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Subscription Review: Julep Maven

February 6, 2012

I adore the idea of monthly beauty and fashion subscriptions. I’m signed up on almost every site, from JewelMint to Shoedazzle to Birchbox, although Birchbox was (until last week) my only active subscription. I want to try them all, but I’m on a somewhat limited budget at the moment, so I haven’t had much of a chance. Oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever written a review of Birchbox, which is a disaster that needs to be remedied. I’m going to wait until I get my February box so I can take pictures and stuff, though. I love getting stuff in the mail, and actual products are way better than magazines.

Last week, I found a discount code for the Julep Maven program and decided to give it a shot, especially since I was near a Weight Watchers goal (this seems to be my excuse for every purchase lately). In case you haven’t heard of it, Julep Maven is a (duh) monthly nail polish subscription. As is typical, you take a style quiz and they match you up with one of several box types. You can log on to the site and see your box before it ships; you can also choose a different one if yours doesn’t appeal, send it to a friend, or skip the month altogether. There’s a fairly narrow window to do so — you have to log in between the 20th and 24th of the month.

I have a very small nail polish addiction (I only have about 30, which I think is eminently reasonable) and I like taking quizzes online, so I enjoyed the sign up process even if half of my answers were nonsense because I didn’t actually like any of the options. I ended up getting “Classic with a Twist,” which seemed close enough and was actually the box I liked most for February anyway. I placed my order and received the box three days later — from the West Coast, no less. A+ for shipping speed, Julep!

Here’s what it looked like when it arrived:

the shipping box

The shipping box is nice and sturdy, and reasonably attractive — it reminds me of Smashbox and MAC’s packaging. Inside, the first thing I saw was a little card detailing the contents as well as a welcome letter and some information about the program.

paper stuff

Underneath that was some fun red and gold paper packaging stuff, a chocolate Oscar statue thing (I think that’s what it’s meant to be), and the bag containing the products all tied up with a red ribbon.

chocolate oscar

I haven’t eaten the chocolate yet (and no, I have no idea how this has happened), so I can’t tell you anything about it. And finally we get to my actual box contents for the month.

meryl, oscar, and top coat for hair

On the left is Meryl, a grey creme polish. This is the main reason I went with the Classic with a Twist box, because somehow I forgot I already have a grey creme polish and was really excited about it. In the middle is Oscar, a gold glitter that looks super sparkly in the bottle. And on the right is Top Coat, which I think is a shine spray for hair. I was kind of meh about that one, since I already have (and like) a Redken spray for that purpose. (Thanks, Birchbox!)

Since I was most excited about Meryl, I used it to paint my nails yesterday. You’ll forgive the sloppiness as usual, I hope.

julep meryl

I like the polish but I’m not in love with it. This is two coats; the first coat was streaky and uneven, as creme polishes can be. I’d heard such rave reviews, though, that I was a little disappointed. This color, at least, is definitely not opaque in one coat. (To be fair, Julep recommends two coats, so it does work as advertised.) It’s a nice enough color but I think I prefer Zoya Dove, which I know is not the same. I think I’d have liked Meryl better had I gotten it in, say, December, when I still felt wintery. With spring coming on I don’t see myself wearing it a lot. I’ve been wearing this for about 24 hours now and no chips (with my usual Sally Hansen base coat and Seche Vite top coat), but I haven’t been doing a whole lot with my hands either.

I haven’t tried Oscar yet, but I’m hoping I feel a little more wowed by it. I’ll probably try the Top Coat next time I go out, even if it’s just to the grocery store, to see how I feel about it.

On reflection, I wish I’d gone with the American Beauty box, because I am always in need of cuticle oil and theirs comes in a handy-looking roller bottle. I didn’t think I wanted the berry red Glenn polish but I’d probably have liked it more than the grey, and it’s not a color I already have. Oh well.

So, will I keep my subscription? At $19.99/month, I’m not sure. I know their polishes are pricey so it does represent a decent value if you’re going to buy Julep anyway. Compared to China Glaze or Zoya, though, it’s not all that great. Also, the bottle itself drives me kind of nuts. I can’t seem to get the cap back on exactly square, and the tall shape made me afraid I was going to knock it over every time I dipped the brush. Still, I think I’ll see what the March box looks like and make a decision then.

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