Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 2013 Julep Mystery Golden Box and Picnic Box - Unboxing and Review!

Hello! This post is going to be a two-for-one! In August, I ended up getting TWO Julep Mystery boxes; a Golden Box from the Secret Store and the Picnic Mystery box with the special color, Evie. I wasn't going to buy the Picnic box since A. I have waaaaay too much nail polish from Julep (I really want to branch out and start trying other brands. Incidentally, I purchased some polish from a couple indie brands, so when they come I'll definitely be making a post about them!) and B. I need to save my money for our PAX/Seattle trip at the end of this month. I ended up caving in and buying the box because I had a terrible week, thought Evie was a super cute color, and had a little extra spending cash from some things I sold at my parents' garage sale.
Come see what I got!
I'll start with the Golden Box since that's what I got first. On the first of the month, Julep opens the Secret Shop to any Mavens who got a box for that month. The Secret Shop is open for just three days and it's full of deals: some are just okay, but sometimes there are really cheap special sets (I've gotten a few of these before). In the July Secret Shop, Julep offered Mavens a chance to buy a special Golden Mystery Box for $29.99. Golden boxes are the special, high value boxes that some people get. For just $5 more than a regular mystery box, I figured why not buy a guaranteed Golden Mystery box. The Golden Boxes usually have a value of $125-$200, so for about $30, you can't go wrong.
I ended up getting a Version 2 Golden Mystery box. I like that they had a little sticker like this one the bottom of the box. When Julep does mystery boxes, they make a few different versions, instead of making each box random (I think most places that do mystery box/bag type promotions do this; it would make sense since it saves time in preparing the boxes). I like that this box had the version sticker right on it, usually you only know which version you got by looking at your invoice.

In my Golden box, I got four polishes, two (sort of three) products, and a special treat! You can kind of see everything in the box shot above, except the polishes which are hiding in the spotted bag.
I'll start with the third-ish product, since I'm not sure if this counts as a product or as an extra. I got three of those ubiquitous hair ties from the brand Belina. I actually like these bands since they're gentler on my hair than even those "metal-less" hair elastics (the glue sometimes snags), though I would much prefer purchasing them from Forever21 since it's like $3 for a set of five. I checked Belina's site, but since they're a jewelry retailer, I don't think they have these on there and that they're more of a special promotional item. Value-wise, I went off what Julep sells similar sets of hair ties for, making these worth $9 ($7.20 for Mavens).
This is one of the two "actual" products I got in my Golden Box: Julep's SPF 30 Hand Cream. It's basically just a sunscreen lotion for your hands; it's not too special, though it does have vitamin E in it to help hydrate skin and strengthen nails. I was pretty happy to get this product; you can always use a sunscreen for your hands! It's actually pretty important to protect the skin on your hands and a lot of people skip it. Your hands can really age you if they aren't well taken care of. The full price of this is $28, but you can find it in the Savvy Deals section of the online store for $13.99.
Now THIS product I was super excited to get! I've been lusting after this for a while, but my rule with Julep is never buy anything at full price (or even Maven price) since they're always having specials sales and deals, or you could get it in a mystery box, like I did here! This is Julep's Oxygen Nail Treatment. It's like a clear polish that makes your nails healthy and look well groomed. It has a plant stem cell complex for anti-aging and special "oxygen technology" which forms a "non-occlusive film on the nail, proving resistant to water penetration and improving the permeability to oxygen." It makes your nails super shiny and it's really great to wear when you're in-between polishes but don't want to go totally bare. I've used it a couple times, and I've noticed a difference in the strength and the growth-rate of my nails (thought admittedly that might be because just wearing a clear polish helps prevent breakage in the first place). My only complaint is that you can't use this with a polish (I suppose you technically could, but it's not recommended) so you can't oxygenate and have glittery nails at the same time. Full price is $18, Mavens can get it for $14.40.

On to the polishes!
They came in this super cute, spotty bag! I've only seen solid color bags up to this point (at least I think so...I don't remember...) so I thought the spots were interesting. As always, the polishes came safely wrapped up in bubblewrap, but I am an impatient person and take them out before I film/write about my boxes.
Here are the four polishes I got. From top to bottom they are: Alfre, a "royal metropolitan purple metallic" ($14, $11.20 Maven price), Coco, an "oxblood creme" ($14, $11.20), January, a "tomato red creme" ($14, $11.20), and Fina, a "sky blue silvery metallic" ($14, $7.99 on sale).
And here they are swatched (in a different order from the first picture, but it's pretty obvious which is which). Fina and Alfre are both super pretty and I'm really happy I got them (even if Fina is on sale right now), while I'm a little meh about Coco and January. Coco was probably my least favorite color from the Jazz collection and I just have so many other red nail polishes...I just don't need another like January. I don't even like red nail polish; I'm not sure why it's considered a "classic" color (that's actually not true, I have read some things about why red is the classic nail color. There's an interesting..."theory", I guess, though it's not really a theory, where, at it's very essence, make-up boils down to the colors white (skin), black (eyes), and red (lips, cheeks, nails).

Almost forgot the bonus treat!
Julep threw in three of the taffies (taffys?) that came in the...July? box. These are pretty tasty, and I love taffy, so. Awesome.

Overall, this was pretty good box, especially for just $30. Value-wise, it doesn't quite live up to the promised $125, though I've noticed this happening with pretty much all of the mystery boxes I've gotten from Julep. At full retail price, this box is valued at $111, at Maven/sale price it's worth $77.18. I'm still getting my money's worth, so I'm not upset or anything, but it would be nice if the mystery boxes were actually worth the minimum values promised by Julep.

Now for the Picnic box!
This was the mystery box Julep released for August, which anyone is able to buy. This month's special polish is a raspberry with gold shimmer called "Evie". There were two different options you could chose from; a $24.99 box that could be worth between $70 and $125 (I think) and a $39.99 box worth between $125 and $200 (maybe it was $300. I really need to post about these sooner, when this info is fresh in my memory...). I went for the cheaper box this month because I wanted to save money, and I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything by getting the smaller box. When I feel like I have to chose between one style or another (like last months box where you had to pick between day colors or night colors), I tend to want to get both. This time, there was no choice beyond size, so it was easy to go with the cheaper option. I ended up with version 1 and got one product and four polishes (no special extra though, sad!).
For my product I got the Sugar Smooch Lip Scrub from the Jazz collection. I really like this scrub, but unfortunately, I already own one! This scrub smells absolutely amazing; it's like a butter toffee cookie sugar smell and it's...it's just awesome. It's a fairly nice scrub as well, though it's not as scrubby as some lip scrubs (I should keep saying "scrub") I've tried. It does feel super moisturizing, though if you don't get most of it off your lips there is this weird taste to it. I haven't made too big of dent in my other lip scrub since I tend to use my LUSH one more. Because you can eat it. And I am lazy. Full price for this is $14, $11.20 for Mavens.

And now for the polishes!
From top to bottom I got: Evie, a "fresh-picked raspberry creme with gold shimmer" ($14, $11.20 Maven price), Zora, a "frosted pink pearl" ($14, $11.20), Marie, a "sheer lavender jelly nail glaze" (in a set of two for $25, $20 Maven), and Nan, a "Nantucket red creme" ($14, $11.20). My favorite polish out of these four is definitely Evie, which is fine since that's why I bought the box in the first place. Zora is my second favorite; it's super pretty but it's also very pale, which sometimes looks off on me. Marie and Nan are pretty meh; I don't really get the appeal of the nail glazes since I think the sheer wash of color looks a bit weird. I think it's supposed to be a subtle way to wear color, but to me it kind of comes off as if you have a stained nail or something. Nan is kind of a weird color; I'm not sure exactly what a true "Nantucket red" is, but to me it looks like an orange-based brick red...not the most appealing color. I get the feeling this may have been the least popular color from the Nantucket collection from July.
Swatch time! I'm sorry this picture is kind of blurry. My camera didn't want to cooperate and this was the best representation of the actual colors. Zora and Marie are kind of hard to see since the nail bases are white and not actual nail colored, but it gives you a good idea of just how sheer Marie is. You can see the faint lavender tint, but otherwise it's basically a clear polish.

Overall I'm pretty okay with this box. It's not as great as my Golden Box, but I didn't get any duplicate polish colors and the lip scrub is a good product, I just already own it. Evie is super pretty, though, and I really like the thrill of mystery boxes, so I don't feel like my $25 was misspent. At full retail price, this box is worth $68.50, at Maven/sale price it's $54.80.

Mystery boxes are so exciting to me; it's getting to the point where I almost don't want to subscribe to any boxes that aren't mysteries. I know some people really don't like not being able to pick their products, but I think it's fun, and it's a great way to try colors or brands that you wouldn't normally try! Even though Julep mystery boxes aren't perfect (tend to be less value than what Julep promises - though you do always get your money's worth, chance of duplicates - especially if you have been buying a lot of boxes like me, a high concentration of old/sale products), they're fun and really, isn't that the most important part?

Thanks for reading! <3!

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