When it comes to nail polish, I am a huge fan of Julep’s five free formula. These polishes chip less than most, and the polishes themselves are a good deal when you have a Maven membership. They are quality polishes, so I would probably purchase them at $14 each if I did not have my Maven membership. Luckily, I do not have to pay that much. The color selections and polish finishes are more vast than almost any other nail polish line. Every month, they release nine new colors (unless they re-release one or two from the vault). I have not skipped a box since I first subscribed in May 2014, because I find something I want every month. More often than not, the nail polishes are what draw me in, but I like to try Julep’s beauty products as well.
Other than the polish, of course, my favorite Julep item is the It’s Balm Plush Pout. They are so comfortable, hydrating, and usually look incredible on. It took me a few months to collect the first four. I collected the second set of four the month they came out. This month marked the release of the third set of four. Getting all four rounded out my collection, so I now have all 12.
If you’re not already familiar with the Julep Maven program, read my review. My subscription renews after three boxes for $59.97, or $19.99 a box. Paying month to month charges $24.99, so I like paying in advance to save $15 every three months. New Maven subscriptions allow you to swap products in, so I always suggest trying that. You can at times get a higher valued box with swaps. Assuming you really want an item you are swapping out, you can generally get it in the add-on section, so put the more expensive item inside the box. Plus, swaps make the box possibilities almost endless.
Every box comes with a coupon code. There are usually 2-3 codes, and while I’d love if mine was always the best available, it is not always the case. I keep a listing of all promo codes I am aware of. Candy usually comes in the box as well. This month the candy was Junior Mints. My box had two candies and two promo codes for the first time. There was a smaller box inside a larger box, and each box had its own promo code and candy.
In addition to the nine new nail polishes, Julep also releases new beauty products each month. I do not know how they have time to do it, but I am especially grateful this month as the new collection includes my beloved lippies. If you’re interested in many items from a monthly collection, it is usually a good idea to upgrade it. How you upgrade depends on how many products outside the collection you’re also interested in. When I want other items outside the collection, I select the collection as an add-on, as I did in April 2015. That allows me to substitute things in my regular box out for older things I want at a cheaper rate than buying them in the add-on section. If I am mostly interested in items from the current collection, I upgrade my box outright, as I did in May 2015. This month, I needed other things, so I added the upgraded box as an add-on as I did in April 2015.
Doing this allowed me to substitute items from this collection with older items to fill my regular $19.99 box. The body sponges ($16) were selling for $8.99 as add-ons. By placing them in my main box instead, I was able to get the shower oil that retails for $38 at $2.01. I love this sponge and even named it one of my Top 10 Beauty Products of 2015. My current one is breaking and after raving about how incredible it is, my husband also wants to try one. Although I received this shower oil in July 2015, I have not tried it yet. Unless it is terrible, getting a $38 product for $2.01 justifies purchasing a second before trying the first. If I lost you on the math, I will simplify. There is a $55 fee to upgrade your $19.99 box making the total upgrade $74.99, but you only get the upgrade. By adding the upgrade at $74.99, I still have to pay $19.99 for the box, but I get to swap in three items of my choice. The three items (unless you choose poorly) almost always retail for more than $19.99 in the add-on section. No matter what choice you make, the upgrade only costs $74.99.
As I already mentioned above, I subbed items from this month’s collection with: 2x It’s Fun to Exfoliate All-Natural Body Konjac Sponges and Rethink Your Shower Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil. Getting two $16 sponges and a $38 body oil makes the total value of the items I received in my $19.99 box $70. That is unusually high and usually hovers closer to the mid 50s.
I select add-ons when I find three items I want. At three, you get a free bonus. You get nothing at one or two other than a discount, which I can usually find with promo codes or other methods anyway. There were way more than three I wanted this month, because a lot of great polishes I did not already own were $4.99 (400 Jules). I only had enough Jules to cover two $4.99 polishes, so I limited myself to three add-ons (the upgrade was the third). Read my program description for details on earning Jules.
My first add-on is Sylvie, a high-voltage pink iridescent glitter nail polish. I really like the color and love selecting polishes with silver lids. Sadly, she did not arrive with the silver lid pictured online. The color is what I ordered, so I really have nothing to complain about. Compare this to my other pink polishes.
My third add-on is the Whole Shebang Upgrade. I did not have any Jules for this, so I paid the full $74.99. It includes: Nail wraps ($6), a moisturizer ($24), 4 balms ($20×4=$80), 9 nail polishes ($14×9=$126), and a nail treatment ($18). This is a $254 value. Julep lists it at $256, so it is possible the nail wraps are $8. They never sell the nail wraps from the collection, but the nail wraps they do sell are always listed at $6. As such, I am sticking with my number.
The Silver Icicle Nail Wraps are cute.
The 1.7oz No Limits Luxe Hydrating Crème is a long-lasting moisturizer for anywhere that needs intensive hydration. It is cheaper than your average face cream but a bit more expensive than you average body cream. I will probably try it in both places to see which I prefer. If I prefer it on my body, I will never repurchase. My body does not need a cream this expensive.
All four of the new It’s Balm shades look different from eight I already own. I thought my collection was complete again until I found out they released a limited edition Christmas shade. That means there are 13, and I picked up the 13th one to complete my set.
It’s Balm Apricot Nude Crème is extremely sheer.
The color is actually a tad lighter than my skin tone, so it blends in almost completely.
This shade is a lot lighter than my lips, so it almost looks like I applied foundation on my lips. Like some of the other light shades, it highlights lip lines and slightly accentuates dry patches. It feels and wears as comfortable as the others, which is like a balm. The formula is moisturizing, and it lasts longer than the average balm. When I want a pale lip, I will reach for this. I will not want a pale lip often, so this is my least favorite color.
It’s Balm Nectar Pink Crème is a very light pink.
This looks close to the color of my actual lips, so I assume this will be a pinkish-nude on me. I will edit this once I’ve tried it on.
This was not as close to a perfect lip color match as I thought it would be. It is a tad more pink than my natural lips. The formula ism still moisturizing, but I noticed this is not as moisturizing as most of the others. If this did not accentuate lip lines, it would be hard to tell I was even wearing it. My lips do not have any dry patches (a first and probably a last), so I am unsure how this formula looks on dry patches. Most lighter colors in this formula do accentuate them a little, so it is safe to assume this would as well.
It’s Balm Ripe Raspberry Shimmer is the darkest of the bunch. This is not even that dark, so most of new shades lean lighter overall from earlier releases.
Raspberry presents almost fuchsia, which has been the color I’ve sought out for a while. I would have easily purchased this outside a set.
This is a fun bright color, which is why I purchase so many in this shade. The formula of this was as moisturizing as previous batches. It does slightly accentuate lip lines and highlight dry patches, but it still looks incredible.
It’s Balm Dusty Orchid Shimmer is probably the most versatile shade in this collection. If you’re only getting one, this is the one I’d suggest.
Calling it orchid seems like a stretch, but I suppose it’s okay as a dusty orchid. It swatches more pink than purple.
I love orchids and I love dusty shades in almost every color, so it is no surprise I absolutely love this. It accentuates lip lines, but it hides dry patches. This feels incredible on, because it is deeply moisturizing. The formula faded a little faster than some of the others, but I would not sacrifice moisture for something that dries down for long-wear.
I believe Be Strong Oxygen Nail Therapy is a new addition. Prior to receiving this, I did not own it. My other oxygen nail polishes are treatments, so I wonder how therapy will differ. It looks clear, so there is no need to swatch it. Julep calls this a hydrating and protecting blend of botanicals oils that helps heal dry, brittle, peeling nails. They even claim this makes a great base coat, so I may try it that way. It is mostly clear and semi matte. Compare this to my other treatments, base coats, and top coats.
Two of the nine colors this month are back from the vault, but I did not own either. They are nice additions to my collection.
Tali is a glacier breeze linear liquid holographic. From swatches alone, she is my favorite. I get a frozen vibe. Compare this to my other blue polishes.
Shay is a celadon iridescent chrome. My friend has a daughter named Shay, and strangely enough I received Shay on the same day I got a Facebook reminder of my oldest playing with her. This is a pretty polish. Compare this to my other green polishes.
Marika is a stone matte metallic. She is probably my least favorite of this collection, because I have so many polishes near this shade and never reach for them. I upgraded for the balms, so I have to remember that as I view less than stellar polish colors. Compare this to my other gray and silver polishes.
Janie is a whisper pink sheer crème. She almost looks white, but you can see the pink if you look really close. Compare this to my other sheer and white polishes.
Joss is a ripe fig duochrome. I am not overly fond of this shade either. My husband is a huge Joss Whedon fan and picked my sons’ names from shows he created. That makes this polish cool, even though the Joss I think of when I look at this is not a girl. Compare this to my other purple polishes.
Johnny is a true black crème back from the vault. If I knew I was getting a black, I would not have purchased a black in November. It’s not like I need 50 shades of black. Compare this to my other brown and black polishes.
Laree is a golden pink taffeta shimmer back from the vault. The gold does give it a slighty orange hue, but you can really see the pink when it catches the light. I really dislike taffeta (the fabric), but this polish is my second favorite of the collection. It is technically not even from this collection, but my second favorite of the 12 swatched in this article, nonetheless. Compare this to my other pink polishes.
Celeste is a cosmic gray iridescent glitter. I swear Julep tried to put as many dull colors as possible in one collection. This is not a pretty base for glitter polish. The glitter does lean green, which I like. My oldest son had a crush on a girl named Celeste last year, so I will think about that if I ever use this. Compare this to my other blue polishes.
Mariah is a plum eclipse microshimmer. I do love deep purple and shimmer. She rounds out my top three from these nine. Compare this to my other purple polishes.
My freebie for selecting three add-ons is Julep Janae. She is a cool charcoal crème and new to my collection. I love when the freebie is new and unique. There are not a lot of really dark gray colors in my stash. This is worth $14. Compare this to my other gray and silver polishes.
The total box value is $338, and I only paid $94.98. My personal value is also $338, because I will use everything in it.
If you want to join Julep, visit my Julep Maven page to see all start-up offers. Visit my regular Julep page to see more offers for shopping. All polishes above are swatched once. They get darker with more swatches. See all Julep Subscription articles. Tips For Getting the Best Deal lays out every way I can think of to save money at Julep. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.