julep maven

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!

Lingerie for Your Nails – Julep’s Boudoir Collection

If you’re a Julep Maven, you’ve likely received your January box by now.  This month Julep presented us with their Boudoir Collection.  They chose to take familiar neutral tones and put a spin on them with silk and satin finishes. They also have some lovely cremes, as well.  I got the Classic With a Twist (CWAT) box and I added on a couple of polishes. With this box, you get two polishes and a product. This month the featured product was the Ta-Da! Quick Dry Drops. I didn’t know I needed them until I had them.

January 2014 CWAT Maven Box

The first polish included with the box was Abigail.  It’s a lovely pink leaning shimmery nude that dries to Julep’s silk finish, which is essentially a matte frost.  If you’re careful, it is opaque in one coat, but I used two for good measure.  You’ll want to skip a top coat so that the silk finish comes through.  It really does remind me of a silk nighty. The formula is very nice but do be careful because, like any frost, it can show brush strokes.

Julep Abigail 1

Julep Abigail from the Boudoir Collection

Julep Abigail 2

The second polish that came in the CWAT box was Mona – a deep charcoal creme. It’s a nice formula and is opaque in two thin coats.  It had an outrageous shine when topped with Digital Flash top coat from Nail Pattern Boldness.

Mona from the Julep Boudoir Collection

Mona from the Julep Boudoir Collection

Julep Mona 2

As a Julep Maven, you get to add on other colors from the collection at super reduced prices so I chose to add on two other polishes.  First I’ll show you Hope.  Hope is a bright white satin finish polish.  It goes on a little streaky so you’ll need to do two coats on this one.  Honestly, more than one person said it looked like a professional white out job.  I felt like it was too stark at first, but it really grew on me.

Hope from the Julep Boudoir Collection

Hope from the Julep Boudoir Collection

Julep Hope 2

Finally, we have Farrah.  A gray leaning lavender frost, this was probably my favorite of the bunch.  The formula is smooth and opaque in two coats.  You do have to be a little wary of brush strokes but it’s not difficult to manage smooth lines.

Farrah 2

Farrah from the Julep Boudoir Collection

Farrah from the Julep Boudoir Collection

The Ta-Da! Quick Dry Drops were nice to have with the satin and silk finishes.  Since you can’t use a top coat, it does help to speed up the drying time a bit. And I really like the lemongrass-y scent to it.

Overall, I was pleased with this collection.  All colors from the boudoir collection are available now on Julep’s website.