Review: Julep Build Your Dreams Box

Happy February! I can’t believe that the first month of 2015 has already passed; time really does seem to fly. Anyhow, back in December I treated myself to a Julep Build Your Own Dreams Box for Christmas (featured on Instagram) which I wanted to review for you today. I have only dabbled with Julep polishes before, with one holiday set that I picked up during the Christmas season before last (if you recall my Empties post and their Polymer Top Coat). With this box, I wanted to sample a variety of their regular polishes and see if they were worth the money.

Instagram post from December.

Essentially, during the holiday season Julep had an amazing selection of gifts on their website, one of which you had the option to select three or six of any nail polishes of your choice. I chose the six polish option for $30 plus shipping, which I figured would be worth the money since I was getting each polish for $5, a drugstore price! (A Julep polish is normally $14 at retailers such as Sephora, Nordstrom, or the Julep site but if you are a member of Julep’s Maven program they are reduced to $11.20)

Is this box not gorgeous? This packaging impressed me, especially since the lid had a magnetic closure built in.

For my own box, I attempted to try out a variety of colors and finishes. Julep has eight different finishes: Crème, Glitter, Metallic/Chrome, Neon, Sheer/Frost/Pearl, Shimmer, Silk/Satin, and Special Effect. In addition, Julep has four style profiles: Boho Glam, Bombshell, Classic with a Twist, and It Girl. These are associated with the Maven program, however, they are still helpful in creating a guideline to the types of colors you are likely to gravitate towards based on your own personal style. Of these profiles, I sampled three of the four styles, and four of the more popular of the eight finishes. Finally, Julep also has a few different formula types, however I only know of two (there may be more, but don’t quote me on that): Classic polish or Color Treat. The Classic polishes are 4-free, meaning that they are made without 4 of the 5 most dangerous chemicals found in nail polish. The Color Treat line, however, is 5-free and also vegan friendly. (To see the list of ingredients, click here) It also has the added bonus of being a “nail polish in action” or two-in-one product. Essentially this means that the Color Treat polishes have the added benefits of an Oxygen technology treatment which supposedly aids in drying time and longevity of the manicure and a strengthening agent from green coffee extract antioxidants built into the color polish itself, eliminating the need for applying a separate nail treatment.


In general, I have very healthy nails and not much experience with brittleness, so I cannot determine whether the Color Treats are truly effective. Overall, though, I highly respect Julep as a brand. They work to have good quality products and I appreciate their effort to eliminate dangerous chemicals from their polishes and make vegan friendly options available. In addition, they stand for a good cause in empowering women with their brand. Julep names each of their polish colors after inspiring women, they encourage social connections with real women who have their own, unique beauty, and they donate to women’s programs including the Malala Fund, Girl Up (United Nations Girls Education Fund), and the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response through their Powered by Girlfriends program.

Across-the-board, their nail polishes have a good selection of color, formula, and finish. They often have good color payoff, as I have yet to experience a runny or streaky color from them. However I have come to find that Julep polishes do not have a consistent consensus overall, since there are so many different options to consider and therefore, I am following up with a review of each individual polish.

First up, is Aislinn and Ryan. These two colors I bought with the intention of layering the glitter over the color. In the pictured swatch, the thumb and pointer nails are the solid color (Aislinn), the middle nail is just the glitter (Ryan) on it’s own, and the ring and pinky nails are the colors layered over each other.



Profile: Boho Glam

Finish: Glitter

  • As this was described as a glitter finish, I only assumed that this polish would be chunky with that distinct gritty texture, character of glitter polish, however this dried to a smooth and shiny finish. It was also not difficult as a traditional glitter polish to remove. 4/5

Formula: Color Treat

  • The formula was perfect. It applied evenly and glided on like a dream. Honestly, it’s one of those polishes that go on so easily that you could get away with a single coat or even have an imperfection or two but it wouldn’t be super noticeable. It lasted a long while and did not chip easily. 5/5

Color description: Edgy black with full-coverage green glitter

  • This color was very dark, and very dense, and I was I bit wary of wearing it on my hands, however it made a great pedicure color. I was also not expecting this to be the full-coverage polish that it was and it honestly could easily be worn on it’s own. 4/5


Profile: It Girl

Finish: Satin/Silk

  • To be perfectly honest, I did not enjoy this particular finish. It almost seemed like it wanted to be a matte finish, but it wasn’t quite there. 1/5

Formula: Color Treat

  • Again, this polish was just a miss for me, despite me wanting to desperately like it. The formula was too thick and difficult to apply evenly. It also dried with a few bubbles because it was just too dense. The one upside, is this formula lasted a while on the nails, if it wasn’t smudged before it dried. 1/5

Color description: Overcast teal satin

  • The color was much more muted than the color pictured on the site. It is a beautiful color, however the finish and formula almost ruin it for me. 2/5

Next up, I have Beverly. This color is modeled by my one of my roommates who lent me a hand (ha!), so I apologize for the inconsistency in angle and lighting of the photo.



Profile: Bombshell

Finish: Crème

  • The finish of the polish has a nice glossiness to it, however nothing extra remarkable. After applying the Freedom Polymer top coat, however, it had a luscious sheen to the nails. 3/5

Formula: Color Treat

  • This formula wasn’t the easiest to apply. I found that it could get patchy if not applied with a careful hand. It also was very runny coming out of the bottle, and had a tendency to almost drip off the brush. Once dry, the polish lasts a decent while, but the longevity is not impressive. 2.5/5

Color description: Boysenberry crème

  • The color was very pigmented and rich and is a beautiful fall and winter shade. It applies darker than pictured online, though, and is more purple than expected. 4/5

This next swatch is Lacey, and we’re jumping back to my hand, so forgive me again for the differences in photography.



Profile: Bombshell

Finish: Shimmer

  • This is probably my favorite finish out of all the ones I have sampled. It has a nice sparkle without being overbearing and has a beautiful sheen. 5/5

Formula: Classic

  • The formula is less gloopy than the others, and goes on thinner. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it makes it easier to manage than the rest. The formula also covered the nail well, and I had little difficulty trying to smooth the formula over the whole nail. It did begin to chip faster than the other polishes, though. 4/5

Color description: Midnight blue with purple shimmer

  • This color was absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn’t agree with the description of purple shimmer, though. To me, the sparkles have a duochrome property which reflects a lavender iridescence in the light, but initially the sparkles appear blue or silver. The color was also darker than I expected. 4/5

This final swatch is a combination of Lornenzana with Bonnie layered over it, modeled by another roommate. (Thanks, guys!) As with the first color combination, the first two nails have the solid color (Lorenzana), the middle has the glitter (Bonnie), and the last two nails have both polishes.



Profile: Boho Glam

Finish: Crème

  • This finish is difficult to work with, but pays off once it is dry. The reward is a beautiful, built in sheen to the nails, however, the polish was prone to smudging while drying. 3/5

Formula: Color Treat

  • The formula also needs a little TLC to apply evenly, as the drippy consistency makes the polish hard to manage while applying. However, with patience the polish can be tolerable and it is not as thick as some of the others with the same formula. 2.5/5

Color description: Shiitake crème

  • This color description amuses me, as shiitake mushrooms are definitely much darker and browner than this. However, the color is a beautiful cool toned neutral “greige” that I find suits several skin tones. 5/5


Profile: Bombshell

Finish: Glitter

  • This glitter finish is much different than the first. This glitter is much finer, and a bit harder to remove than the large, chunky glitter of Aislinn. 3/5

Formula: Color Treat

  • The formula of this polish is the thinnest of the Color Treats yet! I enjoy that the less gloopy consistency makes the polish much easier to layer without becoming too thick. 4/5

Color description: Soft gold microglitter

  • Although this is mostly glitter, there is also a subtle neutral tone to the transparent base of the polish that allows the polish to wear nicely on just its own. However, it can become apparent if it is layered over a color which does not have that neutral undertone to it, and make the base color underneath appear murky. 4/5

My final thoughts on the Julep polishes are that despite having many, many beautiful colors to choose from, they really do tend to vary, and it’s difficult to guarantee a success rate of finding the perfect polish every time. For this reason, I do not think that paying full retail price at $14 is worth it since there are so many factors which alter the experience of the polish. I won’t say that they aren’t worthy of not being purchased at all, however. These polishes are definitely worth trying out, so maybe try my approach if you can, and wait for a few good deals to come around, or swatch in-store to guarantee a color and formula that works for you. I can’t imagine my nail polish collection without Julep polishes and I honestly do admire the brand, immensely, so if you take anything away from this review, just remember to be a smart shopper and choose your colors wisely! Until next week, let me know if you’ve had any experiences with the Julep polishes in a comment below!


All my love,



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