Brush and Powder Unboxing August 2016

Brush And Powder Beauty Box

After my struggle with Pink Seoul I really wanted to find a subscription box that wasn’t quite so punishing on international wallets. Beauty boxes are everywhere- new companies spring up all the time, make a small splash and then sink back under the waves. I’ve lost count of the subscriptions that I personally have signed up for, but I do know that most of them don’t even exist anymore. We’ve all been there! Shipments come late, quality suffers, customer service drops off dramatically if it ever existed at all and we all chalk up another loss to the beauty box gods. So it’s with great excitement that I’m revealing a little company that seems to be trying to buck all these trends. Enter Brush and Powder.

The best way, unsurprisingly, to find out about new beauty box launches is on social media. I ran into Crystal over on the B&P Instagram and she has been incredibly helpful ever since. Brush and Powder is still very new with only a few boxes under their belt but seem to be actively keeping an ear to the ground and listening to what the people want. This is a really smart strategy when there is so much competition in the market as Korean beauty is quite literally everywhere right now. Luckily they are based right near Seoul, so everything is shipping direct too. With other services I was paying for products that had been ordered from Seoul, boxed and shipped to America, repackaged and sent to the UK. Not very efficient, nor cost effective. It’s no wonder that international customers were being priced out. One of the first conversations I had with Crystal was about shipping, and she assured me that it was FREE. No more being taxed for my location! To top it off, products purchased from Brush and Powder’s new webshop? ALSO FREE SHIPPING. Deciding to push the boat out, I explained the issue I was having with my current box, wherein the charges from customs was nudging the price far beyond what the contents were worth. It’s great to be able to claim back full cost on a lost box but how often does that happen? My concerns were heard, and I was able to note on my account the customs threshold for my country. This was the clincher for me, as finally I would be able to get a box delivered without any additional fees just because of my location. I decided it was time to order. However, this was back in July and I missed the train that month, so I had to wait. I didn’t have to wait too long though, because when August boxes shipped I got a notification that I’d been bumped up to Kpacket shipping free of charge. My box from South Korea arrived on my doorstep in seven days. Suddenly I had reached it, the beauty box heaven that had been foretold. Korean based company, friendly staff, good customer service, quick shipping…please don’t let this box be terrible, says me. And it isn’t. This box is great.

Brush & Powder Box

One of my main complaints has been that the contents of the boxes I have received rarely balances out with the cost involved. Being able to take shipping and customs out of the equation means that I can enjoy Brush and Powder how it was intended. A monthly treat, a curated mix of surprise products that I may not have purchased myself. I would like to say firstly I did not receive some special beauty blogger treasure trove. I requested a Dry Skin box, and I am certain everyone else with my skin type will also receive the same things. Hilariously, this mix of products could not be timed any better for me personally. This is nearing personal genie level curation, because for the most part if you had asked me what I needed earlier in the week half of this box would have been on my list. The welcome card that I recieved is also fantastic, laying out a really interesting roadmap from the B&P staff. Instead of simply sending what is new or trendy, the idea behind these boxes is to build a routine to suit your skin type from the bottom up. This month, the focus is on cleansing and an essence. Next month, apparently we can expect a serum step. I love this approach because Korean beauty, especially multi step routines, can be daunting even to veterans. There’s so much out there, and new converts can have so many questions. This gives anyone the ability to subscribe, receive appropriate products on a monthly basis AND have the time to properly test them before introducing a new step. Responsible beauty boxing guys, we made it. If there was a single reason I would recommend this box, that would be it. So what did I receive this month?

Missha Time Revolution First Essence

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Intensive (B&P price $49) Readers, I have been wanting to pull the trigger on this essence forever. I have added it to carts. I have pored over the ingredients list and run it through CosDNA. I have spent an hour reading r/asianbeautyrehab and sworn I would never buy anything again. Seriously, I have gone back and forth over buying this and NOW I DON’T HAVE TO. It’s mine, and if it breaks me out you are never going to hear the end of it.

Berrisom Opps My Lip Tint Pack (B&P price $9) Like Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream I am beginning to realise that no box is complete without a tube of this stuff. Join me in creating the world’s largest lip tint collection, because I still haven’t used this yet I keep getting a new one each month. The only bum note in the entire box for me personally, but I know others love lip tinting. Call me, I’ll hook you up.

Tonymoly Shiny Foot Super Peeling Liquid (B&P price $9.50) I have heard so many great things about this foot mask. I focus so much on my face and hands that maybe my feet don’t get the attention they deserve. Or, maybe I’m just terrified of clocking up yet new ways to spend too much money. Maybe a bit of both.

Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Mask (B&P price $3) It’s cute, it’s honey and organic propolis and we all know that’s enough to sell me really. Bees 1, Willpower 0.

Cremorlab White Bloom Triple Bright Floral Mask (B&P price $5) There’s so many fruit and flower extracts crammed into this little mask that I cannot wait to use it. I’ve heard so much about the thermal water in these products. Cremorlab is one of those brands I hear good things about but haven’t really gone to seek out on my own so again this is one of those enabling moments that may spell shopping in my future. Watch this space.

There is also a ‘bonus’ item this month in the form of Scinic Honey Banana Cleansing Foam. (B&P price $7) Funny story, I was standing over my sink washing my face the other day and realised that my current cleanser, The Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Foam, is getting woefully low. I like it, but I’m not in love with it so I would like to swap out with something new for awhile. The Scinic has some fruit extracts thrown in, I don’t see much that makes it a wow factor cleanser at all but I’m happy that I’ll have something to tide me over in the interim whilst I decide what my skin could use next. And hey, bonuses are great.

The total cost for this box, no matter where you are, is $54.99 or, at current exchange rates just shy of £42. If you were to shop directly with Brush and Powder, as stated their price for these products would come to a grand total of $82.50 or, at current exchange rates just shy of £63. Now of course you can find some of these products elsewhere on the web at much lower cost. If you’re willing to gamble on Ebay and have sellers that you know send authentic products then probably some more dramatic savings. The Missha essence is not fifty dollars across the board, Jolse carries it for $33 and change. For those of us shopping in the UK, Yesstyle.co.uk is your best bet for a majority of these products. Adding the essence, foot peel, lip tint and face wash to my cart brought my total to £53.10. That’s without a Cremorlab mask, nor the Papa Recipe mask which only sell in boxes of 10. I’m well aware that with some digging I could probably do better price wise, but I have personally got a lot of value out of this box and am certain to get a lot of mileage out of my products. I’m also super excited to see where Brush and Powder takes me next on my skincare journey, because they have the forethought to consider that is exactly what the customer wants. Not the same old tired things each month, but to be able to track your progress from your very first box all the way to the results you may see after six months, or a year using the service. As long as standards remain high, I’m on board to see what’s coming. You can start your own journey by signing up. See you next month!

Konjac Spaghetti Bake

shirataki spaghetti

I am on a diet. I have a bunch of weight I’d like to shift, and it got to the point where I wanted to radically change my eating habits so that I could be both healthier, and happier. Enter the ketogenic or ‘keto’ diet. My partner also wanted to lose a little so supported me wholeheartedly, which I am eternally grateful for. Together we’ve lost a significant amount which is great, but even better is how much different our lives have become. Refined sugar was something that I ditched years ago but I was still eating lots in different forms. I was also addicted to carbs really, having bread and pasta and all sorts all week long. When we started keto, we ceremoniously cleared out our fridge, threw everything out of our cupboards and pressed the reset button. Except for a brief period of madness over the Christmas period, we haven’t really looked back.
One of my signature dishes has always been spaghetti, I love Italian foods and sauces but they are so heavy and not at all suited to my new way of eating. I wanted to figure out how I could do a version of spaghetti that we could enjoy, but also keep it quick and easy. Quick and easy are my watchwords on keto; I find that I am better able to stick to my goals if I keep things breezy. Shirataki, or konjac noodles, are talked about on every low carb forum under the sun. They are extremely divisive, kind of like Marmite. You either love these things, or you hate them. I went through a few brands and even more different varieties before I hit on the only types that I could stand, but when I did I was able to create some really believable dishes. This is one that I tend to make once a week, because it’s so easy to throw together and just pop in the oven.

500g minced beef
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 handful of mushroom, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 jar ASDA Extra Special Tomato & Chilli Pasta Sauce
1 pkg Slendier Angel Hair Noodles
1 pkg shredded mozzarella cheese
1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
fresh rosemary sprigs
drizzle of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Rinse and drain konjac noodles then press into a baking pan. Drizzle pan with olive oil. Sear and cook the minced beef, adding bell pepper and onion. Allow vegetables to soften then add garlic, stirring occasionally for two minutes. Top with mushroom, spinach and herbs, tossing until they all begin to wilt. Empty entire jar of tomato sauce into the mixture, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper then simmering on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Tip all of the sauce over the konjac noodles, working the noodles into the sauce until combined. Top with a generous handful of mozzarella cheese and bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees. Remove from oven, plate and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Pink Seoul Mask Box July 2016

Pink Seoul Mask Box July

My Pink Seoul has landed! This month looks cute, really imaginative and fun so hats off to them for mixing it up a bit. I believe that the shipping was also swift which is nice, as usual it did get held and charged by customs but only took two days for a redelivery. Unfortunately this will be my last Pink Seoul unboxing, I had intended to carry on with at least one more Plus box but caught the spoilers online and didn’t fancy what I saw as the included items are either replacements or not appropriate for me right now. I went back and forth over the mask box subscription, truth be told this is a gift from my partner so he would happily continue paying if it was something that I wanted. However, I’m 200% sorted for masks right now, plus the customs charge on top of being charged for shipping each time makes the mask box far more expensive than it need be. I will be testing another branded box instead that will ship in one week and am really excited to see if it’s a better fit for international customers. That said for the most part I have enjoyed what I saw from Pink Seoul and am sure their offerings are very attractive for US based clients. However for me the numbers just don’t add up, I purchase far more masks for this kind of money elsewhere. Here’s a quick breakdown using only the value assigned from the Pink Seoul website, disregarding cheaper prices that are normally found elsewhere with a little digging.

Pink Seoul Mask Box + Shipping $45.90 (£34.87)
Customs fee £12.17
Total cost: £47.04

Contents

Purpletale 5 Step Facial Solution (Pink Seoul price $7.95)

The Face Shop Mask Sheets (Pink Seoul price $3)

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel (Pink Seoul price $8)

Acwell Water Moisture mask (Pink Seoul price $3)

The Face Shop Real Nature masks in Lily and Peony (Pink Seoul price $2 each)

Etude Therapy Air mask (Pink Seoul price $2)

Leaders Mela-Tox mask (Pink Seoul price $4)

Freeset Donkey Milk Skin gel mask (Pink Seoul price $3)

Accessory Hair Ties (Pink Seoul price $4 for two)

Thank You Farmer deluxe free sample set

Total Value converted to pounds sterling at current exchange rate: £31.05

At the end of the day I actually really like this box. I am over the moon to get a backup Mela-Tox after my rave on Instagram about it! But I like to be a savvy shopper, personally. Hopefully some of this information will be useful as well to other people looking to jump into the K-beauty box scene. It may not arrive until the end of the month or possibly the beginning of September but I anticipate having a new contender box to recommend very soon!

Empties July/August

Korean Skincare Wardrobe

The time has finally come for me to hit bottom on my current bottle of Mizon AHA/BHA toner. And it’s with a heavy heart that I’m going to say goodbye to Mizon, because frankly I have it hard enough as it is living in the UK and trying to source products. I really try to avoid things that appear and disappear, formulate and reformulate. No one is ever quite sure if this toner is OMGDISCONTINUED!!!11 or what, and I just can’t handle that kind of strain. I’ve decided to jump fully on the Cosrx train, adding the AHA/BHA daily toner to my current routine that already contains Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid, Cosrx Whitehead Power Liquid, and soon to be Cosrx Sleeping Pack as soon as I’ve blown through my Sulwhasoo. Never change, Cosrx.

So, did I achieve good results with Mizon? Definitely, this has been my go to prepping my face for actives every single day and because I’m old and fear change I probably would have kept right on using it. I am not sure Mizon gets a lot of love except for that AIO cream but I’ve had some success with the products myself. Because I’ve recently introduced Retinol into my rotation I’m being incredibly careful about what I use both before and after my actives. I’ve pared down my layers dramatically, especially at night, but I don’t feel at all that my skin has suffered which is a big plus. This seems to be working for me because I’m already a few weeks in and haven’t experienced any irritation at all from my Retinol cream. Score.

I am also near the end of my precious Stratia bottle of Rewind. I say precious because I don’t really see a whole lot of conversation quite yet about this brand, certainly not as much as I do about the very similar Shark Sauce. I bought my bottle a few months ago, it arrived quickly and I never once had any breakouts or reactions. I’ve been using Rewind once every morning before adding sunscreen and it’s very nourishing. Most of the time I don’t feel like I need a moisturiser at all because it leaves my skin feeling so plump. Concerning the Retinol though, I’m very aware that retinoids can lead to thinning of the skin so yet again I will be swapping this out for something newer and sexier. There are lots of nice extracts in Rewind and it does feel lovely, but the niacinamide content is only sitting at 5%. I really want to balance my retinoid with a higher percentage niacinamide serum so will be using a non AB product to make that happen and hopefully head off any thinning before it starts. I really enjoyed my bottle though and it’s completely possible that I may explore more from Stratia once the product line expands, or if I get to a point where I want to start adding more layers again.
Just for clarity, my routine has been to this point:

AM-
Cleanse. Garnier micellar water or Medipeel Galac Peeling Gel
Serum. Stratia Rewind
Moisturise. Mizon Ultra Suboon Cream or CeraVe cream
Sunscreen
Sheet Mask at some point

PM-
Cleanse. Heimish Cleansing Balm and The Face Shop Rice Cleansing Foam or Body Shop Vitamin C foam
Tone. Mizon AHA/BHA daily toner
Actives. Currently rotating OST Vitamin C, Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid + Cosrx Whitehead Power Liquid, or Radiant Skin Retinol-A 1% throughout the week
Moisturise. Scinic Honey AIO used to prep my skin for a final mask session
Sheet Mask before bed
Sleeping Pack. Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask

So there won’t be a whole lot of change in this through August. My goal for this month is to continue my mask routine because it gives me such a nice extra lift and a mask before bed is extremely relaxing!

Apieu Honey & Milk Lip Scrub

 

Apieu Lip Scrub

I don’t really shop for cosmetics abroad. Eastern types mostly focus on attaining perfectly pale skin, and that just isn’t me. I also don’t want to overhaul my entire routine, I do feel that there are plenty of options in the West for cosmetics and skincare too. For convenience and ethical reasons I try to strike a balance, using both. All that aside, I found this little scrub on sale and I just had to give it a try.
I have been looking for a good lip scrub for AGES. My lips can get fairly roughened and that’s just not a good look on anyone, especially as the weather changes. Plus I saw this and well, honey? And milk? In the basket it went. The price point is cheap, I can’t translate the ingredients but according to online vendors the ‘scrub’ comes from walnut shells. It’s entirely possible that this is a contributing factor to why I don’t much care for this product. First of all, the smell is off putting. I don’t know about you, but when I’m putting something on my bodyI really prefer it to be fragrance free or at least smell good. I believe the ‘milk’ here is probably the problem, it smells like it’s gone off a day or two. Leaning in for a kiss and smelling like spoiled milk is not on my bucket list. Secondly, the consistency is fairly thin which at first I thought may be in its favour, to hopefully sink in and hydrate. This doesn’t really happen, after weeks of use I still have to generously layer my beloved 100% lanolin on top every time. So, maybe this scrub is just a scrub and it isn’t meant to moisturise. Well, I have bad news for you, it doesn’t really do that either. The walnut shells I feel are not very good at giving an even exfoliation, I have literally ended up with gritty patches. Even though they are small, I believe it’s too harsh for the sensitive lip area and in most cases probably has left me more dry than when I started. I’ve tried for weeks to get this product to work but in the end I think it will end up in the bin and my hunt for a nourishing but effective lip scrub will continue on.

Staying clutter free

sheet masks hydrogel masks

Have a look at my KoreaDepart haul! It’s a beauty. Unfortunately I’ve already had some misses in the bunch, which just goes to show that all masks are not at all created equal. If your mask is not even any good for moisture, there’s a real problem! Still, after the success of my mask a day project, I am really enjoying the benefits and have happily continued with mostly good result. Because of that I am doing a LOT of mask shopping, buying in bulk to ensure that I have what I need to get me through full months, with enough variety for a bit of product testing. My goal is to find some personal holy grail masks that suit my needs, whilst doing my best to track down the best bargains possible. I don’t want to spend too much, but I do want to strike a balance between quality and quantity. Since the masks are piling up I’ve decided to move the bulk of those reviews to my brand new Instagram, starting with a quick write up on my experience with Leaders Mela Off. I still intend to do lots of mask reviews here too because I really do use a lot! I’ll also do my best in each post to point you all to the best sales and deals that I can find as well as information on the retailers that I use personally for the best price to the UK. Stay tuned.

Mask A Day Project and Pink Seoul Mask Subscription Box

Pink Seoul Mask Box

I’ve come to the end of my month long mask project and it’s honestly been a complete success. I will add some mini reviews in a further post but I love the progress I’ve made with my problem areas, including dullness, fine lines, and hydration. I’m also learning a lot about what I enjoy and what I can save money by avoiding. For example, the jury is still out for me on snails. I just can’t decide if I see marked results using high snail mucin content. Yet I see a lot of interesting progress, most of the time immediate, with thinner silk type masks and hydrogels. In fact, the best thing that this experiment may have showed me is how nourishing hydrogels are to my skin. I did a bit of shopping and will be showing off some hydro hauls very soon! For day to day though, sometimes I only have time for a regular sheet mask and that is mostly what I found in this month’s Pink Seoul offering.

While I was still charged a customs fee, the damage was far less and all in all I feel much happier with what I received in this box. There are still some price discrepancies but for the most part these are more minor in the mask version, and at the end of the day the companies that bring us these curated boxes have to make money somehow. As long as I feel I’m not getting price gouged and I find value in what I am sent then I can accept the novelty and enjoy my monthly surprise. I really enjoy masks, I love testing brands that I may not have considered on my own so I feel certain I will be continuing this sub as long as the standards remain high. This month is a good variety of products, the star item is The Face Shop Rice Water Light Oil Cleanser (Pink Seoul price $17) which makes me weep a little bit since I already have the foaming second step! It’s nice to have this as a backup, but I can’t bring myself to part with my current Heimish cleansing balm until it’s empty. You can find this oil online yourself with free shipping for less than eight dollars on Ebay. Quite a markup, but that’s my only true complaint as I think the rest of the items are fairly priced even if purchased directly from Pink Seoul’s website. Masks will probably have a lower profit margin in general no matter who sells them.

The Lindsay Modeling mask (Pink Seoul price $5.95 x2) barely made it past my unboxing, I couldn’t wait to try that rubbery goodness so the Vitamin C version is missing from the photo above. It’s a good bit of gloopy fun but I’ll be trying other types before I write up a proper review. The Holika Holika Pig Nose Blackhead Kit (Pink Seoul price $5) isn’t something that I need personally but I always smile when I see this cute little piggie packaging. Again I found this item with free shipping for as low as seventy four cents if you prefer to do your own shopping. There is an eye patch from Etude House ($2.50 from Pink Seoul website), yet more Benton Snail Bee Steam Cream sample tubes and also a Tonymoly Dream Cream sample but the rest of this box was stuffed with all manner of sheet masks. I was hoping for one of those shiny gold facial jobs when I saw the SNP Gold Ampoule Mask (Pink Seoul price $3) but alas, it wasn’t to be. It’s actually just a plain old cotton mask with teeny tiny bits of disappointing gold flake but more on that later. I received two new Mediheal masks, in Timetox and Lightmax (Pink Seoul price $2.50 each) which are very welcome since I always have decent results from this brand, plus bonus cute packaging! There are two Illi masks as well (Pink Seoul price $3 and $3.75, respectively) that I am very excited about because Illi has been on my radar but not something that I have yet picked up for myself. This is exactly why subscription boxes can be such a great source of future enabling. The greatest product this month for me was actually the Jayjun 3 Step Black Mask (Pink Seoul price $4) because I had SO much fun turning it into a full on pamper day. Jayjun’s genius packaging includes a foaming cleanser, an essence AND a really great sheet mask (niacinamide, for all you other fans out there like me) so it really was a great find. I went hunting for this because I liked it so much and was shocked to see a whole lot of complaints across several websites about fakes being passed about. So another mark in Pink Seoul’s favour as I would trust you are getting the really real deal by using their service.

So, a great month for masks and a great month for mask boxes!

My $100 Pink Seoul Unboxing

pinkseoul june

I’ll begin this post with the caveat that Pink Seoul responded promptly to most of my emails, addressed as many concerns as they could and did tell me that they would try to locate my box when it went missing. This is definitely the most trouble I’ve ever had with a subscription box but not all of that is down to Pink Seoul so I just want to state that first. As a small business proprietor I understand the pitfalls of international shipping, but it’s important to try and navigate those pitfalls before you open up that market otherwise you may end up with a lot of unhappy customers. It’s possible that this subscription is a wonderful deal if you live in the USA but for those of us abroad it’s just not a practical purchase at all the way it currently stands. Fear not though, I’ll be blogging about a new option very soon!

Pink Seoul is a new company so there aren’t a lot of boxes out yet but what I’ve seen looked interesting. I have purchased subscriptions at one time or another for almost all of the popular boxes in the UK but wasn’t happy with the constant hand creams and tiny samples. I’m much more invested in K-beauty and was incredibly drawn by the lure of full size products that I could test properly before adding to my routine. PS was extremely communicative, I purchased both subscription boxes and swallowed the steep cost deciding that it may be fun to have a new set of curated items coming in. I was offered a June box immediately rather than waiting for July/August, and after some debate I decided to accept this since I needed a C20 serum anyway. I believe that my box arrived in the UK fairly quickly, but oddly I got a notice of delivery at 2 in the morning a few days later with no sign of the box. PS remained helpful, saying they would attempt to track the parcel on their end but I never heard back. It was several days later before I found out the package had been seized, opened, and a customs charge was levied bringing the total for this single box to nearly $100.

For reference, if you are purchasing online HMRC allows for up to around £34 on packages marked gift, and does not include the cost of shipping to the UK. However, anything above that and you are charged a fee, suddenly with the shipping added on top to make the total due even higher. Regular mail should have a value of no more than £15, and with the drop of the pound lately thanks to Brexit, expect to get hit hard! Pink Seoul’s plus box comes to around £38.50. The price on the customs form is $49.50, or roughly $44 by current exchange rates. It’s a difference of only a few dollars, but in the end we pay a heavy price for it. Bear all this in mind before you make a purchase. So with all said, on to the (hopefully) good stuff!

I wanted to gauge how much these items would cost if you were to purchase from various other online vendors, especially since it would make things much easier to avoid customs fees by buying separately. Please note these just happen to be sellers and shops that I am familiar with purchasing from within the UK, obviously if you live in another country there may be more convenient places for you to shop with a lower cost! However it’s impossible to find a shop that carries everything listed so I do not have a total figure. Instead you would need to do your own due diligence. Pink Seoul includes a card with prices listed, but I believe that these are only from their own webshop and not a true reflection of actual cost.

Pink Seoul 2

The 5ildongan mask I really couldn’t track down in many places at all outside of Eastern countries, this brand doesn’t seem wildly available so Pink Seoul may be one of the only real importers. I was not overly concerned with this because there are plenty of bio cellulose masks on the market and alternatives could be found if need be. Pink Seoul price though, $10

The SNP Diamond Ampoule mask is obviously more often sold in bulk, but prices for this ranged from $1.14 to $1.80. Pink Seoul price, $2

Cosmetic Love carries Secret Key and the First Essence Mask is currently $2.20. Pink Seoul price, $3.95

Skin & Lab Fre-C Skin Protector
is $16.39 over on KoreaDepart, Pink Seoul price $19.95

Coming in extremely cheaply is the Skinfood Jeju Tangerine mask, that you can pick up for $.89 over at TesterKorea. Pink Seoul price, $2

The lowest price I could find for the Berrisom Lip Tint pack was at KoreaDepart, at $6.11. Obviously only one came in the box but they are a set. Pink Seoul price, $15

Another cheap item, Skinfood’s Black Bean eye pencil, is only $2.24 at TesterKorea. Pink Seoul price, $5

A quick search on Ebay and I found the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream in small size for only $14.87 including free international shipping. Although we were sent a small size, Pink Seoul only carries the large version of this at $33.95

KoreaDepart has the Holika Holika cuticle oil for $1.71, and the Face Shop nail stickers are on RubyRubyShop for $2.13 with free shipping. Pink Seoul prices are $5 for each of these items.

Jolse is always the go to for C20 Vitamin C serum, it’s only $13.59 on the website. Pink Seoul price, $20.

This box also contained some mini samples, obviously it’s hard to quantify price for such a thing as Pink Seoul only ships full sizes. I don’t see Nature Republic’s Tinted CC on the Pink Seoul website, but it’s possible to get a ten pack of these same samples for $3.84 on Ebay. The same goes for Benton, where various samples are available in bundles that include other popular products like the High Content Essence for under $5. I found the full size of Heimish All Clean Balm at StyleKorean.com for $16.19. Pink Seoul cost, $19.95.

If you did your homework and you are patient enough to wait for shipping you could get most of these things at a discounted rate. It’s nice to have it sent to you all wrapped up of course as a monthly pamper item but if you are watching your pennies and avoiding customs you may want to do your shopping yourself, as even using sites that charge for shipping you would probably save a large amount of money. For me personally, I really don’t see the ‘plus’ in this box for the price discrepancy but I haven’t researched what the regular box contains this month to tot up the differences. I wouldn’t like to judge Pink Seoul too harshly on only one shipment though so I will wait to see what July has in store before I come to any conclusions. Since I jumped in with both feet and also subscribed to the PS monthly mask box I’ll also be sharing my views on that one, the import fee wasn’t quite so painful but I did still have to pay. It led me to look for alternatives so I’m happy to report I’ve also been in touch and gotten very positive responses from a competitor box that will be offering FREE international shipping direct from Seoul, plus avoidance of these pesky customs fees. Stay tuned!

Sulwhasoo Week! Snowise EX Trio

 

sulwhasoo snowise

I’ve been wanting to dive into Sulwhasoo for awhile. I’m extremely curious about ‘hanbang’ skincare, or more to the point products that use natural, traditional ingredients rather than the chemicals found in most offerings. I realise it’s an expensive habit but well, you only live once and all that. Since I’m really into brightening and evening out my skintone right now I decided to get my feet wet with the Snowise line, with a bonus overnight mask thrown in for good measure. The Overnight Vitalizing Mask (not pictured) is not in the Snowise family of products, but I figured if I’m going to throw all the monies at my face I may as well go full steam ahead. The full sized products are expensive even if you are patient and purchase abroad to save some pennies, but if you like what you see there are many other ways to try Sulwhasoo that I’ll discuss later.
I have retained my daytime routine since it’s very pared down and basic. I have a lot of time before bed to concentrate on layering, so I thought that was the better option for maximum results. I preferred to test these products as a set so that I could observe how they work together, including analysing the results of each step over the course of about ten nights. I know, I know I said a week but it just sounded good so I couldn’t resist. To make it easier I am posting in the order that the products should ideally be used on your face, so first up is the Whitening Fluid.

Ingredients
Water, Propanediol, Squalane, Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Butylene Glycol, C14-22 Alcohols, Broussonetia Kazinoki Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Stearic Acid, Methoxy Peg-114/Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Palmitic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

First off, Snowise smells AMAZING. It’s a fresh ginger to my nose, with herbal undertones. Maybe a little strong if you aren’t a fan of ginger but it’s right up my alley so I really love it plus it calms down fairly quickly once applied. The whitening fluid is thicker than I anticipated, an emulsion about the texture of a standard lotion. The star of this show is the white ginseng and chinese peony, with the fluid creating a base for the rest of the products to sit on. I do notice that it sinks right into the skin, making me feel like my moisture barrier is on point. I feel hydrated and amazingly smooth to the touch, no irritation at all, no tingling at all, and no stickiness even after a half hour of wear. This turns my face into the perfect canvas for the steps to follow.

Snowise Brightening Serum
Ingredients
Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Broussonetia Kazinoki Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Trimethicone, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Alcohol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Niacinamide, Acetyl Glucosamine, Polymethylsilsesquioxane Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponins), Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Methoxy Peg-114/Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Propanediol, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Stearyl Behenate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behenyl Alcohol, Potassium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 20, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

You’re really spoiled for choice with so many oils and extracts there just to baby your skin. Snowise Brightening Serum is just as effective as the whitening fluid. Thinner, like a gel, so my instinct was to use it first. But Sulwhasoo has a handy widget on the company homepage that shows you exactly how to best layer whatever products you own so I am taking their advice! Again the fragrance is that gorgeous ginger, fab if you like that kind of thing. I was really impressed with how velvety this left my face feeling. The consistency meant that I was able to just glide it into my pores with my fingertips, no rubbing necessary. I know that every guru tells you to pat, but I admit I don’t always. With Snowise, you can pat! My skin felt fresh and clean, though I could detect the tiniest bit of tightness after application. Only slightly though, and it didn’t detract from the softness in any way. I kind of have that post mask feeling. Sheet mask fans, you know what I’m talking about.

Snowise Brightening Cream
Ingredients
Water, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Methyl Trimethicone, Niacinamide, Jojoba Esters, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Broussonetia Kazinoki Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Behenyl Alcohol, C14-22 Alcohols, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Propanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Acetyl Glucosamine, Sorbitan Olivate, Methoxy Peg-114/Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

White ginger and white cloud grass are listed as the primary skin brightening active agents in this cream, though licorice root extract features heavily in all of the Snowise products as well as the traditional herb hedyotis diffusa which apparently acts as a delivery system by boosting circulation. However, again this is a smorgasbord of beneficial essences so as long as you have no sensitivities you really can’t put a foot wrong in the pampering stakes. The cream has a slightly more subtle fragrance, and is also nice and thick. It feels a little bit sticky as you work it into the skin, which leads me to believe that the ingredients list may be correct in listing glycerin quite high. With a thin, even layer my skin still seems very soft, relatively hydrated and within a few minutes the majority of the cream has sunk in. All in all it feels like many moisturisers I have used in the past, but used as a finisher it plays very well with the products that have been layered underneath. So, was my first experience with Sulwhasoo a success?

If it were possible to give this trio of deluxe samples six stars, I would. Considering that I only used Snowise for ten days, about midway through my testing phase I did a double take in my mirror. I really could not believe how rapidly there was a change in both tone and texture. It helps that I am still masking once per day of course, but for the sake of science I have mostly stuck to hydrating types. I also removed everything else from my evening routine, including Vitamin C so that I could get a true sense of what Snowise can do. Which is a lot, as it turns out. I had such cracking results that I bought a larger Sulwhasoo set that includes more of the Snowise line so that I can try that after my current to do list. I am looking forward to testing even more serums and essences that use traditional ingredients after this win. If you want to get in on the Sulwhasoo action, your best bet is to start with samples. Cosmetic Love has a great selection but for my second purchase I actually turned to Ebay where the entire kit will only set you back $22 and change. I was quick to compare with the products I already had on hand since Ebay can be a little hit and miss but I’m happy to report everything looks above board. I’m extremely happy with my Sulwhasoo Week and am looking forward to seeing what else this brand has to offer. This post has run long so look for my more mini review on The Sulwhasoo Revitalizing Mask at a later date.