Julep July 2017 (Neon Nights) Custom Maven Box unboxing (with promo code!)

Unboxing incoming! This month, I very nearly skipped my Julep box, but I was curious about Julep’s new Insta-Filter Invisible Finishing Powder. I kept this box small – just two items.

julep170707

The contents:

  • Insta-filter Invisible Finishing Powder ($32 regular, $25.50 Maven),
  • Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick in Golden Guava ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), a “Peachy Pink Gold Shimmer,” and
  • oddly, I didn’t receive a freebie (usually candy but sometimes a free Julep product) this month. It’s not the first time this has happened, but it was a bit disappointing. 😦

This month’s quote:

“I’m very much about letting other people shine, because it makes us all shine brighter.” – Chelsea Handler

The promo code that came with this box is SUMMER20 for $20 off a $50 purchase at Julep’s website, expires 7/31/2017.

julep170707c

Insta-filter comes in a fancy, slightly rubberized black paper box with metallic violet print. The round compact inside is metal, about 3 inches in diameter, and hefty. Quality seems good, and it’s nicely designed with clean, modern lines; a little groove for your fingernail to pry up the lid; and a firm magnetic snap.

As for the product, it definitely does what Julep says it will –  “blur the appearance of pores, fine lines, and imperfections while instantly mattifying.” I don’t have much of a comparison point, though, since my usual translucent/finishing powder is BareMinerals Mineral Veil, which I got in a slightly dewy finish instead of a matte. I don’t own/wear enough makeup to compare it to anything else. Insta-filter works nicely enough, though, and the little foamy sponge is so soft, especially the flocked application side. Thumbs up.

julep170707b

Well, my Golden Guava arrived with this fugly ding from the cap being squeezed on too tightly inside the box. 😦 The ugliness doesn’t affect its function, though, fortunately, so I didn’t even bother telling customer support this time.

It’s pretty similar to the past Skip the Brush sticks that I’ve purchased (Sheer Glow and Moonlit Sand), but the barrel is shiny gunmetal gray instead of matte black, and the formula on this one somehow seems a little creamier or stickier than my other two. The reviewers on Julep.com mentioned “glitter” in this one, which made me curious, since my other two colors don’t have anything coarse enough that I’d call glitter.

I tried it, and sure enough, the Golden Guava color somehow has an odd bit of coarser gold glitter flecks when applied, even though they’re not visible on the stick. The flecks are so occasional, too, that they stand out strangely against the otherwise smooth and finely milled peach/pink. Not my favorite, mostly because it looks inconsistent on application. I don’t know if that’s a mistake on Julep’s part, or if it was intentional. Looks fine on eyes, though, at least, maybe because the area is so small.

That’s it for today. There should be a Pusheen box coming in soon, so that’ll probably be my next post!

Julep Carrie Ann

Sometimes after wearing some bolder colors, I just get this urge to wear something more boring – relatively anyway. Here’s Julep Carrie Ann, a sheer nude with some subtle holo sparkle:

You can’t see the holo sparkle that well in my photos, unfortunately, but it’s definitely there and shows up better in brighter light. It just happened to be an overcast day.

I liked the way this polish looked better at one coat, actually, but it’d be a no-go if you don’t like sheer polishes/visible nail line. At one coat, it applies evenly and has a your-nails-but-better look, and the holo shimmer seems to be, if anything, more visible. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo!) At two coats, I ended up with what you see here – something that somehow looks infinitely more boring and more humdrum creme-like. Oh, well. Work appropriate to the max.

Formula was fine, easy to work with with average dry time and average durability. Like many lighter colored polishes for me, though, it started getting a bit dingy looking after a few days, with some dark stains at the tips that didn’t come off with even vigorous hand washing. :\

Next time (if I get around to a next time with this polish), I’ll wear it with one coat and see if I like it better. At two coats, it’s okay but a little too drab for me!

Julep Danica

Julep Danica, from maybe a couple weeks ago. Three coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat and taken in outdoor natural sunlight.

Danica‘s a lovely sheer-ish blue-violet metallic (what Julep calls a chrome finish) with a pink-to-turquoise shift. I think it’s primarily the pink flash that pushes it over to blurple. The base color seems to be more of a straight-up car-paint blue.

No problems with the formula, though it took a little longer to dry than average and needed three coats for reasonable opacity. Durability was roughly average, though I can’t tell if it chipped because I was hard on my nails that week.

I don’t know if you can see it in this photo (it’s visible in some of my swatch photos from the recent past, I think), but I’d accidentally sliced into my middle fingernail with a cleaver sometime ago while cutting a particularly recalcitrant lime, and it left a gross (and painful) U-shaped flap in the nail that finally couldn’t hang on any longer after I removed Danica. I had to take a little break from nail polish to let it grow out and heal, but it’s nearly there , so I’ll probably resume this lacquer journal soon!

Unboxing: Wet n Wild Summer Season in a Box – Unicorn Glow!

I don’t really keep up with beauty trends, so I completely missed the unicorn highlighter craze that apparently happened late last year. I only just discovered rainbow luminizer in a recent Ulta e-mail a couple weeks ago, advertising the limited edition release of Wet n Wild Summer Season in a Box – Unicorn Glow.

Ulta was releasing the box one day early (May 21), and I was pretty excited (rainbow highlighter! iridescent lipstick!) but I hemmed and hawed about it. By the next day, though, the box had sold out at Ulta, and I was a bit disappointed…but I was still on the fence. Was I just being lured in by the holo unicorn marketing scheme? I had to think about this a little.

wnw170527

In the end, I decided I didn’t care. Wet n Wild is so affordable ($29.99 for this box of nine items!) that I figured I might as well throw in the towel and nab some fun unicorn makeup. I mean, I’m not much of a makeup wearer, but when I do wear makeup, I do it for fun!

wnw170527b

This box was only available at a New York beauty convention, Ulta, and the Wet n Wild website, it seems. Wet n Wild e-mailed a notice the second day after release, around 6am when I was heading into the office, that they only had 50 boxes left. I made my order right then and there on my phone. 😀 Good thing, too – they also sold out shortly thereafter.

Seriously, good job on that marketing, Wet n Wild. Way to reel in the children of the 80s and 90s. 😉

My box came in a few days later on May 27, and it did not disappoint! Wet n Wild may be an inexpensive drugstore brand, but their products are pretty solid.

wnw170527c

(1) Unicorn Glow Highlighting Brush – check out that oil-slick iridescence! This is one of those rare cases where the actual product is way prettier in person than in the marketing photos. I like how you can see the colors of the highlighting powder really well on the white brush, and it does a decent job, too. It looks small, but it’s just the right size for sweeping over the top of a cheek bone.

Gotta admit the brush was a large reason for my attraction to this box. This and the rainbow highlighter:

wnw170527h

(2) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Unicorn Glow – surprisingly wearable rainbow highlighter. Once applied, it’s not as garish as you might think – just a hint of sparkle and color. It’s buildable to greater opacity, too, but I’ve only worn it sheer. The pan is a bit too large for applying every color of the rainbow over the cheekbones, though. I settle for about half the colors at a time.

wnw170527i

(3) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Bronze Over The Rainbow – this one imparts a warmer, gold-tinged glow.

wnw170527j

(4) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Everlasting Glow – this one is a cooler-toned pale golden pink when applied. A surprise favorite for me!

I’m guessing these highlighters probably go fine with most complexions, though I found that the cooler-toned Everlasting Glow looked a bit more flattering on my cool-leaning neutral-toned light complexion. I’m guessing Bronze Over The Rainbow might look better on warmer-toned complexions.

Each of these can be applied as is or swirled together. I kind of like the subtle bands of different colors, though!

wnw170527e

(5) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Mythical Dreams (purple),

(6) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Pegasus Flutter (pink), and

(7) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Unicorn Wishes (blue) – I haven’t tried these yet, but the packaging says they can be applied anywhere, not just the eyes.

wnw170527g

(8) Mega Last Prismatic Lip Color in Immortal Tears – sheer with blue-purple shimmer. It’s pretty similar in effect to Bite Beauty Opal Creme Lipstick (which I bought sometime earlier and really like), as you can see above.

wnw170527f

(9) Mega Last Prismatic Lip Color in Unicorn Soul – this lipstick looks blue, but it’s one of those color-changing lipsticks that turns pink/fuchsia after application. The blue shimmer remains, though. I think it’s Wet n Wild’s version of Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Unicorn Tears, but I don’t own that one (yet), so I can’t compare. In any case, I really like this one, even though it feels slightly gritty and doesn’t glide on as smoothly as other, nicer lipsticks that I own. (Immortal Tears is smoother.) Surprisingly wearable (though I wouldn’t wear it to work).

I was surprised by the quality of the products, especially for the price. (Where were these fun colors when I was a teen and didn’t have to worry about looking appropriate for work?) Even better, they’re all vegan and cruelty free, and my sensitive skin didn’t react badly to them. ❤

Woot! Guess what arrived over the weekend! #wetnwild #unicornglow #rainbow #unicornmakeup

A post shared by Lacquerfiend (@eternaldecember) on

The Unicorn Glow box may be sold out, but it looks like the individual items are still available as of this writing if you’re interested in them, and they may be eligible for promo codes that the box wasn’t eligible for.

Next up on my radar, Chaos Makeup Kaleidoscope Rainbow Highlighter, my dream rainbow luminizer.

Unboxing: Spring 2017 Pusheen Box!

I hit a few snags with the Spring 2017 Pusheen Box, but I finally received it about a week ago!

As always, it arrived shrink-wrapped in protective plastic, which kept the cute Bunny Pusheen cardboard box clean, perfect for future gift use:

pusheen170517

Look at the cute puffball bunny tail:

pusheen170517b

And here it is, freshly opened:

pusheen170517c

Here’s what was inside:

(1) Bunny Pusheen vinyl figure (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – super cute, and no problems with the paint/print job on this one. Too bad it didn’t arrive before Easter!

pusheen170517h

(2) Pusheen Wireless Speaker – I assume this is a Pusheen Box Exclusive, too, though it doesn’t say so on the box. It’s a cute (but cheap), hard-plastic Bluetooth wireless speaker shaped like Pusheen, with a handy grab strap for toting her along. It comes with a short USB/micro-USB charging cable and no wall-socket adapter.

It works and is about the level of quality I’d expect for it being one of 10 items in a roughly $40 box, but unfortunately, that means it’s not a particularly well-designed speaker. A red light comes on to tell you when it’s being charged, but it never tells you it’s done charging. The speaker was easy enough to pair with a Bluetooth device, but the sound quality isn’t great (as expected for a small, cheap speaker), and a bright blue light flashes annoyingly the entire time it’s in use. I also discovered that the battery drains out really quickly when it’s not in use. (I’d charged it for maybe 8 hours before using it, played some music for a few minutes just to test it out, and turned it off. A couple days later, the battery was completely dead. Not great.)

That being said, it’s a very cute little speaker, reasonably sturdy, and very lightweight. I’ll probably give it to ‘Fiend Jr. to play with when she’s a little older. 🙂

pusheen170517d

(3) Pusheen Selfie Stick (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – lightweight and compact with an aluminum telescoping arm, spring-loaded plastic phone mount decorated with a molded soft-plastic Pusheen peeking over the top, and a foam-wrapped grip with a camera button.

pusheen170517i

Very cute. Sadly, it didn’t work at all with my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone (the camera button tried to zoom instead of taking a photo) and worked only inconsistently with my sister’s iPhone 6. I’ve never used a selfie stick before this, so I don’t know if that’s typical of selfie sticks, but I’ll try it again when I upgrade my phone later.

pusheen170517k

(4) Pusheen Party Balloons (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – includes 12 latex balloons in gray, aqua, and pink, all printed with Pusheen’s face in puff paint. I gave these out as party favors at Fiend Jr.’s birthday party.

pusheen170517j

(5) Party Pusheen t-shirt (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – these shirts come in unisex sizes only, so it’s a boxier cut. I typically wear women’s small or medium, and this shirt was sadly too big and wholly unflattering on me. I’ll probably save it for altering into a tank top or wearing as pajamas.

pusheen170517e

(6) Pusheen Bento Lunch Box (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – I’d suggested this very item in one of Pusheen Box’s customer surveys a few months back and was so stoked to receive this! Sadly, mine arrived broken, and when I contacted customer support, they told me they were all out of replacements and could only offer me a $5 refund. Ugh, so much bad luck with this box.

But, I hate seeing things go to waste, so I’m planning to drill a hole in that little nubbin of plastic and replace that flimsy plastic with a better, metal hinge. I’ll fix it somehow. Take that, broken bento box!

Anyway, BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe. Purportedly, anyway. 🙂

pusheen170517f

(7) Pusheen Bottle Opener (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – metal, encased in a soft-plastic Pusheen shell, with a handy magnetic back. Nice touch.

(8) Pusheen Reusable Utensils (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – somewhat smaller than standard utensils, as you can see in comparison to the pen, and only about the same sturdiness as better disposable utensils, so I’d probably want to be careful with these. Wish they came with a case or pouch! Dishwasher safe.

pusheen170517g

(9) Pusheen Photo Booth Props – various cute paper cutouts (macarons, a slice of cake, Bunny Pusheen ears, playing cards, etc.), plus a sheet of adhesive dots and sticks for assembling into photo-booth props. I can see these being great as wall decorations, too!

(10) Pusheen Pennant Banner – a string of six aqua, pink, yellow, and gray cardboard pennants printed with Pusheen’s face, sewn on a white ribbon for hanging.

I would’ve taken better photos of the contents of these two items, but I wanted to keep them protected in their original packaging as possible decorations for ‘Fiend Jr.’s birthday next year. 🙂

And, that’s it for the Spring 2017 box! The bento box was my favorite this time, and I’m sad it arrived broken, but hopefully I can make it functional again. I’m still enjoying the Pusheen Box, but I’ve received defective items on a several occasions now, so I might not renew after this year. I guess we’ll see how I feel at the end of the year.

Julep Eve

Two coats Julep Eve, no top coat, in outdoor direct sunlight:

Two coats #Julep Eve, no top coat, outdoor natural light. #nails #swatches #nailpolish #shimmer #matte #notd

A post shared by Lacquerfiend (@eternaldecember) on

This one turned out to be an unexpected favorite for me. Julep calls it an “Iridescent Lilac Matte Shimmer,” which is spot-on. It’s a soft lavender with pink-to-green shifting shimmer, and it has a matte finish meant to be worn without top coat. In softer lighting, it matches my natural nail color pretty well, so it looks almost like a nude polish until the light hits it. I think the green shimmer contributes to that. Surprisingly subtle for a purple, but not at all boring!

The formula is pretty good but needs to be applied in thin layers. I accidentally put a thicker layer on some of my nails, and they didn’t dry well. I expected this polish to dry quickly because of the matte finish, but it definitely takes a bit longer than average to dry.

Otherwise, durability is good; not much tip wear, though some dings in the finish, and it’s already day 4. Not bad for me. Thumbs up!

Zoya PixieDust Beatrix

All right, last swatch for tonight, and I’ll be all caught up. This is Zoya PixieDust Beatrix from my untried stash, three coats, no top coat, outdoor natural light:

Zoya describes Beatrix as a “tangerine metal sparkle,” textured, matte, and foil twinkle. I’d say that’s pretty spot-on. The sunny, yellow-leaning orange is so juicy and cheerful looking! The texture is pretty much identical to that of other similar Zoya PixieDust polishes, not too chunky or rough, and it dries down to a nice textured metallic sparkle. The base is a little squishy-feeling, like a jelly.

I found Beatrix to be a little thinner than other PixieDusts, though, as it took three coats instead of the usual two, and the formula seemed to take longer to dry than usual – about average for nail polishes generally instead of super speedy like many textured polishes. Application was a piece of cake, though.

Thumbs up overall – fun color from the summer 2013 collection. 🙂