We know now more than ever that nail polish contains plenty of toxic ingredients that wreck havoc on ourselves and the environment. The toxic trio that gets most of the blame is toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). There's been a huge rise in the number of brands ditching these ingredients, calling themselves 3-free, like Butter London. There's also plenty of brands that have gone even further to be totally free of all chemical ingredients, not just the top 3 offenders. Brands like Sula, Honeybee Gardens and Suncoat are super safe, but they all have performance issues. Most water based natural nail polishes peel off easily when in contact with hot water, which is pretty much immediately for me. Honeybee Gardens has given me the best results so far, lasts as long as regular nail polish, but is really really difficult to remove.
And then I discovered JULEP...
Julep is both a brand of nail colour & care, and a handful of boutique nail parlors in the Seattle area. And in the growing beauty box trend, they have the distinction of being the first brand of beauty boxes for nails. I signed up on a whim, as a friend had raved about it, and because Julep claims to be 4-free. They're free of the toxic trio, and free of formaldehyde resin. Frustrated with the lack of pretty nails in my life, I thought I'd give it a shot, that maybe without those 4 toxic chemicals I'd be okay. And I was.
I wore my first bottle of Julep nail polish, in 'Natasha' a vibrant orange, for 2 weeks without any irritation (which normally takes about 3 days to emerge). I was also extremely impressed with how well the polish lasted without a top coat.
So how does Julep work? Like other beauty boxes, it's a monthly service that ships you a box of goodies to your door every month. When you register you'll fill out a survey that determines what category of colours you'll fall into, or what 'Maven' you are. I got Bombshell! And each month your colour selections are tailored to your Maven category.
A monthly subscription is $19.99 for at least $40 worth of product, which makes it more expensive than most other beauty boxes, but there's some serious pros to outweigh that con. The best being that Julep let's you have a peek at what's coming in your box each month, and then let's you decide if you want to skip that month or send it to a friend instead! For August, I liked the Classic box better than my Bombshell box, so Julep let me opt to receive that one instead. I can't wait to receive it, the polish shades are gorgeous! You can also cancel your subscription at any time.
Are you intrigued yet? My July box contained 3 polish shades, a lip gloss and a coupon for me to pick any shade I want for free. Each polish alone retails for $14 when purchased by itself from Julep, or from Sephora.
You can get your first month of Julep for just a penny (so essentially FREE!) by using coupon code: COLOR2012. If you like it, stick with it and build your polish collection, or cancel at any time. Visit JULEP for more info.
NOTE: For those of you with more extreme allergic reactions to traditional nail polishes, visit Sephora for Julep's ingredient list to make sure it's safe for you. While it's 4-free, it's not perfect for everyone. Those with extreme sensitivities or looking for something more natural may be better off with a water based nail polish. Anyone wanting me to blog about my experiences with natural nail polishes, let me know!