Julep September 2016 (Cheers to Five Years!) and October 2016 (Dark and Stormy Nights) custom Maven boxes (+promo codes)!

It’s been a while since I posted a Julep Maven box unboxing, and I’m going to catch up today by posting about this month’s box (which came in last weekend) and last month’s box! Hoping to make this short and sweet:

Julep September 2016 (Cheers to Five Years!) Maven box (customized)

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” – Mia Hamm

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September was Julep’s fifth anniversary, and they celebrated by releasing some anniversary items, including a Cheers to Five Years! Mini Lip Trio (which I passed on because I don’t really wear lipstick), a nail polish trio with three of September’s new releases, and the Cheers to Five Years! Mini Eyeliner Set ($40 regular, $32 Maven), which I did pick up because I’ve been a fan of Julep’s gel eyeliner pencils so far. I also got an It’s Fun to Exfoliate Charcoal Body Konjac Sponge ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), which I love because it’s gentle on my easily irritated skin.

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Closeup on the 5-piece mini eyeliner set (from left to right): When Pencil Met Gel in Galaxy Black Shimmer (black with purple glitter), Deep Sea Foam ShimmerGilded Gold ShimmerLilac Shimmer, and Ultraviolet. I wore Galaxy Black and Gilded Gold to a wedding, and they went on smoothly and stayed put all night. (FYI, Gilded Gold is an actual metallic gold, unlike the disappointingly terracotta-y Sunset Gold.) Galaxy Black, with its deep purple glitters, is awesome. Thumbs up.

Promo code: FALLCOLOR for a free polish with a $10+ purchase (expires 10/31/16).

No freebie in my September 2016, not even a piece of candy like we usually get. 😦 I asked Julep’s customer service about it and was told this: “This month we were supposed to include a makeup bag for our anniversary. However, the bags arrived flawed and not up to our standards so we were not able to ship them with the September box.” Boo. I read some people got emery boards, but not me.

Anyway, onward!

Julep October 2016 (Dark and Stormy Nights) Maven box (customized)

“We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle” – Marilyn Monroe

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Yep, I picked up the No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven) that didn’t make it into my August 2016 Maven box. It was smaller than I expected, which you can kind of see from comparing it to the nail polish bottle. It’s roughly palm-sized and really skinny at that.

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The gel came out looking a teensy bit gelatinous and chunky-looking, as well as slightly sparkly and pink-tinged, when I first squeezed it from the bottle. (I’ll add photos later if I’m able to capture any decent ones.) It applied smoothly, though, and dried down matte as promised (no evident sparkle). It was lightweight, didn’t irritate my finicky skin, successfully protected me from sunburn, and took to mineral powder foundation well, so I’m pleased with it.

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I also picked up a What Your Skins Needs Restorative Facial Milk ($38 regular, $30.40 Maven). I would’ve picked this up earlier, but it wasn’t available as a Maven box selection for a while. This stuff is amazing. I didn’t think I needed another moisturizer in my rotation, but I tried it last winter when my sister got one in her Maven box, and I changed my mind when a few drops of this stuff fixed the eczema patches on my face faster than my expensive prescription meds. It smells a little funny (kind of like Elmer’s white glue, if we’re being blunt), but man, does it do the job.

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And, I picked up a Get In Line Invisible Lip Liner ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven). This product has mixed reviews on Julep’s site, so I’m don’t know yet if I chose wisely, but I’ve always wanted to try a clear lip liner. All I’ve done so far is remove the cover (carefully, by first twisting the cap until it loosened before trying) to photograph it, but the tip didn’t immediately fall out like it did for many of the people who gave it a 1-star review, so I might be in the clear (no pun intended). I’ll update this blog when I’ve had a chance to give it a whirl.

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Finally, the freebie for October, Desiree, a “high-gloss holographic top coat.” ❤ (I’ll be posting up swatches in the next post. EDIT: Swatch here!) 😀

Promo code: OCT10 for $10 off a $25+ purchase at Julep.com (expires 11/30/16, two uses per customer).

That’s it for now!

My absolute favorite skincare line – Beautygen

Somehow, the entire time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve never thought to write about my favorite skincare products, probably because I’ve been using them for years, and I’ve been mostly posting only about new stuff (primarily nail polish, of course!) I’ve gotten since I started this blog. 🙂 That, and the brand is an obscure Asian brand that I only found out about through a family friend, who became (as far as I know) Beautygen’s only US reseller.

Beautygen is a Taiwanese company that makes its skincare products out of natural, organic, food-grade ingredients, as I understand. I’ve been using their products for about five or six years now and can honestly say that it’s awesome stuff. I have very sensitive skin prone to eczema and rosacea outbreaks and that reacts unhappily to many skin products, and Beautygen has been a lifesaver. These are the products that I use and love:

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Back/top row, left to right:

  • Wonder Cleanser ($31) – my favorite daily cleanser ever. It works great on bare skin, removes light makeup well, is super gentle, and leaves the skin moisturized after it’s rinsed off. It has a slimy, gelatinous “honey” texture that gradually balls up as you massage it onto your face, taking dirt/oil/makeup/dead skin with it. It sounds weird, but I think it’s fun to use, whether or not it’s a gimmick. 🙂 Smells like roses.
  • Moist Up Lotion ($113) – my favorite daily facial moisturizer. It’s got a very thin consistency, like water, but it only takes a few drops to moisturize the whole face, so it’s super fast to slap on. Great for the impatient and short on time. Also, one bottle lasts forever.
  • Delight Whitening Lotion ($113) – this is a heavier moisturizer than the Moist Up Lotion, so I don’t use it daily but as needed for extra dry spots. I can’t tell if it actually whitens because I’m light-complexioned with difficulty tanning in the first place, but it’s supposed to help even out skin pigmentation. Hardly takes a few drops each application and also lasts forever.

Front/bottom row, left to right:

  • Glowing Protector ($56) – this is a BB creme-type of tinted/complexion-evening sunscreen that they say doubles as a foundation primer, if you use makeup. It uses zinc oxide, rather than chemical sunscreens, which I personally prefer. It doesn’t have an SPF rating on the box, though it seems to work just fine preventing sunburn from the minimal to moderate sun exposure I usually have. It only comes in one color and is pretty translucent, so it probably works for a wide range of at least light and medium skin tones.
  • Whitening Plus Cream ($125) – this is a thicker but still light-feeling moisturizing cream that I use over the two above moisturizers and under the Glowing Protector to seal in moisture. Again, I can’t really say if the whitening part works because my skin’s already fair, but it’s been really helpful with my eczema. Again, the smallest smudge of this stuff will be enough for the whole face, so it lasts forever.

These are all day and night products (other than Glowing Protector, which is for daytime use) and are advertised for all skin types, though I’ve found even using them once a day maintains excellent moisture and has improved my skin dramatically.

The price tags on these products looks astronomical compared to those of many other skin products, but these are so concentrated that very little goes a long way and really stretches out the initial investment. Their effectiveness, natural ingredients, and compatibility with super sensitive skin also makes it worthwhile to me. I’m able to use one container for years (though they recommend using them up by an expiration date printed on the bottle for best effect). It’s also possible to pick up near-expired products on clearance for a hefty discount, and I can say from experience that they still work great. 😉

Anyway, just thought I’d share these with you, since I love them so much. (I bought these products with my own money and am not affiliated with the company or receiving anything for this blog post.) I don’t know if Beautygen will ever catch on in the States because they’re a pricey luxury brand; plus, even the US reseller’s website, Gold 9S, is only in Chinese because it’s primarily marketing to the Taiwanese and Chinese population here. Still, if you’d like to give them a try, the Chrome browser has that handy translation function that  seems to give reasonably readable and accurate translations. 🙂 I may also be able to answer some questions, so if you’ve got any for me, fire away!

Julep January 2016 Maven Box: New Year, Fresh Look Collection, Modern Beauty box + add-ons (with promo codes!)

My Julep Maven January 2016 Maven box arrived yesterday! I got the Modern Beauty box this time because I wanted to try their new moisturizer, plus I grabbed a few add-ons with some of the polishes I wanted at a reduced price. Such a good deal.

Here’s what came in the mail:

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A smaller box, plus the It’s Balm lip crayon in Nectar Pink from the Modern Beauty box, all my add-on nail polishes, and the freebie for picking up three add-ons, all nestled in cream-colored paper crinkles and wrapped in glittery baby-blue tissue paper. ❤

Before I continue on, here’s Nectar Pink, one of the new It’s Balm colors released this month, up close:

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I haven’t tried it on yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m not allergic. I don’t even wear lip stuff very frequently because of skin sensitivities, but the coral color really attracted me. So happy looking. I’d brave that for a special occasion.

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The smaller box had the No Limits Luxe Hydrating Creme (an all-purpose moisturizer, the other half of the Modern Beauty box) and this month’s bonus: a little box of Junior Mints! Yum. I liked that the quote this month is from Dr. Seuss.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

True, that. And, here’s No Limits, unboxed:

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The sparkly pearlescent box and plastic jar are pleasing to the eye. Under the lid, though, the dispenser for the moisturizer was unusual – at least, I’ve never come across this kind of dispenser before.

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Gotta admit, it took me a few tries to figure it out. “Push to dispense,” unfortunately, was not an adequate instruction. It should have read “pump a few times to prime, then push to dispense.” (If anyone from Julep is reading – maybe you could include the instructions on the side of the jar?) I didn’t pump the button first because I didn’t want to accidentally dispense too much, so when no product came out when I pressed the button, I initially tried pressing again, then pressing harder, then holding the button, then even checking the valve (the smaller circle) to see if there was a seal I hadn’t removed before I tried priming the dispenser. After priming, the product eventually squishes out from under the edges of the valve, so you can scoop it up with a fingertip or something. Weird design, but I guess it works.

Also, maybe I’m a n00b, but hey, I got it working eventually. ;P

The moisturizer itself is nice; I tried it on my face and hands. The creme isn’t greasy or heavy, soaks into the skin quickly, and kept my horribly dry skin feeling nice for many hours. So far, my super sensitive skin hasn’t had any bad reactions to it, either. The smell isn’t my favorite, though. It’s got the same scent as Julep’s Rock Star hand creme, I believe.

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The add-ons I picked up were:

  • Out Of This World trio (three polishes released this month: Tali (“[g]lacier breeze linear liquid holographic”), Shay (“[c]eladon iridescent chrome”), and Celeste (“[c]osmic gray iridecent glitter”)) for $14.99,
  • Viv (“[c]rème de menthe liquid holographic”) from this past holiday’s All Is Bright holographic polish trio, for $4,99, and
  • Tiffany (“[p]ink radish jelly”) from last June’s The Deep End collection, for $4.99.

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Janae, a “[c]ool charcoal crème” was my freebie for getting three or more add-ons.

Last, but not least, the promo codes for this month:

  • JAN10 for $10 off a $20+ purchase (from my box) and
  • JANLIPPY for a free It’s Whipped matte lip mousse ($22 regular retail price, $17.60 Maven) with a $20+ purchase (from my sister’s Boho Glam box)

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links. I don’t expect you to use my referral links unless you want to, of course, and they don’t affect me giving my honest opinion. Referrals go toward products reviewed on this site – thanks!