Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3b Box Unboxing - September 2015

What: The 3b Box (short for Beyond Beauty Borders) contains 4-5 deluxe or full-sized beauty samples that are new or popular in Asia
When: Ships during the first half of each month
Cost: $12 per month (free shipping!)

IT'S FINALLY HERE! - my first ever 3b pouch!! Ever since Memebox stopped selling those super high value boxes for ridiculously cheap, Kbeauty lovers started searching for other ways to get their beauty fix without the expensive shipping. Enter Beauty Beyond Borders. For just $12 a month (including shipping!) you get four deluxe beauty item samples covering skin care, hair care, nails, and makeup. And you're not just limited to Korean beauty - you can get stuff that's popular in Japan too!

September 3b Box info card
Leaders Mediu Snail Therapy Hand Cream (50g value: $6) - Snail is all the rage due to its ability to minimize the effect of free radicals on the skin and fight signs of aging. I've tried my fair share of snail filtrate-containing products and while it is very hydrating, I haven't noticed a difference between using snail vs a plain ol' moisturizer. I think maybe the effect would be more obvious if I had some fine lines and wrinkles to slather it over. This cream is infused with rose water and of course smells like roses. Bleh. I wish roses and I got along; I'd love so many more skin care products.

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream (10ml value: $5) - You've probably seen this floating around the swaps world in a teeny tiny tube. Fortunately, this sample's not so teeny tiny. It's the perfect size to stuff in a purse. This is a glycerin-based moisturizer from Japan that even works on chapped lips. It's a cream (i.e. thicker than a lotion) so remember, a little goes a long way!

Secret Key Honey Bees Ac Control Spot Remover (15ml full size value: $9.50) - Now this I'm interested in. This tiny tube contains bee venom and propolis, both which are great for skin. Propolis has antibacterial properties and bee venom stimulates collagen and elastin production. I've been using Finco spot cream but I noticed that lately it's been making my face feel oily and sticky. I'm gonna try this next!

RiRe Luxe Eye Lash Essence (8g full size value:~$10) - So I went to the RiRe site to look up this item's product info and what greets me on the home page? These boobie masks! Whoa. I guess there really is a mask for everything. On to the essence. Call me a beauty noob, but I'd never heard of an eyelash essence before this. Supposedly this baby gives you healthier lashes just by swiping it on twice a day. And by healthier I mean, longer, thicker, full of nutrients kind of lashes. I want to try! I just got my makeup done last week and the MUA confirmed that yes, I do have short lashes that are quite difficult to work with. But I'd like to change that. Is that even possible? I guess I'll find out. There's even a tiny brush on the tip of the main brush so you can reach the roots:

So how did my first 3b Box experience go? Well, I know I'll use at least two out of the four items and those alone are worth more than I paid for the bag so I'd say yup, my first 3b experience was a success. :) I'm so happy there's an affordable option to get Asian beauty in the U.S. 

If you think you'd be interested in this subscription I highly suggest you jump on the waitlist right away. I signed up in March but didn't receive acknowledgment until May, then got an email in August telling me I was finally off. That's a total of five months that I had to wait to get my first taste of 3b! I didn't get charged until I got off the waitlist, so you'll have plenty of time to change your mind after signing up. So don't wait, just go!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask Review: IT'S SO FOAMY!!


Alright, perhaps a little explanation is in order. I like clay masks. I also like masks that do weird things like peel, foam, bubble, etc. Now give me a clay mask that does weird things and I. Am. Sold. I've been wanting to try Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask (whew, that's a mouthful) for quite some time - a year, perhaps - but it was always sold out on Memebox and I was too busy lazy to look elsewhere. Of course oblivious me had no idea it was one of Memebox's bestsellers so (DUH!) that's why it was always out of stock. I just thought they stopped carrying it and I gave up on ever getting my hands on the bubbly goodness. 

Then look what shows up at my door. Good golly the pigs must be a-flyin'. And look, they are wearing clay masks, too!
So, what cool weird thing does this bubbly clay mask do? Well. It bubbles. But how does it bubble? I hope you like science...
CO₂ + H₂O ↔ H₂CO₃
Bam! That's how. Quick explanation: the "carbonation" mentioned in the name refers to carbon dioxide (CO₂) in water. The CO₂-water solution exists in a happy equilibrium with carbonic acid (H₂CO₃), which *gasp* is written right there on the container as well! When the solution is exposed to the air, there's no longer any pressure to keep CO₂ in solution so the molecules along the surface go into the air and manifest as bubbles, much like the fun fizzies in your soda. The bubbles stimulate skin to slough off dead cells resulting in a brightened complexion. 
Once that dead skin is outta there and no longer blocking up pores, the activated carbon can do its job which is to act like a sponge (or magnet if you will) to attract and absorb skin impurities such as makeup or dirt from deep within pores. The result? A clean glowing face!

Now that I've geeked out on you, you might be sick of CO₂ already and want to know what else is in this mask. Luckily Memebox compiled a list of the key ingredients:
green tea extract, aloe vera leaf extract, matcha powder, charcoal powder, pomegranate extract, fermented soy extract, alantoin, peony root extract, oregano leaf extract, white willow peel extract, portulaca extract, cinnamon extract
This isn't a complete list and it makes me wonder just how many things are left off of here, but based on what's given there's a lot of organic extracts. Green tea is good for oily skin, aloe vera for acne prone skin, so I think this mask would be great for oily or combination skin types.

Like so many other Korean mask packs, this one comes with a spatula so you don't contaminate the rest of the contents while scooping it out. If you've never played with clay before, this is your chance. The consistency reminded me of clay or a cement mixture. Kind of gray, kind of chalky.
But one thing was different. It started bubbling within SECONDS. I took the cover off just long enough to snap a picture of the inside of the jar and when I went to pick up the lid I saw this:
Look at the bubblies after just several seconds!
The bubbles, the bubbles! That said, I do recommend keeping the original plastic protector in place under the lid for as long as you can, as it'll somewhat slow down bubble formation in the unused product.

Sadly, the box had no English instructions this time around but I did find some on Memebox's product page! Here they are (fyi this mask is intended for use on an uncleansed face):

It's always a good idea to spot test something before using it. I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty of never doing this, but I do usually do some research online. Good thing I did because I knew this thing would bubble, but LOOK AT THAT:
Time to try it on yours truly! I didn't do a good job of covering my face because this thing started to bubble up fast and I wanted to snap a photo before it was too late:
Time lapse of Elizavecca carbonated clay mask
OMG look at my face after 5 minutes! I look almost like a daruma. I actually made my bf jump when I snuck up behind him and he turned around. :) Here's a close up of how thick the foam is:
Aside from the awesome spectacle this mask will create, it's cool because you can actually hear it bubbling up. One thing different about this clay mask compared to others is that it doesn't start to dry on your face. It stays wet over the course of 5 min, which was a good thing because I had covered up my eyebrows while rushing to slather it on, and they would not have been happy campers had the mask dried and I had to pick out pieces of dried clay.

After the five minutes are up you just massage the mask into your face a bit then rinse off with warm water. It does leave a layer of residue as shown below, so you have to apply a bit of pressure while rinsing to get it all off.
I forgot to take a before/after photo for comparison, but my skin did feel firmer afterwards. I didn't notice any difference in blackheads or clogged pores, but I suppose that's something you'll notice over several uses. Would I recommend it? Of course. It doesn't take much of your time and it's TONS of fun!

Note: I received Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask from Memebox for review purposes. I did not pay for these items, but I can assure you these are my honest opinions :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Kiss Those Blackheads Goodbye With Ciracle Blackhead Off Sheets!

These silver envelopes from Memebox are probably my favorite thing to see in the mail because it means I get something new to add to my beauty or skincare regimen. This time around I'm gonna try Ciracle's Blackhead Off Sheets. I have huge pores that love to collect dirt so blackheads are a regular thing for me. I've tried almost every blackhead removal tool/cream/gel I've come across and the only one that's worked was Purederm's blackhead strips (nope, not even Biore worked). I'm always on the lookout for other blackhead remedies so this is probably the most excited I've gotten in a while. You know your life is pretty boring when you get ecstatic over blackheads.

Were you a Stridex kid? If so, you know all too well the alcohol- and salicylic acid-soaked pads that burned your face. I think they've since gone alcohol-free but whatever, the memory is etched in my brain. These blackhead sheets are similar except they don't have salicylic acid and THEY DON'T BURN. Here's a list of the ingredients:
Water, Lauric Acid, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Triethanolamine, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Charcoal Powder, Fragrance, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract
Pretty soothing stuff. It also came with some cotton swabs with a blackhead tool on the other end. Is that plastic flimsy thing supposed to work on my blackheads?! Or maybe my face is just really stubborn and likes to hold on tight to its blemishes. I wouldn't be surprised. Anyway. One of the best parts about this product is that THERE ARE ENGLISH INSTRUCTIONS!
Happy dance! But just in case I was one of those who those people who like to throw away instruction bookets, Memebox was nice enough to include an instruction card as well.
There are a couple of differences between the instructions, though. Ciracle tells you to leave the pad on for 15 min while Memebox says 20-30 min. Also, Ciracle instructs you to wipe the blackhead residue off your face before rinsing; Memebox just says to remove the pad and rinse. I decided to try it both ways and compare the results.
The pads itself look just like Stridex pads minus the texture. There's a citrus scent to it, nothing offensive at all. You slap the pad on a cleansed and toned nose and wait.
Excuse my face. I never know where to look when taking selfies.
As I mentioned I tried it using both instructions and found I preferred Ciracle's directions. Here's the Q-tip after swabbing my nose. I was hoping it'd be covered in dead skin and yuck, but there were only a few remnants here and there. 
But my nose told a whole 'nother story. It was SO SMOOOOTH! Just like how it felt after the Purederm strips. The instructions say to use this treatment twice a week to keep your nose free of blackheads and I think that's about right. About three days after I used the blackhead sheet I started feeling little bumpies on my nose again.

However, like anything else, this miracle sheet isn't all rainbows and glitter. If you have sensitive skin you might want to consider using these blackhead sheets just once per week week and/or keeping it on for no longer than 10 minutes. My skin isn't especially sensitive, but after two applications the area on the sides of my nose where the pad touched got really itchy and broke out in hives. It lasted for only a day but it was still pretty uncomfortable. My nose itself loved it though, so if worse comes to worse I'd suggest trimming the sides of the pad to fit only on your nose. The instructions suggest using these sheets on your cheeks as well, but obviously I wouldn't recommend that unless your skin is tough as nails. Overall though, fantastic product and I will definitely continue using this one!

Note: I received Ciracle Blackhead Off Sheets from Memebox for review purposes. I did not pay for these items, but I promise these are my honest opinions :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Birchbox Unboxing - August 2015

What: Birchbox contains 4-6 samples of high-end beauty and lifestyle products
When: Ships on the 10th of each month
Cost: $10/month or $110/year upfront
Fun fact: Birchbox has an awesome points system where you can review products or make purchases from the Birchbox shop to earn points. Every 100 points gets you $10 credit in the BB shop.

August is the peak of summer and according to Birchbox is prime SPF and minimal makeup time. This is probably my favorite box design so far - an actual picture instead of just a pretty pattern!
I must admit I was quite thrilled that this box didn't look like it went to hell and back like July's one. It was a bit smashed on the bottom but nothing tragic. Since we're talking about less makeup and more sun protection, I'm expecting this box to be heavy on skincare and contain no makeup.

Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Therapy (0.9oz value: $5) - There's a Crabtree & Evelyn in the nearby shopping mall but I've never set foot in there. This is the first time I've gotten this brand in a Birchbox and I don't know why I'm surprised - it's a popular bath & body brand, after all. I don't know if I like this scent or not; I don't even know how to describe it. A unisex Old Spice? It also reminds me of Christmas. Pines and spice and everything nice I guess. 

Sillhouette by Christian Siriano eau de parfum - I can usually tell even before picking up a perfume sample if I will like it. The ones with elegant fonts on the card are usually too girly or sophisticated for me. I like the fruity ones. The ones with fun block lettering that looks like a kid could have written it. Those are up my alley. Maybe I would have liked this better if it didn't have musk and amber basenotes...those always turn me off. But many (most?) people like classy elegance, and if you're one of them here's the description for Sillhouette: a fruity top note of Cassis, Grapefruit and Mandarin, followed by a floral heart note of Freesia, Sheer Jasmine and Rose Noir and drying down to a long lasting fragrance of Tonka, Musk, Amber and Woods. 

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil (~0.25oz value: $1.50) - I thought I was the only one in the Birchbox universe who hadn't received this heavenly hair oil. Now I'm part of the cool crowd! The Beauty Protector scent is one of my all-time favorites. I have no idea why Birchbox would choose to send this in a glass vial when the actual thing comes in a plastic pump bottle. I've heard lots of instances where this tiny vial cracked in transit and leaked all over everything. On the bright side, at least everything in the box smelled good. Mmmmm. If this works better than the Protect & Detangle I'll probably switch over to this. Much easier to control application with a pump bottle versus a spray.

LAQA & Co Cheeky Lip Tint - Humble Brag (0.03oz value: $6.50) - Well, I guess there's makeup in here after all. At first I really wanted to try this because, hellooo pink! All of my lip products except for maybe one or two are some form of pink. But now that I think about it, this blush pink may be a bit tooooo pink for me. I'm picky like that. I kind of want to try Cray-Cray which is a coral peach color. It would complement my warm skin tone a bit more than doll pink I think.

Harvey Prince Sea Salt Texturizing Mist (0.27oz value: $1) - What summer-themed box would be complete without some sea salt spray? I'm not much of a sea salt gal. You'd think that with the beach being so close I'd embrace the textured hair look. Well I don't. Mostly because it gets super tangled if I let it air dry after a dip in the ocean. I'm sure a sea salt spray gives you all the sexy hair goodness without the yucky side effects but I'm kind of conditioned to avoid anything that adds unnecessary texture and stickiness - this is why you'll rarely see me with mousse or hairspray. I love the look though, just on other people.

Well at least this month's box was summer-appropriate. Moisturizing hand cream, hair products...things people actually use when hanging around outdoors. Unfortunately, the only thing I'll be hanging onto is the Protect & Oil. I have it in my hair now and it smells divine. Even if it didn't work I'd still keep it just so I can smell it all day.

Interested? Click here to get your own box of beauty! Birchbox has the best points system I've seen when it comes to sub boxes - you get 10 points for reviewing each item in your box, and 10 points = $1 in the shop. I just put in a $63 order...and charged only $3 to my card thanks to points and promo codes! :D Seriously, best points system.

Note: Post contains referral links. All opinions contained within this post are my own.