Sunday, January 18, 2015

December 2014 Julep Maven Box

After having been a bum (okay, so maybe only in the blogosphere and not in, you know, reality) for the entire month of December I've got such a backlog of things to share. Like all of my lovely December subscription boxes. My Julep Maven box is always the first of the month to arrive, so I figured it was fitting to share before the rest. Having an ample supply of nail polish at home, I decided to skip out on this month's colors finally acquire a Plié Wand instead. I also couldn't resist trying one of the newly launched Orbital Eyeshadows. Was my decision ultimately a wise one? I dare say it was even wiser than I expected.

One of the biggest selling points on the Maven box to me is its customizability. For it being a brand specific box, I see the purpose of it not so much for discovery and experimentation, as much as it is for filling the holes in my beauty and nail collection. I can choose specific products that I know I'll use, or have no counterpart for in my current stash. This month, for example, did have some gorgeous polish colors, however most of them were close dupes to colors I already own. So, rather than waste my money on polishes I'll probably never get around to wearing, I decided to trade two of them in for a Plié Wand, which theoretically is supposed to vastly improve your DIY manicure. I was also able to add the Creativity Kit to my box for an additional $4.99, which I thought would maybe inspire me to do some more nail art. Each standard Maven box contains 3 items, so for my remaining choice I decided to try the new Orbital Eyeshadow in Airglow.

Now, you may be wondering what the heck a Plié wand is, and we will get there. But first I need to share a little secret about Julep polishes that somehow I managed, up until taking said wand out of the box, to be in the dark about. Those square caps on all Julep polishes? They're all just overcaps. The actual polish bottle tops are rounded, and the Plie wand is able to snap onto them. In short, the Plié wand makes applying your polish more comfortable and more precise by extending what is normally a short, stubby cap, to what feels like a long pen or paintbrush. The handle is also adjustable to make polishing with your non dominant hand easier. Maybe you're thinking you don't have enough Julep polishes in your collection to find a contraption like this worth owning. Never fear! You're also provided with an additional precision brush that can be used with any polish your heart desires.

With all these promises of revolutionizing your nail polishing experience, the obvious next question is does it live up to all the hype? I would have to give a resounding yes. I'm even more excited than I usually am now to paint my nails. It really does give you quite a bit more control with applying your polish, and is incredibly comfortable to hold. With a $25 price tag it does seem a bit expensive for what it is, so I'm not sure I would have gone out and purchased this if I wasn't a subscriber. I do think, though, that if you're a fellow Maven, this is kind of a must have.

The Creativity Kit provides you with a striping brush and dotting tool that you can pop on in lieu of a normal brush cap to get your nail art on. I've always wanted to experiment with designs in my manicures, and I'm figuring now I'll have no excuses for getting started! The Creativity Kit retails for $10, although you can often add it on to your monthly box for half that price.

Switching gears a little bit, I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the quality of Julep's makeup. While they're mainly known for nail care products, they truly do a lot of things well. For one, I am OBSESSED with this Orbital Eyeshadow. It's probably the first shadow I've gotten excited about in, well, longer than I can remember. I chose the shade Airglow, which is a shimmering, peachy toned shade. I tried to swatch it for you all to see, but every picture I took really didn't do it justice.

I've got a light to medium complexion, and this shade was just a little bit darker and warmer than my skin. So on one hand it's very subdued and easy to wear, however it also packs the most amazing shimmery punch. The finish is actually kind of difficult to describe - not quite metallic, not quite glittery. It's got very fine light reflecting particles that add a festive amount of shimmer without making you look like a disco ball. You can apply it dry for everyday, or amp things up by applying it wet. I find that wet application also helps to reduce fallout, as it does have the tendency to be a little messy. As further proof of its awesomeness, my boyfriend (who is not a fan of eyeshadow nor particularly well versed in the specifics of makeup) made a point to tell me that he thought it was pretty and that he liked how it looked. If that didn't sell me, I don't know what would.

While there are eight gorgeous shades in the line, I'm really happy I chose the one that I did. I think its the most easily wearable for everyday. However, I can't help but lust a little over Borealis, which, while being way less practical, is just so stinkin' pretty. Orbital Eyeshadows retail for $18 (or $14.40 if you're a Maven).

For my first polish-free box I was actually really quite pleased with what I got. I'm hoping the Plié Wand will get me inspired to paint my nails more often by making the process that much easier, and I've been using my eyeshadow on an almost daily basis. Don't worry, the polish swatches are back for January (which was an equally awesome box), so check back soon for that review!

Interested in becoming a Julep Maven? Use my referral link to let them know I sent you their way!