My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.
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If you read my last nail polish installment, you may remember that I entered a nail polish challenge to keep me motivated to paint regularly and use some of the polishes I have collecting dust. My goal is not to repeat any (not counting base and top coats) until I have tried them all. I’d also like to paint at least once a week. As Julep makes it so easy to collect quality polishes at incredible prices, I own more Julep than any other brand. I asked the readers to pick the polish color for this week, and I was happy to start with a Julep color. Continue reading
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Subscription Boxes are a great way to try new products with little cost. While I do discover some nice Julep branded items, this subscription is mostly about the nail polish with the other great finds considered added bonuses. I love Julep’s five free, vegan-friendly nail polish. It is not too thick or too thin. With proper care, making sure nails are clean and using a base coat as well as a top coat, the polish can last anywhere from 3-7 days. When I am doing heavy-duty stuff, I usually get closer to 3. I have gotten up to 7 on lighter weeks. Glitter polishes tend to fall closer to 3, while opaque tends to fall closer to 7. This is decent quality polish. At $14 each, they fall in what I would call midrange polish. There are drugstore ones that retail for as low as $1, and Christian Louboutin and some of his friends can reach up to $50. Most of the higher end polishes range from $25 to $35.
The best thing about becoming a Julep Maven (which is what the brand calls its members) is you can buy the polish for a lot less than $14. The Maven price, if a Maven were to pay full price, is $11.20. That is because Mavens get 20% off everything. Mavens also get free shipping, and do not pay sales tax (at least in the state of Nevada) on orders. Those three savings alone can already help build a collection faster. Discounts are combinable with the Maven 20% off, and the discounts are free-flowing. There is always an offer of some sort inside your monthly box when it arrives.
This month’s offer is for 30% off with the code THIRTYOFF, valid through 01/31/15. Yes, it takes 30% off the $11.20 Maven price, not 30% off the full $14 price as some companies do. Last month’s box came with an offer for a free polish when you spend over $15 (after the free polish amount is removed), COLORFUN. It is also valid through 01/31/15. Julep codes tend to be double use, so if you place an order and decide a couple days later that you need more, you can use the same code once more. Some of the percentage off coupons cannot be combined with sales items. The free items usually can, so if you have a GWP code or a free polish code, you can use those offers with sales items.
I have wanted the color Emerson for some time. It has been out of stock, so I was very excited when I saw it back in stock just now. I tried to place a lightning fast order, but it despite showing availability, it is out of stock. As you can see though, it was going for $4.99. That means the 30% offer would not touch it, but it would count to meet the $15 minimum on the other code. If you’re ever uncertain how a code works, play around with it. Add and remove items from your cart until it works. The best part about the promo codes is they work even if you did not get a box that month. Just find someone willing to tell you what the code is. It will work.
Julep subscriptions are $24.99 a month with free shipping if you pay a month at a time or $19.99 a month with free shipping if you prepay 3 months at a time. Saving the $5 a month is worth the advance payment to me, so I pay 3 months at a time. What do you get for $19.99? Boxes come with either two full-sized beauty products, three full-sized polishes or two full-sized polishes and one beauty product. I usually opt for the third option, because it lets the polish be the star with the 2 to 1 ratio, but I also get to try the beauty products. Julep’s eyeliner is amazing, so I am glad I try the beauty products as well. The best part about the membership is you get to pick your items. It has you fill out a beauty profile like all other boxes and assigns you to a default box. If you do not like your box, you can select the swap button under each item and see different selection possibilities. There are a lot, so you will usually be able to find something you like even if you have to swap out all of your items.
You can also upgrade your box with up to 6 discounted items. These discounts usually run deep, so it is a great way to get a deal and try some other items or get extra polishes. If you pick up at least 3 of the 6 items, they send you a bonus surprise item. I like selecting at least 3 items, because I look forward to that surprise each month. It is nice picking and choosing my items, but I still get a bit of the mystery that comes with subscription boxes when I order 3 upgrades. There are usually at least a couple of very cheap options in the upgrades section, so you really do not need to spend much.
My default profile is Bombshell, and I usually swap out at least one item a month. For January 2015, I chose to stick with what they picked out for me. I liked the polish color, I want to try the new lip balm, and I love their eyeliner. It is not often that you get to combine two beauty products with a polish either.
The items if one were to pay full price would cost $24 for the Luxe Lip Treatment in Sheer Fig, $16 for the Navy Smoke Gel Eye Glider and $14 for the Sandi nail polish.
That means I paid $19.99 for $54 worth of product, but I also got free shipping and paid no tax.
Most of the beauty products are more expensive than the polishes, so I thought this was a nice way to get more value for the $19.99 I paid for the box. Julep Sandi is a deep gray-purple. Compare this to my other purple polishes.
The box I received this month was huge, because I picked larger upgrades than usual. You can see a normal sized box inside my huge box to give perspective on how big the box was. This is what it looked like when I opened it.
The regular sized box was packed pretty tightly as well.
This is what everything looked like laid out side by side. For the first time since I subscribed in May of 2014, Julep offered a bonus item just for selecting the box. I am hoping this becomes a normal bonus offered at least a couple of times a year.
The bonus item was a top coat called Tilda, which will likely retail for $14 when it hits the site. In the picture below, it is the whitish colored polish with the green tint next to the eyeliner. Compare this to my other treatments, base coats, and top coats.
Julep usually sends candies with every box for when we need a sugar boost. This month, we got Junior Mints. The Glycolic hand scrub, which retails for $23, was the free item for selecting three upgrades. I tried this for the first time a while after receiving it here. it is a nice hand scrub. While it is not the best I’ve ever tried, it exfoliates and leaves my hands feeling soft. That is all I need, so I will happily keep this freebie.
The three polishes to the left of the scrub are all top coats Silk Effect, Freedom Polymer and Oxygen, which was upgrade one (a trio of topcoats). Individually, the upgrades would have cost, $14, $18 and $18, so $50. I only paid $11.99 for them though.
Silk Effect is matte with a whitish tint. Compare this to my other treatments, base coats, and top coats.
Freedom Polymer is pictured below, because I received it twice in this box.
The Oxygen Top Coat is mostly clear and semi matte. Compare this to my other treatments, base coats, and top coats.
The second upgrade was for this Dashing Mini Lipstick Kit in the shades Belle, Jinx and Wink. They cost me $9.99, but they retail for $40. I like all three colors, so I am looking forward to trying these.
I’ve tried the Plush Pouts in the past (which is a moisturizing lip pencil). Those are awesome, so I have high hopes for these as well.
The last upgrade was for this set of mini polishes called The Royals. Inside, I received January, Gretchen, Zora, Lena, a Freedom Polymer topcoat and Ally. It retails for $42, but I got it as an upgrade for $9.99.
I have over 100 Julep polishes and these are my first minis. I’ve wanted to order some minis, because they looked cute. I held out for colors I wanted, and these fit the bill. With the 3 topcoats I added on the first upgrade, the one included here and the one I received for free, I got a total of 5 topcoats this month. Adding those to the ones I already own, and I am set for a while.
This is January. Compare this to my other red polishes.
This is Gretchen. Compare this to my other salmon and wine polishes.
This is Zora. Compare this to my other pink polishes.
This is Lena. Compare this to my other green polishes.
This is Ally. Compare this to my other blue polishes.
The best part about this haul is that all the items in the biggest Julep box I’ve seen only cost me $51.96. That was $19.99 for the box, two free items and $31.97 for the upgrades. Now, you see why I think Julep lovers should subscribe. It is really easy and relatively cheap to add items to your collection when you’ve subscribed. All of the items in this box would retail at $223. That means my subscriber benefits saved me $171.04 on this box. There’s more though.
Every month you accept a box, Julep awards Jules. They also award 200 Jules for your birthday and 500 on your membership anniversary. The amount of Jules awarded can fluctuate anywhere between 350 to 800. It is almost always 350 (unless Julep awards a delayed shipping bonus). They awarded 1900 in August 2014 for shipping so late. That is extremely rare though, so just consider that a bonus should it happen. You can also earn 2000 Jules each month for spending over $50 on secret store items. The secret store is only open a few days a month, but it usually has great deals even without the Jules. You can use the Jules to buy upgrades or even to cover your next box once you have 2000 available. That means you can theoretically get your box for free every month if you spend $50 at every secret store.
On the off-chance that you cannot find anything to swap out or just want to take a month off to save some money, Julep allows you to skip any month you want. What does that mean? You will not be charged for a box and nothing will be sent if you select the skip option. If you want to gift someone a Julep box, you can even ask them to send your box to someone else any month you want. The possibilities are endless with this subscription. It is by far the most versatile subscription on the market. It is very easy to spend a lot with all the amazing deals Julep offers, but you do not need to spend much at all thanks to the skip option. This subscription really works with a number of budgets.
New members can really benefit from mystery boxes, which Julep offers frequently. It sends you items valued much higher than the charge. The catch is you will not know what the items are. For anyone with a vast Julep collection, there is a great chance of getting duplicate surprises. Thus, I usually pass on these. Currently, Julep is offering a box worth over $100 for only $24.99. Items in the picture may or may not appear in your specific box. If you miss this one, don’t fret. These mystery boxes are offered frequently.
You can cancel, swap items, send your box to a friend or skip months whenever you want. 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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