Julep May 2014 Maven Box: The Fresh Twist Collection, Bombshell (with promo codes)

I skipped last month’s box, so it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Julep Maven box. I went with the Bombshell selection this month.

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Pearlescent lavender tissue paper, ecru/cream scrunchy paper shreds, and:

  • a thank you note from Julep’s founder, Jane, for helping to fund the Plie Wand
  • quote of the month, from Coco Chanel: “The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.”
  • 30%-off discount coupon for this month that only works on full-priced items (PERK30)
  • Fresh Twist collection intro card with a 25%-off code for Brilliance Glycolic Hand Scrub (BRILLIANT25)
  • instruction manual for the Plie Wand
  • the Plie Wand, which comes with one magnetic overcap already fitted with a typical Julep screw-on nail polish brush (as a demo, I guess)
  • two extra magnetic caps, one of which is already fitted with a typical Julep screw-on nail polish brush
  • Yumi, “[p]ink, silver and holographic glitter,” this month’s freebie – it’s apparently named after Jane’s daughter
  • Laree, “[g]olden pink taffeta shimmer,” one of the two Bombshell colors, and
  • Saaya, “[g]olden apricot shimmer,” the other Bombshell color

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I didn’t have Yumi from before, and it looks like a fun color, so that’s pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to trying out Laree and Saaya later this week – or maybe this coming weekend, when I’m chillin’ at the beach with my lady friends, woot woot. ;] I’ll post swatches when I can.

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This is the Plie Wand I was so curious about. I actually wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to get this at first, since I paint my nails perfectly well with my non-dominant hand without any fancy tools, but I like trying new things, and the engineer in me was curious if this was really going to be ground-breaking innovation. I also don’t have any nail art tools yet, so I got the wand partially so I could pick up the dotter and striper add-on (though those aren’t here yet – we were told they’d ship separately). If it’s more ergonomic for all kinds of nail art-related activities, all the better.

I haven’t tried the wand yet as of this writing, but from a quick inspection, the overall quality seems fine. It looks like the nail polish cap (the round one under the square Julep overcaps) fits very tightly inside the magnetic attachment, though. It’s so tight that I didn’t feel comfortable yanking too hard to see if I could remove the one already wedged into the magnetic overcap that comes with the wand, for fear I might break the brush or cap. I’d try screwing it onto a bottle to tug it off, but I don’t have any empty Julep bottles to try it with. I know that with this design, the fit’s got to be tight so the brush doesn’t fly off while you’re painting your nails, but I really wish it used some kind of release mechanism instead of mechanical friction to hold and easily release the polish caps. It’s probably a cost issue, I’d guess. Just some initial thoughts.

Also, the attached brush arrived with an…interesting hairstyle:

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No biggie, since I probably won’t be actually using it (and I have several ideas how I might be able to fix it, if I do), but given that Julep isn’t an inexpensive brand, I kind of expect better. But, hey, they’re a start-up, stuff happens, and I’m pretty easygoing.

I’ll update this blog when I’m actually able to try the wand. I’m not going to have any expectations until I use it firsthand. Maybe it’ll be amazing. We’ll see!

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Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase, Zoya Louise, and Milani Sugar Rush

As soon as I saw Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Chartreuse Chase at the drugstore, I knew I’d have to pick it up. I love the creamy almost-neon, almost-pastel yellow-green with subtle cyan shimmer.

Here’s day 2 in natural light, three coats of Chartreuse Chase (except for the ring finger, which I’ll talk about later), topped with Julep Freedom top coat:

Chartreuse Chase needed three coats because it goes on a bit patchy in the first two, but it does dry really fast, like its name suggests, so slapping on three layers isn’t that bad. The brush is wide with a rounded tip and workable, but it felt a bit clumsy for precise application. One weird quirk of this polish: the shimmer was very visible when I first applied it, but I’m now on day four of this manicure, and I feel like the cyan shimmer’s gotten less and less visible. I’m not exactly sure why. The color hasn’t otherwise faded, though. Any ideas? Is it my top coat?

My ring finger has on Zoya Louise, a chocolate brown creme/crelly from the fall 2013 Cashmeres & Satins collection (on the Cashmeres side), as well as Milani Sugar Rush, which is a new Gold Label glitter topper introduced this spring, comprising a clear base with medium holo and pastel matte hex glitters in silver, peach, light yellow-green, and yellow. I was thinking of Easter chocolate when I picked these colors, natch. Yum!

Both of these polishes have more typical brushes that are smaller and flat-tipped. Louise is great and glides on super smooth, covering completely in two coats. Sugar Rush is cute but a bit more of a pain to apply. I definitely needed to dab and deliberately place glitters to get an even distribution. Because Sugar Rush needed extra manipulation, it actually melted and smudged Louise underneath while I was pushing glitters around, so I had to redo that one. Just fair warning!

Julep Kessie

Julep described Kessie as their “duochrome homage” to the 2014 Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid. Sephora calls it a “metallic orchid.” I’m not entirely sure I’d call Kessie a duochrome or a metallic exactly, but it is shimmery and does have the quality of appearing more violet or more magenta, depending on the angle. The shimmer also seems to mildly shift from pink to a peachy gold, but it’s hard to see on the nail.

This is two coats with Julep Freedom top coat, in indirect natural light, on the second day:

The formula is very sheer, so in two coats, you can still see the nail line underneath. I’m guessing a third layer might fix that, considering how much the second coat built up from the first, almost invisible coat. I was a little dismayed at first when I saw how sheer the first layer came out, but the second pass really made a dramatic difference. I can also see how Kessie’s transparency creates that glow-from-within sense of depth to the color, so I’m not complaining.

You can see a tiny hint of the peachy gold from this angle, when the light hits the shimmer just right. It’s very subtle, though.

Meanwhile, the cooler violet tones show up more in shadow, probably because that’s when the pink shimmer isn’t stealing the show.

It’s true Kessie doesn’t have the spectacular color shift of the flashier types of polishes I generally prefer, but this subdued shift provides that interesting chameleon effect I’ve mentioned before, allowing the color to adapt to match the colors around it. It’s definitely got that signature Julep subtlety to it.

Well, this isn’t a typical color I’d go for, but I like it, and it’s a nice, bright spring color. I also don’t have anything else quite like it in my stash. Overall, thumbs up.

Julep Cameron

This week, I’ve been wearing Julep Cameron, the Stardust finish polish from my Julep Maven February 2014 Boho Glam monthly box.

This is one coat on all fingers, except for the index finger, on which I tried two coats without much difference, no top coat, in natural light:

Cameron‘s a silvery neutral-toned lilac metallic with multi-sized glitters in the same color. It dries with a slight texture (similar to OPI’s Liquid Sand finish) and somewhat shiny (not matte, as Julep describes their Stardust finish, to my eye). It’s an understated color that doesn’t scream purple but isn’t boring in the least: it’s clearly lilac when examined more closely, and the light-scattering from the mixed glitter creates a druzy-like effect. Also, it’s got pretty good coverage in one coat, and the formula is easy to apply.

It’s also pretty durable. I’ve worn it for about half a week without too much noticeable wear, despite my tendency to use my nails as tools. I love that about Julep nail polishes.

Thumbs up from me on this polish!

I really loved Julep’s February colors and wish April’s finishes had been more interesting. I ended up skipping this month, so I won’t be reviewing an April 2014 box, but I’m holding onto my hopes for May. :]