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 Kayla

From my untrieds, Julep Kayla, described by Julep as an “electric iris sheer with violet sheen.” This is two coats, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat, in outdoor natural light (both direct light and shade):

Kayla‘s got a jelly-like sheer, somewhat milky, quality, but it’s loaded with duochrome-y shimmer that flashes pink/purple. The base color is an interesting periwinkle blue-leaning kind of pastel-neon lavender – it’s hard to describe. The pink flash warms it up a bit, but it’s overall a cool-toned polish. By the way, my bottle isn’t nearly as dark as the swatches on Julep’s website.

It takes three coats for decent coverage, though it’ll still be sheer (as intended). Could be great for layering, I bet. Application was great, and dry time was average.

It’s a fun spring/summer color that’s somehow both bright and understated. 🙂 I’ve only worn it on its own so far, but I bet it could make a mean jelly sandwich!

Julep May 2017 (Sun Crush) Custom Maven Box unboxing (with promo code!)

Another Julep Maven unboxing! This month’s featured products are some of my favorites from Julep – the Sea Salt Texture Spray, Mint Condition Pedi Creme, and No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel – but I still have those on hand, so I picked other stuff:

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The contents:

  • Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick in Moonlit Sand ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), “Rose Gold Shimmer,” because I ❤ rose gold,
  • Eyeshadow 101 Creme-to-Powder Eyeshadow Stick in Pearl Shimmer ($18 regular, $14.40 Maven), “Soft Cream Shimmer,”
  • CTRL + Z Eye Makeup Eraser ($10 regular, $8 Maven), which I’m hoping will help me clean up my eyeliner accidents (though it’s got mixed reviews on the website), and
  • Sixlets chocolate flavored candy, this month’s freebie. I’d never had them before, so that was fun to try, and the slightly different flavors for each color were kind of interesting!

This month’s quote:

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art” – Madonna

The promo code that came with this box is FREEMAY for a free polish with a $10 purchase at Julep’s website, expires 5/31/2017.

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Here’s a close-up on the Skip the Brush and Eyeshadow 101. I previously picked this up in Sheer Glow and loved it more the more I used it. I find myself frequently using it over other luminizers in my arsenal, so I thought I’d try it in a different shade. I’m not much of a blush person, but this one looks pretty natural, goes on sheer, and is buildable if you want more pigment. I prefer using this on my eyelids and lips more than on my cheeks – yay for multitasking products! Love the subtle touch of rose gold sparkle.

Oh, and I find it works better over bare skin or a BB cream (or similar cream-based product) and not as well with my mineral powder foundation.

Not much to say on the Pearl Shimmer eyeshadow. It’s a pale, shimmery, almost-white eyeshadow. 🙂 As with the other Eyeshadow 101s, I find a primer is necessary to keep it from smearing around.

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This is a close-up of the CTRL + Z Eye Makeup Eraser. It’s designed for removing eye makeup mistakes, and I thought I’d give it a shot, despite mixed reviews on the Julep website. Most of the complaints are that the tip is overly rough. I haven’t actually used it yet, but I’ll post an update when I’ve had a chance to try it out. (I currently use a Q-tip dipped in remover to clean up my cat eyes, and I’d love a more convenient solution!)

(EDIT 7/14/2017 – I’ve since tried CTRL + Z, and it’s awesome. Sharp cat eyes every time now, without wiping off and redrawing them a million times. 😀 The tip’s a bit scratchy, but I use a light hand, and it’s been fine on my sensitive skin.)

That’s it for this box! Still waiting on my Spring 2017 Pusheen Box to show up. I know folks who got their boxes ages ago, and mine hasn’t even shipped yet! Customer service says it was scheduled to ship this past week, but still nothing. :\

Anyway, happy Mothers’ Day to my fellow moms! Can’t tell you how awesome it is the first time you get a Mothers’ Day card from your own kid. ❤

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Julep April 2017 (Relax & Remix) Custom Maven Box unboxing (with promo code!)

Not quite as late this month posting my Julep Maven unboxing!

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This month’s quote: “Give me a sun lounger, a pool and a sea view, and I’m happy.” – Miranda Hart, an English actor and comedian that I wasn’t familiar with until I saw the monthly quote card. I’ve found most of the recent quotes a bit less than inspiring, but at least they have some educational value because I end up looking up the person quoted. :]

Anyway, my picks this month:

  • Feels Like Velvet Full-Coverage Eyeshadow Duo in Moonlight & Starlight ($20 regular, $16 Maven), “Lilac Grey Matte & White Sand Shimmer,” a previous release from last May,
  • Feels Like Velvet Full-Coverage Eyeshadow Duo in Cinnamon & Spice ($20 regular, $16 Maven), “Auburn Shimmer & Mushroom Shimmer,” new this month,
  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in Ultraviolet ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), “Blue Violet Shimmer,” new this month, and
  • Brigitte ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), “Bright White Crème” nail polish, which I think was released in April 2014 and is this month’s freebie. ❤

 

The promo code that came with this box is APRIL30 for 30% off a purchase at Julep’s website, expires 5/30/2017.

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Feels Like Velvet really is pretty comfortable to wear, and the colors are great, but so far, I’ve only tried applying them dry, both with and without primer, and they faded more quickly than I would have liked. Reviews on the site seem to say doing a wet application is the way to go, so I’ll have to give that a shot later on.

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Moonlight & Starlight is an matte-finish duo and looked subtle and creamy when I wore it. Again, though, maybe a wet application could amp it up a little. Work-appropriate for sure, and super fine/soft texture.

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Cinnamon & Spice has two shimmer colors and shows up more dramatically on my relatively fair skin but also seems pretty work-appropriate. It wasn’t overly sparkly when applied dry.

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The Ultraviolet eyeliner looks great on the pencil – a nice cool-leaning violet with blue flash – but on the lid, the blue flash didn’t really show up. Still a beautiful color with excellent application, but I was hoping for more blue shimmer!

I’ll give it another shot and see if I like it better next time. After all, the Sunset Gold color looked almost terracotta to me the first few times I wore it, but later on, the gold metallic shimmer finally made an appearance. No idea why it took a few applications to kick in, but it did, and now I love it!

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I haven’t tried Brigitte yet, but as I understand from reading various reviews, it’s a standard bright white creme polish, and some people have some issues with the application (pretty typical for bright white polishes, unfortunately). I’ll update the blog later when I’m able to give it a try.

I’m still well satisfied with the value and quality of the Julep Maven box. I just checked, and Julep’s new subscription options now include prepaying for 6 months and getting boxes for $16.66 each (whoa)! I’m still under the oldbie $19.99 month-to-month plan, but either way, it’s a pretty great deal for trying new products or stocking up on past favorites. If you’re interested in trying it and find my posts helpful, please consider using my referral link! (You can also use the code FREEFALL to score an extra set of 12 full-size Julep polishes ($168 value), if you’re a new Maven. :D)

Anyway, that’s it for now. I better get to bed so we can take ‘Fiend Jr. to an egg hunt tomorrow morning!