Saturday, February 1, 2014

Julep February 2014 Review

A Prequel to the Review

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.


Nail Polish

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:


Eyeliner

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!


Eyeshadow

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.

43 comments:

  1. Holy crap - I was expecting the shadows to be similar to the Maybelline Color Tattoos... Now I wish I had gotten one (or more) of the shadows... Those are fantastic!

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    1. That's what I was expecting, too! This was totally unexpected.

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  2. The new caps are NOT two pieces, and it was really difficult to get Julep to confirm that (lots of people calling customer service and raging all over facebook). The day after the plie announcement, though, Julep posted that they have a great plan for Mavens (to be announced in the non-specific future) that involves free plie caps for their old polishes. It's nothing to panic over, but I wanted to clarify what you'd posted above.
    https://www.facebook.com/julep/posts/10152599358995884?stream_ref=10

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  3. This was the first box that I decided to get the complete collection. I love love love the colors and the eye shimmers look fun. I'm wearing Cameron and really do like the finish. I was thinking of giving up in julep due to some quality issues but they seemed to have improved.

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    1. Their makeup especially seems to be hit or miss, for sure!

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    2. The lipsticks I got from them were a miss. The glosses have been eh. I am loving the eye liners and shadows though.

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  4. This was an awesome review and it looks like the products were awesome as well! Winning all 'round :)

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  5. P.S. I am SO GLAD that you made a gif of that shadow.

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    1. It seemed the easiest way to show off the texture.

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  6. Can't. Stop. Watching. Puddingshadow.

    I think both the shadows and the liner sound awesome - perhaps especially the liner. I use liquid eyeliner if it comes with a felt tip applicator, but I tend to find gel liners draggy and (as you say) hard to get a crisp line with. Hopefully some more brands will pick up on the idea!

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    1. Maybe if it is well-received, it will seem worth it to other brands!

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  7. PUDDING SHADOW. I let out a real gasp when I saw the gif. That said, the colors are beautiful! I've always been curious about Julep but it seems like a pain to try and subscribe since I don't live in the US.

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    1. Yeah, it's a bummer! Especially since nail polish has relatively strict shipping laws here.

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  8. Ugh, I'm so fed up with Julep's business practices. Aside from having overpriced products and a limited color selection, they hold onto your card information and make it a nightmare to cancel your 'subscription'. I also got February's box, but I refuse to even open it because I didn't order it. Once all that is cleared up and Julep stops sending me their boxes, the only way I'm getting a hold of their nail polish is by buying it off of other people, because I really cannot deal with Julep directly anymore. Unrelated, but do you have any Julep polishes I can buy off of you, Robyn? I'd be glad to take them off your hands if you have too many.

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    1. To cancel just keep calling the number until they pick up or send them an email. One of my friends reported it to her credit card company after she wanted to cancel and couldn't. They told her to write return to sender on the boxes and dispute the charges. It took them a few months but they cancelled it.

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    2. Oh that's really sad to hear. I was never a big fan of Julep's polishes, but I found it really easy to cancel (about a year ago), and I heard lots of other people rave about their customer service back then. It's too bad they've got worse in that area. That plus the change in policy about skipping makes me sure I will never sign up again.

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    3. Hm. I'm sorry you are having issues canceling. I would definitely dispute the charges with your credit card company.

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  9. I was lucky enough to sign up for Julep on December 19. I'm pretty pissed about the changes, and I'll mostly likely cancel.

    That being said, I love the eye sheen! I wore warm fig yesterday, and it's fantastic. It had barely even faded after 14 hours, and there was no glitter fallout.

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    1. That's such a bummer. If you decide you want to stay subscribed, I do think you should email Julep and see if they'll let you keep the old rules, just in case. I would think that that would be a very reasonable request for them to honor.

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  10. Super lame about the change in policy. I also discovered that at least two of the polishes in this month's set are dupes of cheaper polishes: Love = Sinful Colors Gilded and Glam Roc = Forever 21 Black Glam (they even duped the name!). I was kinda bummed to find out that I paid for two polishes I already own!

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    1. Can't tell about the Forever 21 one based on swatches, but the Sinful Colors one definitely seems to be in the same ballpark!

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    2. I've got photos of both pairs here: http://www.aliquidlacquer.com/2014/02/two-julep-dupes.html

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  11. Hum, I was always on the fence about joining Julep, always kind of thought I might, but this clinches it that I definitely won't. However, I find that if you shop their sale section, you can get really good deals on their polish without being a Maven.

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    Replies
    1. Yes! They do have really nice sales.

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  12. Not really a Julep fan. I did the Maven thing for a few months a year or so ago. Whenever I see Julep polishes mentioned, I feel like I need to point out the price/amount ratio. At .27fl, its just barely over half the size of a standard polish, meaning that size/price-wise, it's more expensive than even brands like Chanel or Dior. Add in the hit-or-miss quality of the polishes and it's all very "blah" to me. Did a review on MUA awhile ago which is here if anyone's interested: http://www.makeupalley.com/product/sreview.asp?rid=2434512

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    1. I've written about that in the past, but it doesn't make sense for me to reiterate that point every month, haha. It is definitely something consider when you are thinking about a Julep subscription, though. I can absolutely see why it would not be worth it to many people.

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  13. The pudding shadow gif is definitely the highlight of the blog (besides your awesome makeup skills on your face, of course). Just wondering, I've been on the search for nude and MLBB shades, and I LOVE that lipstick in the last picture. What brand/color is it?

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    1. It is a mix of Loreal Spiced Cider and the black Fergie Wet'n'Wild one.

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  14. You look stunning in the last photo. Do you think you could be begged into doing a makeup tutorial?

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    1. I will have to schedule a tutorial in for next week, haha.

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  15. Heh, my first reaction to the shadow was that it was "puddingish" as well. The texture was REALLY strange when I first opened it straight out of the cold mailbox, but it flattened out after sitting inside. I only got the bronze but now I am a little sorry about not adding on the nude. But what I have been doing with it is an all-over lid with a Stila Kitten smudge crayon (my go-to "don't want to think about it" eye shadow, because I have really dark lids) and the bronze Eye Sheen applied with my finger. It works startlingly well!

    On the Plié, I never thought for a moment that the magnetic cap was going to only replace the square vanity cap. Damn, I am getting cynical. I would LOVE it if they made an adapter with the magnetic end that worked on their inner caps, because even if they offer a great deal (or free) new caps for Mavens, pitching the old caps and brushes seems horrifically wasteful. I bet I could MacGuyver something once I get a new cap in hand, though...

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  16. Yeah... I was one of the unlucky people who signed up before they announced the changes (Dec 20th). Although I really like their polishes, I signed up mostly for the fact that I could skip months when I needed to. It really sucks, but I'm gonna have to cancel my sub :(

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  17. I think that the WAY they implemented the change was very wrong. I have no issue with the change and understand why. And no,its NOT to simplify anything. But I have an issue with making it retroactive.

    One thing I really hope you and your readers all understand about the plie brush (according to cs when I called) was that if you reserve your box now for may you GET the plie wand. If you DON'T reserve the box now and pay for it, you will have to choose to pay for it as an add on feature when it comes out in May. So if you are wanting to try the wand, its better to buy it now.

    Also, I have a slight issue with the fact that they say they are making the wand because its easier to do your nails with a longer handle, and then they are actually cutting the leangth of the handle in half in the same sentence. This to me make is seem like they are PURPOSELY making the handles harder and more awkward to use in order to force people into buying the wand. It might not be the intent, but it just sits wrong with me.

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  18. I just don't get the plié thin. My sense is that what makes most nail polishes difficult to hand is not so much the length of the handle, it's the width--or rather, the circumference. It's much harder to polish with a fatter handled brush (like the current julep caps, or OPI, or the dreaded Nails Inc.). The narrower ones, like the revlon color stay or wet n wild wild shine. Actually, some of my brushes to use are the Butter London, and those are quite short, but narrow. It just seems like the key is to be able to wrap your fingers around it. But the new plié wands are really fat where you hold them. They keep comparing it to a paintbrush or a pen, but both of those things are narrow and easy to grip. If it's supposed to work like a paintbrush, why isn't it shaped like a paintbrush?

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  19. I absolutely love the colors and tried the liner today - it went on with the brush like a dream. The only two things I'm iffy about are:

    1. The colors in person seem to differ from the website snapshots.
    2. The texture. I feel like it never really dried on my eyelids, so I could almost feel it all day.

    Still, I will be buying another shade.

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  20. I was intrigued by Julep. It was exactly the "simplifying" comment that has permanently turned me off Julep. Ah well.

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  21. Great review! I opted for the bombshell box, but your review is making me wish I would have gotten the entire collection!

    -Michelle @ MichelleNguyenPreMD

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  22. Would you say that the eyeshadows crease much?

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  23. I have just discovered your blog and I am thrilled. THRILLED. Both by your writing, and by the fact that FINALLY someone has explained to me what the fuck happened with the skip option. None of my previous Googling enlightened me. You're my hero.

    Although I now understand that I shouldn't have had a problem in the first place considering I started subscribing a year ago. Fuck.

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  24. Heyyyy they finally saw reason and now the Plié cap is going to snap on to the existing under-caps, which was the only sensible option all along.

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