A note for the purposes of transparency: As is my way, I did not actually spend real money on this box. I paid for it with points and definitely would not have upgraded to such an absurd extent (a traditional Julep box is $19.99 and this upgrade would have cost $74.99 if I'd paid for it out of pocket) under different circumstances. As it is, though, COME TO ME, SWEET BRIGHT COLORS.
Here's what I got:
There was candy, but it looked like that creepy no-name candy that comes in jars at terrible restaurants and looks like it has been there since the mid-1990s, so I didn't eat it. I probably will eat it one day when I am really hungry. Let us pray for the sake of my future self that this is not a mistake.
The nail polish is BRIGHT AS FUCK:
The colors are:
Maren (It Girl): An iridescent bubblegum pink with flickers of electric blue.
Caitlin (Classic With a Twist): A highlighter pink.
Flora (It Girl): A shimmery fuchsia. The nail polish version of Urban Decay's Fishnet.
Kayla (Bombshell): Julep's description calls this an "electric iris"... and that's perfect. It's got a pink-leaning iridescence, as well.
Bailey (It Girl): A cobalt blue.
Phoebe (Boho Glam): A metallic, saturated, green-leaning teal.
Tatum (Bombshell): A metallic chartreuse.
Sunny (Boho Glam): A shimmery yellow chrome. The nail polish version of Sugarpill's Elektrocute in Hi-Viz.
Mariska (Classic With a Twist): A shimmery highlighter orange. Also, despite the name, it does not remind me of Law and Order SVU at all.
Here's how Caitlin, Flora, Kayla, Bailey, and Phoebe look on my nails all at the same time:
|Sorry, nail polish lovers. Cuticles something something TOO COMPLICATED.|
Glow Pore-Minimizing Blush
My upgrade also came with blush and a bronzer. I was particularly intrigued about the blush, since I love blushes and Julep makeup is a little hit-or-miss. There were two blushes available this month. I chose Peach Bellini (the other color was called Petal Pink).
Like all Julep packaging, it's pretty bland. There's a mirror. It's got the shit you need.
The texture is really soft and smooth. Impressively so, in fact. It feels like what I would imagine pressed powdered sugar to be.
The color is also great, especially on fair skin, since it's not ridiculously pigmented (some people love blush pigmentation, but, to me, a too-pigmented blush is a serious flaw). It's a light, peachy blush with just a hint of sparkle in it. On significantly darker skin, I suspect it would be too light to really show up.
|This is a terrible swatch. It was sunny and the sun confuses me.|
So, facts: diamonds can be used for exfoliation. That is true. But there's nothing special about exfoliation done with diamonds as opposed to any other physical exfoliator. It's just exfoliating by being rough on your skin. Diamonds are only used because they are expensive and make people feel fancy. Remember how I said that this blush is almost absurdly smooth? This is not doing any physical exfoliation. Guaranteed. I also checked on whether or not exfoliation has any effect on the way that the body handles vitamins and I couldn't find any studies on the topic whatsoever.
The blush is totally nice. I like the blush. I just wish they would advertise it based on reality.
The blush, sized at 0.25oz, is retailing for $24 for non-subscribers and $19.20 for subscribers. That's $96 per ounce and $76.80 per ounce, respectively, which is relatively inexpensive.
Glow Pore-Minimizing Bronzer
I also got a bronzer, which I wouldn't have picked out for myself, but I wanted all the other shit in the upgrade, so it tagged along for a ride. Again, there were two colors available. I chose Light Golden Bronze with the hope that the emphasis would be on the "light". (The other color was called Medium Tan.)
For some reason, even though the blush and the bronzer are almost exactly the same size (0.25 and 0.26oz, respectively), they put the bronzer is different packaging. While the blush mirror stays upright, the bronzer mirror opens all the way back. The bronzer pan shape is also longer and larger.
This bronzer also has the same nice, smooth texture, but I think that the problem with this texture is more evident for this product. Because it is so soft, I ended up with a product that had lots of little dings and nicks. I don't particularly care, but I can definitely imagine this being a bummer for some people.
I would probably call this a medium cocoa-y brown. On me, it runs orange, but all bronzers run orange on me, so that's a little meaningless.
I decided to swatch this next to a couple of other bronzers to give you a sense of how dark it is.
From left to right, you have Benefit's Hoola, Pixi Subtlety Suntouched (my favorite bronzer), Julep Light Golden, and NYC Sunny.
I think that this bronzer is very similar to Benefit's Hoola. It's very slightly less orange and it's shimmery. So, if you are looking for a shimmery clone of Hoola, this might work for you.
Julep's 0.26oz Glow Pore-Minizing Bronzer retails for $28 for non-subscribers and $22.40 for subscribers. That is $107.69 per ounce and $86.15 per ounce, respectively.
Here's how both Julep's Blush in Peach Bellini and their bronzer in Light Golden Bronze look on my face:
|The blush is on the apples of my cheeks and the bronzer is very lightly applied on my cheekbones.|
Finally, I got two brushes in this box: one blush brush and one bronzer brush. They are synthetic, duo fiber brushes that are very dense. The blush brush is angled and the bronzer brush is tulip-shaped.
The blush brush in particular is terrible with its compatriot product. The soft blush is completely SHREDDED by the blush brush, and then the bristles of the blush brush somehow manage to completely repel the product. The product description says it is "designed for specific use with Glow Blush", but I can't imagine that this is true, because they are so bad together.
I've had this stuff for a few days, so I've used 1. the blush and blush brush together (tragedy), 2. the blush with my usual Ecotools blush brush (nice) and 3. the blush brush with a non-Julep brush. I found that the Julep blush brush is nice if you are using a blush that is just too pigmented for you. It doesn't shred other non-powdered sugar-y blushes, but it does mute their pigment. If you are someone who is very fair and you have a lot of problems with over-pigmented blushes, you might like this as an anti-clown assurance tool. For everyone else, though, I'd probably skip this brush. It's expensive ($24 for non-subscribers/$22.40 for subscribers) and there is really nothing to recommend it over another blush brush. It is very soft, though.
I haven't played quite as much with the tulip-shaped bronzer brush because I don't typically use tulip-shaped brushes. I also don't think there's a whole lot of consensus about what the point of a tulip-shaped brush is, since I've seen them used as blush brushes (Real Techniques), all-over brushes (Sigma) and contour brushes (Sedona Lace). I have a sneaking suspicion that Julep only chose a tulip shape so that they could make rhymes behind closed doors.
I tried this brush with the bronzer and had literally no feelings about it. I'm not sure if it also muted the bronzer color, since the bronzer is so dark on me anyways. Since then, I've used it as a face brush a few times and, again, felt much. I definitely wouldn't buy this, but, since I have it, I'll use it.
Overall, I'm relatively happy. If I went back in time, I would have still ordered all of the nail polishes, but I would have added on the blush, instead of getting the whole collection, since I didn't really like the brushes, and the bronzer (like many bronzers) doesn't suit me at all.
If you are interested in joining Julep, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here. The code "FREEBOX" gets you your first box for freeeeeee!