Before I begin reviewing February's box, I feel the need to explicitly acknowledge a change in Julep's subscription model. In the past, one of the selling points of Julep is that you can skip whenever you want. If you subscribed before December 18th, that hasn't changed. If you subscribed after December 18th... well, that sucks. You now can only skip every six months. This is a huge bummer for people who might not have the budget to spend $20 every single month on nail polish. I do understand the change in policy (my guess is that they have a lot of people who skip every single month, and then take advantage of Julep's sales and free shipping by every-so-often ordering something that costs, like, a dollar), but I think that they could have allowed more flexibility than one skip per six months. Maybe a rule like 'you can't skip twice in a row' or something like that. I also really don't like the way that they handled the change; I think they should have given fair warning to people who were considering subscribing by letting people know, "Our policy will change in one week" or something like that, so that people could still scramble to subscribe under the old rules. I also really don't like the fact that they are framing the change as "simplifying the skip feature" when anyone who looks at the situation understands that "I can skip whenever I want" is more simple than "I can earn skips by not skipping boxes some months and not skipping a box earns me a credit for 1/6 of a box skip at some later date." We all understand why you are change the skip feature, Julep. Pretending it's "simplifying" things is insulting our intelligence. It's not necessarily an unreasonable change, but please be honest. The final thing that rubs me the wrong way about the change is that, as far as I know, people who subscribed between December 18th and the announcement on January 16th did not get any warning that they were signing up for something different than what they thought they were signing up for. If you happen to be in that boat, I would strongly recommend emailing Julep's customer service and requesting that you be given the "old" skipping rules.
I've also been asked to comment on Julep's new Plie wand, a magnetic attachment to the Julep nail polishes that will allow a lot more dexterity when painting nails. I think it's an awesome idea and I look forward to its release in May. The two commonly expressed complaints are that 1. They are asking people to "crowdfund" the project by pre-ordering their May boxes now and 2. If you want to use it on any pre-May 2014 Julep polishes, you'll need to order new magnetic caps for your old polishes. To me, these are non-issues. Although Julep is asking you to pre-order your box... you can just not do it. I'm not pre-ordering, and I fully expect that I will have access to the Plie wand when it is released. If you don't want to pre-order, don't do it. The magnetic caps issue doesn't bother me for similar reasons: just don't buy any new caps. Starting in May 2014, all of Julep's caps will work with the Plie wand. Julep caps pop off the brushes. You can just pop one of your new magnetic caps on an old polish and it will be compatible. It's an extra two seconds of work. If the Plie wand is effective, you'll still be coming out ahead.
Aaaand the Review Starts Here
As has been my habit, I upgraded my box this month. Like always, I want to note that I wouldn't upgrade if I was paying out of pocket, since the super-mondo-why-so-fucking-big box I chose would have been a whopping SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS if I paid for it flat. But I used points, which means you readers have way more shit to look at. I don't know which box I would have chosen if I'd picked one of the typical $20 boxes.
Here is what I got:
My box included ten nail polishes, a gel liner, an angled brush, four "Eye Sheen" liquid eyeshadows, and a shader brush. I divided up the review below in case you happen to be interested in only some of those topics.
Although Julep has expanded their box selection significantly in recent months, there are still four boxes that I would consider the "core boxes", which provide all of the polishes for the month: Boho Glam, Classic With a Twist, Bombshell, and It Girl; the former three have two polishes and a product, whereas It Girl has three polishes. That adds up to nine polishes in an upgrade. This month, Julep threw in an extra Valentines-day themed polish called "Love" in each box, meaning that my upgrade contained ten polishes.
The ten polishes--
Octavia (Classic With a Twist): A "smokey indigo crème".
Greta (Classic With a Twist): A "loganberry multidimensional microglitter".
Judi (Bombshell): An "English violet crème".
Roc Solid (It Girl): A "vintage military crème".
Glam Roc (It Girl): A "midnight purple and gold stardust [with] matte glitter".
Diamond Theory (It Girl): A "full-coverage multidimensional copper glitter".
Rooney (Boho Glam): A "walnut bark crème".
Kristen (Bombshell): A "deep sea teal with silver microshimmer".
Cameron (Boho Glam): A "silver lilac stardust [with] matte glitter".
Love: This was a bonus item billed as "Jane's gift" that was included in every box. It is a described as a "gold, pearl and fuchsia microglitter". This is my favorite polish in the box; I think it is beautiful. I also love that they added a gold cap (instead of the traditional black caps) to mix things up.
Here is my super-messy-I-can't-do-nail-polish-where-is-that-damn-Plie-wand-when-you-need-it manicure with Octavia and Love:
The Julep Ink Gel Eyeliner is much softer than any gel eyeliner I've used in the past. It ends up feeling like a cross between a gel liner and a liquid liner. I actually kind of love this product. The Julep Kajal Pencil liner was a total disaster, so I didn't expect anything more from the gel liner. This is super easy to apply, black as my soul, and dries to a matte, charcoal-like finish.
If you feel that you have to work hard to get crisp lines with gel liner and that liquid liner is too easy to accidentally get in your eyelashes, this might be a good solution for you.
Julep is selling this sucker for $22 for 0.15 oz for non- Mavens [people who are not subscribed to the subscription service] ($146.67 per ounce) and $17.60 for Mavens ($117.33 per ounce). For comparison, MAC Fluidline retails for $16 for 0.1oz ($160 per ounce). I think that the price is totally fair, especially given that the quality is high and the product is a little different from most of the other gel liners on the market (because it is so wet).
I was also sent an angled liner brush to go with the gel liner. I thought that this product was pretty nice, as well. The bristles are really sleek, so it makes very clean lines, and it is small enough that you can go pretty thin, if need be. Do you necessarily need this, given the price ($18.00 non-Mavens, $14.50 Mavens)? Probably not. But Julep offers a good brush/eyeliner duo and gives you a discount, it works very nicely with the gel liner.
Just be careful to clean out the bristles after each use. Once the liner dries on the brush, it's a bit of a pain to get out!
I also got four "Eye Sheens". After the Julep Sweep Eyeshadow palette from December turned out to be unprecedentedly fantastic, I was really excited to try what I assumed were cream eyeshadows from Julep. (The reason that I ungraded to such a ridiculous extent was because this was the only box that gave me the option of trying all four Eye Sheens.)
The Eye Sheens retail for $18.00 for the general population and $14.50 for Mavens and contain 0.15oz of product. That means that they cost $120 per ounce for non-Mavens and $96.67 per ounce for Mavens. This is actually not particularly expensive. For comparison, the Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadows are $20 for 0.16oz, or $125 per ounce. (Although, true to form, Julep unnecessarily packaged the shadows in ridiculously large boxes.)
To pair with the shadows, Julep also sent out their eye shader brush. The brush is too small, stiff, and strangely shaped to be great for powder shadows and it's totally rubbish at blending, but it works pretty nicely for slapping on some Eye Sheens.
The Eye Sheens were totally not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting the texture of a traditional cream eyeshadow. They are labeled as "liquid eyeshadows", although they are not liquid. In terms of consistency, they are really more along the lines of a "pudding eyeshadow". Here's what it looks like when I lightly pat the top of one of the shadows with the shading brush:
|Patting Julep's Deep Bronze Shimmer.|
In other words, WHAT THE FUCK.
Happily, the actual effect is kind of fabulous. A single swipe of product is incredibly pigmented. It dries quickly and, once it dries, it stays put. Cream products are usually a little more likely to slip and slide around; these definitely will not.
The four Eye Sheen shades are as follows:
Dusty Taupe Shimmer is a pink-toned taupe.
Pale Nude Shimmer is a light golden color.
Deep Bronze Shimmer is dark bronze akin to a very dirty penny.
Warm Fig Shimmer is a medium-dark dusty purple.
|From left to right: Dusty Taupe, Pale Nude, Deep Bronze, and Warm Fig|
The one disadvantage of their serious staying power is that these require a bit of patience to really blend. (I actually think the promo photo on Julep's blog here has kind of terrible blending going on, so even Julep had trouble getting them blended out appropriately.) It's not impossible to do, but I can see it being really frustrating for people who aren't very comfortable with eyeshadow. If that's you, I would recommend using the Eye Sheen on your lid and choosing a traditional powder eyeshadow for your crease. Just for your sanity.
Time to see how all this shit looks on my face!
This look has Pale Nude Shimmer on my lid, Deep Bronze Shimmer on my crease, and the Julep Ink Gel Eyeliner as a tightline:
This look has Dusty Taupe Shimmer on my lid, Warm Fig Shimmer in my crease, and the Julep Ink Gel Eyeliner as a chunky wing:
Overall, I am happy with this box. The nail polish colors are all pretty and the eyeshadows look lovely, even if they are a bit of a pain to work with. The Ink Gel Eyeliner, though, was definitely the shining star of this box!
If you decide that subscribing to Julep would give you oodles of joy, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.