Birchbox January 2016: Korean Beauty

IMG_1005So this was one of those boxes that “spoiled” the entire contents before it was released. I was super excited about the theme, so I jumped on it.

As KRo and I discussed in the comments on a previous post, Birchbox always set itself off on the completely wrong foot with me. I had to wait–I believe–nearly a year to get off the “waitlist”, and by then? I was completely over it. I understand that some brands–especially smaller ones–can’t just throw the barn doors wide open and invite everybody in all at once. But a year for something that’s become a major player in the beauty box game? Uhhhhhh. Some brands attempt to employ to scarcity principle, making themselves seem more elite and desirable by being unattainable. For me, that tactic completely backfired.

Well, until now, I guess.

Korean beauty products are definitely gaining steam as “it” items. With a bevvy of new products to discover, Soko Glam popped up as a curator (and middleman) of Korean beauty goods. I think it was a genius business idea because one problem with many foreign beauty products is simply understanding what’s out there and how to use it. Founder Charlotte Cho curated this Birchbox with some K beauty products.

re:p Bio Fresh Mask With Real Calming Herb (.7 oz) – What herb? The tube fails to explain anything about the product, except what it’s formulated WITHOUT. The Soko Glam site explains that this is a kaolin clay mask with various leaf extracts. It’s slightly green with these large clumps in it. Her instructions are to apply it to your skin and let sit for 5-10 minutes. While it dries, it goes clear and very stiff. When I washed it off, my skin looked red and there was a capillary effect, so I was afraid I was allergic to it! This went away after a few minutes and my skin felt very soft and clean. Because of the way it dries, I’d say I’m not super happy with the product.

Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam and Bubble Peeling – These were foil packet samples, but listed as “bonus” items. I really like these, but boy are they WEIRD. The cleaning foam was a really creamy foam that kind of reminded me of really fatty cake icing (haha), but it applied nicely and lathered up on the skin. But the bubble peeling? Whoa. It goes on as a gel, but as you rub, it turns into a stiff sea foam with exfoliating bits in it. You just rinse it off afterwards. For me, the packets contained enough to do two uses.

Goodal Waterest First Essence (6 mL) – This packaging gives away nothingggg. Apparently, this includes twice-fermented lotus flower complex (?) and patented hyaluronic acid (??). What I do know is that the fluid appears greenish and a bit oily. Charlotte suggests dabbing it on, and that worked well for me. A tiny amount was enough to hydrate all the dry spots of my face. I didn’t detect any scent while it was on. And WOW does my skin feel soft and dewy and lovely after using. Ulta lists this as $30 for 5 oz, and I tentatively think it would be 100% worth the price.

TonyMoly Delight Tony Tint – This sample was itty bitty, but I can see it lasting a while. Lip tints are huge in Korea and this is a great one with a whiff of fruity scent. It theoretically could go on to make a nice red lip, but a more common use is to dab a bit in the middle of your lip and pat outward to make a bitten-lip look. The full size is just $6, and I think it’s a great value (especially when put up next to BeneTint, if you only use that for lips.)

IPKN New York Flash Cream Radiant Primer (7 mL) – I didn’t get a chance to sample this, as it’s a product I just never use. But I’m told this is a nice one.

Manefit Cucumber Soothing + Moisturizing Mask – Y’ALL, IT’S HANNIBAL LECTER TIME. I love these masks for how kooky they seem, if a bit awkward. This is a nice one, and you can just rub the goop into your face once it’s done. I think these are ideal for someone who takes tub baths or someone who flies a lot, so you can recline a bit and stay still with this on your face. For most people, I feel like they’re a tad impractical.

The Overall – I was completely pleased with the value, and the curation of the products. While a part of me secretly hoped for some snail cream, I was super stoked to try these products. I love curated boxes like this, and I think that’s one thing Birchbox occasionally has up on other brands. It always feels more special to know there’s a rhyme or reason to the products selected. Since Korean beauty products are absolutely a big trend, this collaboration was a super smart choice.

So come on, you gotta let me know: will you be trying some snail cream or nah?

4 thoughts on “Birchbox January 2016: Korean Beauty

  1. Wow that is a lot of masks for one box! I would try the snail cream… but not for $45.
    I love me a good mask. My favorite mask (so far) is Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty. It’s strong enough to exfoliate my skin but doesn’t leave it red and irritated. Second favorite would be Formula 10.06 Pores Be Pure. They’re both a little pricey. Queen Helene makes a pretty good mask too that’s dirt cheap. I have a friend who buys bentonite clay ( marketed as “Indian Clay” ) and mixes it with apple cider vinegar and whew! IT IS STRONG. Too strong for me but if you’re looking for a cheap DIY low-grade chemical peel, that is the way to go!

    I feel like the mud masks work the best but I’m also attracted to masks that change state ( like the bubble peeling mask you mentioned — might have to try that! ).

    • The bubble peeling mask is honestly one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I spread it across my nose and it kept trying to foam into my nostrils. I could see it being a bit off-putting for some, but I really liked the results. And, if nothing else, something weird to share with friends.
      I’ve been considering buying bentonite clay for a while. Another one of those Incredible Amazing Cure-Alls.

  2. Speaking of the “scarcity” principle, have you ever bought a Quarterly box? When they first came out I was pretty intrigued. So many to choose from! And famous people! ( I know it shouldn’t matter but it did.) And OMG I better act fast because they’re running out!
    Sigh. I’m such a tool. LOL.
    I decided to go for a “kitchen” type box. Even though it was the most expensive ($100), I love kitchen gadgets! How can this go wrong? Well here’s how: after I got the box I realized that there is an upper limit for things I can allow other people to select (excuse me, curate) for me and $100 is over that limit. Because I could have taken that $100 and walked into any kitchen store and made myself happier than that box’o’random. So $20 for a surprise? Sure. $100? Nope.
    Have you ever done anything like that? As soon as you got a box, you knew you made a huge mistake?

    • I have waffled about $50+ boxes. Because I am the QUEEEEEEN of buyer’s remorse, I make it a point to try really hard to always get my first box on a really good discount and I’ve never spent more than $35. This definitely helps mitigate any regrets. For instance, I just grabbed an accessories box for $8 that I will almost definitely not choose to not continue receiving, but eh. It’s eight bucks. I’ll skip a steak this month to make it up to myself.

      I looked long and hard at the Quarterly kitchen boxes (and still peek from time to time) but I know me. No honey dipper on earth is ever going to make me feel good about spending a hundred bucks. Not sure if it’s the one you got, but I LA LA LOVE Andrew Zimmern, and he did a Quarterly box. I wanted to subscribe SO DANG BAD, but I knew I would just end up with a bag of really nice salt and a desperate wish for a hundred dollar bill back in my bank account. Haha

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