Anna is a New Yorker writing about her globe-trotting, culinary, and healthy living adventures. Plus, she loves sharing beauty finds.
Did you know that BB cream is a Korean export? Yep, the multi-tasking skin wonder cream was invented in Korea about thirty years ago and American companies only caught on in 2012. Once BB cream arrived stateside, beauty enthusiasts' sights have been set to Korea for what's new and what's hot in the world of beauty. With that, Korea is becoming evermore popular for beauty trends.
Korea is now considered the epitome of innovation, creativity, and trends in the beauty industry. I quickly decided I wanted in, stat, but had no idea where I can get my hands on products from Korea without boarding a plane heading to Seoul. Thank God I found out about two subscription boxes that specialize in Korean goodies, Memebox and Q Box, and solved that problem.
Memebox is a subscription box service dedicated to all things related to Korean beauty products. Q Box is focused on a range of trendy products hailing mostly from Korea and Japan. I subscribe to both and here's my review of them. Enjoy!
Memebox is a beauty box specializing in Korean beauty products. Rather than being a monthly subscription box, Memeboxes come in themes and you order whichever box(es) sound good to you. With themes such as Cacao Cosmetics, K Beauty, and Superfood, Memeboxes are irresistible!
Boxes cost from $15–$43 each, shipping is $6.99, and you get four to six full-size and deluxe size samples.
When you sign up for Memebox, you get two Meme Points (redeemable for two dollars).
Word of advice: Sign up for the newsletter and as soon as you hear about a really enticing box, order it ASAP because boxes sell out really fast (oftentimes within hours of their announcements)!
Memebox Christmas Collection #1 Stress-Free Holidays
After a few months of a Memebox withdrawal, I went on the website to look for my next feen. Most of the boxes were sold out but there was one that sounded somewhat enticing based on one word "stress-free" (or is that two words?). Although it's supposed to be a Christmas box, I decided to go for it because I couldn't resist a box of goodies promising stress relief. The box description proclaimed “a box full of easy skincare and body essentials to help keep holiday tension from taking over” that would help to “fight skin and body blemishes and flaws that follow stress” and “maintain your beauty all season long." I read that and I was sold! After paying $23, plus $6.99 for shipping, the box arrived straight from Soul in late February 2015. Did I mention that it was filled with six(!) full-sized products worth $102?!
So let's take a look at the content of the box, which I was super eager to try out one by one.
Recipe By Nature Ice Cream Swing Gloss 01 Very Lovely: 6g ($6 Full Size)
This lip gloss melted onto my lips, leaving them moist and supple, yet non-sticky. The ingredients include jojoba seed oil, argan oil, and grape seed oil, all of which is sweetly scented with berries and provides rich moisture and nutrition to dry, chapped lips. I love the cute design of the packaging and gifted it to my eight-year-old niece who loves this keychain lip gloss to pieces from the design to the formula.
Angel’s Black Head Eraser Coconut 97%: 100g ($12)
This is a soap-free cleansing bar made from 97% pure coconut extracts and carbonated hot springs water. It's apparently 100% natural and is specifically formulated to help treat acne, blemishes, blackheads, and wrinkles, and has a pH level of 5.5, which by the way means it's slightly acidic and is the pH level of the skin (so it maintains the skin's natural moisture and keeps germs out). I haven't tried this cleansing bar out yet, but I can't wait to test it out with my girlfriends at our next spa day!
Dipodeur Dress Perfume in 07 Orange & Fiore: 150 ml ($19)
I wasn't expecting to see a “dress perfume” in this box but was nevertheless happy to get it! It combines a fresh soap scent with phytoncide water and then adds other fragrances to make a unique blend. I sprayed it on my clothes as soon as I unboxed this Memebox and it smells nice - like a fresh load of laundry. I've been using pillow mist and adore it so I imagine this will be a great addition to making my clothing smell extra fresh.
Note: Everyone receives one of six options for this spray: 03 Lemon & Ylang-ylang, 07 Orange & Fiore, 12 Rose & Flower Garden, 21 Figuier & Glass Leaf, 24 Lime & Mandarin, or 27 Iris & Whitebouquet.
DD’ell Moisture Facial Mask 04 Gold Kiwi: 23g ($7)
This sheet mask is made with mineral-rich deep ocean water and vitamin-rich Gold Kiwi extract, which helps soothe, detoxify and even out the skin tone. The Vitamin C contained within Gold Kiwi is known to reduce hyper-pigmentation and dark spots caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Neogen Don’t Cry, Armpits - Deodorant Perfumed Stick: 15g ($17)
I only use natural deodorant and I'm always happy to try out a new one. This one has pretty unique ingredients such as: eucalyptus, which is an excellent antibacterial agent, and peppermint, which is both refreshing and cooling, Alaskan glacial water (binghasu), which is a natural moisturizer that keeps skin hydrated and conditioned. This deodorant is great for the winter months when we don't sweat as much, otherwise, I usually get an antiperspirant.
Shara Shara Gold Label Repescargo Cream: 50 ml ($41)
I have to say, if this was the only product in the box, I'd still be happy with it. I've been dying to try some snail cream! This one has a whopping 70% snail mucus extract, which helps to nourish, brighten and repair damaged skin. And it also has gold, pearl powder, hyaluronic acid and glucosamine which help to deliver moisture, hypoallergenic and with a natural preservative system of Zanthoxylum Piperitum (Sichuan Pepper) Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana (Pasqueflower) Extract and Usnea Barbata (Lichen) extract "suitable for the most sensitive of skins and its soft, light formula leaves the skin feeling hydrated and comfortable." I admit that the thought of snail slime on my body is disturbing but I've heard such great things that I couldn't wait to try it out. I opened the cute container right away and smothered it on my hands and must admit, it feels amazing! It has a silky texture and feels really moisturizing. You must be wondering about the smell though like I was. I couldn't imagine what the smell could be like but it actually smells nice. Smells nutty with a mix of flowers.
This box came to a total value of $102 (based on prices quoted by Memebox). It cost me $29.99 with shipping. The value is totally there and I love every piece of it!
Memebox Special #11 - Cacao
Cacao is the first Memebox that I ordered and boy did that box get me hooked on Korean beauty products! After signing up for Memebox's newsletter one month before, there were a few boxes that sounded pretty amazing but by the time I decided to go ahead and buy them a few hours later, they were already sold out. So when an announcement came into my inbox about a box focused on beauty products made from none other than cacao, I bought it right then and there from my iPhone.
Having traveled to Peru to hike the Inca Trail, I'm pretty familiar with what an amazing plant cacao is. I mean, it's referred to as the "food of the gods." Cacao beans are very nutritious and we know them for their use in chocolate but cooking actually breaks down the nutritional value, so with that said, beauty products made from raw cacao beans should be saintly! They actually have high antioxidant content and are known to make your skin look healthy.
I bought the Cacao Memebox in early July for $15 (the actual cost is $29.99 but if you use the promo code TRYMEME, you save $15 on your first box) and paid $6.99 for shipping. The box arrived at my door at the beginning of August and here's what was inside.
Etude House Milk Talk – Chocolate Milk: 200ml ($7 Full Size)
I love the packaging of this chocolate scented body wash / bubble bath! No wonder it's so cute though, it's from the super popular Korean beauty brand Etude House which is known for just that. The body wash leaves your body feeling soft and smelling of chocolate goodness. I ended up giving this away to a friend's daughter as I thought it more appropriate for bath-time!
WondeRuci Cacao Brightening Mask: 100g ($38 Full Size)
This mask was a spoiler for the cacao box and was definitely instrumental in me quickly buying the box. The cacao mask has components that are supposed to cleanse away dirt and impurities piled up in your pores. It also contains various minerals to moisturize and brighten up your complexion. It looks, smells, and feels like chocolate fudge, tempting me to lick my finger as I smeared it on my face.
Pure Smile Essence Mask – Chocolate Milk: 23mL ($1.00)
Ok, I've been hearing a lot about sheet masks but I never actually tried one so I was psyched to get a sheet mask in this box. What are sheet masks you ask? It's essentially a sheet of thin fabric with holes cut out for your eyes, nose, and mouth that is soaked with an essence targeting your needs. They are a super affordable alternative to pricey spa facials. Hooray for my first sheet mask experience being a chocolate one!
This mask is "rich in milk protein nutrients, cacao extracts, vitamin E, and collagen which all work to hydrate and smooth out uneven skin texture." I used this sheet mask the night I got it and totally loved it. Even took a selfie in it, because you know that's a thing on Instagram! And I've ordered sheet masks in bulk from Korea via Amazon! I now have a new nightly beauty ritual.
Evas Vitamin Cleansing Dessert Magic Cream Soap Coconut & Cacao: 130g ($18 Full Size)
The is another product with really adorable packaging. I mean, it's a little cute colorful cart with wheels! But what's inside? Cream soap doesn't explain much to me. It turns out that it's a "gentle facial cleanser that contains coconut and cacao extracts. It lathers up with microfoam particles that can reach deeply into your pores leaving your face refreshed and smooth." Apparently, it's supposed to be great to clean out pores but thankfully, I don't have problem pores, so I'll be giving this away.
Pure Smile Choosy Lip Scrub Chocolate: 25g ($11.00 Full Size)
Ok, so this is a lip scrub. I never knew there was such a thing! I actually don't have any problems with dry or chapped lips but I do like the thought of slathering chocolate something on my lips. Plus, this is made from sugar, cacao extracts, beeswax, shea butter, jojoba oil, and macadamia oil and I'm all for natural products. I tried this the night I got it and loved the chocolate fragrance. My lips felt kind of weird afterward, a bit tingly and I haven't used it since. Maybe when the weather gets cooler this product will come in handy.
6. Purederm Nose Pore 6 Strips Choco Cacao: 6pc ($6.00 Full Size)
I've never tried nose pore strips and these are meant as a "one step treatment designed to unclog blackheads, whiteheads, dirt, and oil." I contemplated if I should keep these or give them away but decided, after all, to keep them and see what I come up with. These strips smell like chocolate (no surprise there!). I applied one on my nose for 15 minutes and after I took of the thing, nothing came out of my pores. I guess I have very small pores!
This box came to a total value of $81 (based on prices quoted by Memebox). It cost me $22 with shipping. It's definitely a "value" box. Totally worth it! After getting this box, I couldn't wait to get my hand on the next box. I'll keep adding reviews here of any future boxes I get. So check back!
The Q Box
Q Box Review
I'm a complete monthly subscription box fanatic, having tried about a dozen different ones but I must admit, the Q Box is one of the most unique ones!
Q Box is a subscription box filed with a variety of Korean and Japanese products. You typically get a beauty product, some accessory, something for the home, and any other random chachkies.
Each box sets you back $32.45 ($24.95 a month + $7.50 for shipping and handling) but you get a box filled with at least $60 worth of full-sized products. it's one of those "value" boxes and who doesn't love getting a deal! Unlike the American boxes I subscribe to, this box doesn't have recurring billing so you only get billed each time you reserve a future box. But caution, get yours quickly because they usually sell out pretty fast—I ordered my July box all the way back in early May since May and June's boxes were goners.
Q Boxes ship from Canada, and I'm not sure why.
Target market? I'm pretty sure this box is geared more toward teenage girls and although it's been some time since I graduated HS, I still adored this box.
Let's get right into my July Q box! Below is a list of all the items I received.
Korea: Half Year Planner Korea ($2.00)
This planner is super cute but also so not practical since the boxes are tiny. I do plan to use this planner but I need to figure out for what and I'm thinking it will be something that will inspire me, like what made me happy that day. Did you do the #100happydays challenge? I did it with my bestie and kinda miss it.
Japan: AZUL Double Pearl Cuff Bangle ($20.00)
Apparently this bangle was curated for Q Box. I like it. It's simple and pretty. I'll definitely be using it, maybe even to work.
Japan: Bourbon Elise Matcha Cream (Bonus)
I think this was considered a bonus item. My boyfriend and I really liked trying out these green tea flavor-filled wafers. I'll be on the lookout for them when I go to K-town one of these days after work.
France: Repetto Ribbon Tote Bag ($22.00)
This is such a cute tote bag! I never expected to get a product made in France in this box but I'm not complaining. I think I'll use this tote for grocery shopping. It's made of really sturdy material and I love the string on the side, which I can use to tie up the bag so it takes up less space.
Korea: TonyMilk CatChu Wink Lipstick ($10.00)
What a unique lipstick case! I would've loved this product no matter the color of the lipstick! An extra bonus is that I absolutely love the color that I got! This went straight to my purse. Thanks, Q Box!
Korea: Rilakkuma Chopsticks and Storage Case Set ($7.50)
This is too cute! I love this plastic chopstick set and never knew they come with storage cases. A friend who went to Japan once gifted me gorgeous chopsticks but I never used them. Now that I have a pair, I think the next time I make dinner for my boyfriend, we'll be using chopsticks for utensils!
Japan: Dolly Cat Eyeliner ($10.00)
I love the packaging of this and I've heard great things about the company so I may be swayed at trying out the cat-eye look another time! I gave up after a few botched attempts with liquid eyeliner.
The total box value for the July Q Box: $71.50
Asian Randomness: Priceless
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.