Product Review

Dear Julep – It’s you, not me.

I am breaking up with Julep.

This was a long time coming and the reasons are many and varied. I’m sure many of you out there have had some of the same issues and experiences. My latest experience is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I ordered a Jewel Heist Mystery Box to check out the mystery box thing and with the hope of winning the birthstone collection which has, admittedly, been a really nice collection. My box arrived yesterday and, while I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, thought it was a pretty decent box. They are supposed to be valued at over $100 but, that’s only if you take everything at its original full price.

My box contained the following items:

Luxe Repair Skin Serum – $28.00 ($22.80 Maven)
Blank Canvas Plumping Lip Primer – $22.00 ($17.60 Maven)
Zoe – $14.00 (on sale for $4.99 but now out of stock)
Valerie – $14.00 ($11.20 Maven)
Sunny – $14.00 ($11.20 Maven)
Fiore – $14.00 ($11.20 Maven)
A neon green hair tie that I’m going to value at $1.00 since I can make these for  less than that.

Total at full price: $107    Total at Maven/Sale Price: $79.99

First things first – I won’t be swatching any of these colors because I won’t be swatching Julep at all anymore.  (I know, I know – what have I been swatching lately, anyway?  Don’t worry!  I haz posts set up!)

Now – on to my complaints. Upon first sight, I immediately noticed that Zoe wasn’t packed in a traditional Julep polish box.  It was shrink wrapped and to me that says “We’re sending you some seriously old, returned product that we decided to make money off of instead of donating it to a women’s program.” Another complaint about Zoe is the fact that they have a swatch on the site that looks NOTHING like the polish. The site described it as “smoky burnt umber metallic.” Yeah, no. It was described best in a review of the polish on the site as “fiery orange copper color with a faint gold shimmer.” And the swatch on the site is DEFINITELY not the color I got. They’re valuing it at full price even though they hucked ’em in the Mystery Box old, unboxed, and thereby ridding themselves of the clearance priced stock. As for the other polishes – I really have no complaints. Valerie and Fiore are lovely. Unfortunately, Sunny was a dupe for me since I’d order the entire Vivid Collection earlier this year, but that’s not really Julep’s fault. I figured that was a risk I was taking.

Ugh. The Luxe Repair Skin Serum (LRSS). I was SO excited to try this.  I pulled it out this morning to give it a try.  I put on my Shiseido Ultimune Serum Booster that I received in my Birchbox this month, let that set and then put a couple of pumps of the LRSS in my hand, added a couple of drops of Paula’s Choice Super C15 and applied it. The moment it hit my face I was overwhelmed with the smell of rancid oil.  That unmistakable, icky smell that no one wants to smell emanating from ANY product, let alone a skin care product.  It was FOUL.  I had to wash my hands and face immediately and just GET. IT. OFF. That’s going in the trash. *grumblegrumble made me waste an application of two perfectly good, high quality products grumblegrumble*  Same experience with the Lip Primer.  After clicking the dumb button on the tube a million times (approximately) the product FINALLY erupted from the tip with the same horrible, rancid stench that the serum had.

I spoke with customer service and they agreed to send new products out and said that, yes, they DO pull the stock for the Mystery Boxes from much older stock and I asked her to confirm that I would not be receiving old stock.  I think it’s pretty disgusting to knowingly send out skin and lip care products that could be rancid.

Are you ready, because I’m about to make Deborah Lippmann polishes seem like a deal and who doesn’t want an excuse to buy new Deborah Lippmann polishes?   The other little things that have piled up are things like them charging $14 for 8mL bottles. Standard polish bottles are 15mL. You can get 5-free (free of dibutyl pthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor), vegan polishes from Deborah Lippmann for $20/15mL bottle.  Julep is $1.75/mL ($1.40/mL at Maven prices) and Deborah Lippmann is $1.33/mL. How do you like that?

We’ll go with an indie polish comparison now – Black Sheep Lacquer is vegan, Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free, and 5-free. Her 14mL bottles will only run you $10-12 dollars, dependent upon the finish (multichromes are a touch more expensive). She also does a subscription service for $16 for US subscribers, $20 for Canadian subscribers, and $22 for international subscribers. You receive 2 full size bottles and a mini and she does super cool thermals, glitters, and holos. And I dare not forget to mention Zoya which has a HUGE selection, fun finishes and is 5-free, vegan, and cruelty free. All of these companies have much better, more consistent formulas with a bottle and brush design that doesn’t create the inevitable giant drop of polish that slides down the brush as you’re in mid-stroke.

So, there it is — my (very) long-winded explanation as to why I’m leaving Julep.  What is your experience with Julep and how are you feeling about them now?


 

*The Birchbox link is my referral link if you’re interested in trying them out! I was not reimbursed by any of the polishes mentioned above.  These are just examples and some of my favorite polishes.  If you decide to try out some of the Black Sheep Polishes, be sure to tell her you saw it on nailtipsy!
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Favorite Nail Product of 2013: Nail Pattern Boldness – Glitter A-Peel

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Yeah, yeah.  I tweeted that I would have this up yesterday. Unfortunately, the hangover was strong with this one.  I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve! The ceramic flying pig we found in our car that I took from my friend’s bar (Sorry, Khon! I promise you’ll get it tomorrow!) with absolutely no recollection of taking it was a very good indicator of the level of silly we got up to.

On to the good stuff!

I’m just going to say it.  I am madly in love with all three items in that picture but my favorite item of the year is, without a doubt, Glitter A-Peel from Nail Pattern Boldness.  Gone are the days of soaking cotton balls in acetone/nail polish remover and then wrapping it up in tin foil around each nail. This is a Holy Grail product for me.

DSC01838I started off with two coats of Glitter A-Peel on clean nails.  I made sure to let the Glitter A-Peel dry between each coat  and before I applied the polish.  I used China Glaze’s For Audrey on all but my index fingers where I used OPI’s My Boyfriend Scales Walls.

Then came two coats of Nail Pattern Boldness’ The Girl With The Most Cake, which is also probably my favorite glitter polish that I bought this year.  I get hypnotized looking at the bottle.

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It is jam packed with light pink (two sizes), bright turquoise, and purple square matte glitters as well as pink, purple, and turquoise microglitters.  I swatched it on a color wheel with about 10 different colors and it goes with just about everything.  It’s on sale for $6 right now so I’d HIGHLY recommend picking up a bottle.

I finished it all off with two coats of NPB’s spectacular Digital Flash Top Coat.

I did a quick video so you all could see just how easy the Glitter A-Peel makes glitter polish removal. This is a must have for your arsenal!

Product Review: Kiss Salon Secrets 2014 Nail Art Starter Kit

Did you all survive the holiday hullaballoo?  In the midst of all the goings on, I received a sample of the soon to be released Nail Art Starter Kit from Kiss.  They were gracious enough to honor my request for a sample for me to review on this blog.  Receipt of a sample for review does not ensure a positive review and all opinions are my own.  I’ll always let you know when I’ve received a sample directly from a company or individual for review and I will always give you my honest opinion.

Tonight’s post is brought to you by Abita Grapefruit Harvest IPA.  It’s alright.  I’ve had worse, but mostly I’ve had better.

Shall we get to the actual nail stuff now?  Yah.  I thought so.  Behold the packaging!

Kiss Packaging

Kiss Packaging Back

As you can see this comes with a decent selection of tools for beginners to nail art.  The dotting tool it comes with it has no ball on the tip so it’s really better for using to swirl for a dry marble look like this:

Dry Marble

I did this by applying a large drop of Julep’s Billie Jean, Essie Lilacism, and China Glaze Dance Baby to my pinky and using the dotting tool to swirl them.

The glitters it comes with are actually nice and fun to work with.  Here are a few examples of ways to use the glitters. This is OPI Affair in Red Square with the zebra decals and red glitter included in the kit.

Kiss Red Glitter and Stripes

I really loved the green glitter over OPI Fly.  As you can see tip wear came pretty quickly.  This is after about half a day of wear.   I still love the glitter.

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Fly and Green Glitter

This was a fun little go with stars and the iridescent glitters in pink, white, and purple.

Stars and irridescent

As for the striping tape, it’s okay for making lines by peeling it up after layering another color.  For creating designs with the actual tape?  Not so much.  The edges peeled up within a couple of hours and looked AWFUL.  I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture.  But what you WILL see in the picture below is a nail only half manicured because the area with the striping tape design actually popped off.  Not so awesome. I share the shame of my half unpolished nail with you, dear readers.  I’m not a total newb when it comes to striping tape so I did find this tape pretty disappointing because the cute pink holo color looked great with the Zoya Mason.  The addition of the decal included in the kit does make it look almost like a tiara mani.  Maybe I just invented something?!  Probably not.  /kicks dirt

Kiss Right Hand

The fan brush that comes with the kit was fun to play with.  I’d never experimented with one and quite liked the result on my thumb in the picture below. I used a side sweep motion with Julep Mia, Sparitual Running with Wolves, and Color Club Poetic Hues. The striping brush is slightly better than I’d anticipated it being. I used it for the design in the picture below using Orly Luxe and OPI Fly with crystal accents that are also included in the kit.

Kiss left hand

Finally, the total girly, Barbie nail.  China Glaze Dance Baby with flower accents and butterfly decals from the kit.

Kiss Barbie Nail

Overall I think this a fun little kit if just for the brushes and glitters alone.  The top coat is really nothing to write home about.  It doesn’t provide any real shine or protection from wear. If you’re just venturing into nail art this could be a nice way to ease into it.  The flat brush it comes with for glitter application could also be used for doing edge clean up on a manicure. The fan brush is a nice little plus in the kit. For those out there looking to get a collection foundation going, this isn’t a bad way to start.

The Kiss Salon Secrets 2014 Nail Art Starter kit will retail for $9.99 in CVS and Walgreens nationwide beginning January/February 2014.