Julep Maven December 2018 Subscription Box Review

I was planning on skipping my December 2018 Julep Maven box, because I was out of pre-paid boxes and was very close to my beauty budget for December with all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. The problem is I forgot to skip. You have to log in between the 20th and the 24th to skip a box. With all the emails I received for that week on the best deals of the year, I missed the email reminding me that selection was open. It was there (as I discovered later), so it was 100% my fault. It also means this was the first box in the history of my Julep subscription (which originated in May of 2014) that I did not get to customize. One of the things I love about Julep is I get to pick everything that goes into my box. Whenever I cannot find enough things to buy or want to take a break for financial reasons, I do. Since I am on a Bombshell subscription, I could not even see what items I was receiving. My order history lists my December 2018 items as Wintry Florals. So, the items I received below were 100% a surprise. You can call it a Christmas gift I “sent” to myself by forgetting to skip the box. Keep reading to see if I regret not skipping or consider this a happy mistake.

Julep Maven is a subscription program. While Julep started as a nail polish brand, it expanded to include a large variety of beauty products. Members get to select the items they want inside their boxes so there are no surprises. Mavens can stick to nail polish, try products from the ever-growing beauty line, or both in their monthly Julep subscription boxes. Products are always full-sized. Many of these beauty products are just as incredible as 5-free nail polish the brand offers. As a nail polish lover, I can say with certainty that these polishes chip less than most brands. A Maven membership helps subscribers get full-size products for a fraction of the cost to purchase them separately. They are quality polishes so I would probably purchase them at $14 each even if I did not have my Maven membership. The color selections and polish finishes are more vast than almost any other nail polish line. Almost every month, Julep releases about seven new colors (and will at times re-release 1-2 from the vault).

Julep also releases a new beauty product or two most months so its chemists are always hard at work. With rare exception, the new items are box options. That means you can place 2-3 brand new items in your monthly subscription box each month. Older items are always available to select as well. Members just need to select the swap option to bring up all the possibilities. A standard box has 3 items, but with swapping and other options, members can end up with 2 (selecting more expensive items) or 4 (selecting cheaper items). If nothing appeals to you that month or you want to skip for any reason at all, Mavens can skip any month. There is no limit to how often one can skip as long as they are not grandfathered into older plans without as many options.

All Mavens pay sales tax and get free shipping on subscription boxes. Paying month to month charges $24.99. Charges get processed the day you subscribe or on the 27th of the month for the following month. This means someone subscribing on the 20th would get charged $24.99 for this month and $24.99 again on the 27th for the following month. Those who pay in advance get a 20% discount. My subscription renews after three boxes for $59.97, or $19.99 a box. There is a subscription option that offers six boxes for $119.94, or $19.99 a box. I do not recommend this one, because there is no discount over the 3-month plan. Maven Luxe Boxes (get more products than standard boxes) are $39.99 a month or $104.97 ($34.99 a box) for three. Boxes are auto-filled for Mavens with products based on the beauty profile they complete. If a member wants to swap items or skip the month, s/he needs to login from the 20th-24th (the Maven selection window to do so).

Mavens also get Jules (rewards points) for every box they purchase. Standard boxes get 350 Jules. Luxe boxes get 700 Jules. Each year, on the Maven anniversary, the Maven gets 500 Jules. Redeem these Jules for add-ons or future Maven boxes. When they reach 2000 Jules, they can trade them in for a free standard box. It takes 4000 Jules to receive a free Luxe box. Those on longer term subscriptions can only redeem Jules when they have no pre-paid boxes left, but there is no need to fret. Jules do not expire. Subscribers can also use Jules to reduce the cost of add-ons inside their boxes. Most products charge 100 points per dollar so a $5 product would go for 500 Jules.

All Mavens get access to the Secret Store. This is a pop-up sales event that takes place for 5-6 days at the end of every month. The secret store has discounted items for subscribers only. Mavens who select a box for the month get early access and lower prices on select items during early access. Subscribers also get 20% off (deducts automatically on all full-price items when logged into a subscriber account) and free shipping on every order. That 20% Maven discount will usually combine with a discount code, but it is usually not applied to items that are already on sale. So, a Maven will get each $14 nail polish for $11.20 but will have to pay the full $7 on polishes already discounted to $7.

Every box usually comes with a coupon code. The code in my box was PARTY. This code gives a free color polish with a $10 purchase through 12/31/18.

Everything comes inside a purple box wrapped in cardboard colored paper pulp (which I recycled before the photograph). This provides some protection, but more fragile things could still move around.

Julep used to put candy inside every box, but that happens a lot less now. There was candy in the February box (Valentine’s Day), but there was no candy in this December box (Christmas).

The Julep Light on Your Lips Full-Coverage Crème Lipstick in Muse retails for $22 ($17.60 Maven). It is new to my collection, so I will keep it. I’ve always enjoyed Julep’s lip products. As soon as it arrived, I put it on. This seemed a little more drying than it used to. My lips are either more dry than usual (it is winter), the formula changed, or I’ve only used more hydrating products recently. That said, this is a matte formula. For a matte formula, it is still pretty moisturizing. It does wear off fast for a matte formula though. 

This is a vintage rose crème. I love rosy nudes, which is part of the reason I applied this immediately after swatching it despite the fact that I had no other makeup on my fave. The color is not as flattering on me as I would have hoped. Then again, I was not wearing other makeup. Maybe with a full face of makeup, this could look nice. Once I wear it again (with makeup), I will upload a photo.

Julep Marleny retails for $14 ($11.20 Maven). This is a cool, peony shimmer. Peonies come in a variety of colors, but I would describe this as a red wine shade. Though I love the color, I have so many like it and probably would not have purchased it (had I not forgotten to skip the box). It is a new polish to my collection, so I will keep it. The finish is semi glossy and smooth. Compare this to my other wine polishes.

Julep Sloan retails for $14 ($11.20 Maven). This is an icy primrose shimmer. Julep gets fancy with its descriptions, but I think this is pink. I love the color, but again, I have so many like it. It is a new polish to my collection, so I will keep it. The finish is semi glossy and smooth. Compare this to my other pink polishes.

If you select three add-ons, you get a free surprise item. I usually only get 3 when I select some, because I can wait for items to go on sale and/or use promo codes. If I cannot find 3, I get 0. That is better than buying everything I see in the add-on section when it only takes three to get the gift. This month, I did not select any add-ons. Since I forgot about this box altogether, I never got a chance to even view the add-ons this month. As I am on product overload, I am sure I would have passed anyway.

The total box value is $50. That is also my personal value, because I will keep everything as I have no duplicates. I redeemed 2000 Jules on my last box. In order to redeem Jules when you are on a multi-month payment plan, customer service has to move you to a month-to-month plan. This is a relatively new pain that did not exist before my last two redemptions. Since I switched to a month-to-month plan and did not have any months left, I should have paid $24.99 plus tax for this box. For some unknown reason, I was only charged $19.99 plus tax. It is possible Julep messed up, but I will not call to confirm (as I do not want to get charged another $5). I think it is also possible Julep decided to give me grandfathered pricing based on how my account is. Considering the price has always been $24.99 a month since I first signed up (on boxes you can customize anyway), I find my $19.99 charge odd. My plan is not to prepay three months on the next box I get and see what I get charged. If Julep charges me $19.99 again, I will stay on the month-to-month plan. There is never a need to pay up front unless you get some benefit. I’d rather hold onto the money until it is due than let Julep hold it. Interest free loans are not cool with me (the reason I also advise against the 6 month plan which has the same pricing per box as the 3 month plan).

Julep Beauty Box Subscription

Use code POLISHGIFT for a 12-piece full-size nail polish gift ($168 value) with a new subscription.

What do you think about my December 2018 Julep Maven Subscription Box? Let me know below. If you want to join Julep, visit my Julep Maven page to see all start-up offers. Product reviews do not always make it into the haul article, but you can always type the product into the search bar to see if I’ve mentioned it or reviewed it elsewhere. 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 and all Nail Polish SwatchesTips 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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6 thoughts on “Julep Maven December 2018 Subscription Box Review

  1. CJS

    Julep has been good to me over the last 5+ years…their customer service is what keeps me from canceling. I LOVE the feature to skip that month’s box after you see what the products are, and ANY issue I have had over the years has been resolved to my satisfaction (and, they are very accessible by phone). I would recommend them over any sub box out there (their new member sign-up offers are much better than when I joined, too!). The only thing that would be even better is if they refreshed their rewards more often…they have been on the same 3 products for 1600+ jules for awhile now..lol.

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  2. notcreative Post author

    Have you considered redeeming your Jules for a box? I always save mine to 2000 and cash them in for a free box, so I cannot even remember the last time I reviewed the reward section. Yes, I love that I get to pick my items or skip when I cannot find enough to grab. If I could not skip months, I probably would have canceled. Glad we can do that.

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  3. gunsofbrixton

    A friend of mine did not have any more pre-paid boxes left this month (Jan window for Feb box) and forgot to edit/skip/call to use points, but instead of being automatically renewed for 3 more pre-paid boxes, she was charged $19.99 like you were last month. I think it’s probably because everything at Julep is totally screwed up since they laid off 100+ employees, which, according to their business profile, is pretty much everyone. The computers are just charging everyone $19.99 no matter what plan they had/have or where they’re at in it.

    There hasn’t been a phone number to call since at least 19 Dec 2018 that I know of. I have not been successful getting a response by email. I’ve called the normal customer service number since I had it saved on my phone, and this says to leave a voice mail and we will get a call back. I have not been able to get a call back.

    No idea how we’re supposed to cancel or use Jules to pay for a free box or anything. Have you heard anything about that?

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  4. notcreative Post author

    I forgot to skip my box again, so I noticed I was charged $19.99 plus tax again for February. It’s funny that I had never forgotten in almost 4 years. Then, I forgot twice in two months. Lots on my mind lately. While I knew that they laid off some employees, I did not know they were not answering phones. Birchbox used to have a phone number and suddenly stopped taking calls one day. That is really strange to me, but Birchbox does respond to emails. Hopefully, they are still responding to emails.

    I used to be able to apply the Jules from the same screen I skipped the box from in the past. It did not work the last two times I tried, and I had to contact customer service each time. Without customer service answering phones, I am unsure how it would work unless they reinstate our ability to do it ourselves. As far as canceling goes, I would just keep skipping the month until you can confirm you’ve canceled.

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  5. gunsofbrixton

    Thanks for the reply. I had my last pre-paid box this month, so I wasn’t able to see if we can now apply points ourselves since we have to be out of pre-paid boxes in order to claim the free one with Jules. I guess I haven’t been with them long enough (~1.5 years) to have seen the self-serve option, they always made me call to do the “switch to monthly, apply Jules, then switch back to 3mos prepaid” system. But if we’ve all been put on a month-to-month plan, then… uh, what…? :p

    I can’t even tell if this month’s box has been shipped since they stopped sending me shipping notices months ago and I’ve been getting them super late (“arrive by the 10th”, I’ve been getting the following month around the 20th-23rd). Like I said, I’ve been unable to get a reply by email or phone/voice mail. I’ve been trying since 19 Dec. Someone has been asking about applying Jules on Instagram, but Julep hasn’t answered this question that I’ve seen.

    Well, hopefully you or I or *someone somewhere* (!) will know something next window if we can still use our Jules for boxes. I look forward to your next review. Thanks!

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  6. notcreative Post author

    My shipping email arrived today, so boxes have started to move. I read that you have not gotten a reply, but I was hoping it was just due to backlog or something. Julep is still processing orders and shipping boxes, so I hope it still has a customer service team. It will be a while before I can confirm Jules redemption. Until I purchase two more boxes, I would not have enough to redeem for a box. Hopefully, you are able to redeem yours though and customer service gets back on track soon.

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