Friday, September 30, 2011

Julep Maven American Beauty Box #1 Review

Some of you may have heard of Julep. They're a new-ish nail polish company and they have a subscription program similar to Birchbox (for those of you not familiar, keep watching the blog for more info). You pay $19.99 per month, and they send you a box with over $40 worth of their merchandise. The selections are based on the style quiz you take when setting up your account. I just received my first box, and here are my thoughts thus far, along with some serious photo spamming:
The Box

Card with Product Info

Letter from Company (and Rando)

Maven Program Info

Nice Presentation

Other Side of the Bag

Rando Claimed the Ribbon
The Goods

Hand Cream Sample

My Surprise, All Wrapped Up

Cameron, Basecoat, Alfre

Rando messing up my backdrop

Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub
Cameron, natural light with Nikon camera

Cameron, natural light with Thunderbolt camera

Alfre, Natural light with Nikon

With Flash, Thunderbolt camera

Natural Light, Thunderbolt camera
What I like:
*The packaging is really nice. I don't feel like my entire $20 was wasted on excessive fancy paper, but it looks classy. The fact that the letter was hand signed with ink was a nice touch.
*The formula on the polish is very nice. It's a little thicker than some brands, but not at all hard to work with. The brushes were decent, though they could have been problematic with a thinner formula.
*While not really unique, the colors were nice and would work well with most skin tones.
*I haven't had a chance to test the longevity, but the base coat applied very smoothly.
*My order shipped when it was supposed to and I had the package in hand within a week.
*The hand scrub is really nice and didn't leave my hands feeling dry. Unlike a lot of hand scrubs, this one doesn't feel like they dumped sugar into regular hand soap and called it a fancy scrub. This one is made with glycolic acid and apricot seeds, so the base to the scrub actually softens and exfoliates, too.
*The hand cream is fantastic. You barely need any to coat your hands, it doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy or slimy, AND it contains SPF 30, which is hard to find.
*Decent value. While the price tag is a little high when purchased separately, the Maven program gets you 3 polishes and a goody or two for $20.
*You can refer friends and get a $15 Julep gift certificate.

What I didn't like:
*The color selection is a little bland. There isn't much from their whole collection that I haven't seen twice already.
*The price tag is a little high. Maybe a lot. The polish is $14 per bottle, and the bottles are only .25 oz. Basically half the polish for twice the cost (and then some) of most brands. At most, I pay $8 for Zoya's unique colors or Essie's great selection. The formula IS nice, but it's not THAT nice. The hand cream and the scrub run about $28-30 each. The Maven program is a decent value, but considering I just bought 13 bottles of Color Club, China Glaze and Orly for $40, and they're all unique colors.
*The polish bottles are tall and thin, making it easy to tip them over if you're not careful, or if you have a curious cat who likes to walk on your desk while you're doing your nails.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the first box. I'm going to give it a few months to see if the selection gets better, and what other products they send. If you're interested in the Maven program, you can click on this link to sign up (Full disclosure: This is my referral link. No pressure. I am not offended if you don't want to use it). I'm not sure if this works after October, but you can use promo code WELCOMEMV5 to get your first month for $5.

One final note: I have heard stories online about poor customer service and people not getting their referral bonuses. I used my referral link above to test the validity of the program, and to see if the rumors are true or not. I am proceeding with caution with this subscription, but I feel like I should give Julep a fair shot. I work for a large company that gets badmouthed in the press because people incur large bills or want to break contracts, especially if the company declines to issue credit for valid charges. Having been on the receiving end of MANY of those calls, I prefer to get experience firsthand. Read the agreement before you sign up, and pay attention to cancellation policies.

**Update: While Rando was trying to climb into the gift bag (which was hilarious, since he is far too big to fit in that little bag), I found another sample packet of the glycolic hand scrub in the bag. Not sure why they included a sample and a full size, but only one sample of the hand cream. Weird.**

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