Oh, I just loved the idea of a mystery box, surprises in the mail are so much fun. It’s even better when you know your mystery box is going to be packed with polish, which I also love, and be a great value. Julep, which does the Maven Monthly Subscription Service I’m currently signed up for– you can see my first month here–also does regular mystery boxes that cost $25 ($5 more than their Maven Boxes) but contain $70-$200 worth of product.
I signed up for their “Spring” box and was glad I did, especially when the April Maven sets became available–which was after the mystery box deadline– and I realized there wasn’t anything I loved enough to order. So skipping April was a great compromise and I got way more stuff than if I’d stuck with the Maven Box, I just didn’t know what it was.
When the box arrived it was definitely much larger than my Maven Box, and it felt heavier, so that was already a good sign. Inside the packaging was once again adorable, looking very Easter-ish (which was appropriate at the time, but it takes me awhile to write up these posts because I want to test out all the products first).
Once I started unwrapping things, I really felt like I hit the jack-pot with my box.
- 3 chocolate Easter eggs
- Small fabric bag
- 4 different colours of polish (Camille, Portia, Lynn and Lauren)
- Nail file
- 3 neon hair elastics
- 1 pack of 10 polish remover pads (good for one use)
- 1 cuticle oil roll-on
The polishes themselves retail for $14 and the cuticle oil is $18, so combining that alone means a $74 value, not even including all the fun bonus treats. So it’s definitely a great value for $25.
It’s also a lot of products to review in one post! So beware this will definitely be both photo and text-heavy. But let’s start off with some of what I think of as “bonus” gifts. Chocolate is always nice, and the cute bag is great for storing rings or other small items. I’ve always wanted to try these kinds of hair ties, but they generally retail for about $2 each which is more than I want to spend on an elastic. I haven’t used them much yet but I love the neon colours, and I know they are supposed to be much better for your hair, but I just find them a bit small for storing on my wrist which is where my elastics generally go.
The emory board is just okay, I’ve been using it but it’s a bit too powerful for my liking, I prefer one that is a bit gentler for filing my nails. Finally, the nail polish remover pads are amazing! I used them to remove glitter polish and it basically came right off. I was really impressed and I am definitely wondering if I need to stop buying the cheapest nail polish remover I can find at the drug store and get something a bit nicer, because it definitely makes your life easier. The only concern about it is that there is remover in the package, so you have to be careful because if you’re using one pad the envelope has to sit in a certain way, propped up so that the remover doesn’t leak out. Other than that these would be absolutely fantastic for travel but it’s obviously a lot of unnecessary packaging for daily use.
The cuticle oil I honestly adored. It smells great, applies so easily with the roller, and really hydrates your skin without leaving it too oily. The biggest problem I have is that I need to remember to carry it around with me so that I can get into using it more regularly. It’s not the type of product I would ever have ordered on my own, which just shows what a great idea the Mystery Box really was. I got something totally expected (not polish!) that I loved.
Now onto to the polish! Starting with Lynn, a pinkish nude that I loved in the bottle, but unfortunately as soon as I started to apply it I knew it wasn’t for me.
Lynn does not go nicely with my skin tone at all. Even my boyfriend disliked it on me, and he rarely has a polish-related opinion. It almost makes my skin look dirty, which I think is due to the coral-ish undertones which is pretty much a horrible colour on me. I don’t tend to do great with pink nudes either. Also, unlike all my other Juleps so far, this one was definitely not opaque in two coats and needed the third to pretty much get rid of visible nail line (VNL). That said I don’t think it was a huge opacity issue and if it had looked nicer on me it definitely wouldn’t have prevented me from buying/wearing it.
Lynn has a slightly frosted look to it which I didn’t love either, but I do think it could be really pretty on somebody with the right skin to match it. I’m storing this one separate from my collection and will give it away to better home in the future.
After I realized I really didn’t look great with Lynn on, I figured it was a good opportunity to test out one of the glitter top coats I got, starting with Portia. Although it has a strong blue colour in the bottle, it’s completely misleading as the polish itself is actually transparent which means you can definitely wear it over any base colour.
The glitter itself has a very slight blue tint to it, but if you’re looking for something that’s really blue, this is the wrong polish. It is a great glitter, although very thick, because it applies with loads of sparkle in one coat. I really loved Portia and I’m definitely excited to layer it over other colours in the future. Both the glitters dried really quickly and gave a wonderful sparkle in the sun.
After Portia, I decided to test out Lauren, which I’m still conflicted over. Hopefully these photos help show why. I’m not wearing any top coat because I was going to apply glitter after. This is two coats of Lauren over one coat of white.
The second photo is actually an accurate representation of the colour, but unfortunately when I had it bright enough to show the real colour, the problems the polish had weren’t very visible. Those problems were that while, the bright cheerful pink is really a great spring colour– and a great colour to me year-round because I love bright polish–there were some concerns while applying it.
The first time I wore Lauren I used three thin coats to try to achieve opacity but still had apparent VNL afterwards. I didn’t manage to take proper photos at the time, but you can get an idea what it looks like with my Instagram photo that I’ll share anyway, though it once again appears more opaque (in bright light) than it actually is. I didn’t mind a ton, but it did make me wonder if I’d be better off applying it with a thin coat of white underneath like I do with my neon polish.
Unfortunately, applying the white (I used Blanc by Essie) made things even worse, as the polish now appeared a bit streaky because of the base underneath. I did it with two coats of Lauren and it was kinda too thick and maybe I was impatient but it didn’t dry great. Afterwards I ended up topping it with Camille which hid all the imperfections but I would definitely just stick to wearing Lauren by itself in the future. I don’t think three coats is necessary because I was hoping to get rid of VNL and I didn’t, so two by itself is probably fine.
So yes, I will be wearing this colour again, but with hesitations (and photos!). I hope to share better swatches of it without the base colour in the future.
Camille, which was a special polish included in every spring mystery box, is very similar to Portia except with clear glitter instead of blue.
The tinting on Portia was so pale I don’t think you need both in your collection. However, because Julep does 8 mL bottles I don’t mind having both because I love them so much I’ll definitely go through it. If I had to pick I’d go with Camille, which was less thick than Portia while still being jam-packed with glitter sparkle. Plus, regular clear glitter is probably more versatile then one with one with a slight blue tint.
Both glitters are definitely thicker than a regular polish, but that also means they apply perfectly in one coat which is great because if I’m applying it on top of another 2 coats of base, I much prefer glitters where I can stick to one coat. Otherwise it can be a bit thick and also kinda ridiculous waiting for your nails to dry. I realize I tested both glitters over other colours, so I may try them over just solid white in the future and I’ll be sure to share photos of that if I do.
Overall, I’d say this Mystery Box was a success. I got two fantastic glitters and a cuticle oil I adore. The two base colours I got weren’t perfect, but I’m sure a family member of mine will appreciate Lynn, while I’m definitely going to be giving Lauren another shot. Plus there were a bunch of fun surprises. Suffice it to say, when I got the email about the next Mystery Box, it wasn’t too hard to convince myself to order it. It hasn’t arrived yet but it features a “sea salt” textured polish and I have no idea what else. Can’t wait to find out and share!
If you’re interested in a Mystery Box, Maven Box, or any of Julep’s other products you can find their website here. I’d definitely recommend giving the Maven Box as a try, as you can get one month for free by clicking here and using the code FREEMAVEN (just pay $4 shipping to Canada and the US).
I know that I’m totally hooked on them, but how do you feel about mystery boxes? Is there another company that sells them that you enjoy? Are you considering giving Julep Mystery Boxes a try?