Julep – a nail polish subscription


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I recently signed up for Julep Maven Nail Polish box and received my (FREE! – code is FREEBOX) Welcome Box this morning. If you’re not familiar with Julep, they are a nail polish subscription service, similar to that of a Birchbox or Ipsy however they focus on nail products. It is $24.99/mo, unless you pay in advance and you get a slight discount. You can choose to get other body care products in the box like cuticle oils, blushes and lip glosses as they also have an entire line of beauty products outside their trademark nail polish line. Personally, I’ve never tried any Julep products but have been interested in their polishes for some time so I bought a few more than just the three in the welcome box.

I first took the quiz to determine my “style profile” and got the It Girl, which is what I ended up ordering (you can change your box to one of the 5 other choices if you wanted to but this one has all nail polish, i.e. if you prefer the colors or products in another “style profile,” you may choose to receive that one instead). I received a very pretty muted blue called Margaret (at first glance seems very similar to Essie’s Bikini So Teeny but without shimmer), a soft green called Kam, and a muted orange polish called Princess Grace.  Bonus: Customers rate each color separately online so you have a pretty good idea if you’ll like something before you buy it based on reviews! Love that.

During the ordering process, you also have the option of including an ‘Extra’ which is simply adding one of their selected add on products, but for a discounted price. I chose the bright purple polish shade for $5 (usually $11-15 each, depending if you’re a member or not) that’s called Flora. It has a subtle blue sparkly shimmer which is barely visible in the bottle but very pretty. Julep describes it as an “…Exotic dragonfruit with blue shimmer.” How sub-equator of them.

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The last polish I got was called Abigail. I mean, it’s my name and I’m a sucker for those kinds of things as most girls probably are. They had an “Abbie” yellow shade but my name isn’t spelled that way so I passed on it. 😛  Not to mention yellow isn’t exactly a color I wear often. Abigail, though, is the most gorgeous highly shimmery champagne shade which Julep describes as “Light peony pink silk.” So since peonies are my favorite flower, this was literally made for me.

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Julep’s Abigail

I also got those two little square orange nail buffers in my box which definitely look like middle school erasers I’d keep in my Lisa Frank pencil box. They’re a perfect size for my purse though. Isn’t that something you never thought you’d need – a purse nail buffer.

All in all, my order came to a grand total of $19! Your first Maven box is free (value of $24.99) plus just one polish retails for $11-15, like I said, so I am very happy with my purchase overall. I just hope the quality is as good as the deal. If you feel like trying it out for yourself like I did, here’s my invite link; I think I just get “points” of some kind so it’s not like I get paid if you click it 😉    Join Julep via SFB Here


*Duh, a disclaimer: I am in not sponsored by brands in this post or was asked, compensated, or whathaveyous to write this. My opinions are definitely my own because I’m too stubborn to allow anyone to tell me what to say or do anyway.

Sketchfactor: Free Beauty Samples. Influenster. Free Stuffz.

Free stuff is nice but fake recommendations are uncool. You-can’t-sit-with-me-at-lunch uncool. I guess I need to state in this post that any product I say I like anywhere at all, I like it’s not because it was free or expensive but because it’s just friggin sweet.

That said, I’ve found this company called Influenster. It’s a website you sign up for membership or be invited by a friend. This company then periodically sends boxes of beauty & lifestyle sample(s) for you to try. You do not get products all the time nor are any promised at sign-up; they have specific rules about who gets what, based on your personal profile and lifestyle. I’ve actually gotten emails from them asking for further information regarding a potential sample and been turned down to participate due to my responses. I guess I can’t blame them. If the sample was chili pepper flavored lip gloss and I despise chilis, I’m not the right gal.

About a year ago when I had become a “member” of Influenster after a friends’ recommendation, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Truly, I get as excited when I receive an Influenster box in the mail the same as I do as if I ordered from Sephora. I just like getting packages. I am most pleasantly surprised by full sized, name brand products. Some are awesome new things, some things I don’t keep (i.e. nail polish in a terrible color). I happily fill out the -unrequired- little survey and hope that my testing helps improve the product {fyi, to date I have gotten 3 boxes in said time}. I love filling out forms and surveys. I am lame. Anyway. If the tester choses to share the product on social media, Influenster kindly reminds sample recipients to lawfully disclose that the product was provided by Influenster for sampling purposes, in case the person has forgotten how to be a decent human being.

There are products I’ve never even mentioned here (…or on my other internetz) that I absolutely love or even hate that I’ve gotten for free, and Influenster does not “punish” you or specifically praise you for doing either; I would never sign up to be a member of a sample company that made or guilted me into giving false positive reviews and I quite like that. I’m not one to tell my friends I like something when I really don’t, for the sake of getting a $3 eyeliner for free; it’s never worth it. And I’m a terrible liar.

I read/watch beauty bloggers and YouTubers who receive free samples to review and while I can appreciate the fact these beauty gurus promise the reviews are honest, I still wonder what the contractual obligations are, if any. I’m new to all of this beauty blogging and so I suppose I’m just inexperienced as far as samples and sponsorships go, but it weirds me out a bit. Usually viewers can figure out if the post/video is sponsored anyway so my opinion is just be upfront – don’t insult me and take your viewing audience for stupid. I love trying new stuff as much as the next product junkie, but I’m not interested in being dishonest for money. For some reason that makes me think of mobsters. I’d be a beauty mobster. I’d have a tv documentary after my stint in jail. I’d smuggle in lip balm… I think this is where I should stop.

So that’s my minimal experience with free stuffz. Thoughts, advice, or opinions on sponsorships or free products?

Winter Hair Favorite

I want to share the most recent hair care products that I have been loving. Here’s a bit of info on my hair: I have very long, naturally straight-mildly wavy fine hair that gets oily rather fast. I professionally color my hair about every 6-8 weeks and trim every 12-18 weeks. I wash my hair every other day and do not blow-dry my hair. I’ll sometimes use a straightener to smooth everything out if I’m feeling ambitious in the morning.

Styling Products

BATISTE DRY SHAMPOO It’s been moderately difficult to adjust to an every-other-day shampoo routine, but Batiste dry shampoo has literally saved me from a greasy meltdown on multiple occasions. This stuff is amazing – which is no secret – and costs less than $10. I find mine at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for around $5.99 which is better than Ulta or the drugstores where it costs around $8. Amazon sells it as well, if I’m feeling super lazy… I use Prime 2-day shipping. I buy both the Light & Blonde and Crisp and Clean Fresh scents. The blonde one has a slight tint which does double-duty covering up any regrowth between hair appointments… and I can’t say enough good things about that. Ulta sells a travel-size for $3.99 which I also carry in my purse for a super-911 gross hair emergency. Don’t say it doesn’t happen!

PAUL MITCHELL HOT OFF THE PRESS THERMAL PROTECTION SPRAY This stuff smells incredible and doubles as a light hold hairspray and thermal heat protectant. I get mine at a beauty supply store but it’s also available here for under $20. It’s especially awesome if you want to curl your hair and have fine, long hair like mine. You can spray each section as you go and it helps hold your style in place while allows your hair to remain touchable and soft. Oh, and did I mention the scent?! It’s … delightful.

JOSIE MARAN 100% PURE ARGAN OIL Sure, this product is expensive at $48 for a full size bottle. Could I find another one? Maybe. But it’s so multi-purpose (skin, hair, nails) that it just makes it all ok in the end. I tried it when I found a small size available during the holidays for $5 at Sephora (regularly $14). I’d rather be able to use it to fix any beauty woe than spend more on multiple products. I use this specifically on the ends of my hair after I’ve straightened it to add moisture back or sometimes just to smooth everything out a bit. When I’m done, I just rub the leftovers into my hands and nails. It’s a beautiful thing.

Shampoo/Conditioner/Treatments

MACADAMIA DEEP HAIR MASQUE This hair masque is expensive but worth the hype. I leave it on my hair while I finish doing all the many things girls are required to do. It leaves my hair soft (but not too soft which is also a thing) and smelling incredible. It’s thick and feels great. Target sells it and often has a promotion for buy 1 get 1 free which is THE TIME to buy. Ulta sells it regularly for $33. 

ITS A 10 MIRACLE HAIR MASK I bought this on a whim, while waiting for the Macadamia one to arrive in the mail. This is also amazing and I switch between these two masks on a weekly basis. This mask seems to leave my hair soft but also smooths the cuticle a little more. It’s a little cheaper than the Macadamia masque at under $20 from Amazon.

PAUL MITCHELL PLATINUM BLONDE SHAMPOO I’ve always wanted to try a violet shampoo just to neutralize any brassiness that can sometimes sneak up on us blondes. This one smells like cantaloupe and lilacs (strange but I absolutely love and HUFF it in the shower). I’m not sure if it’s really working as far as removing any brassiness but I know that my blonde is a really nice shade where I am going to thank both my stylist and this shampoo. It’s available for around $15 on Amazon.

PAUL MITCHELL KERACTIVE FOREVER BLONDE CONDITIONER While this conditioner is meant for daily use, it feels more like a deeper conditioner to me which I love. I imagine it’s to combat the damage that most blondes experience and that it’s a “Keractive” product. I love this stuff and will definitely repurchase it. You can find it on Amazon for around $12!

Is there a hair product that you recently found and love? I am forever up to trying new stuff!

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