy. I think I forgot the fact that it was, foremost, a sunscreen. I’m going to try it again, but I won’t be spraying it directly on my hair. I’m going to spray it on my hand first and then rub in on just my ends, and then only sparingly.

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil

Not for the fair of skin… or for anyone who wants healthy skin, period.

~POP Beauty Sunkissed Bronzer in Secret Sunshine

The bronzer was a nice surprise, and a great size for a sample bag. Not only is it not too dark for my skin, it’s very soft and easy to blend. It has a subtle shimmer, so I can get a sun kissed look without coming over all sparkly. I don’t use a bronzer every day, but my go-to has been Tarte Amazonian Clay Mineral Bronzer, which is a little bit darker; this will be a nice alternative for days that I want a bit of bronze, but don’t want anything too dramatic. It doesn’t have a harsh smell, and it didn’t irritate my skin, so two thumbs up on that count.

Pop Beauty Bronzer

Soft, subtle bronzer for the pale girls out there.

~wHet Nail Colour in Facetious

Facetious: The perfect polish name for me!

Facetious: The perfect polish name for me!

Until a few days ago, I don’t remember the last time I painted my finger nails. I usually just do my toes, and I like bright colours so they really stand out. The wHet polish already fit the bill on that count, and they have the added benefit of being cruelty free, and free from formaldehyde and other harsh chemicals. It doesn’t even smell terrible! I did find it a tad watery on application, but I only needed my standard three coats to get decent coverage. It claims to be 7-day chip proof, but I still gave it a finishing coat of Formula X to get a really glassy shine. The results, although a tad messy due to my need to rush with a 6-month-old baby in the house, are nice.

Facetious toes: Three coats of colour and one coat of Formula X top coat.

Facetious toes: Three coats of colour and one coat of Formula X top coat.

~Elizabeth Mott Tints & Sass in Cherry

I would love to use stain on my lips more often. They give a really natural flush to lips, but without a ton of prep-work, my lips just don’t like them. Don’t get me wrong, the Tints and Sass has a great colour. It’s easy to blend, lasted fairly well, and smells/tastes great. My lips just like to absorb all the colour right into the cracks and hold it there, so this is going to be purely used for my cheeks. On my cheeks, it was heavenly. A few dabs blended with my fingertips gave me a gorgeous rosy glow that lasted all day and didn’t make me break out, with is the main concern I have when using cream/gel/liquid cheek colour. Benetint used to be my favourite, but this is a strong contender. Oh, and it doesn’t just smell good, it smells like candy! Yum!

Candy scented colour that is easy to blend.

Candy scented colour that is easy to blend.

~bareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 2.o in The Inspiration (Muse, Passion)

I haven’t been wearing eye shadow a whole lot recently, but getting this tiny duo got me out of that funk. The colours are smooth, soft, easy to blend, perfectly paired… the list goes on. The work just as well separately as they do together, which is something I always look for when I’m purchasing eye shadows in a set. Versatility is a big thing for me. The colours worked well in my look for every day. I tend to be a bit on the vintage side, and both the soft pink and wine with gold shimmer work well for that. I liked that the little package had two application suggestions, one for day and one for night. This like this are so easy to incorporate into product packaging, and I think they make makeup newbies a little more likely to try something out of their comfort zone.

Pretty shadows in a micro-compact.

Pretty shadows in a micro-compact.

Overall, I was pleased with my bag. The tanning oil was a big miss, but I’ve used all the other products more than once. I just checked my statement for this month, and I still haven’t been billed for my August bag. I’m hoping that there are going to be no more snafus. I’m going to give them a few days and then e-mail ipsyCare if nothing happens. The previews for this month, centering on a “back to school” theme, look good.

And now, for the face I created using the bag!

July Ipsy Face

Sorry about the glare on my specs…

As you can see, the stain got wedged into the dry spots in my lips. Before you say anything, I did use a scrub and a balm first. The bronzer was just the right shade for my skin, and I was actually please with how well everything in my bag worked together. With the exception of the tanning oil, it was fairly cohesive. Was it worth the $16 or so that I paid for the bag and the shipping? Absolutely.

I also subscribed to Topbox, and will be getting my first box this month, so look for a review when that gets here. I also got a free Maven box from Julep, so I’ll be reviewing that in the next few days, along with some sweet deals I picked up at Superstore. Joe Fresh Makeup doesn’t suck! Who knew?


Featured in the above look:

~Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer

~Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

~Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation in Fair (now called Fair Sand)

~Make Up Forever Super Matte Loose Powder

~Nyx Blush in Pinched

~L’Oreal Miss Manga Mascara in Blackest Black

Click the links above to check out or purchase any of the products for yourself!