Monday, September 12, 2011

Julep Maven Program – Update & Review – Part 1

I apologize for the delay in posting – I had to learn my new camera (still working on that part), and after the whole fiasco with Julep’s referral program not working correctly, I wasn’t sure if I should post this.  However, Julep has fixed the problem, given me an acceptable solution, and I am happy with the service I have received from them, so I’m going to go ahead.  Please don’t leave me hate spam for supporting them if you do not agree.

I signed up for the Maven program on August 14th and after taking their little style quiz (which I kept retaking until I got the polish pack I wanted!), I was “American Beauty”.  My order shipped on August 16th and I received it August 23rd, so right at a week.  My second box, however, shipped on August 26th and it was in my mailbox on August 29th.  My first box came Parcel Post, the second Priority Mail, which explains the difference.  We will see in October how they ship!  My October box will be free, however, so that may mean we’ll be back to Parcel Post… maybe not a good indication of how they will ship in the future.

So yes, my October box is free.  If you haven’t already heard all of this, I will do a quick explanation.  One of the perks of the Maven program is that for each person you refer, you get a $15 credit to your account, as long as they click and buy through your referral link.  However, the original links given to customers did not work.  They went to Julep’s site and people could sign up, but the links didn’t keep track of who referred them and such, and therefore the referral program was pretty meaningless.  I learned of this from Noelie, but later there was a backlash after Jen from The Polishaholic posted about it.  I do agree with Jen – as soon as Julep realized there was a problem, they should have emailed, tweeted, Facebooked, whatever, and let people know there was a problem.  They just kinda sat on it though.  I don’t know if it was because they didn’t know what to do or if it was trying to be sneaky – I’m not sure what went on.  However, Julep did issue an apology email the day after Jen’s post.  Maybe it was because of Jen’s post – I don’t know.  I’m sure they noticed how many people cancelled the program that day, that’s for sure.  I didn’t cancel, however… I decided to wait and see what happened.  I’m glad I did.  As an apology, Julep is giving us the October box for free.  I think I only had one referral, so that is plenty sufficient to please me.  They were offering other solutions for people who had more than 1 referral and it looks like they were pretty good.  I saw a huge Julep haul on The TraceFace Philes that she was able to get from referral credits.  Maybe someday that will  be me!  ;)

So, now with all the drama behind us, let’s talk about the boxes, shall we?

When they say you can send these as a gift, they mean it.  Really well packaged and they look like a present!  Here is the nice, heavy black box they are shipped in:


(Sorry for the wonky picture sizes in this post, I’m used to working with nails and cropping – I didn’t take these pictures quite right for that!)



Inside is a heavy-weight paper bag with Julep’s logo on one side and the other…


Julep’s motto, “Powered by Girlfriends”.  $1 of every polish sold goes to charity.  The charities change monthly – you can see which one is being sponsored this month here.  One of the charities they are sponsoring this month is Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women purchase professional attire (as well as support and career development tools), which in turn will help them find jobs and remain employed.  Lia Sophia has been working with this program for several years and I usually purchase the Dress for Success pieces, of which the proceeds go to this charity.  I was pleased to see Julep working with them!  :)

Inside the bag is where you will find your monthly goodies:


If they aren’t boxed, you will find them wrapped in tissue paper.  They don’t bubble wrap or use packing peanuts, so there is a possibility of breakage, but it looked pretty good to me and I doubt they will see much of that unless a box gets smashed or something.

So in my first box I received a full-sized tube of Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub, a sample of the same scrub and one of their Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream, a full-sized basecoat, Cameron, and Alfre.  Full-sized scrub is 3oz and retails for $32.  The basecoat and polishes, full-size, are .27oz, which, yes, is small.  Very small.  A regular polish is .5oz, Chanels are .4oz, Mac are .34oz, Glitter Gals are .3oz, and an Essence Color & Go is .16oz, if that helps you out at all.  At $14 a pop, these polishes are quite expensive for the amount you get.  However, I used those coupon codes I mentioned before to get my intro box for only $4.99, which was a steal.  I have $74 retail + the two samples in here and I didn’t pay shipping costs.  If each box was like this, the $19.99 normal price would be a steal.  But we’ll get to that!

I tried out the Facial for Hands immediately and I really liked it.  It smells like oranges and wood – not like the woods, but like a new package of orange sticks.  Or toothpicks.  Something like that.  You should probably shake the tube first – I didn’t and it came out kinda watery and separated, but it sat out in my mailbox for a few hours at 100º temps, so it could have broken down a bit.  Anyway, give it a good shake and then apply a dime to quarter-sized amount on damp hands.  Rub it between your hands and don’t forget your knuckles and cuticle areas!  It’s full of little scrubby particles (looks like walnut shell and that kinda stuff, same as in CO Bigelow’s Lemon Body Scrub) that gently exfoliate your hands.  When you are satisfied, rinse and pat dry.  Follow up with your favorite hand lotion.

Now, I won’t tell you this is the *best* scrub I’ve ever used or anything, because that honor goes to Mary Kay’s Satin Hands set.  If you haven’t tried it, get on it!  It’s pricey, but usually not terrible on eBay.  My friend gave me a full-sized set for my bday one year and I’m still using it… that was like, 7 years ago.  Satin Hands is amazing, but there are 4 steps to it, which can be a bit cumbersome if you are in a hurry.  Julep’s scrub is REALLY nice and it’s only 2 steps.  When I’m going to pamper myself, I’ll pull out the Satin Hands, but for everyday use, I’m using Facial for Hands.  It smells great and gets the job done in half the time.

(I tried the sample of the lotion, but I’ll review it with the September box, since I received a full-sized lotion with it.)

The polishes are why we are really here, so let me get to them!


L-R: Basecoat, Cameron, Alfre


Cameron is a yellow-based bright pink crème.  My new camera can pick up purples ok, and even teals, but pinks?  Don’t even think about it.  Please forgive me – these aren’t even close.  The pics say blue-based almost neon, and that isn’t right at all.  It is totally unique to my collection, though I can imagine that a pink collector will be able to find something similar.  The closest in my collection was Revlon Top Speed Jelly, but it is deeper and more orange than Cameron.  I don’t have a comp photo because my camera hates pink.  It wouldn’t be accurate and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.  Pink is tough, ya’ll.


This was two creamy, dreamy coats.  Amazing formula.  Absolutely easy to work with.  Dries super-shiny, so no topcoat in this swatch.  However, I do have to complain a bit about the bottle itself.  It’s tall and thin, so VERY easy to knock over while reloading the brush.  I love the polish though, and it’s a great brush, so I won’t complain *too* much… but a different shape would be easier to work with.  I think I’m going to have to use Silly Putty to stabilize the bottle while I’m working.

I’m going to switch to the basecoat real quick here because I used it under Cameron and did a wear test for you.  It was tough, but I wanted to see what the quality was like on the basecoat and polish itself.


Hey, it’s naked nails!  First time I’ve showed those off – be kind!  Julep’s basecoat is thin and VERY shiny for a basecoat, I even double checked to make sure it wasn’t topcoat!  It dried quickly though, no bubbling.  I used one coat of BC and two coats of Cameron on my left hand, one coat of Nail Quencher on my right and 2.5 coats of Cameron, as it didn’t want to flow as well over NQ, which is a problem I’ve had in the past.  I decided to wear it until one hand chipped and declare a winner.  I was expecting this to be short contest.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with anything that isn’t “moisturizing”, and this one doesn’t say it is.  In fact, Julep has a moisturizing basecoat, so this is different.

It took a full friggen week before one of these babies chipped.  Seriously… a week of the same polish.  It was kinda hell-ish, especially because I had the time and drive to swatch, but I couldn’t!  Both hands had tipwear within a couple of days (I was hell on ‘em), and on day 4 I started to have some lifting around the cuticle on my right middle finger (writer’s bump and a permanently dry cuticle).  I did not get an actual chip until day 7, during an extremely physical day at work.  My Julep hand did end up chipping first, but I ended up with a chip on the NQ hand a little later in the day.  I will say though, it wasn’t a small chip – about half the polish on the index finger cracked and fell off.  But neither was the NQ hand… by the end of the night, my hands were looking toe-up!  >.<

I really was impressed with the Julep Basecoat and am using it right now on both my hands and toes.  I wore my next mani for 5 days with only tipwear and only one tiny chip after another extremely stressful day.  It was also a Julep polish, so I’m currently wearing it with a different brand (OPI Skull & Glossbones with Lynnderella Connect the Dots on top – AMAZING!) to see how it goes.  After 48 hours, it still looks perfect – like I just did it today.  And I’ve spent 16 hours on the computer today, so that’s no small feat.  I will keep you guys updated on it, but right now, it’s my go-to BC.

Finally, we have Alfre.  In the promo pic I saw before I placed my order, she looked like a smoky purple, kinda like a Zoya Kelly.  I’ve been craving smoky, work-appropriate colors lately, so I was pretty excited.  In the bottle pic above, you can see it’s a metallic… but when I looked closer, I began to get concerned.  Is this a freaking frost?!?!


Why yes, yes it is a frost.  But… it’s not as bad as it could be.  Actually, my ring finger looks great.  You can really see the brush-strokes on my middle finger though.  Ruh-roh. 


On the upside, it dries so shiny on it’s own that you can see my reflection in my middle nail!  Depending on how thick your coats are, this is a 2-3 coater.  It is a beautiful smoky color – a gunmetal mixed with lavender, which is a great idea for the fall.  It reminds me of a cross between Nimue and Tao, both from Zoya’s Mirrors collection.  I don’t have either to prove that, and I don’t think they have as much frosty shimmer as this one, but they are close.

So Alfre was kind of a let down after the awesomeness of Cameron, but don’t fear – the next box made up for it!

Stay tuned for the next post where I share my September box, review Julep’s Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream, and give you my overall review of the Julep Maven program thus far!

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