Saturday, October 1, 2016

September 2016 Julep Mystery Box - Rock Your Look: Color Play - Unboxing & Review!

It's been a hot minute since my last Julep Mystery box; I used to love to get these boxes because you got a lot of products for not a lot of money, but the last few I've gotten haven't been very impressive. Plus, I already own a ton of Julep nail polishes and I've been reluctant to try a lot of their newer makeup due to not-so-favorable previous experiences, so I wasn't confident I'd be getting my money's worth. I'm not sure what made me get the September mystery box, especially since it was makeup-heavy (I found a coupon code that dropped the price from $24.99 to less than $20, which was a big part of my decision...), but I am extremely happy that I did since this ended up being one of my favorite Julep mystery boxes ever!
The theme for the boxes this month was 'Rock Your Look' and Julep gave you two options: Classic Beauty, which included more traditional, neutral colors, and Color Play, which has full of bold, bright colors. I went with the Color Play box because I love bold makeup, plus I already own all the neutral makeup I will ever need!

Prices and values have changed over time, but currently, the standard Julep Mystery Box is $24.99 for $100+ worth of products (the value is calculated based on the full retail value of each product, which is kind of lame since Julep products are almost always on sale and, if you're a Maven, you get a 20% discount on everything anyways). I don't know why, especially since it's not even that big  of a difference, but I'm much more reluctant to purchase mystery boxes now that they're $24.99 than I was when they were only $19.99. Normally, coupon codes don't work on mystery boxes, so I when I found one that did, I wanted to take advantage of it as quickly as possible. If I hadn't found a code that brought this box down to less than $20, I'm not sure if I would have been as willing to purchase it (even though, again, this ended up being one of the best mystery boxes I've ever gotten!).

One thing that I really liked about this box was the variety and balance of products which, again, is weird since I haven't been too interested in Julep's makeup products. There are six products in this box: two nail polishes and four color cosmetics which includes a lip product, an eye liner, an eye shadow and a cheek product. I'm not sure if everything really goes together, but again, the point of this box is to be bold, and bold doesn't always match.
I'll start with the polishes. As you can see, one polish is in the newer box style and the other is in an older style. I thought the newer box was a newer polish, but according to labels, these are both from 2015 (Julep labels all their polishes with the name, year of release, and number). Since I have so many polishes from Julep, I always worry about getting dupes with these mystery polishes, but these are both brand new to me (at least according to my master list).
First up is Maggie, a 'frosty amethyst shimmer'. This polish is apparently 'Back From The Vault' (kind of like Disney movies, Julep will re-release older polishes for a  limited time) and is currently on special for $4.99 (this is what I mean about misleading box values; I'm sure the value of this box was calculated based on the $15 full price).
Price aside, this is a gorgeous deep purple polish and is perfect for the fall/winter. I think there are blue flakies in this polish, but it's hard to tell on the nail (they're a lot more obvious in the bottle). This polish also looks a bit more blue on the nail; in the bottle it's almost like a deep grape.
The other polish is Mara, a Stardust Finish (these are similar to Zoya PixieDusts;the regular kind, not the Ultra or Magical versions). Mara is described as a 'thistle blossom stardust'.
I'm a big fan of textured polishes, so I love the Stardust Finish line, but if you don't, then you're probably not going to like these types of polishes. You can somewhat smooth out the texture by layering on topcoat, but you won't get it 100% smooth (these polishes are intended to have texture, so the inability to get a smooth finish is not a bad thing).
On to the makeup! As I said above, I have some experience with Julep's makeup line, but not a lot of it was positive. One thing I can say is that Julep is always reinventing their products, for better or for worse, so something you tried even just a few months ago could be completely different. This first product is a When Pencil Met Gel eye liner in the color Sunset Gold Shimmer (another thing I've noticed about Julep makeup is that they tend to have very long, interesting names). This is a standard sharpenable liner with a gel-like consistency. It glides on smoothly and has good pigmentation (I'll have a collective swatch photo near the end). I'm really happy Julep included a gold color; it's very wearable, but it's also different enough that you're unlikely to have ten other liners in a similar shade (which is what would have happened if Julep included a black or brown).
Let's continue with the eyes with the Dial Up Your Glam Multidimensional Orbital Eyeshadow (I remember there was a time when these were just called Orbital Eyeshadows...) in the color Cosmos.
These shadows come in chunky plastic compacts with rounded off corners; they aren't the fanciest containers, but they feel nice and solid.
Cosmos is described as a 'moss green with gold pearlescence', which kind of surprised me because I thought this had more of a black/charcoal grey base instead of a green.
There's a ton of gold glitter in this shadow; Julep calls it a 'pearlescence', but it clearly has pieces of gold glitter (to me, a pearlescence is a very fine shimmer). Even though these shadows are domed shaped, I'm not sure if they are baked or not (generally, a domed powder product means it's baked); it doesn't say if they are anywhere in the description or on the box, but they are made in Italy and can be used both wet and dry (other good indicators of a baked product), so I would assume so. I've only tried it dry, and felt that I got good pigmentation, especially for a darker shade, so I'm curious to see how the formula improves, if at all, when used damp. On a side note, I really like that Julep chose to include this shade since it pairs so well with the gold liner.
Cheeks are the obvious next stop, so the next product in my mystery box is a Skip The Brush blush stick in the color Desert Rose. I actually got a different shade of this product in a previous Maven box, but I like these types of blush sticks, so I'm happy to have another color.
Desert Rose is described as a 'bronzed rose sheen'.
It's different enough to be interesting (and unlikely that you'll have a similar color already in your collection), but not so out there that it's not easily wearable; this seems to be a common theme with this box, and I'm quite impressed with how well these products have been curated. Normally with mystery boxes, they tend to have a 'thrown together' feel, but this box gives the impression that someone really thought about what products and in what colors they were going to include. The packaging on these blush sticks feels a little cheap, especially for the $24 Julep charges for them ($19.20 with the Maven discount), but the product itself performs well (maybe not $24 well, but it's not a terrible product by any means).
Lastly, I got an It's Balm Full Coverage Lip Crayon in the color Flamingo Pink Creme. If you look at the product itself, you can see that it used to be called the Plush Pout Lip Crayon, which makes a lot more sense than the new name...
Flamingo Pink Creme is an 'electric bubblegum pink'. It also kind of smells like cake batter, which is a plus!
This is a 2-in-1 product with a hydrating lip treatment core surrounded by pigment. Julep says these are full coverage, but I find that you get more of a semi-opaque color with a glossy finish; with products like these, I prefer a less opaque look, so it's actually a plus for me.
Here's everything swatched! Top to bottom we have the eyeshadow Cosmos, the Sunset Gold Shimmer liner, the Flamingo Pink Creme lip crayon, and the Desert Rose blush stick. Looking at my swatch picture, it's pretty obvious that Cosmos is a deep moss green, so I have no idea why I thought it was a black/dark charcoal (I blame it on bad lighting).

Overall, I'm very impressed with how the four makeup products performed, especially since I wasn't expecting much out of them to begin with. I'm also pleased with the two polishes that were included in this box; Julep polishes can be a little hit and miss and I feel like both of these were hits for me. Is this box worth the $20ish I paid? Yes! Would it have been worth the full $24.99? I would still say yes, but without the exclamation point. Am I going to purchase more mystery boxes in the future? Maybe, but now, more than anything else, I'm going to be much more open to trying new makeup products from Julep.

Thanks for reading! <3

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great review and the swatches! I got the Classic one and was so curious what this one would have. The Classic was also well curated, and (at least to me) a more modern take on classics (brown liner, guava blush, pearly brown shadow, pale pink and sparkly polish, and that balm gloss in a very sheer red).