If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Julep makes my favorite nail polish. It is a five-free polish that is long-lasting and comfortable on my nails. Most of my Julep manicures go about a week before chipping. Thanks to the thicker formula, most of the crème finishes only need a single coat for full opaque-ness. Although I am really happy for Jane and Julep that the brand branched out to Ulta, purchasing direct from Julep is the way to get the best deal. Having a Maven membership is the best way to shop Julep through the subscription box or the store. As with all programs, it is important to subscribe to emails. Those emails alert you to all special deals, send you reminders on when to make your selections, send reminders on when your plan renews, and more.
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 20%. There is a new subscription option that offers six boxes for $99.96, or $16.66 a box. This is the plan I will probably go with when my current subscription expires. Sales tax applies in select states, and my state is one of them. When you subscribe for the first time, you can either get your first box free if you pre-pay for two at $39.98 (the $19.99 a box rate) or get 50% off the first box (the $24.99 rate). Every plan auto-renews, so you either pay $59.97 for 3 boxes or $24.99 per box when you redeem more boxes after using the ones you pre-pay for.
Mavens can skip as many months as they want, but they must skip between the selection period from the 20th to the 24th. If they skip the month, they get charged nothing. There is no limit to how many times a Maven can skip. All Mavens get a specific box based on their beauty profile. I am a Bombshell, so I get an email on the 20th asking for my selection. When I log in, I see the items Julep put together in the standard Bombshell box. Those who want to take a box can swap products around during the selection period or take the box Julep selected. You can usually get a higher valued box with swaps. There is always at least one spot that allows high valued beauty products that retail for up to $38. If you swap a $14 nail polish out for a $38 item, you are already getting more than what you paid for the box on one item. Depending on the other item(s) you select, you can get 1-2 more.
I have a lot of articles going over what I receive in my boxes and the value I get, because I never skip a month (by choice). Many of the beauty products are items I end up loving, so I like adding higher-valued beauty products to my boxes along with the polishes I adore. Swaps give you endless possibilities on the items you receive in the box and assure that you’re only receiving items you want. This means boxes with a $50 value actually have $50 in value for you, because you’re more likely to try everything. Because I always swap in at least one beauty product, I get a minimum of $50 in value for my $19.99 investment. The lowest value is $42 when you select 3 polishes and no beauty products. Most of my boxes have a value in the high $50 to low $60 range.
There are other benefits to selecting a box besides getting way over $19.99 or $24.99 in value you’re paying for the items inside. The first is Jules. Everyone gets 100 Jules when they join Julep. You get a minimum of 350 Jules for accepting a box. Those who upgrade to a luxe box get 700 Jules. Use Jules to get a box for free when you reach 2000 or to select add-ons inside your box for as little as 300. If you have pre-paid boxes remaining, you cannot redeem Jules for a free box. Save them until you are out of free boxes and use them then or break them up and purchase add-ons. Mavens get 500 Jules on their Maven anniversary.
All Mavens get access to the secret store. Julep customers who are not Mavens cannot shop this monthly sale at all. It is a benefit of being a Maven that really pays off. The last few days of the month, the store is open to Mavens who chose to receive the upcoming box. All items in the secret store are heavily discounted, but there are always a few items get discounted more in the first few days to give Mavens who selected an upcoming box an even greater discount. Any Maven can shop the secret store the first few days of the month. Other than a few items, all the deals posted at the end of the month are still available when the month switches over. There is a chance items can sell out before Mavens who did not select a box get to shop, but that is rare. If you are a Maven, you will usually get to shop great deals whether you select a box that month or not. Mavens who spend $50 or more on secret store items (they must come from the secret store) get 2000 Jules. As I mentioned above, that is enough to redeem for a free box.
When you select a monthly box, there are times when you get bonus items just for taking it. The October box has a free polish, which I will share in its own article when the box arrives. There was also a bonus polish in the February Box this year. Any time you select a box, you get the option to select 1-6 add-ons at a big discount. This is also possible to a lesser extent when you make a purchase from the store, and I will go over that later. I always recommend adding 0 or 3. Those who add 3 items get a mystery polish. Even if your nail polish collection is as large as mine, getting a free polish is a quick way to add value to the box. They are occasionally new polishes, but I gift them when they’re duplicates of polishes I already own. It’s nice either way to expand my collection or get new items to gift. If you cannot find 3 items, use a promo code and purchase the item separately. People who see more than 3 can usually save the extras for next month. The add-on offers tend to repeat. Play around with your swaps if you’re selecting add-ons. Some items are cheaper to purchase as add-ons than add inside the box and vice versa.
There is ALWAYS a promo code inside your subscription box to make purchases in the shop. Julep usually rotates 3 different promo codes in a given month and each box only has one of the three. Depending on what you plan on purchasing, you could get the best available promo code or the worst available promo code. The three most common offers are a 30% discount, $10 off a $20 purchase, or a free nail polish. I received SEPTEMBER1O in my last box, which gives me $10 off a $20 purchase. Of course, I’ve received others in past boxes (including ones that are not the usual 3). The good news about the codes is they’re always general. This means you can find one of the three new codes from a friend or a blog. If the one I receive in my box does not work as well for you as others, check my Julep page to see what offers I received from the affiliate channel or from my general emails. Because I do not get all codes available (no one does), you can also check other blogs to see if they got a code that suits you better.
I used the code from my September box to place an order for my latest Zodiac polish (because I order all of them) two days ago. This was a good code for me, because my subtotal was only $22.40 (with two polishes). It brought my total to $12.40. Had I made a larger purchase, I would have searched other blogs to see who received the 30% off code and what it is. All Julep codes work twice per account, so I can use the same code to order my Zodiac polish next month if I do not receive a better code in my October box.
The best benefit of Maven membership, and the reason I think all Julep lovers should subscribe, is discounts in the shop. All Mavens get 20% off the full-price when they purchase anything, and this discount combines with ANY promo code. If Julep places something on sale, the Maven discount does not apply, but it can still usually combine with a promo code. That means a $14 polish only costs a Maven $11.2o and a $20 lip balm only costs a Maven $16. My $22.40 subtotal above ($11.20×2) would have been $28 for a non-Maven. After applying my discount code, which non-Mavens can use, the total would have been $18 instead of $12.40. That is a $5.60 savings in the shop just for being a Maven (and it does not matter if I accepted my last subscription box over a year ago as long as I am active).
Julep is very generous and offers free shipping with a $25 purchase, but Mavens get free shipping on every purchase. This really comes in handy when there is a mystery box, specials, savvy deal, sweet steal, or a sale. Any of these incredible offers can dip below $25, and many usually do. The mystery box is available for $24.99 or $29.99. It is usually released around the middle of the month and only available for about a week. A mystery box usually shows 1-2 products that are definitely inside but keeps the others a secret. Every box has a minimum of $100 in value, and I highly recommend these to people newer to Julep. Those with a lot of Julep items are likely to get a few dupes.
Mavens can refer friends to join Julep. If someone signs up using your referral link, you will get a code for $15 off a shop purchase. This offer cannot combine with other codes. It only requires a $15 purchase, so your order is free if you’re lucky enough to find something for $15. None of the awesome deals listed above work with this code, except occasional sale items. Each Maven can get credit for referring up to 40 people a year.
The Sweet Steal is a special set that Julep puts together for an extremely limited period. There are times when the offer is only good for the day, times when it is good for a weekend, and rare times where it is valid for up to a week. These sets always have a higher value than they retail for, so popular sets sell out. If you want all or most items in the set, it is usually worth it.
Julep eliminated the savvy deals section. There are still sale items, but there is no dedicated spot on the site for it. When there is a specific promotion, you can click in through the email you received to shop the newly created “sale section” that will disappear as soon as the sale is over. If you happen upon an item on sale and are not ready to purchase it, place the item in your wishlist. This also works for specials. It may stay on sale, but it does you no good if you cannot remember what it’s called. I’ve placed items in my wishlist I found on sale and have gone back later to find they’re still on sale. Short of remembering the product names or getting lucky to happen upon the item again, this is the only way to track them. Of course, there is a chance the sale ends before you finally go to purchase it, but that is a risk you take any time you walk away from a sale.
Any time you purchase from the shop, you should try to use a promo code. There is almost always a promo code available that should work on your order, because new codes come in every subscription box and other codes are periodically mailed to anyone on the email list. If you are placing a really small order or ordering items that sometimes exclude promo codes, like sweet steals, mystery boxes, and select sales, you may not find a code that works. I’ve never found a code that works on a sweet steal. The recycling LETSGET20 for 20% off is almost always available, but like all other codes, you can only use it twice.
There are a few times a year when really great promo codes go out, so saving big purchases for these times is ideal. It is common to receive promo codes for 50% off around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That is the best offer I’ve ever seen, so pounce on popular items when you see this offer appear. Remember the Maven discount applies to full-price items only. If a full-price item costs $50, you get 50% off $40 (the Maven price). Sets or items that are already discounted will not get the Maven discount. An example of this is the $98 Zodiac Collection set that gives all 12 polishes. The set is already discounted, because it would cost $168 if you purchased them together. Getting them for $98 is cheaper than 20% off $168, so you cannot get another 20% off $98. During a 50% off sale, the $98 set would cost a Maven the same as anyone else shopping, $49. Outside of Black Friday, 40% is the big one to look for.
Polish sales happen at random times during the year. Most polishes go for $4.99 to $7, but there are times when polishes go as low as $2.99. That is usually around November and December. Deeply discounted prices like these will usually not combine with a promo code, but it never hurts to check. Finding a promo code that works in the secret store is somewhat rare, but this happened a couple of times this year and always happens around Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well. In other words, November and December are probably the best months to shop Julep. That is just around the corner, so get ready. I will update this with more specifics once I see the offers for this year.
It is possible to select add-ons with any order. There is a limit of 5, which is one less than what you can select on a subscription purchase. Unlike subscription box add-ons, the selection is very limited. Discounts from promo codes do not apply to add-ons. Make sure you price items both ways. If your Maven discount and the discount on your promo code give you a better deal for an item than selecting an add-on but you want the item, add the item to your regular cart.
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. See all Julep and Subscription articles. Read all articles in the Getting the Best Deal Series. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
Disclosure: Affiliate links