Saturday, July 20, 2013

Julep Summertime Big Box Ver. 3 July 2013 Mystery Box - Opening and Review

Hello! This post is going to be all about my July 2013 Julep mystery box - their Summertime Big Box!

For July's mystery boxes, Julep once again gave us a choice: there was a Summertime Days box, a Summertime Nights box, and, if you couldn't pick between those two, there was a Summertime Big Box which would include things from both. Obviously, I can never make decisions like this, so I went with the Big Box! The Night and Day boxes were $25 each (with a product value of $70-$200) and the Big box was $40 (with a product value of $125-$300). I figured I'd be getting more for my money with the Big box, which is how I justified buying it to myself... Regardless of which type of box you got, you'd get two new polishes made especially for the boxes: Monica and Kyla.
Here's my box! According to my packing statement, I got "version 3". I was kind of surprised to see how small it was, considering how it was supposed to have at least $125 worth of products in it. Then again, nail polishes are pretty small, and Julep could have really crammed things in there. As always, I got a "Aren't Surprises Fun?" card and the ubiquitous "Social Beauty" card.
And this is what lay in wait under the tissue paper.
 Once again, doesn't look like much, huh? In my box I got seven nail polishes (including Monica and Kyla, one "product", and two freebies.
These are my two freebies. Granted, Julep could have counted the toe separators towards the value of my box, but they can't be worth more than a couple dollars. I got two different colors this time (last time I got two orange ones), but I like the blue and orange since it reminds me of Portal. I also got a little foil sample packet of Julep's Glycolic Hand Scrub. Since I already have two full size bottles of the stuff, I'm going to pass this one on to my mom.
The polishes I got were separated into two different sachets. Based on the colors, I think the orange one was supposed to be the "night" themed colors and the purple was the "day" themed colors.
The polishes I got in my "night" bag were Monica, Kyla, Lucy, and Ellie. Monica and Kyla were the two new polishes everyone got; a hot pink glittery polish and an orange glittery polish respectively. They both have a bit of a different texture to them; they're more of a jelly kind of polish. They don't have opaque colored bases, but they're also not super sheer. They also feel a little thicker. I actually had a bit of an issue with my initial Monica polish. It must have dried out somehow or something had happened to it in shipping because when I got it it was super thick and gloopy and very difficult to work with. I thought maybe it was just a really finicky color that a lot of other people had issues with, but when I went to check Julep's Facebook page, it seemed like everyone else was enjoying their Monica polish. I e-mail Julep about it and they actually sent me a brand new one! It came super quick (they even sent me a tracking number for it) and my NEW Monica polish works beautifully! Thank you, Julep, for being so on top of things!

As for my other two "night" polishes, Lucy is a "modern, dark burgundy crème" and Ellie is a "opalescent seashell pink with holographic shimmer". Ellie is currently only available in the "Flower Girl Fun" pack which includes the color Avery and is being sold at the discounted price of $16 for the pair. This is where my trouble with my box's overall value begins. When Julep calculates the values of their mystery boxes, they use the "retail value" of their products, so all polishes are counted as being $14. If you're a Maven, you can pick up anything in the online store for 20%, so any full priced polish is $11.20. However, there are some polishes, like Ellie, that are even more on sale; even though Ellie has a listed "retail value" of $14, the only way to get it is in a two pack for only $16 (and that's to everyone, not just Mavens), effectively making it only worth $8. This really takes away from the feeling of value of the mystery box, and I really wish Julep wouldn't calculate the value this way. Especially since this issue comes up twice in my box...

These are the polishes that were in my "day" themed bag: Charlie, Bess, and Nina. Charlie was released with the spring mystery box (I think it was the "Hooray for May!" one, but I don't remember for sure"). I got Korin, the other color that came out with the spring boxes, so it was nice to get Charlie as a complement. Charlie is described as a "lemon meringue pie crème" and is only available in the Traffic Stoppers duo, which, oddly enough, also includes Nina. Charlie is a bright yellow, but it's definitely not a neon nor highlighter yellow like Nikki was, so it's very workable. Bess is a duplicate for me, but it's a gorgeous sky blue color nonetheless (it's called a "baby blue crème" on the site) and is from June's Nantucket/Sail Into Summer collection. Finally, Nina is an "electric orangesicle neon crème". Nina is pretty bright, and is definitely a neon, but it's a little easier to wear than Nikki (I think from now on, I will compare all polishes to Nikki, using it as a baseline for the absolute worst a polish can be...) While Nina is part of the Traffic Stoppers collection ($28 retail value, $22.40 for Mavens), you can actually buy Nina by itself, on sale for $8. This is another instance of where I feel Julep should have used the price that is available to everyone to calculate the value and not just the straight up "retail value".

Here are the swatches of my polishes (minus Bess, since I didn't want to open it).
From left to right are Monica (the original, gloopy one. You can see how it looks a little different compared to Kyla), Kyla, Lucy, Ellie, Nina (which got smudged because I'm impatient...), and Charlie. I really love the colors of Monica and Kyla and I love how glittery they are (except when I have to remove them...). Lucy feels more like a fall appropriate color than a "summer night" color, but I like how it's not too vampy. Ellie is very sheer and would probably work best over another color. Nina is pretty neon bright; it also has that weird kind of texture a lot of Julep's super bright polishes get where it dries to almost a matte finish. I think it has something to do with the type of pigment used. Finally Charlie, while really bright, is a great all purpose yellow. It's not too bright, but it's not muted down into a mustard or a pastel. It's just...yellow (which is not a bad thing)!

Finally, the product I got in my box was Julep's Double Duty Makeup Brush.
Sorry about the intense flash, I took these photos kind of late in the day and was having lighting issues. Anyways! This is the brush that Julep released to go along with their (possibly ill-fated?) DD Cream and Concealer. This is a combination foundation and concealer brush that you can pop apart and put back together either as I have here, or with the concealer brush tucked away inside (so it looks like a normal one ended brush). It feels like a good quality brush; both the foundation and concealer brush bristles feel soft and are densely packed. I don't normally use a brush to apply my foundation (especially since I only wear BB cream) and concealer, but I can see this being really useful.

So that's what I got in my Summertime Big Box (version 3!). I'm very happy with all the products I received, even though I did get a double (and especially since Julep replaced my one messed up polish for free!), but my issue with this box is with its value. Like I said, I paid $40 for this box and was promised at least $125 worth of products. I know from past experiences with other mystery boxes that Julep tends to calculate values based on "retail prices", not Maven prices (which is annoying, but understandable since you don't have to be a Maven to buy a mystery box). Even at retail value, this box was not worth the promised $125! I'll show you the most my box could be worth (based entirely on retail prices) and the least my box could be worth (based on Maven and sale prices):

Most Value:
Monica - $14
Kyla - $14
Lucy - $14
Ellie - $14
Nina - $14
Charlie - $14
Makeup Brush - $28
Total - $112

So unless those toe separators are worth $13, I feel like I should have gotten one more item.

Least Value:
Monica - $11.20
Kyla -  $11.20
Lucy - $11.20
Ellie - $8 (one half of the "Flower Girl Fun" set)
Nina - $7.99
Charlie - $11.20 (one half of the Maven price of the "Traffic Stoppers" set)
Makeup Brush - $22.40
Total - $83.19

Granted, you'd have to buy Ellie in the set of two for $16 and wouldn't be able to buy it for just $8, and Charlie is only in the Traffic Stoppers set so you're probably not buying Nina for $7.99, but as you can see, there's a pretty good gap between the most my box could be worth and the least it could be worth. But the big issue here is that, even at full retail price for everything, I did not get the promised minimum value of my box. And it's not like it's off by a couple dollars, it's off by almost the full retail price of another polish!

Did I get my money's worth? Yes; even at least value, I still got twice as much value as what I paid for. And I really do like the products. I just wish that Julep had been either more careful about their box values or more honest.

...I'm still going to buy the next mystery box they come up with.

Thanks for reading! <3!

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