Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 2013 Julep Destination Mystery Box - Laguna Beach - Opening and Review

Hello! It's been a long time since I posted anything! There's been a bit of a lull in me doing/getting anything really worth posting about, but now that it's the end of June and beginning of July, I have a lot of things on the way (actually, some things are now here...) so I want to make sure I don't fall behind again! This post is going to be about my Julep Destination Mystery Box.

For this month's mystery box (from what I've seen, Julep does a mystery box every month, shortly after the Secret Shop closes. I don't know if they've always done this, since I've only been a Maven, and have only been buying things from them, since about March.) Julep did something a little different. Instead of just one mystery box, they had three different types you could chose from. Normally, if you chose to buy more than one mystery box, you run the risk of getting two of the same boxes, since there are a few different versions, thus getting doubles of polishes and products. With the three different boxes offered, you could buy one of each and (at least in theory) not get any doubles. The boxes this month were "Destination" themed; there was a Laguna Beach box, which was described as being "trendy, vibrant, and fun", there was a Miami box, which was "bold, glitzy, and energetic", and there was a Hamptons box, which was "preppy, glam, and classic". I debated between getting a Laguna Beach box or a Miami box (I'm not really a Hamptons style of girl), but I finally settled on Laguna Beach. I wanted to avoid getting a neon, garishly bright nail polish since I never wear colors like that, and I felt safer with Laguna Beach than with Miami. Also, I think Laguna Beach is a cooler place.

According to my packing slip, I ended with with version 6 of the Laguna Beach boxes.
 Yes, Julep, surprises are fun!
And here's my box!
I love the bright blue packing, uh, things. Very cute and vibrant. Julep is always very good at packaging their products in a very appealing manner. Unfortunately, this is my most disappointing mystery box to date. As you can see, I got three polishes, one big product, and one lip balm. I also got a little foil packet sample of Julep's Rock Star hand cream, but I gave that to my mother-in-law since I now have a whole bunch of them laying around. It's a great product, and I love sharing the joy that is Juelp! Back to why I was disappointed in this box; right off the bat, I didn't feel like I really got a good value. That is a risk you take when you buy mystery boxes; and yes, the items in this box are technically worth at least double what I paid for them. I guess I just got used to the "five items" standard of mystery boxes, and I didn't feel like the lip balm really counted as a fifth product.
Don't get me wrong, it's a great lip balm. It's very creamy and moisturizing, and it smells amazing (there's just something so...soothing about strawberry lip balm. The sweet mint undertones work well with the main strawberry notes.), but Julep's had it on their super sales for as low as $2 more than once. I also got a tube of it as a little freebie in my very first Julep box.

The next disappointment came with my big product, the Hand and Cuticle Stick.
Once again, I actually like the product. It's kind of like a giant glue stick (yeah, I stole the description from Self, but it's very accurate) of lotion for your hands. Initially, I thought a kind of...solid lotion would be more convenient for travel than a typical tube, but after using it for a while, now I'm not so sure. With a tube of lotion you can apply it without having it actually touch your hands, but with the stick, you have to rub it on, so if your hands are dirty, there's a risk of contamination (that sounds more serious than it actually is, but I couldn't think of a better word). I am a bit of a germaphobe, so that might be more of a problem only for me. I also find that packaging like this tends to trap more dirt than a traditional tube. The actual product, however, is really nice. It absorbs quickly and it makes my hands feel super smooth and soft, even a day later. It does have a weird smell, though. It's not unpleasant or anything, but it smells exactly like this homemade bubble blowing liquid my grandmother used to make for me and my cousins when we were little. She'd make big batches of it and we'd keep it in random, old containers like peanut butter jars. She had a huge collection of bubble wands and we'd spend hours outside blowing bubbles. It was pretty awesome. But it's a weird smell for a lotion, and I honestly don't know if it's even supposed to smell like that. When I first opened this product, the whole top of the actual solid stick was covered in these hard little white lumps. I wiped them off and the product underneath seemed fine, but I don't know if the product was really old and had "gone off", or if it was because of the drastic temperature changes it underwent while being shipped (it went from ridiculously hot to bizarrely cold within a few days while my package was making it's way to me). It didn't seem moldy or anything; it mostly looked like the oil and fat from the Shea butter had separated and come to surface, hardening into the little lumps. If I had purchased this product and had paid full price for it ($17.60 for Mavens, $22 for everyone else) I would have definitely contacted customer service and asked for a replacement, but since this was in a mystery box and I basically paid $5 for it, it didn't seem worth it.

Now on to the polishes! Also, unfortunately, on to more disappointment. I got three polishes in this mystery box; Simone, Nikki, and Natalie.
Here's Simone! Simone is an absolutely gorgeous color. On the site, it is described as a "soft pastel lilac opalescent shimmer". It's also currently sold out! I've been really into lilacs this spring/summer (as has everyone else) and I love shimmer finishes, so this color really is perfect for me. This was, however, a double. I already own Simone (I actually think I got it in another mystery box) and even though it's an amazing color, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to use up two whole bottles. I would have much preferred a new color instead of a duplicate. On the plus side, I can give it to my mom!
This is Natalie. Julep describes this color as a "chic, retro honeysuckle pink crème". It looks a little more cool-toned in the photo than it does in real life; it's more of a warm, almost orange-tinted pink. This polish is also sold out on the site right now. I'm very happy I got this color; I think it's super pretty and it really fits with the "trendy, vibrant, and fun" description. It's a strong, bright pink, but it's not highlighter bright or garish or anything. It's very summery and feminine. This is also an older polish. You can tell which polishes are older based on the type of stickers that it has.
Newer polishes have the "Swatch Me!" stickers on top, which is nice because it makes it much easier to tell which polish is which when they're all stacked together. (Fun tip: you can actually pop the rectangular tops off, leaving the actual screw top on.)
You can also tell an older polish from a newer one by the label stickers on the bottom. As you can see, the older polish, Natalie, only has the name and a number while the newer polish, in this case Simone, has the name, number, which style category it falls under, the year it was released, and what number it is in the series.

Finally, the biggest disappointment in my mystery box:
Nikki. Nikki is basically everything I did NOT want to get rolled into one. It's yellow. It's neon. It's highlighter bright. It's sheer. For me, it's basically unwearable. On the site, it's described as an "electric highlighter neon yellow crème". It says it's a yellow, but it has a kind of greenish cast to it. In the bottle, it doesn't look so bad. It actually kind of goes with Natalie. When I tried it on my actual nails, however, I found it basically impossible to make look good. It goes on incredibly sheer, so it's difficult to use when trying to paint on things like dots and stripes, and when I tried to straight up paint my nails with it, I could not get it to look either opaque, or even presentable. It just made my nails look sickly and dirty.

And that was my Laguna Beach ver. 6 mystery box. Overall, I found it very disappointing. On the bright side, the only product I was truly upset about was Nikki; everything else was generally nice, just a little "meh". This box was only $25, so it's not like I'm out that much money. This box has by no means soured me on Julep mystery boxes; I'm still super pumped for the next mystery box and I hope it comes out soon!

Thanks for reading! <3

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