Julep Pedi Brights 2012 Collection Swatches

 One thing that I’ve found striking now that I’m blogging again is the abundance of new (or new to me) brands that have sprung up in my absence. Julep is one of the “new to me” brands that popped up on my radar when I returned. This collection is my first experience with this company. Unfortunately, these polishes, while gorgeous, are too “out-there” for work, so I haven’t had a chance to wear these yet. Consequently, these photos are all swatches. I do have some work appropriate Juleps that I plan to rock soon so I’ll post my thoughts on wear, drying time, etc. in the future. With regard to this collection, it is touted as pedi-specific, but as every polish addict knows – brights are for finger nails, silly nail polish companies.

Julep Lauren is a neon hot pink. This was an unexpected neon – in the bottle, it just looked like a regular hot pink creme but on the nail it really popped. It dried matte, as most neons do, so I used SV as a top coat. I didn’t expect to like this one as much as I did, but it was pretty flattering to my olive complexion. I don’t know why, but I always feel like these colors are really sexy once I’m wearing them. This swatch is 4 coats, it was good at 3 coats but I had slight VPL. Formula was fine, no major application issues.

Julep Claire is a medium sky blue creme. My swatch is not color accurate, I apologize for my constant inability to capture blues properly. In real life, the shade is a lighter hue of blue. My first thought when I saw Claire was that it would be dupe-y to Zoya Yummy, OPI Just Groovy and Misa Right Here Now, No More Later. It’s not, Claire is greener in comparison. Claire, unlike Lauren, gave me some application problems. The formula was very thick, and the thickness problem was compounded by a wonky, bushy brush. This polish would have benefitted from a good old-fashioned thinning. This swatch is 4 coats. It would have been good at 3, but the pigments in this color are very unforgiving of nail imperfections (which I have a ton of right now) so I added an extra coat to cover the bumps and groves on the surface of my nails.

Julep Lily is a bright neon fuchsia. The photo is fairly accurate but the shade is a touch lighter in real life. It dries matte, so I used SV as a top coat and 3 coats of color. Like Claire, Lily was very thick. I decided not to thin it because I think Lily and Lauren would be a good combination for a marble mani – I’ve never done one before but I imagine using a thicker polish would work better. We shall see… if not, Lily will be getting a thinning as well.

Julep Morgan is a violet toned frosty purple with blue and fuchsia microshimmer. The photo is a bit inaccurate. This polish is less blurple in real life and way more violet. It reminds me a lot of the OPIs of yesteryear. This swatch is 3 coats + SV. I didn’t have application issues at all with this one, which leads me to believe the thickness in the other polishes resulted from the neon pigments.

Julep is big 4-free and retails for $14.00. They are available on the Julep site and at Sephora. The bottle design is aesthetically pleasing, slender and square-shaped with a paint splash cut-out on the side of the bottle. However, the design is impractical and unstable. I kept feeling like the bottle was going to tip over at any minute. Additionally, the bottles are pretty small in comparison to other “higher end” brands, which means you aren’t getting the same bang for your buck. Julep has a monthly beauty box service called Julep Maven. I’m not a maven and I don’t know much about it, but I’m assuming that being a Maven makes these polishes more affordable. I would say it’s definitely worth looking into if you are hoarding-inclined. While I was doing background research for this post – I saw that there was a ton of drama with the program last year as well as mixed reviews on Julep polishes in terms of wear and drying time, application, etc. I haven’t really formed any final conclusions about Julep yet – I am excited about their new Trina Turk collection (which I should be able to wear, swatch, and post soon) so I think I’ll keep an open mind for the time being.

What are your feelings about Julep? Love it, hate it? Are you a Maven? Is it something I should do (since I happen to be hoarding-inclined, haha)? What are you thoughts?

*Sorry about the lack of pep in this post – I have a HUGE headache, my eyeballs hurt and my vision is all blurry. I’m only posting under these conditions because I wouldn’t have another chance to post until Sunday or Monday and I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging… you know, trying to be a reliable blogger and all. With that said though, I don’t have it in me to reply to comments tonight – I have to get in bed. I promise I will reply to all the comments left on the last post soon. *hugs* If you want me to get in touch with me quickly in the interim, you can catch me on twitter.


Disclosure: This collection was sent for review by Julep’s PR.


12 Responses to “Julep Pedi Brights 2012 Collection Swatches”

  1. Pam Says:

    I just joined the Julep Maven thing a couple hours ago! They have a promotion right now (that they seem to have fairly often) where you get your first Maven box for a penny! When you check out, you enter the discount code “PENNY” and it reduces your cost to 1 cent (shipping is free…in US anyway, not sure about elsewhere). Other than the promotion, it’s $19.99 a month and you can cancel anytime. You take a quiz to determine your “style” and that determines the polishes/products you get each month. All but one of the styles appear to be two polishes and a different item of the month (currently its their pedicure cream), but the “It Girl” style is 3 polishes, with no “other item” instead. You are assigned a style after the quiz, but you can opt for a different style’s box, which I did because I preferred different polishes. Hope all this helps! :)

  2. Alisha M Says:

    Nice! A surprise matte. When I was a maven member, I got a surprise glow in the dark polish (Sofia). Weird, huh? I was very let down by the formula. It didn’t level well or at all and the colors just weren’t all that unique IMO. If it’s gonna be an expensive high end price, I think it should compete with other brands at that price point – and I think it didn’t. I see a lot of people like Julep, so maybe there’s a lot of inconsistently or something.. I think I received 4 or 5 boxes before I was done with it.

  3. Sandi Says:

    Wow, my first thought on seeing Lauren was ‘That would be a perfect pedi on me!’. With my skin tone (neutral marshmallow), pale shades disappear and pastels look meh. I go bright, bright (would definitely top coat a matte), or jewel tone. Now Lily, Lily belongs on my tips. I’m getting old enough (Ooooooooooooooold), that I’m sure some of the colors I wear shock some people, but I think that has become part of their allure, lol. Anyone that can be shocked by nail color (I’m retired, so I needn’t worry about appropriate) needs to loosen up, lol.

  4. Laura Says:

    Another Maven here; generally pleased with my Julep polishes, the other nice thing about the program though is the ability to skip a month whenever you wish.
    About your wonky brush, Julep had an issue with that a couple of months ago with a few different polishes. If you contact customer service, they will ship you a new replacement brush.

  5. Deborah Says:

    Julep as a brand doesn’t really interest me I must admit. No/hard access to it, high price, weird long shaped bottles I’d tip over all the time…

    That being said I do love your swatches of these colors!

  6. Victoria S Says:

    I also am a polish horder! I keep telling myself that i have enough polish but i dont seem to listen. I love julep maven. The program allows you to get the polish at an incredible savings. Plus every month you can get 3 polishes for 4.99 which is a great deal. I have never had problems with thick polish or wear problems and have never knocked over the bottle and for some reason their colors usually look very good with my old olive skin tone. I also like that they usually add a special something with your order. I like to wear loud, colorful polish as I use my hands in my work so I am looking at them all day.

  7. Dream Mom Says:

    The colors seem o.k., nothing too unusual. The parts that wouldn’t work for me is the application with polish that is too thick and worse, a bottle that would tip over.

    If a business is going to sell nail polish, then they need to master the basics: you have to have a bottle that doesn’t tip over and you need a round bottle. I don’t know about you, but it drives me crazy to have the square bottles when I am trying to roll the bottle in my palms prior to application. The other basics are cool polish names, a good product that applies well and a decent application brush. There is so much competition out there today, that you can’t miss on an item like bottle design (that will tip over). I don’t see this company as making it over the long term.

  8. G Says:

    I haven’t blogged about because I’m just sick of this but Julep is, to me at least, a MAJOR disappointment. I am so disatisfied with them it’s not even funny. I’ve given them two chances and both times it has been a fiasco. I want to like them! I’m debating trying ONE LAST TIME, but IDK.

    I joined the maven thing on a “your first box for a penny” promotion, and then thought I’d also pay full price for a second box(just the box) to give to a friend for her birthday. Ready made gift, YAY! So I did it in two transactions just to make things easier. All is well, until three days later when I get an email from Julep saying “We have cancelled your orders(BOTH OF THEM) because you can only recieve one box at the discounted price!”

    Well, since I purposely did two transactions so that I’d pay full price for one box(as in I just purchased it as normal, no code like I used for the other) it made no sense. I sent an email to ask what was up and got no response, so I was forced to phone them, long distance, to sort it out. The person on the phone didn’t seem to get what happened and kept telling me that “you can only get one box at a discount” to which I kept saying “I KNOW, that’s why I did a second transaction at the full original price!” and after 10 minutes on the phone with someone who seemed to have the intelligence of a sack of flour, they agreed to simply cancel my membership entirely and not charge my card.

    So the next day I get an email that my box has shipped and my card has been charged. What? So I call them long distance AGAIN, this time getting someone marginally more useful, who informed me that there was some kind of complicated refund process but that she’d be sure I got a refund, and to just keep the box as their apology when it arrived. Okay, all good, I get her information and a week or so later I get my refund. I decide to chalk it up to a momentary inconvenience and just check out the polishes when they arrive.

    The polishes themselves: Far and away the worst formula I’ve used, SHIT bottles that look and feel exceedingly cheap(what the heck is with the black side with the weird stripe? And they NEVER close properly again which is just awful) I got a creme and a metallic-ish chrome thing. The creme(Taylor) was thick and goopy and changed colour when a topcoat was added to it, but the colour wasn’t uniform. I added glitter so it wouldn’t be a throwaway, but I had been really hoping for a nice creme that colour and was disappointed. The other one(Maya) was the STREAKIEST MESS I HAVE EVER SEEN. Like, brushstrokes and streaks and patches, Oh My! Four coats and it still looked horrific. The hand cream that also came? Actually pretty good. Point to Julep for that one.

    So, a lot of my friends really like the company and suggest I give them a second chance months later, which I decide to do. Maybe this time will be better? So I got a mystery box thinking that even if I don’t love the colours, I can give them to my mom and she’ll enjoy them, but I’ll swatch them first. I even paid extra for two day shipping so I could blog about it.

    Well, two days passed… 5 days passed… 8 days passed… My polishes arrived 12 days after they were supposedly shipped. Okay, pretty annoying, but I can deal. Open the box? Three polishes, a base coat, a nail file, and a lip balm. Cool, well worth the $20. Then I looked closer and realised that two of the polishes were missing the seals they supposedly came with, and one of them had about a centimeter’s worth of polish missing, so only about 3/4 full. What? I put them aside and take photos just in case, and then I open one of the other ones to find the jankiest brush ever. Awesome. I ended up having to use cuticle nippers to make the brush useable. Formula again left a lot to be desired. Thick and goopy but also somehow sheer and weird?

    Sent Julep an email and they offered to refund my 2-day shipping and asked that I provide photos of the not-full polish. Responded with photos and never heard back, but still got my refund. Sent photos again, no response. That was in early July.

    I want to like them so badly because I have friends who love them but so far they have just been really disappointing. And I hate the bottles SO MUCH. They really are the worst bottles ever.

  9. Steph Says:

    Pam – Ah, thanks for the run down. I think this is something I will be interested in doing down the line. Right now I’m trying to catch up but once I have – this will be right up my alley.

    Alisha – Yea, I tend to agree. But people really do seem to love this brand – there has to be something to it. We shall see.

    Sandi – It’s not shocking! It’s awesome! Rock on! : )

    Laura – well these were PR samples so I can’t complain, but definitely if I had purchased these I would be emailing them about the brush. lol.

    Deborah – haha well thank you <3

    Victoria – We must have similar skintones! I feel that way too, bright colors look really great. : )

    Dream Mom – *nods* I think the maven program might keep them afloat. It’s definitely a good concept. But yea, I would like to see cool names, a bigger, and more stable bottle, too. I don’t mind the formula much because I’m big on thinning. So long as I can thin it successfully, I’m okay.

    G – WOW. WTH?! I would be really upset about that too. I’m glad they at least refunded you – but you’re right, that’s nuts.

  10. PhotoGirl Says:


    Hate them! So. Much.

    The service was dreadful, the bottles too small for the price, the colors unremarkable. Cancelling the Maven subscription was a real pain in the ***. I received a damaged product from them that they never replaced. But the true deal breaker for me was when they stole bloggers photos, removed the watermarks, and tried to pass them off as their own. If you do a little digging on the internet or various nail boards, you can read about the whole sorry affair.

    They couldn’t pay me to wear or promote their brand. Copyright violation just doesn’t fly with me. Ever. I give Julep a big, fat F.

  11. Steph Says:

    Wow, I had no idea about that – I didn’t see anything in google. Do you have a link? Do you know whether they compensate the people involved?

  12. Melissa Says:

    Had a very similar experience as Pam, although I was never refunded. Their customer service is horrendous and that’s being generous! The have never once apologized for their error, and are extremely condescending and rude in their correspondence. A terrible company overall.

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