Julep September 2017 (Flawless Without the Fuss) “Peaches & Dream” Maven Box unboxing (with add-ons and promo code!)

Just a quick unboxing post! I went with one of Julep’s curated boxes this month, “Peaches & Dream” (the box they suggested for me), and threw in a few extra nail polishes:

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My picks:

  • Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick in Sweet Peach ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), a “Light Peachy Pink Sheen,” plus these nail colors:
  • August ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, “Chocolate Cherry Ghost Shimmer,”
  • Karin ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, “Powdered Lilac Crème,”
  • Eve ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) as an add-on, sold as the Unicorn Party Mystery Polish, “Iridescent Lilac Matte Shimmer,”
  • Signe ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) as an add-on, “Red-Hot Coral Shimmer,” and
  • Ange ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) as an add-on, “Tidepool Blue Crème.”

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Extras:

  • Katya ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), freebie for getting three or more add-ons, “Açai Berry Crème,”
  • Julep stickers, this month’s freebie, and
  • the collection description card with the monthly quote (below) and featuring Julep’s primers, new cushion skin perfector, and new finishing powder (which I picked up in July).

I got two each of the sticker sheets and paper inserts this month, for some reason. Not that I’m complaining!

This month’s quote:

“Find a sense of self, because with that, you can do anything else.” – Angelina Jolie

The promo code that came with this box is FALLPOLISH for a free nail polish with a $10+ purchase at Julep’s website, expires 9/30/2017.

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I have Skip the Brush in three other colors already because they’re so versatile, and I’ve liked them all to varying degrees. I thought Sweet Peach would be a little more of a cream finish and a little less shimmer/glitter than Golden Guava, but that was only maybe somewhat true. Though you can’t see it in the tube, Sweet Peach ended up having some of those odd chunks of gold glitter inside, too. I think there’s less than I saw in Golden Guava, but if you can’t stand glitter, this is not for you.

I think Sheer Glow and Moonlit Sand stand as my favorite shades of this product. They have that glowy shimmer a good luminizer has, but no random chunks of gold glitter.

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I’ve already swatched new colors August and Karin in another post, and Eve is a duplicate I’ve also swatched, if you’re interested. (I love Eve, which you can read about at the swatch link.)

In short, August disappointed me because the shimmer doesn’t show, and in person, it reads as an almost-black creme. Here, you can see it next to an older Julep polish, Ledi, which has the same largely gimmicky “ghost shimmer” finish. You can see in strong direct light (this is taken in harsh sunlight) that it’s actually a very dark chocolaty brown compared to Ledi’s black, but it doesn’t look that way on the nail. Also, the shimmer is silver, not, say, reddish. Too bad.

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Signe and Katya are new to my collection and will be swatched at some point. 🙂

That’s all for this box. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or comments about the products I got, Julep, etc. Happy fall!

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Julep August & Julep Karin

My September 2017 Julep box just arrived on Friday, and I haven’t had time to post about it yet, but here are the swatches of the two new colors I got in my box, Julep August and Karin. Here, they’re topped with Essie Good to Go top coat.

August, on all my nails except for the ring finger, is described by Julep as a “Chocolate Cherry Ghost Shimmer,” and I regret to say that I fell for that marketing sweet talk because chocolate cherry just sounded so yummy. 😦 It’s not a bad color, but it’s really more of a warm-toned/brownish off-black, and I already have a million off-blacks. Also, that Ghost Shimmer descriptor? Turns out it was probably a marketing-department euphemism for shimmer you really can’t see at all, except in strong direct light and only sometimes. August might as well be a creme, which is fine if that’s what you want, but I wanted to see at least a little bit of shimmer, and not just when direct sun hits it just right.

Formula-wise, at least it dries really fast. Streaky at one coat and okay at two, but if you have enough light hitting it to actually show the red tones in the polish, you can also see how unevenly it actually goes on (which I could not see while I was applying because it just looked black in regular indoor light). Also, I hate the current Julep flat-tipped wide brush. As I’ve said so many times before, it’s too fat for my small nails, and the flat tip is just too wide when it spreads to make a good curve along the cuticle, so I needed to clean up with a brush and acetone afterward, which I hate.

I guess in direct sun, it has a hint of the red that’s supposed to make it “chocolate cherry.” Meh. Disappointed with this one. :\

Karin‘s much better. It’s got an interesting cookies-‘n’-creme-milkshake finish going on, with darker matte particles suspended throughout, rather than the more standard shimmer particles. The base color’s a milky pale pinkish lilac (Julep calls it a “Powdered Lilac Crème”). Formula’s a bit thick, though (prone to cuticle flooding), and has an average dry time.

Tl;dr – August’s description is misleading, but it could be a decent warm off-black almost-creme, if that’s your jam. I think the Ghost Shimmer finish is pointless, personally, since it doesn’t even shimmer enough for a noticeable subtle effect. Karin is pretty cool, and I’d love this finish in more ice-cream inspired colors.

Julep Channon, Julep Sarai & Julep Rendee

Catching up swatches from the past few weeks. These matte shimmers debuted this past May (Eve is from the same Sun Crush collection) and are great summer colors!

Julep Channon a shimmery cool-toned white matte. This is two thin coats, but it probably could have used a third for more even opacity. The formula was good and even if applying in thin coats but had a hard time drying if I tried applying more thickly.

Julep Sarai is a blue-leaning (emerald) green shimmery matte that looks almost teal from some angles. This is, again, two thin coats. As with Channon, I found the formula had a bit of a hard time drying if I didn’t use the thinnest coats. (My dog dinged my middle fingernail because it didn’t fully dry down, even after maybe an hour or more.)

This one caused some staining when I was removing it, as teal polishes tend to. It stains after the remover melts it, not before, since the parts that chipped off were clean. I’d advise holding the remover-soaked cotton ball/pad against the nail for the shortest amount of time possible and wiping it away immediately to minimize staining! Stunning bright emerald, though.

Julep Rendee is a a sparkly purple-leaning blue matte. (The base color under all that shimmery blue is pink, giving it that purplish cast.) The formula is about the same as the other two – thin coats work best. This one didn’t stain like Sarai, thankfully.

I picked up these three colors as part of a “Beach Mattes” trio from the Julep Secret Store a couple months ago – for free! I may have mentioned before that Julep’s customer service is pretty awesome and gave us $50 to spend on Julep products when a monthly box item hit some manufacturing obstacles and couldn’t be delivered as promised. Even more awesome, when I somehow missed that there was an expiration date on the $50, they still let me use it when I asked. ❤

Tl;dr: Overall, I really enjoyed wearing these colors, though I was a bit bummed that they didn’t dry as easily as I’d hoped, given the matte finish and no need for top coat. I’d recommend three very thin coats for these polishes, rather than two thicker ones.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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!