But what about the thing they're actually about, the nail polish?
Because I was a Maven, and I got a little carried away, I actually have dozens of bottles of Julep nail polish. Possibly upwards of 75, I haven't counted lately. I don't really think anybody wants me to review each and every one so I thought I'd just give a general thought on some of their finishes and the product as a whole.
I'll divide the finishes into the categories they use on their website.
Creme: Sadly we have to start with creme because it's alphabetical. Julep's creme polishes are generally just not that good. Actually, I typically avoid them and have gotten rid of most of mine. Well, to be fair they're really hit or miss, with the emphasis on miss. The ones I have kept, because they're just too good for designs or because I really love them, tend to separate and get goopy looking in the bottle, which I don't think bodes well for the formula, not that I'm an expert. My bottles of Alexandra and Sylvia look terrible whenever I pull them out. They go on okay, with a bit of work, but in general if you like a creme finish don't bother with Julep. You'll just be disappointed, especially for the price they charge. You can get similar colors in the same finish for much cheaper at the drugstore, and they'll be just as good if not better. You can see a look I did with a blue creme called Amy in this pic:
Glitter: There are a lot of really fun glitters in Julep's store, don't get me wrong. But I've gotten to a point with glitter polish where I want really small and subtle glitter (and usually mixed into the formula instead of a top coat) because of ease of removal and the flatter texture. I don't like bumpy nails. That said, I've got a few I really love that give a color an extra sparkle, but are discontinued now. Autumn and Vanessa were particularly pretty. The glitter in this pic is Autumn, along with the Alexandra creme I mentioned.
I do want to address the birthstone polishes specifically. The only one I've bought and tried myself was my own birthstone, Martina. I was pretty disappointed really, first because like I said, I like smoother nails and this is a very textured look. But it's also really hard to get a consistent color, and is just a bit messy to use and terrible to remove. The color is very pretty, but I'd rather have a metallic than this texture.
Metallic/Chrome: Speaking of metallic, metallic colors are probably my favorites when it comes to nail polish, I have a lot of them. Again, Julep's are hit or miss, but this time with more on the hit side than the miss. Oddly enough the more it's actually meant to look like a metal, the more likely it is to be streaky and difficult. But polishes like Angela and Boris and Nicole are very nice. If you're going to buy a polish from their metallic section, I would suggest searching for swatches by bloggers, so you'll see how streaky it really is when it goes on. The silvers are especially bad.
Neon: The only neon that I have is Bette, and it's pretty nice in the bottle, I don't think I've actually used it yet. But the neon "finish" is actually just a bright creme, and so it falls victim to all the problems of cremes, which means they're usually just not a good formula.
Sheer/Frost/Pearl: The frost polishes actually are going to be similar to the metallic but in softer colors. A few of these I've gotten in mystery boxes and gotten rid of, but that's because I don't like soft pinks for my nail polish. In general, they tend to be okay, but again, look up swatches.
Shimmer: These are my favorites, and the ones that always tempt me the most when there are sales. I haven't really come across a bad one yet (I'm sure they're out there) and all of my favorites are either shimmer or silk finish. The sparkle and glow is just perfect for what I like when it comes to polish. Some of my favs that you can still buy are Lacey, Greta, and Petra. The swatch on the site for Petra doesn't make it look as nice as it is.
Silk/Satin I have to admit, I own every single silk finish polish that Julep makes. It started with one in my maven box, but the finish is gorgeous, the color was beautiful, and it was just general fantastic. The understated colors are just very subtle and professional and I know I said I didn't like light pinks, but Abigail doesn't feel like a light pink. Especially when I pair it with black tips (like in the picture) or another very dark color. Farrah and Noelle are equally lovely, and I think the only polishes I would say you might find worth the full price (Julep is generally very overpriced). I have not tried any of the satin finish.
Special Effect: The only special effect polish I have is Casper, which is a glow in the dark white. It's really not a solid coverage white, so if you care about how your nails look during the day, this is more of a white shimmer. It's actually quite nice in the daylight, I enjoy it. Below you can see my Halloween manicure that I just did, with Casper as the base. The glow really does work, and it was really fun when I was going through the haunted houses at Howl-O-Scream, or riding the roller coasters through the tunnels. Casper is a good purchase if you want something fun for Halloween.
There are a few other things I'd planned to cover before this got long, so if anybody wants to know my thoughts about the fact that they photoshop their swatches, the way half the store is always out of stock, and their really high prices, let me know in the comments and I'll ramble.
But the tl;dr takeaway: Julep does have some very nice polishes, and if you get them on sale then they're well worth it for some of the silk and shimmer ones especially. But don't bother with the cremes for sure, and don't buy most of them full price, they're just not THAT great and there are other similar options for less money or that are better polishes.
And don't sign up for the Maven boxes. Just don't. They're difficult to cancel, they're overpriced, and there's a million reasons why they're not worth it.