I recently signed up for a free box from Julep in their Julep Maven program. Basically, this is the Julep Maven program: you take a cute quiz on their website which assigns you your nail polish personality; you sign up and for $20 every month, you receive 3 products every month (worth up to $50). It's a great idea, except that $20 is a lot, at least for me. I had an offer for a free box through Pandora though (you can actually get the same thing using FREEBOX when you sign up) so I decided to try it out.
The quiz originally told me I was a Classic with a Twist. Which is fine and probably totally true, except for the fact that the colors in the Classic with a Twist box are a total snooze fest -- it included a beige-y color, a red, and a mascara. Um, yawn. Wake up me up before you go go. You can switch out which box you get (here's me wishing there was an option to alternate every month -- why do us ladies have to pick our special little personalities like this!?) at this point, so I picked "It Girl," which appeared to come with some kind of teal, some kind of pink, and a silver-y polish. (A downside of the "It Girl" box was that, unlike all the others, it didn't come with a mascara. Apparently It Girls do not wear mascara.) I paid $3.99 for shipping and waited for my box to arrive.
Ok, so I was aware of the shape of Julep nail polish bottles. They are cool. It's cool. Whatever. Here's the thing I didn't realize: these babies contain only 8 ml of polish. Excuse me? A standard bottle of Essie contains 15 ml. That's about half the amount of a normal bottle of nail polish. So, let's be real, right from the start: I would probably never buy Julep polish at per-bottle price, which, fyi, is about $14 a bottle. Excuse me? For 8 ml?? Because, seriously, why would I pay the TWICE amount for half the amount of polish? Riddle me that.
Another problem with the shape of the bottle? The tiny little bottom doesn't do a very good job of standing up while you're trying to paint your nails. So unless you are some kind of ninja master who can paint her nails and hold a tiny bottle and not spill it all over herself at the same time, you're kind of out of luck as far as setting these on a table. It will stay up, but just try wiping the brush on the lip. (The brushes are also super wide. Way wider than is probably necessary.)
The polishes I received are Simone (a pale pink), Carly (a blue glitter), and Stefani (a dark silver). They are all pretty and cool, but here's the thing: they aren't exactly revolutionary colors. I tried out Simone first because I have been wanting to paint my nails a neutral color for a long time. In this picture, it looks very white-pink, but in real life, it's a pinkier color -- very pastel, very baby pink. Which is cute. But doesn't every girl pretty much own a color like this already, be it Ballet Slippers or Fiji or any of Essie's (or any other nail polish brand's) hundreds of pale pinks you can buy in Wal Greens or Target? Not exactly providing me with a polish I don't already have.
The blue glitter is also nothing special. I could understand if it was a large glitter, but it's just a standard ol' micro. You could buy the same glitter polish for 99 cents from a cheap drugstore brand and every woman who would sign up for the Julep Maven program probably already owns a blue glitter.
The silver polish is the only one where I said, "Wow I don't own anything like this." I have a matte bright silver from Zoya. I have gold from OPI for Sephora. I have a silver crackle polish. I have Storm from Zoya, which is black with silver glitter. But nope, no dark silver. So Stefani fills that roll and it's a great polish. Worth $14 though? Eh. Maybe not.
I'm generally happy with the polishes I received -- hey, they were pretty much free, I cannot really complain. However, I canceled my Julep Maven subscription already because, quite frankly, I wouldn't want to pay $20 plus $3.99 for shipping for these three. The Julep Maven program is great if you take the 3-free concept very seriously (I don't, obvs) and it's great if you need to build a collection of basic nail polish colors and you have disposable income. If you're like me, and have a sizable nail polish collect and you don't have disposable income, it's not really for you. Almost $24 for three polishes I pretty much already have -- is still $8 a polish for half the amount I could get if I bought a bunch of Essie polishes at the store!
I appreciate Julep Maven's commitment to quality products and offering a unique service, but right now, the product isn't necessarily worth it. I might return to the program in the future if they were to offer different polishes, and more product in each bottle. Until then, Julep just isn't for me.