Friday, June 22, 2012

Nail Polish Subscription Service: Julep Maven

The popularity of beauty subscription services is growing and it was only a matter of time before the nail polish companies joined in on the fun. Enter Julep. This nail polish subscription service has been around for a while. I'm not sure how long, and a quick Google search didn't really yield the answer. But suffice to say, there have been quite a few YouTube videos out about this service for months. I've seen posts up from back in December, and I wouldn't be surprise if there were more from earlier.

I was on a bit of a beauty break back then, what with a wedding to plan and a then fiancé on the job hunt. I was trying to use up my makeup and beauty products, not acquire more. I was only mildly successful in that endeavor, and mostly because the wedding plans kept me too busy to do anything else, including blog and film videos (which tend to fuel my consumption).

Regardless, I finally bit the bullet. I'd skipped out on the ever-popular beauty subscription craze because I'm not keen on paying for samples, even if they are deluxe samples. To me, they are samples all the same. But Julep Maven* caught my eye because you get full-sized polishes. And, I just love nail polish. Then I was sold when I found the coupon code to get your first Maven box for just one penny (Code: COLOR2012).

Yes, that's how they get you. But, the beauty of this is you can always skip a month if you don't want to fork over the cash. The down side, you MUST remember to sign in to your account and do that between the 24 and 27 of each month. If you decide to participate in this monthly service, I'd recommend setting a reminder on your phone. Otherwise, you get charged the money and they automatically send out the box.

Here's why you want to remember to sign in every month:

  1. If you don't want to spend the money, you have to skip (that one's obvious)
  2. If you don't care about the money, you should at least go in every month during the skip period to make sure the box you're getting is the one you want. You see, Julep lets you alternate between beauty profiles from month to month. So, if you are a Boho Maven (like me), but you liked the colors in the It Girl profile (like me), then you can always just choose that profile for the month and have that box sent to you. I really like that feature.
  3. You can choose to gift your Maven box to a friend. So if you have a polish addict in your life and its their b-day, you can pick a Maven box and have it sent to them instead of you that month. (How generous of you)
By the way, you can cancel at any time. You just have to call their toll-free number to do so. No electronic canceling. They say for security reasons. Also, you can get your one penny box, and call and cancel if you don't want to pay.

Alright, enough with all the explaining, lets get to the good stuff. What did I get, how does it look, and what do I think?

I selected the It Girl box, not because I didn't like the Boho Glam colors, but because I only wanted polishes and the Boho Glam had two polishes and a foot cream. I wanted three polishes. I was being choosy with my penny. 

The box shipped out and arrived at my house within the week (and in less than seven days). Here's what was in it:

Contents: Three polishes (Sasha, Lily, Daisy), toe separators, and a post card describing each color. It's nicely packaged  and the polishes come wrapped in bubble wrap (but that doesn't make for a clear photo). 
Update: I used the toe separators and they were super flimsy. They didn't make it through one use without becoming totally warped. If you follow me on Instagram (girlythingsby_e) then you saw the pic of the poor toe separators (that's a hint to follow me!!). I tend to walk around the house with them on until my nails dry. Apparently, that killed them.

I immediately painted my nails to get some swatches. As I type, each one of my hands has different color polish on it. I may start a new trend. Haha! 

Daisy is described as a bright lemon yellow creme. 

Daisy is bright and pretty, but I think that yellow just doesn't really go with my skin tone. I like it better than my Mello Yellow from Sally Hansen, which is more of a bright pastel. I think the darker yellow works better on me. But this may have to be a toe polish for me. If you can wear yellow easily, this shade will really pop.

Sasha is described as a fresh cantaloupe melon creme. 

Sasha is, hands-down, my favorite color in this box. It's a creamy coral and I'm just in love with coral this season (and fuchsia too). I love how it's bright without being overbearing. It's refreshing like a cantaloupe and reminds me of a Florida sunset (if we dialed up the colors and made it brighter).

Lily is described as a sizzling fuchsia creme.
My other favorite color this season: fuchsia. I really hit the jackpot. My two favorite colors in one box. Color me happy. Lily is just as it's described, and it's fuchsia, so I love it. There's just no way I can put on this color and not feel immediately happy. It just has that effect. Plus, I really love a straight creme fuchsia polish. I think the color is vibrant and fun, it doesn't really need any embellishment. No glitter or shimmer needed.

Now that you've seen the swatches, here's the skinny on the polish quality, packaging, and service:

  • The creme polishes aren't as opaque as other brands (think OPI, Zoya, China Glaze). But, with only two coats you get good color payoff. All of the swatches above are two coats of polish. The first coat looked a little runny and streaky, but the second coat fixed it all up.
  • They apply easily and last pretty much as well as the brands listed above. 
  • They come with .27 oz of product. This doesn't seem like much to me. Not complaining for a penny, but for the regular price of each polish ($14.99) it seems a bit steep. Keep in mind, a regular polish, let's take Essie for example, has 0.5 oz in it. That's nearly twice as much for about half the price.
  • I think the bottle is cute, but I'm terrified I'm going to spill it when doing my nails. Since the bottle is narrow and tall, I feel like it doesn't have a great base to keep it standing if, say, I hit the edge of the polish while trying to re-dip the brush. I find myself wanting to hold the bottle. It's not like its a big bottle, if it spills, I feel like I'd lose nearly all of the polish. Perhaps an irrational fear, but a fear nonetheless. The bottle does stand on its own by the way. Just seems like it would be easier to topple over than the polish bottles I'm used to.
  • The value is pretty good. For $20 you get two to three polishes a month (I think three is better). Since these retail for $15 each, that's not bad. I may be skipping months, since I don't spend that much on polish monthly, but I'd definitely keep getting a few.
  • The customer services is phenomenal. I can't say enough about it. My Lily polish came with a frayed brush. I emailed the company, and they responded to me and sent out a replacement brush on the same day. That's commendable and impressive. 
  • The return policy seems odd. You can only returned unopened, resellable items, and you must return all items in the Maven box. But what if you don't know that you don't like the polish until you tried it? Now it's open.
Other benefits:
  • You can get 20% off of polishes you buy from the Maven boutique (did your friend love your polish and want the same one? Did you want a color from another box too?). 
  • Sometimes they send you codes for a free extra polish in your Maven box. I got an email that the July box will have a card in it that you can redeem for a free nail polish. 
  • You can refer friends and earn free Maven boxes.

So what do you think about a monthly nail polish subscription? Would you try it out? If you would, you can join by clicking this link: Julep Maven*. Don't forget your code to get your first Maven box for one penny (COLOR2012).

I'd love to hear about your experience and the colors you chose for yourself!

*This is my personal Julep Maven link. Using this link to join the program earns me credits, which I can eventually redeem for free polish. This is not something that is reserved solely for me or other bloggers. Anyone who joins Julep Maven gets their own personal link they can share with others to earn credits too. 

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