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!

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Julep March 2017 (Spring To It) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Behind on posting, since I was down for the count with whatever slew of viruses ‘Fiend Jr. brought home from daycare the week before last. D: Anyway, here’s this month’s Julep Maven unboxing!

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This month’s quote: “Spring is when life’s alive in everything.” – Christina Rossetti, an English poet known for “Goblin Market.”

  • Skip the Brush creme-to-powder blush stick in Sheer Glow ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), a multipurpose product that also works on eyes and lips,
  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in Clay ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), a new color released last month,
  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in Fig Shimmer ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), a new color this month, and
  • two One-Step Polish Remover Pads, this month’s freebie.

The promo code that came with this box is SPRING30 for 30% off a purchase at Julep’s website.

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Skip the Brush in Sheer Glow works great as a multipurpose highlighter. The finish is lightweight and comfortable. It does look subtly sparkly, which may not be for everyone, but I like it.

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I think I’ve said before that I enjoy the Julep eyeliners, so I keep picking up more colors. I haven’t tried the eyeliner in Clay yet, but Fig Shimmer is more purple and less burgundy than I was expecting from the marketing photos. Still a pretty color, though, and application is as smooth and long-wearing as usual.

And, tomorrow’s monthly selection time again. Looking forward to seeing what’s new!

Julep February 2017 (Cozy in Love) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Late post, but no biggie, since it’s another custom with previous releases. This month’s box was a birthday gift to my mom, with some of my recent Julep favorites.

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This month’s quote: “Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” – Elinor Glyn, a British author who, according to Wikipedia, “specialised in romantic fiction that was considered scandalous for its time.” 🙂

  • No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven), which I previously talked about in September 2016 – I love it because it’s lightweight and dries smooth and matte;
  • Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil ($36 regular, $28.80 Maven), which I tried and enjoyed when it came out last month – I love the delicious bergamot scent, which always reminds me of Earl Grey tea; and
  • a sample of Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil, this month’s freebie from Julep, which was unexpected but also a favorite Julep product of mine because it gently and easily removes makeup without stripping skin oils or irritating my sensitive skin.

The promo code that came with this box is POLISHLOVE for a free polish  with a $10+ purchase at Julep’s website.

I hope she likes them – sometimes it’s hard to tell!

Julep January 2017 (Future Fresh) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!) | Julep Ginny & Julep Yulia

A bit of a late post, but here it is: my customized Julep January 2017 Maven box! Since I took so long to find time to post this, I’ve also already swatched the polishes that came in it, so I’m throwing that in here, too.

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Looks like Julep’s cutting down on packaging. Instead of the usual pretty tissue paper and paper crinkles, everything was cushioned in utilitarian brown paper. (Hey, I don’t mind. It works and is easier to clean up.) My picks this month:

  • Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil ($36 regular, $28.80 Maven), this month’s featured new product that I was pretty excited to try;
  • Ginny ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), from Julep’s collection last month, described as a “Sapphire Sunset Holographic,” which actually isn’t a bad description; and
  • Yulia ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, described as a “Turquoise Sheer Iridescent Shimmer,” which is also accurate.

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Boost Your Radiance was new this month and comes packaged like What Your Skin Needs Restorative Facial Milk in a frosted glass bottle with a dropper. Julep touts this as “[a] reparative ‘wonder booster’ that leaves all skin types radiant and hydrated. Prevents and repairs the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation while regulating oil production.”

I tried the oil for about two weeks, and it really does wonders for my face. I love that it takes only a drop or two, and though I have the annoying kind of skin that gets dry patches and eczema here and there, this oil seems to smooth out those spots without making the rest of my face feel greasy. It’s pretty great! Might be too early to tell, but I have no idea if it helps for hyperpigmentation, and I don’t really have fine lines to repair yet, so hopefully it’s doing its job preventing them!

And, for your reference, here’s some swatches of the two polishes from this month, Ginny, plus one coat of Yulia over accent nail, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Ginny is quite possibly my new favorite Julep polish and is a sapphire-blue jelly packed with just the right density of fine holo shimmer/microglitter to create that starry-sky look. It’s similar to Zoya Dream, another favorite, but it looks like it’s probably more purplish, with finer holo shimmer, and it has that extra, subtle pink flash. I love it.

Yulia is sheer, as advertised, and designed to be a topper. It reminds me of Pure Ice Heartbreaker, but I’d have to do a side-by-side comparison to really tell. You can see from my photo that from some angles, it’s hardly visible (at least at once coat), but at some angles, it’s got a strong teal flash.

Both polishes had excellent formulas and dried on the faster side of average for me and had pretty good durability. They almost lasted an entire week!

Also in this box:

  • Monthly collection intro & quote card: primarily introducing Boost Your Radiance and this month’s quote, “Never dull your shine for somebody else,” from Tyra Banks;
  • Tootsie Pop, this month’s freebie (which amused my toddler, then fed my husband); and
  • Promo code card: $10 off $25+ purchase at Julep.com (use WINTER10, expires 2/28/17).

That’s it for this box…and it’s already time to make our choices for the February box. Where does all the time go?

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!

Julep June 2016 (Midsummer Light) custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

It’s that time of month again: my Julep Maven June 2016 Maven box arrived this past Wednesday! Julep’s monthly Maven box is still great, especially now that it’s fully customizable.

I customized my box this month because one of the main new products was a blush (Skip the Brush), which I pretty much never use. It’s a multipurpose makeup that can be used on lips and eyes, too, but I didn’t feel compelled to try it this time. I was also sort of lukewarm on the nail polish colors this month, so I skipped those as well.

Here’s what I got in my box instead:

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White pearlescent tissue paper, turquoise paper crinkles, and:

  • Intro/quote card – “When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.” – Wilma Rudolph, fastest woman in the world in the 1960s.
  • Promo code – use JUNE30 for 30% off a Julep.com purchase through July 31.
  • Julep Voila! Nail Polish Thinner ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) – can you believe I didn’t have a polish thinner on hand up through now? Figured I’d pick one up, since it fixes up those older polishes that start congealing on you.
  • Julep Love Your Bare Face Detoxifying Cleansing Stick ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven) – really wanted to try this since it came out a couple months ago!
  • Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Sunset Gold Shimmer ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven) – I like these eyeliners, and Sunset Gold is a new color this month.

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And, this month’s bonus freebie was Necco candy wafers. Never had these before; they’re like super-hard flavored fondant. I’m going to make a public-service announcement: don’t try chewing them like I did. I was scared I broke my teeth! Overall not my favorite, but it was still interesting to try this old-fashioned sweet from the 1840s, which I promptly felt an urge to learn about on Wikipedia. The flavors I got were orange, wintergreen, cinnamon, lemon, lime, and clove. Definitely old school.

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The Voila! Nail Polish Thinner comes in an opaque dropper bottle with the glass dropper packaged separately in the same box. I haven’t tried this yet, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness, but I’ll let you guys know when I give it a shot.

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This is the Love Your Bare Face Detoxifying Cleansing Stick with the screw-on cap removed but with the protective clear plastic shield still on. The clear shield pops right off if you carefully lift it around the edge with a fingernail, and the stick underneath is close to the consistency of a solid lip balm.

Julep recommends using the cleansing stick with their konjac sponge, but I also had good results using it with a silicone scrubby. It’s got a light, clean, citrusy scent that I like, and it left refreshingly clean but moisturized skin. It didn’t irritate my very sensitive, allergy-prone skin, either. I’m pretty impressed with this one and adding it to my skincare rotation. Thumbs up!

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The When Pencil Met Gel eyeliner in Sunset Gold Shimmer doesn’t look quite as glittery on the pencil as it does in Julep’s promotional photos, but maybe it’ll have more of that foil effect when it’s actually applied. I’ll update this when I find out!

(EDIT 7/1/16: Well, the Sunset Gold’s got a bit more foil sparkle when applied onto the skin than seen on the pencil, but it didn’t come out nearly as metallic on me as in Julep’s photos. It was more like a mild shimmer in a matte burnt-gold base – maybe conservative office-appropriate, even. Mildly disappointing!)

What can I say? You can’t go wrong with a custom box, and it was awesome of Julep to extend customization to legacy Mavens. I’m happy.

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!

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!