Julep Maven: September 2016: Cheers to Five Years!

Chugging through my backlog of boxes, I realized I’m overdue for a Julep Maven box review.  September’s theme was “Cheers to Five Years!” to celebrate Julep’s anniversary.  The collection featured some cute makeup kits and an array of cheerful polishes.
cheers-to-five-years
If you’re interested in grabbing a Julep sub, there’s a great promotion going until 11/25/16. If you’re a new subscriber, use the code FREEFALL and get this 12 piece polish gift set with your subscription.
free-gift-2

MY CUSTOMIZABLE MAVEN BOX
open-box-1

open-box-2 eyeliner-set-open
Cheers to Five Years! Mini Eyeliner Set

(Retail $40.00/Maven Price: $32.00)
Description: “Five brand-new mini shades of our cult classic eyeliner, When Pencil Met Gel. A waterproof eye pencil with the formula of a gel eyeliner that glides on smoothly without tugging or skipping. Sets in 30 seconds and provides 10+ hours of wear. Ophthalmologist tested.”
eyeliner-swatches
Set includes (swatches from left to right):
When Pencil Met Gel – Galaxy Black Shimmer
When Pencil Met Gel – Deep Sea Foam Shimmer
When Pencil Met Gel – Gilded Gold Shimmer
When Pencil Met Gel – Lilac Shimmer
When Pencil Met Gel – Ultraviolet
Verdict: Love!
I love Julep eye gliders because they go on so easily and have great staying power.  As soon as  I saw the fun colors, I knew I had to grab this set.  The shimmer in the black really shows up, and the sea foam shade has a great boho vibe.  The gold is more of an antique tone and feels art deco.  The lilac is my least favorite of the bunch as it reads a bit faded.  The Ultraviolet is a fun shade that feels kind of 80s (but in a good way).  This is a fun set to play with and while I wouldn’t pay the retail price of $40, I think it’s worth at least $18.  Julep has tons of great holiday sales so keep this in mind if you see a great coupon code.

meredithmeredith-swatch
Meredith

(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Love!
Description: “Sea Mist Chrome”
I love mints and sea foam shades and this one is lovely.  I think the shimmer in it will make it great to wear during the holiday season.

SEPTEMBER FREEBIE!
You’ll note that there’s no picture here.  Why?  Well, it’s another one of those unfortunately consistent Julep screw-ups.  As part of Julep’s anniversary, they promised to include a free makeup bag in every box…except of course they didn’t.  People had to ask about it and when they did Julep said the bags arrived not up to their standards and so they didn’t include them.  No mention of including them at any other time.  I believe people who complained to Julep might have gotten a free item or a coupon code, but they didn’t offer that to everyone affected–you had to call and complain.  I didn’t bother since it was a free item and I didn’t really need another makeup bag, but this constantly promising things they can’t deliver needs to stop.

OVERALL:
julep-august-2016
Verdict:
Good
This box would have been a “love” if not for the makeup bag fiasco.  I paid $21.39 and got a great little eyeliner set and a pretty polish.  The retail value on these items is $54 and the maven value is $32.  The eyeliner set features a lot of colors I didn’t already own and that I think will look great for the holidays.  It’s fun to experiment with bright eye colors and a mini kit is a great way to try lots of things without committing to the cost of one full size product.

Have you ever tried a colorful eye liner?
What did you think?

COUPON CODES & LINKS:
free-gift

Free 12-pc Fall Nail Polish Gift Set for New Subscribers ($168 Value!)
(Expires 11/25/16)
COUPON CODE: FREEFALL

THE BACKSTORY
(Just remember this signs you up for a monthly subscription.  If you don’t wish to receive boxes you will need to call Julep to cancel.  You can also opt to skip a month and you will not be billed.)
Julep specializes in toxin-free nail color but also features beauty products.  They are a small company based in Seattle and have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

Monthly Maven Options:
My Maven Subscription: $24.99 per month – Allows you to customize your box
3 Month Prepaid: $19.99/month

Maven Luxe: $39.99 per month – Gives you access to add on more expensive items
3 Month Prepaid: $34.99/month

The options (Take the quiz here):
Modern Beauty – (For those who prefer beauty items over nail color) – “You’re a savvy tastemaker obsessed with the art and science of beauty.” Get two full-size beauty products in every box.
Boho Glam – “You’re a dynamic free spirit with a creative eye.”
Bombshell – “You’re a confident frill-seeker with magnetic appeal.”
Classic With a Twist – “You’re an iconic beauty with a timeless aesthetic.”
It Girl – (For those who want polish only) “You’re a colorful trendsetter who’s not afraid to be bold.” Get three limited-edition nail colors in every box.

Julep will email you with the contents of your regular box selection, and at that time you can opt to keep it as is, change it, or skip.  Every time you purchase a box you get the option of add-ons along with access to Julep’s “Secret Store” that lets you get other products at great prices.   Another perk is that when you’re a maven you get 20% off anything you purchase from Julep’s website along with free Shipping.

Julep also has a rewards program that gives you “jules” for taking your monthly boxes and on your birthday.  You can use jules to pay for monthly boxes and some other items chosen by Julep.

Rachel Zoe Box of Style: Fall 2016 & $10 Off

It’s time for my favorite sub box: the Rachel Zoe Box of Style. This quarterly sub is a bit of a splurge at $100, but it’s chock full of high end, quality items so it’s always a treat to review. (If you want to sign up  Use code SUBTHERAPYSP10 to save $10 off!)  This box also lists coupon codes for the included brands so I’m adding to my review so you can pick up the stuff you love at a discount.
box
Fall is a great time of year for fashion so let’s see what Rachel Zoe has picked  out for us.
open-box label
HERO ITEM:
shawl shawl-label
label-charm box-of-style-fall-2016-donni-charm-cape-lead-768x768
The Colorblock: Donni Charm Wonder Cape
:
(Estimated Retail: $197.00)
Description: “There is nothing more Classic than black and white.   This versatile Cape transcends seasons and flatters every body type—it’s sizeless, ageless and timeless.”
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “For day, wear the cape over a cream-colored turtleneck k and a dark wide-leg denim.  Play up the luxe vibe for evening by teaming it with a satin slip dress and leather ankle boots.  Wrap it around your neck to transform it into a cozy scarf.”
Coupon Code: Use RZxDC20 for 20% off site wide (Valid through November 15, 2016).
Verdict: Love!
This item was the spoiler and retails for almost twice the cost of the box.  It is so so soft and such a classic piece. (It even has the cutest charm on the label).  This is a great option for travel since you can wear it a variety of ways plus it can keep you warm on those chilly flights.  I love how classic and high end it looks.  This is the kind of the thing I can totally use in my wardrobe and I’d probably never splurge for on my own.  I also adore that Rachel includes fashion items women of every age and size can pull off.  It’s not an easy thing to do and it makes fashion accessible and fun.  To help see the full piece better I included one of Rachel Zoe’s styling options.

belt
The Cinch: B-Low the Belt Gatsby Wrap Belt
(Estimated Retail: $105.00)
Description: “This belt is so versatile: Double wrap it to cinch a maxi dress, do a dramatic single wrap around a thicker jacket or pull it through belt loops on trousers.  With tassels, that add a little extra interest, it’s a style star favorite.”
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “Wrap the belt around a cape or tunic to polish a roomy silhouette.  Adapt a dressy frock for daytime by slinging the belt around your hips and wearing with flat shoes.  Add polish too casual t-shirt and jeans by pulling through your belt loops and letting the tassels fall at the fron..”
Coupon Code: Use RZOE20B-LOW for 20% off site wide (Valid through November 15, 2016).
Verdict: Hit!
Good belts that can accommodate larger size ladies are hard to find, so this was a wonderful inclusion.  I don’t own anything like this and it’s definitely taking me a bit out of my comfort zone.  I love that it coordinates with the cape from this box.  I’m going to have fun incorporating it into some looks.

braceletbracelet-closeon-wrist
The Eye-Catcher: Rachel Zoe Tassel Bracelet:
(Estimated Retail: $95.00)
Description: “I am beyond exited to include a piece of jewelry from my own collection in this season’s Box of Style!  Whether styled on its own as an elegant addition to your look, or layered among your stack of usual suspects, this is a great piece of jewelry you’ll wear constantly.”
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “Wear the bracelet alone with a simple shift dress for the office—the chain and tassel are all the statement you need.  For a double dose of tassel, pair it with the wrap belt to dress up a simple jumpsuit for a night out.  Let your jewelry do all the talking by stacking bracelets and cuffs for a head-turning look.”
Coupon Code: Use RZFall20 for 20% off sitewide (Valid through November 15, 2016).
Verdict: Love!
This bracelet is exclusive to this box, so I linked to a similar one from Rachel’s collection.  I adore box exclusive items and this bracelet is lovely.  One of my very first sub boxes, featured a Rachel Zoe ring that I wear at least once a week.  Her jewelry is high quality and very classic.  The tassel on this is well made and I’ve already worn it a few times.  A 50 year old woman and a 15 year old girl could both wear this and look wonderful.  Another thoughtful choice.

lint-sheets
The Styling Tool: Holly wood Fashion Secrets Lint Removing Sheets
(Retail: $6.00)
Description: “It’s so easy to find yourself covered in lint, especially when you’re wearing sweaters, scarves and fall coats.  These are much more handy and compact than a bulky roll brush, so they’re east to carry with you everywhere.”
Rachel’s Living in Style Tips: “Stow them at your desk to keep you lint-free I the office.  The slender packaging allows you to keep them in your evening clutch to touch-up your LBD during nights out.  If your layering pieces easily shed, make sure to use them immediately after removing once you get indoors.”
Coupon Code: Use Zoe25 for 25% off sitewide (Valid through November 15, 2016).
Verdict:
Like
A practical little item that I will add to the “survival kit” I keep in my commuter bag.
brow-powderbrow-brush
brow-tipbrow-swatch
The Statement-Maker: It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil
(Estimated Retail: $24.00)
Description: “The majority of the women in my life struggle with their brows—everything form shaping them to filling them in to finding the right shade to match.  This pencil works on any brow color and makes filling in so easy.”

lip-glossgloss-applicatorgloss-swatch
The Perfect Pout: It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Blush in Hydrating Gloss Stain in Mauve-A-Lous Darling
(Estimated Retail: $24.00)
Description: “A bold lip doesn’t always mean bright and saturated in color.  What I love about the many shades of lip stain is that is’ a great way to boost your natural beauty without completely overtaking your look.”
Rachel’s Beauty Tips: “For date night, pair your lip stain with a crisp cat-eye and a sleek ponytail for a pulled together, understatedly sexy look. If you’re ever in a pinch, add a swipe of the gloss on your cheeks and blend with your fingers to give your complexion a wash of health-looking color.  For dark eyebrows use pressure to match the shade perfectly.  Use less pressure for light and blonde brows.”
Verdict:
Hit!
It Cosmetics is one of my go to brands, although both of these products were new for me.  As a redhead, it can be problematic to match brow color but this one does blend in perfectly.  It’s not quite as easy to apply as some of the brow gel products, but it still does an excellent job and one tube should last quite some time.  For the lip color, Rachel Zoe offered the opportunity to pick from three shades.  I struggled with the options which included red, berry and pink since my first impulse is to go for the fun red.  Instead, I opted for the more practical mauve.  The color is very pretty and the stain effect actually leaves your lips with a bit of color – not the same as the initial application, but more of a softer flush.  It does feel infinitely better and more hydrating than any other stain I’ve tried.

OVERALL:
rachel-zoe-fall-2016-box
Verdict:
Love!
Rachel Zoe never disappoints.  I always get beautiful things at a great value.  If I had to get rid of all my subs but one, this would be the keeper.  So many boxes try to highlight fashion, but it’s difficult to accommodate different sizes, ages, and skin tones, so it’s quite an accomplishment that Rachel Zoe pulls it off every season.  As for value, this box cost me $100 and came with an estimated retail value of $451.00.  I will use everything in this box plus it included items that broadened my fashion horizons and an exclusive jewelry piece.  We also had the opportunity to customize the box a bit with our lip color choice and I hope Rachel continues to add that feature.  If your budget allows, definitely consider treating yourself to the Rachel Zoe Box of Style.

What did you think of Rachel’s Fall box?
Would you use all these items?

THE BACKSTORY
Box of Style has Fashion, beauty and lifestyle items you’ll be obsessed with!   Over $300 worth of product in every box.

   Box of Style ships 4 times per year—March, July, September & December

   Membership renews each quarter

COSTS:
DISCOUNT!:  Use code SUBTHERAPYSP10 to save $10 off!
Seasonal Membership:
$100.00 / 4x year
Annual Membership: $350.00 / year
Free shipping!

Seasonal membership:  Cancel any time (after the shipment of your first purchased Box of Style)
Annual Membership: Renews each year (membership is not cancellable during the year)

 

Save

Julep Maven: August 2016 Endless Summer! A Halloween Mystery Box Plus 20% Off!

At long last, I’ve gotten to the last August box review that’s been sitting on the shelf.
Julep Maven offered their “Endless Summer” collection which is perfectly appropriate for today since it’s like 80 degrees in NYC in mid October.  Before I jump into all the info on a new mystery box, my review and more Julep gossip, I’ve got some awesome coupon codes and offers.  For 20% off your julep.com purchase use coupon code LETSGET20  (expires on 10/31/16).  If you’re interested in subscribing there are some great free gift offers, just jump down to the backstory for my affiliate links and coupon codes.
endless-summer
BEWITCHED GLOW MYSTERY BOX
mystery-box
(Price: $24.99 – Estimated Retail Value $106)
Description: “Something wickedly fun this way comes. This intriguing mystery box includes a fan-favorite black polish, a glow-in-the-dark top coat, and more. Don’t be left in the dark!”

This mystery box definitely includes:
xena-dollop xena-light xena-dark
   Xena (Boho Glam)
Description: “Glow-In-The-Dark Glitter Top Coat”

     johnny-dollop johnny-swatch
Johnny (Bombshell)
Description: “True Black Crème”

   Plus Additional mystery items of beauty products and polish
Hurry this offer ends 10/19/16!

MY CUSTOMIZABLE MAVEN BOX
open-box

Sadly, it seems these days we can’t get a month without another Julep issue.  This collection offered an invisible sunscreen gel called “No Excuses”.  It did not live up to its name because like Julep’s other sun-related products, it was delayed and didn’t come in this box.  Julep did go big on making it up to mavens, by sending those who ordered the sunblock (myself included) a $50 credit for their site.  That seemed like a very generous solution and my only issue was that there was an expiration date to the credit that wasn’t clearly listed.  If not for all my Facebook friends who are mavens I might have missed out on using mine.

The Missing Product:
no_excuses
No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel

(Retail $22.00/Maven Price: $17.60)
Description: “completely transparent, fast-absorbing face sunscreen in an essence-gel base that delivers Broad Spectrum SPF 40 protection from UVA/UVB rays.  This lightweight gel goes on smoothly and dries quickly to a satin finish, making it perfect to wear under makeup.  To use: Apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure. Use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. Reapply at least every two hours.”
Verdict: Isn’t it ironic, don’t think?
Seems like this product is full of excuses.  It only became available for sale, fairly recently so I opted not to order this since my Fall/Winter sunblock needs are pretty well met.  This product was also not available for the Canadian mavens at all.  While I appreciate Julep’s ambition, they need to focus on doing the things they can do very well, rather than attempting things they can’t truly pull off with the resources they have.

stephanie stephanie-swatch
Stephanie
(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Love!
Description: “Juicy cherry holographic”
I’m a sucker for red polishes in general so I had to snap up this holo polish.  I think it will be fun come Christmas time.

zori zori-swatch
Zori
(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Love!
Description: “Cotton candy holographic jelly”
What’s better than a jelly polish?  A holographic jelly polish!  I find sweet pinks and nudes holos to be super flattering and a more understated way to do holos.  This one is just so pretty.

 MARCH FREEBIE!
candy
Free Candy!

OVERALL:
julep-august-2016
Verdict:
Good
So this box is a tough one to calculate.  If I’d gotten the box I ordered (with the sunblock) it would have had a retail value of $56 and a maven value of $44.80.  For the retail polish prices + my $50 credit, I got a $78 value.  With the maven value + store credit, we come out to $72.40.  I used Jules I’d saved up for this box so I ended up getting it for free.  The only reason this box doesn’t have a “hit” rating is because of Julep’s disorganization. I appreciate that they try to make it right, but problems have turned into the rule rather than the exception, and that needs to change. I wish I could tell you that Julep’s problems stopped in August, but there’s more Julep gossip to share in my next reviews, so be sure to come back.

Have you ever tried a holographic polish?
What did you think?

COUPON CODES & LINKS:
free-132-gift

Free $132 Always Sunny Beauty Gift with New Subscription
(expires 10/31/16)
8 Piece
Free 8 pc Beauty Gift with New Subscription
(expires 10/31/16)
Get this  8 Piece set when you join Julep!
COUPON CODE
: COLOR8

Join Julep and Get Your First Box Free (Limited Time Offer)
(expires 11/3/16)
COUPON CODE: Treat

Save 20% on your julep.com purchase with coupon code LETSGET20. (Expires 10/31/16)
Spring Polishes for $5 each!  Check out the great selection here!

THE BACKSTORY
(Just remember this signs you up for a monthly subscription.  If you don’t wish to receive boxes you will need to call Julep to cancel.  You can also opt to skip a month and you will not be billed.)
Julep specializes in toxin-free nail color but also features beauty products.  They are a small company based in Seattle and have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

Monthly Maven Options:
My Maven Subscription: $24.99 per month – Allows you to customize your box
3 Month Prepaid: $19.99/month

Maven Luxe: $39.99 per month – Gives you access to add on more expensive items
3 Month Prepaid: $34.99/month

The options (Take the quiz here):
Modern Beauty – (For those who prefer beauty items over nail color) – “You’re a savvy tastemaker obsessed with the art and science of beauty.” Get two full-size beauty products in every box.
Boho Glam – “You’re a dynamic free spirit with a creative eye.”
Bombshell – “You’re a confident frill-seeker with magnetic appeal.”
Classic With a Twist – “You’re an iconic beauty with a timeless aesthetic.”
It Girl – (For those who want polish only) “You’re a colorful trendsetter who’s not afraid to be bold.” Get three limited-edition nail colors in every box.

Julep will email you with the contents of your regular box selection, and at that time you can opt to keep it as is, change it, or skip.  Every time you purchase a box you get the option of add-ons along with access to Julep’s “Secret Store” that lets you get other products at great prices.   Another perk is that when you’re a maven you get 20% off anything you purchase from Julep’s website along with free Shipping.

Julep also has a rewards program that gives you “jules” for taking your monthly boxes and on your birthday.  You can use jules to pay for monthly boxes and some other items chosen by Julep.

Julep Maven: July 2016 Into the Sea! Plus 20% Off!

It’s more time to get caught up with my backlog of summer boxes, so today I’ve got my beloved Julep Maven subscription.  Before I get into all the details, I’ve got some awesome coupon codes and offers.  For 20% off your julep.com purchase use coupon code LETSGET20  (expires on 10/31/16).  If you’re interested in subscribing there are some great free gift offers, just jump down to the backstory for my affiliate links and coupon codes.
july-2016-julep-polish

July offered some really pretty ocean inspired polish shades and Julep’s brand new SPF sheer lip butters.  Unfortunately, there was a controversy to mar this new launch.  When mavens got their boxes, the lip sheers were set to expire in just one month.  Julep clarified that the product itself wouldn’t expire, but the SPF in it would no longer have full potency after the expiration date.  As you can imagine that didn’t go over so well since many folks (like myself) bought these because they thought they’d be great for wearing in the sun.  And who finishes an entire lipstick in a month?

Julep offered refunds when contacted and I ended up getting my whole box comped which was really nice of them to do.

So enough controversy let’s try out the products.
MY CUSTOMIZABLE MAVEN BOX
open-box  open-box-2

Love the quote we got this month:
quote

Sheer Lip Butters
(Retail $22.00/Maven Price: $17.60)
Description: “A luxuriously silky lip butter that glides on weightlessly to deliver a sheer wash of color plus the ultimate SPF 30 Broad Spectrum protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays. Crafted with a nourishing blend of moisturizing butters and natural oils, Lip Shade gives you the color you want and the protection you need..”
Lip Shade Plumeria
plumeria
Lip Shade Crimson
crimson-lip-sheer
lip-sheer-swatches
(Plumeria, Crimson)

Verdict: Hit!
The only thing wrong with these lip products is that the SPF expires.  The packaging on these is feels luxe and high end and the sheerness can be built up for more or less coverage.  If you’re someone who wants to try out brighter shades but is intimidated, these would be the perfect option to ease you into color.  The sheerness is so much more wearable than something like a matte liquid lipstick.  These also feel great on your lips.  If Julep can release these without the SPF, they will fly off the shelves like hotcakes. (Do hotcakes really fly off shelves?  I’ve always wondered.)

tomi tomi-swatch
Tomi
(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Love!
Description: “Bermuda blue holographic jelly”
Jellies are my jam (you know what I mean) so I had to snag this and its absolutely lovely.  The holo catches the light and the blue is so pretty and serene.

ADD-ONS
camilla camilla-swatch
Camilla
(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Like!
Description: “Grape Lollipop Jelly”
I can’t say no to jelly polishes.  This is a juicy purple that’s really playful.  This will be fun for jelly sandwich looks.

 MARCH FREEBIE!
candy
Free Candy!
I love gummies and this one was super juicy.

OVERALL:
julep-july-2016
Verdict:
Hit!
I was originally charged $28.87 for this box and the retail value came out to $72.00 with a maven value of $57.60.  Because of the SPF situation I received the box for free.  Now if the lip products hadn’t had an expired component I would have been really happy with paying the $28.87.  I’d also gladly have bought more lip butters.  They are a perfect everyday product and the packaging feels very durable. I hope that Julep can formulate them without the problematic SPF component as I’d love to order more.   I wish I could tell you that this was the last Julep controversy this year, but there are some more coming, so be sure to check back for the gossip.

Do you like SPF in your lip products?  Why or why?

COUPON CODES & LINKS:
free-132-gift
Free $132 Always Sunny Beauty Gift with New Subscription

(expires 10/31/16)
8 Piece
Free 8 pc Beauty Gift with New Subscription
(expires 10/31/16)
Get this  8 Piece set when you join Julep!
COUPON CODE
: COLOR8

Save 20% on your julep.com purchase with coupon code LETSGET20. (Expires 10/31/16)
Spring Polishes for $5 each!  Check out the great selection here!

THE BACKSTORY
(Just remember this signs you up for a monthly subscription.  If you don’t wish to receive boxes you will need to call Julep to cancel.  You can also opt to skip a month and you will not be billed.)
Julep specializes in toxin-free nail color but also features beauty products.  They are a small company based in Seattle and have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

Monthly Maven Options:
My Maven Subscription: $24.99 per month – Allows you to customize your box
3 Month Prepaid: $19.99/month

Maven Luxe: $39.99 per month – Gives you access to add on more expensive items
3 Month Prepaid: $34.99/month

The options (Take the quiz here):
Modern Beauty – (For those who prefer beauty items over nail color) – “You’re a savvy tastemaker obsessed with the art and science of beauty.” Get two full-size beauty products in every box.
Boho Glam – “You’re a dynamic free spirit with a creative eye.”
Bombshell – “You’re a confident frill-seeker with magnetic appeal.”
Classic With a Twist – “You’re an iconic beauty with a timeless aesthetic.”
It Girl – (For those who want polish only) “You’re a colorful trendsetter who’s not afraid to be bold.” Get three limited-edition nail colors in every box.

Julep will email you with the contents of your regular box selection, and at that time you can opt to keep it as is, change it, or skip.  Every time you purchase a box you get the option of add-ons along with access to Julep’s “Secret Store” that lets you get other products at great prices.   Another perk is that when you’re a maven you get 20% off anything you purchase from Julep’s website along with free Shipping.

Julep also has a rewards program that gives you “jules” for taking your monthly boxes and on your birthday.  You can use jules to pay for monthly boxes and some other items chosen by Julep.

Birchbox: July 2016 Review & New LE Box

So today is the end of an era, where I’m reviewing my very last Birchbox.  Now, I may decide to one day give it another try, but for now I just found that the value wasn’t there for me.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try out their Limited Edition boxes, so don’t be surprised if you see Birchbox pop back up here again.  Speaking of which, Birchbox introduced a new Limited Edition box:
Limited Edition: Cheers to You!
le-cheers-to-you
Cost: $50.00
Description: “Birthday? Engagement? Got the job, aced that exam, or conquered a 5K? Whatever the “woohoo!” moment, this box is filled with products and keepsakes to help you—or someone special—celebrate. Think: a gem-inspired palette, a soothing gel mask, a gold-accented tray, and much more. Planning on gifting the box to a rockstar in your life? There’s a matching, festive card (ready to be filled in by you).”
This box looks like it’s got some great items (I’m loving the little tray) but for me it’s a bit pricey.  (I expect a higher end brand than Pixi for a $50 box).  I’m opting out of this one, but hoping that we see some other great Fall inspired LE box.

Now let’ see what my last Birchbox included:
box open-box
I think I’ll miss the cute boxes most of all!

face-mask
Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
(Full Size $34.00)
Description: “Suitable for all skin types, the clay-based formula cleanses, exfoliates, and brightens skin.
Verdict: Like
I enjoy trying out different types of masks and this is a new brand for me.

benefit
Benefit They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara
(Full Size: $24.00)
Description: Formula with all-day wear for lashes so long and thick, you may be accused of fakery.”
Verdict: Like
This was the sample I chose from the mascaras that were up for grabs.  This is one of my favorite mascaras (right after It Cosmetic’s “Hello Lashes”), so I figured I’d just stock up.

cartier
Cartier Baiser Volé Lys Rose Eau de Toilette Spray
(1.7 oz: $90.00)
Description: ”This sweet, subtle scent comes from a captivating cocktail of crystallized pink lily petals and hints of raspberry.”
Verdict: Who wants to pay $90 for a headache?  Any takers?
So we get to one of the most compelling reasons I canceled this box.  The damn perfume samples.  I cannot use 99% of perfume samples and yet I can’t opt out of them. They are also free everywhere – magazines, makeup counters. They should not be included as one of the main items in the box.  An extra item? Sure, why not.  But as one of 5 samples.  Nope.  This year, I chose the curated box twice.  That leaves 5 remaining boxes with unknown samples, out of which 3 included fragrance.  I chose the option for the “least” amount of perfumes in my box and I still got them over half the time.  Unless Birchbox changes the perfume situation, I doubt I will re-subscribe.

clinique
Clinique City Block™ Purifying Charcoal Cleansing Gel
(5 oz: $20.00)
Description: ”A detoxifying cleansing gel with charcoal to zap pores of dirt, oil and makeup.
Verdict: Hit!
I’m not particularly into Clinique skincare but I’m intrigued by a Charcoal Cleansing gel so this one will be fun to try out.

loc loc-close loc-swatch
LOC Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencil
in Punch Line
(Full Size: $12.00)
Description: “From the Birchbox brand: A hydrating, lasting, and glossy lip pencial in a sheer watermelon pink that flatters everyone.”
Verdict:  Like
First, after getting some super small samples in past boxes, I’m really liking this full size.  This felt nice going on and the color is a nice cheerful hue. I like the sheer consistency which makes it a lot more wearable than more opaque lip products.

OVERALL
birchbox-7-2016
Verdict:
Like
This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  If it weren’t for the perfume sample, I would have given this one a “hit”.  I will use all the items in the box, and the size of the samples was definitely an improvement over previous boxes.  I’m interested to see if Birchbox works on improving their sample curation now that they’ve lost a significant number of subscribers.

How do you feel about perfume samples in your beauty box?
Do you love them?  Hate them?
Think they should only be bonus items?
Dish!

THE BACKSTORY
Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

Julep Maven: June 2016 Midsummer Light! Plus 20% Off!

It’s time to get caught up with the sub box that started my addiction, my beloved Julep Maven subscription.  Before I get into all the details, I’ve got some great coupon codes and offers.  For 20% off your julep.com purchase with coupon code LETSGET20  (expires on 10/31/16).  If you’re interested in subscribing there is a fabulous free gift offer, just jump down to the backstory for my affiliate links and coupon codes.
June Collection

June’s collection offered soft summery polishes and new blush sticks. I thought the colors were lovely, but many were similar to ones I already owned so I opted to pick up only one polish and grab some other beauty items.

Let’s get to it.
Open Box
MY CUSTOMIZABLE MAVEN BOX
Gel Pencil Gold Pencil Swatch
When Pencil Met Gel – Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Sunset Gold

(Retail $16.00/Maven Price: $12.80)
Verdict: On the Fence
Description: “Color description: Golden Amber Shimmer  A waterproof eye pencil with the formula of a gel eyeliner that glides on smoothly without tugging or skipping. Sets in 30 seconds and provides 10+ hours of wear. Ophthalmologist tested.”
Julep eyeliners have a great formula so I tend to jump at trying any of the new colors.  This one is pretty and goes on smooth (just like the other shades) but I’m not sure I can pull it off.  It’s going to require some experimenting.

Shower Gel
Rethink Your Shower – Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil

(Retail $38.00/Maven Price: $30.40)
Verdict: Hit!
Description: “An ultra-hydrating, lightweight body cleansing oil that reaches deep to dissolve impurities and prep skin for exfoliation, then rinses away to reveal silky, nourished skin.”
I really like this shower gel, it’s hydrating while still giving your skin a clean feeling, and the scent is light and fresh.  I do think it’s quite overpriced (even at a maven discount) so I like to add this to my box when I need more.  If you enjoy Julep products, the customizable subscription is a great way to stock up at a great discount.

Naveena Naveena Swatch
Naveena
(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Hit!
Description: “Lush jungle teal jelly.”
I love jelly polishes and this was such a pretty shade I had to grab it. Teal is one of my all time favorite colors and I think it’s a great year round shade.

ADD-ONS
Voila!
Voila! – Nail Polish Thinner
(Retail $14.00/Maven Price: $11.20)
Verdict: Love!
Description: “Specially formulated for Julep nail colors, these drops magically restore your favorite polish to its ideal consistency so you get more out of every bottle.”
Folks have been begging for this product forever and I’m so glad Julep finally caved.  If you’ve got a giant polish collection, you may have bottles you don’t use for a while and they get a bit thick.  A touch of thinner will make them perfectly useable again.  As a PSA, don’t use acetone to thin your polishes.  It will ruin them!  Just grab a bottle of polish thinner instead.  A little goes a long way and a bottle will last you quite some time.

 MARCH FREEBIE!
Free Candy
Free Candy!
Free is always Fun!

OVERALL:
Julep June 2016 Maven Box
Verdict:
Hit!
The retail value on this box comes out to $82.00 while the Maven Value was $65.60.  I paid $28.87 and I got quite a lot for my money.  The only item I’m iffy about is the gold eyeliner, but even excluding that I think I got a great bang for my buck.

COUPON CODES & LINKS:
8 Piece
Free 8 pc Beauty Gift with New Subscription
(expires 10/31/16)
Get this  8 Piece set when you join Julep!
COUPON CODE
: COLOR8

Save 20% on your julep.com purchase with coupon code LETSGET20. (Expires 10/31/16)
Spring Polishes for $5 each!  Check out the great selection here!

THE BACKSTORY
(Just remember this signs you up for a monthly subscription.  If you don’t wish to receive boxes you will need to call Julep to cancel.  You can also opt to skip a month and you will not be billed.)
Julep specializes in toxin-free nail color but also features beauty products.  They are a small company based in Seattle and have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

Monthly Maven Options:
My Maven Subscription: $24.99 per month – Allows you to customize your box
3 Month Prepaid: $19.99/month

Maven Luxe: $39.99 per month – Gives you access to add on more expensive items
3 Month Prepaid: $34.99/month

The options (Take the quiz here):
Modern Beauty – (For those who prefer beauty items over nail color) – “You’re a savvy tastemaker obsessed with the art and science of beauty.” Get two full-size beauty products in every box.
Boho Glam – “You’re a dynamic free spirit with a creative eye.”
Bombshell – “You’re a confident frill-seeker with magnetic appeal.”
Classic With a Twist – “You’re an iconic beauty with a timeless aesthetic.”
It Girl – (For those who want polish only) “You’re a colorful trendsetter who’s not afraid to be bold.” Get three limited-edition nail colors in every box.

Julep will email you with the contents of your regular box selection, and at that time you can opt to keep it as is, change it, or skip.  Every time you purchase a box you get the option of add-ons along with access to Julep’s “Secret Store” that lets you get other products at great prices.   Another perk is that when you’re a maven you get 20% off anything you purchase from Julep’s website along with free Shipping.

Julep also has a rewards program that gives you “jules” for taking your monthly boxes and on your birthday.  You can use jules to pay for monthly boxes and some other items chosen by Julep.

Birchbox: June 2016 Review

Today I’m back from my brief hiatus to review one of my last Birchboxes.  Because of the very controversial changes to the Birchbox subscription that I discussed in my last BB review, I opted to cancel my subscription after July.
Box
So let’ see what June brought inside my very cute box.
Gimme BrowGimme Brow Swatch
Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel
(Full Size $24.00)
Description: “This innovative, water-resistant fiber gel has a precision tip for shaping and buildable formula for thick, lush brows.
Verdict: Like
This was the sample I chose and I got the medium shade.  The product seems to work decently but I actually really prefer Julep’s eyebrow product.  I think it’s easier to apply.  I also hate that redheads never get our own shade.  Yes, I know eyebrows are typically darker than the hair on your head, but I’d love to see an option that gives a more reddish tone.

Coola Sun
COOLA® Environmental Repair Plus® Radical Recovery™ After-Sun Lotion
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: This soothing lotion uses agave to moisturize protect and calm any post-sun woes.”
Verdict: Déjà vu all over again
Is it a Birchbox if we don’t get anything from Coola?  Since the sun and I are mortal enemies, I do not need “after sun” recovery, because I load myself up enough sunblock and protective clothing/products.  I really hate these “recovery” products.  Just use enough damn sunblock the first time and save yourself $32 extra dollars and those wrinkles.

Evologie
Evologie® Intensive Blemish Serum
(Full Size: $35.00)
Description: ”Aside from obliterating blemishes (as if that weren’t enough), the serum also tackles scars and hyperpigmentation.”
Verdict: Not the best fit
I don’t really have much of a problem with acne and I’ve indicated that on my profile. This says it tackles scars and hyperpigmentation too, but those aren’t problems for me either.  I do get the occasional pimple so I’ll set this aside, but it really wasn’t a good choice for me.

Oribe
Oribe Côte d’Azur Eau de Parfum
(Full Size: $95.00)
Description: ”Enjoy the scent you love form Oribe, now in a perfume that lasts all day.
Verdict: You know they give these away for free at makeup counters?
Oribe makes fabulous hair products, the only problem with them is they have a very strong perfume scent.  I don’t use a lot of the Oribe products I own just because the scent gets to me.  Now, this product right here is a perfect example of why I canceled Birchbox.  Fragrances should not be included in the 5 products.  Every makeup counter will give these to you for free, plus so many people cannot handle strong scents.  Birchbox lets you select a “least” option for getting perfumes.  Out of 6 months of boxes, I chose a curated boxes twice.  Out of the remaining 4 months, I received a perfume sample 3 times.  Is it really worth me paying $10.70 a month to consistently receive a product I can’t use or opt out of?  When I got points for reviews it offset the cost, but now?  No way.  You can keep your tiny little vials of headaches, Birchbox.

Parlor Shampoo
PARLOR® by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing & Repairing Shampoo

(Full Size: $22.00)
Description: “A lightweight, sulfate-free cleanser infused with softening and strengthening ingredients.”
Verdict:  Again?
I don’t know how many products are in the Parlor line but I feel like I’ve gotten them all 10 times already.  For the love of god, try a new brand.

OVERALL
Birchbox June 2016
Verdict:
I’m a Sad Panda
This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  Even with the discount, this one was a stinker.  The only item I really liked was the Benefit product I chose and that product is super tiny.  The products don’t match my profile and it’s the same brands over and over again.  Where are the cool fun finds?  Hello, Birchbox if we haven’t bought Coola or Parlor by now, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO DO IT.  Birchbox is never going to last if they want folks to pay full price for such badly curated boxes.  They have a lot of great brands and unique products, they can do better.  At this point the only thing I’ll really miss about this sub are the cute cardboard boxes.

How do you feel about fragrances in beauty subs?  Are they appropriate as key items or should they only be used as “extras”?

THE BACKSTORY
Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

Rachel Zoe Box of Style: Summer 2016 & $10 Off

It’s that time again folks – my most favorite box to review: Rachel Zoe Box of Style. This quarterly sub is a bit of a splurge at $100, but it’s chock full of high end, quality items so it’s always a treat to review (If you want to sign up ,use code SUBTHERAPYSP10 to save $10 off!)

Now let’s see what Rachel Zoe has picked out for our Summer of 2016.
BoxOpen Box Label

HERO ITEM:
LUV AJ
Necklace Ring
Luv AJ Pavé Tusk Laria & Open Crescent Ring Exclusive Set:
(Estimated Retail: $190.00)
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “The dainty necklace and matching ring exude professional polish or the office when worn with a white button-down shirt and tailored pencil skirt.  Layer your favorite pendants and chokers with the lariat for a bohemian fair.  Pair the ring and sleep lariat with a plunging neckline and high waisted trousers for date night..”
Verdict: Hit!
I probably wouldn’t have chose this set for myself, but once I had at home, it I loved it.  The set is somehow both edgy and dainty – a little bit femme fatale, a touch bohemian, and a lot kickass.  The ring is adjustable so it will accommodate a lot of subscribers and it’s exclusive to the box which makes it even more unique.  As usual, another great pick by Rachel.

Sunglasses
YHF Los Angeles Cashton Brown Sunglasses:
 (Estimated Retail: $45.00)
Rachel’s Styling Ideas:  “Play up the gold trim on these polished shades by wearing them with a ladylike dress and sandals for a daytime wedding.  Swap out your go-to black sunnies, for these and pair with a summer wardrobe made up of white and neutral fabrics.  Who says you can’t accessorize on the beach?  Pair these stylish shades with dainty jewelry and an embellished beach bag.”
Verdict: Love!
These shades have a subtle cat eye type shape and the tortoiseshell and gold combination is lovely.  The coloring on this looks great with my red hair and I adore the sophisticated bohemian vibe it has.  Another winner!

Wave Spray
OUAI Wave Spray:
(Estimated Retail: $12.00)
Rachel’s Beauty Tips:  “Spray from roots to ends and evenly distribute using a scrunching motion to give hair effortless waves without a trip to the beach.  To wake up with perfect beach waves, spray on damp hair and secure into multiple buns before bed.  In the morning, let them down and shake out your hair.”
Verdict: Love!
I love summer hair products!  I very rarely blowdry my hair, so summer is the time when we see the wave sprays and air drying products pop up. OUAI is a great brand and my hair is really long and wavy, so this is exactly the right product for me.  What’s nice is that if you didn’t have a hair type that you thought would work with this spray, it’s such a small part of the box that it wouldn’t impact the overall value much.

Turban
DreamDry The Dream Turban
(Retail: $30.00)
Rachel’s Haircare Tips:  “On days when you need your hair to dry quickly but refuse to stand under a hot blow-dryer, this super-absorbent turban soaks up excess moisture without leaving hair frizzy.  Substitute the Dream Turban for your post-shower towel to simplify your beauty routine.  Tote it to the beach or pool parties and use it to squeeze water out of soaking wet hair.”
Verdict:
How did I ever live without this?
So this is totally making it to my favorites of 2016 list.  I know you’re saying’, “it’s just a towel, what’s so special?” but it is so so soft, like wrapping your hair in a teddy bear. It also it dries my super long hair quickly without frizzing it out.  I swear I’m tempted to get a second one, so I can be sure to have an extra when this version is sitting in the laundry hamper.  If you want to splurge on a beauty treat for yourself, I can’t recommend this enough.

Rachel Zoe Summer 2016
Michael Stars Pastel Gardens Coverup
(Estimated Retail: $58.00)
Rachel’s Styling Ideas: “Layer over a sleek one-piece swimsuit for a beachside lunch.  The diaphanous coverup can easily be dressed up for dinner by wearing it over a slipdress, cinching with a belt and adding earrings.  Team with oversize sunglasses, a wide-brim hat and red nail polish for a glamourous poolside look.”
Verdict:
This may have singlehandedly improved my outlook on the whole fashion industry
I’m going to be honest here.  When I saw a spoiler for a “one size” caftan/coverup, I was concerned.  I’m a size 16 and there’s a bit of extra sand in my hourglass, so I was fairly convinced that this was going to be like all “one size” items and not fit me at all.  The print was lovely and I prepared myself for what I believed to be inevitable disappointment and then….  THE DAMN THING FIT!  Rachel Zoe has some kind of fashion voodoo, because this fit without being too clingy and I even tried it over my flare jeans.  For myself, I’d probably style this with a simple black or white tank and my favorite boho style jeans. (Although if I can find a slip dress to layer it over, I’d go with that.) The Zoe Report did a post on different ways to style it.  This item might not fit all subscribers, but I do think it will fit a majority of them and since it’s not the big ticket item in the box, I think it was still an appropriate choice to include.   For some reason, I can’t find the picture I took of this, so I used the one from the spoiler. It’s rare to get fashion items in boxes and I think this was a great choice in that category.

Juice
Juice Beauty Green Apple SPF 15 Brightening Moisturizer
(Estimated Retail: $38.00)
Rachel’s Beauty Tips: “A daily moisturizer with SPF 15 keeps your skin hydrated and protected from the sun at all times, which prevents premature aging, sunspots and other damage.  ON hot summer days, store your moisturizer in the fridge before applying to give your skin a refreshing pick-me-up.”
Verdict:
Not for me
Juice Beauty is a great organic brand and I’ve enjoyed a lot of their other products.  I love the idea of an SPF moisturizer, but 15 is just too low for me personally—particularly during the summer.  I may end up just saving this to use as moisturizer in the winter when I’m not outside quite so much.

OVERALL:
Rachel Zoe Box of Style Summer 2016
Verdict:
Love!
Whenever I get disillusioned with subscription boxes, Rachel Zoe manages to get me excited again.  This box screamed out Summer and I thought it had a nice balance of things you expect (sunglasses and SPF products) with things you don’t (like the caftan and turban).  The retail value on this box came out to $373 – the AJ LUV set alone was worth more than our $100 admission price, which is why it didn’t even matter that the moisturizer wasn’t quite for me.  I feel like Rachel’s choices take me a touch out of my comfort zone and get me to try new things I might not have otherwise selected.  I ended up loving the necklace set and the caftan, but probably would have passed them by in the store The turban is something I never knew I needed in my life, but now I use it nearly every day.  If you can splurge on yourself, I highly recommend trying out this sub.  You won’t be disappointed.

What did you think of Rachel’s Summer box?
Would you be disappointed in receiving a caftan or excited for a fashion item?

THE BACKSTORY
Rachel Zoe

Box of Style
has Fashion, beauty and lifestyle items you’ll be obsessed with!   Over $300 worth of product in every box.

   Box of Style ships 4 times per year—March, July, September & December

   Membership renews each quarter

COSTS:
DISCOUNT!:  Use code SUBTHERAPYSP10 to save $10 off!
Seasonal Membership:
$100.00 / 4x year
Annual Membership: $350.00 / year
Free shipping!

Seasonal membership:  Cancel any time (after the shipment of your first purchased Box of Style)
Annual Membership: Renews each year (membership is not cancellable during the year)

Julep Maven: May 2016 Rainbow Brights! Plus 20% Off!

It’s time to check in with the first sub box I ever signed up for, my beloved Julep Maven subscription.  Before I get into all the details, I’ve got some great coupon codes and offers.  For 20% off your julep.com purchase with coupon code LETSGET20  (expires on 10/31/16).  If you’re interested in subscribing there are some fabulous free gift sets, just jump down to the backstory for my affiliate links and coupon codes.

Before we get into the May Box, there’s some Julep gossip to dish.  Beauty box controversies seem to be the buzz this summer, as Julep, like Birchbox has had some bad press.  Their July box collection featured SPF lip sheers that mavens had been totally pumped up about trying.  They arrived stamped with an expiration date of August 31st.  Cue the many confused social media posts to Julep.  It turns out that one of the SPF ingredients will start to be less effective, so the product itself is safe to use, but not for sun protection. In addition, Canadian mavens couldn’t receive the products at all due to regulations regarding the SPF ingredients.  As you can imagine there were many angry customers.  Julep offered refunds or replacements to folks that contacted them, so they did their best to make it right.  The products themselves actually got a lot of positive response, so hopefully Julep will be able to re-formulate the product without SPF.  I got two in my July box so I’ll be able to tell you all about them soon.

May’s collection offered a rainbow of polish and some new lip oils.  Because I have a ginormous polish collection, all of these shades were similar to colors I already own so I opted to try out one of the lip oils and stock up on another product.

MY CUSTOMIZABLE MAVEN BOX
Open Box Open Box 2

Lip OilLip Oil Open
Lip Oil TipLip Oil Swatch
Your Lip Addiction – Tinted Lip Oil Treatment in Obsessed

(Retail $22.00/Maven Price: $17.60)
Verdict: Hit!
Description: “A healing blend of lip-loving oils formulated for weightless, wear-all-day comfort. Super shine meets zero stickiness in your new favorite nourishing lip product, boosted by a sheer tint of color (or clear, for when you want to go au natural).”
This oil left behind a really pretty lip stain type look.  It felt quite moisturizing and I was surprised at the staying power it had.  This is a nice product for summer when  you want a little color on your lips, but don’t want the stickiness of gloss or the heaviness of cream lipstick.


Brow Gel
Lock Down Your Brows – Iconic Brow Gel
(Retail $22.00/Maven Price: $17.60)
Verdict: Hit!
Description: “A clear setting gel infused with brow-boosting peptides and nourishing Power Cell Complex™.”
I love Julep’s brow products and I had run out of their clear gel.  This product does a great job of keeping your brows tidy without giving them a strange texture.  (Anyone else ever had “crunchy” brows?)  Since Julep offers so many options to swap into your box, the subscription is a great way to restock your favorites.

MARCH FREEBIE!
Candy
Free Candy!
Free is always Fun!

OVERALL:
Julep Maven May 2016
Verdict:
Hit!
The retail value on this box comes out to $44.00 while the Maven Value was $35.20.  I paid $21.39 and while this was a small box, I like both of the products and will use them.  I think they are definitely worth $10 each, so I’m quite happy with what I received.

Be sure to come back for my next Julep reviews, including swatches of the aforementioned, oh so controversial SPF Lip Sheers.
In the meantime, what are your favorite lip products to use for summer?

COUPON CODES & LINKS:
Coveted 12-Piece Mini Polish Gift With Purchase when you Join Julep
(expires 8/31/16)
julep-12-piece-mini-polish-free-gift-with-new-subscription-135466
Get this 12-Piece set when you join Julep!
COUPON CODE
: GIFTCOVET

Summer Brights Beauty Gift for New Subscribers
(expires 8/28/16)
Summer Brights
Get your free Summer Brights 6-piece gift when you join Julep Beauty Box. Features four vibrant nail colors, a bold lipstick, and a luminous highlighting powder – everything you need to brighten things up for summer. A $106 value.
COUPON CODE: HEYSUMMER

Save 20% on your julep.com purchase with coupon code LETSGET20. (Expires 10/31/16)
Spring Polishes for $5 each!  Check out the great selection here!

THE BACKSTORY
(Just remember this signs you up for a monthly subscription.  If you don’t wish to receive boxes you will need to call Julep to cancel.  You can also opt to skip a month and you will not be billed.)
Julep specializes in toxin-free nail color but also features beauty products.  They are a small company based in Seattle and have been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List.

Monthly Maven Options:
My Maven Subscription: $24.99 per month – Allows you to customize your box
3 Month Prepaid: $19.99/month

Maven Luxe: $39.99 per month – Gives you access to add on more expensive items
3 Month Prepaid: $34.99/month

The options (Take the quiz here):
Modern Beauty – (For those who prefer beauty items over nail color) – “You’re a savvy tastemaker obsessed with the art and science of beauty.” Get two full-size beauty products in every box.
Boho Glam – “You’re a dynamic free spirit with a creative eye.”
Bombshell – “You’re a confident frill-seeker with magnetic appeal.”
Classic With a Twist – “You’re an iconic beauty with a timeless aesthetic.”
It Girl – (For those who want polish only) “You’re a colorful trendsetter who’s not afraid to be bold.” Get three limited-edition nail colors in every box.

Julep will email you with the contents of your regular box selection, and at that time you can opt to keep it as is, change it, or skip.  Every time you purchase a box you get the option of add-ons along with access to Julep’s “Secret Store” that lets you get other products at great prices.   Another perk is that when you’re a maven you get 20% off anything you purchase from Julep’s website along with free Shipping.

Julep also has a rewards program that gives you “jules” for taking your monthly boxes and on your birthday.  You can use jules to pay for monthly boxes and some other items chosen by Julep.

Birchbox: May 2016 Review & the Birchbox Controversy

So along with my May Birchbox review, I’ve got some news about the latest controversy from Birchbox.

The main thing that set Birchbox apart from other sub boxes, was its awesome rewards points system. Birchbox offered subscribers the opportunity to review the items they received in exchange for points that you could spend on purchases at Birchbox.com.  Each item in your box could be reviewed for 10 points, and every 100 points earned you $10 in the Birchbox store.

In an extremely confusing email, Birchbox let current subscribers know that starting in July they’d only get five more reviews that would be eligible for points.  New subscribers would simply get rewarded for their first five reviews of products they received.  That’s it.  No more points for reviews.  The only ways to earn points would be to refer other subscribers or just buy items on the Birchbox site.  The only positive change to the policy was that subscribers no longer had to spend their points in $10.00 increments, (for example, if you had $5.00 in points, you were free to use that on their site).

As you can imagine, the backlash was epic.  Many subscribers (myself included) didn’t think that the value of the box was worth $10 without the added bonus of store credit.  Adding fuel to the fire, one of the founders, Katia Beauchamp, gave an interview where she was quoted as saying, “We are not in the business of selling people samples.  That would be a really boring business.”  Many subscribers felt that Birchbox was abandoning its core market in some unattainable quest to compete with brick and mortar retailers like Sephora.

Birchbox was the pioneer in the beauty box world and while I understand the need for cost-saving measures, cutting the review promotion entirely was not a smart move.  Simply lowering the value of the reviews, or offering something like a 15% coupon off any full size purchase for reviewing all your products would have gone a long way in retaining subscribers.  Birchbox also sent a purposefully confusing email and then kept stating on social media that it was giving subscribers what they wanted, which caused countless angry social media posts.  Couple that with Beauchamp’s tone deaf interview and you end up with a recipe for disaster.  With Play by Sephora competing in the $10 beauty box slot, and offering much better quality and size of product, I don’t think Birchbox is long for the subscription world.  Birchbox is going to need to make some huge changes to stay competitive.  We’ll have to wait and see if they are up for the challenge.

Apologies on the dissertation, now let’s get to the fun stuff and take a look in my May 2016.
Box
Open Box 1 Open Box 2
The samples for may were all sunblock oriented, and since I am a pale redhead and particular about my sunscreen, I opted to choose none of them and be surprised instead.
Beauty Protector
Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle
(Full Size $23.50)
Description: “This best-selling elixir locks in color, protects from heat damage, and adds silkiness.
Verdict: How about some new brands?
I know tons of people swear by the Beauty Protector brand, but it’s never done much for me and it’s shown up in a ton of my boxes.  I really wish we could opt out of certain brands – there are a handful that we just keep getting over and over again.  Basing it solely on the product – I don’t color my hair and I almost never heat style – both of which are indicated on my Birchbox profile, so there’s really no reason for this to be in my box.

Cool Mango
COOLA® SPF 50 Sport – Mango
(Full Size: $32.00)
Description: Sweat-proof, water-resistant sunscreen made with organic botanicals (and a fun, fruity scent).”
Verdict: Why do we need scented sunblock?
On the brightside, this is an SPF 50 and sweat proof–on the other side it smells like mango. Ordinarily I love fruity scents, but I don’t want them in a sunblock. I actually didn’t want a sunblock at all which is why I opted not to choose a sunblock sample.

Cotz
CoTZ® Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40
(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: ”Silky-smooth to the touch, this formula blends in quickly and leaves behind a sheer matte finish.”
Verdict: Because when you don’t want a sunblock sample, they send you TWO
So my reward for not choosing a sunblock sample is…to get TWO sunblock samples.  Again, why include two of the same type of product?  Yes, summer = SPF, but this product is too similar to the Coola.  Try something else.

JouerJouer Swatch
Jouer Long-Wear Lip Crème Liquid Lipstick in Lychee
(Full Size: $18.00)
Description: ”This weightless liquid lipstick glides on smooth and dries to a soft touch finish that will last all day.
Verdict: Hit!
Finally a product I like.  The Lychee shade is really pretty and liquid crème lipsticks are something I actually don’t have a ton of, so I’m quite happy with this.  This sample is itty bitty, but at least it’s something I’ll use.

Well People
W3LL PEOPLE Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer in Light
(Full Size: $22.99)
Description: “This ultralight, full-coverage concealer blends easily while hiding imperfections and providing a bright look.”
Verdict:  So close, but no
I’m actually always on the lookout for concealers that work with my skin and last all day so I was excited about this product…but it’s in “light”.  Being a pale redhead, I am almost always the palest shade, so I think “fair” would be the right choice for me.  Again, I have this info on my beauty profile.

OVERALL
Birchbox May 2016
Verdict:
Disappointing
This box came while Birchbox’s old review policy was in place so I paid $10.70 for this box and received $5.00 in Birchbox points with my reviews.  Even with the discount, I’m disappointed. There was repetition of brands and types of products, multiple items that didn’t fit my beauty profile and the one item I liked was quite small.  If Birchbox wants me to pay $10.70 a month for their sub, they are going to have to do better.

For the Birchbox subscribers – How do you feel about Birchbox’s new review policy?  Are you going to cancel or stick with them?

THE BACKSTORY
Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
You can redeem reward points for money toward your Birchbox purchases.
You can also earn points by referring/subscribing friends.

%d bloggers like this: