I’ve been subscribing to Jini Beauty Box for about a year now, so I guess you could say things are kinda serious. I love that this box offers a mix of sheet masks, full size products, and deluxe sample sizes. Wanna see what was in the January/February box for Normal/Combo skin? Read on!
If you haven’t heard of Jini Beauty Box before, they’re a bi-monthly k-beauty subscription box that retails for $44.95. The box contains mostly skincare and one or two makeup items per box. You’re promised 6-8 full size products/deluxe samples, 2 sheet masks, and a few bonus sample packets. The unique premise with this box is that it’s curated by skin type (normal/combination, dry/mature, oily/acne, or sensitive/troubled). If you want to learn more about this box, I have an entire post here that explains everything about this box in-depth. Ingredients for all of the products included in the box can be found here.
You have until March 13 to sign up for the March/April box!
Disclaimer: I paid for this box with my own money. All views expressed are my own, authentic opinions. This post does not contain any affiliate links.
Neogen Real Fresh Foam Green Tea Cleanser | Full Size
Wash away dirt, impurities, and excess oil with fermented green tea extract. This beloved cleanser brightens and hydrates skin without stripping away its natural moisture. Directions: (as step 2 cleanser) Pump 1 or 2 dollops of the cleanser into hands and lightly massage foam onto wet face. Rinse off foam with lukewarm water.
I haven’t really used this cleanser enough to form an opinion on it yet. My skin is quite dry at the moment from the Differin gel I’ve been using, so I don’t feel like I can really give this a fair shot. After my skin settles down, I’ll begin using it more regularly and update you guys at some point. For now, here’s what I can tell you. The pump dispenses, big, soft, fluffy foam that doesn’t immediately break down into a liquid, so it’s like rubbing fluffy clouds on your face. There’s not much of a scent to it in my opinion, but I have seen a few people mention it had an artificial/chemical-y smell to it, so proceed with caution if you’re very sensitive to smell. To me it doesn’t really smell like anything, just… clean? This cleanser also rinses easily and doesn’t leave a film behind.
Double & Zero Piggy Girl 3-Step Nose Pack | Full Size
Retail value: $?
I couldn’t find an active listing for these because they’re sold out everywhere right now. My estimate based on similar products would be between $2-5.
Jini Beauty says:
Each step plays an active role in clearing up your nose: step 1 melts and controls the sebum, blackheads, and other gunk inside your pores, step 2 cleanses and removes all that gunk, and step 3 tightens pores with collagen and soothes skin with witch hazel bark. Directions: (After toner) Adhere the given nose strips in order of steps 1 to 3 and leave on for the number of minutes specified by the clock diagram at each step. For step 2, wet nose thoroughly before using the strip. Gently tear off or remove the strips after use.
I’m not really the ideal candidate for blackhead removal strips because I don’t really have any on my nose. I know, I know, don’t throw tomatoes at me! I had them a lot as a teenager, so I know the struggle. That being said, I did see a few little nasties on the pore strip when I peeled it off, so it does work. Step 1 was a wet strip to help loosen the gunk. Step 2 was the sticky get-ready-to-rip-this-off-your-face-and-see-gross-stuff strip. Step 3 was a biocellulose sheet mask for the nose area to help soothe the skin. I didn’t experience any irritation from it and I thought it was fun to use. It’s not something I would repurchase because, like I said, I don’t really have an issue with blackheads on my nose, but I did enjoy using it.
This ingenious sleeping mask doubles as an exfoliator that melts away dead skin cells in your sleep. Hibiscus improves skin’s natural moisture barrier to maintain hydration during this peeling process. Directions: (Last step of night skincare) Spread the mask evenly over face and leave on overnight. Wash face as usual in the morning.
I’m totally fascinated by this because it’s something I’ve never seen before. It combines the exfoliating and brightening power of an acid with the hydration of a sleeping pack. What’s more impressive is the addition of ceramides to help strengthen the moisture barrier, which can be deteriorated if the skin is over-exfoliated. The texture was great: thick, soft, and comforting, but not so heavy it felt like my skin was being suffocated (not that skin actually breathes, that’s a myth). It also smells amazing, just like hibiscus. I’m a total exfoliation junkie and I love a good wallop of moisture, so this is something I’m really enjoying. It also came at a perfect time as I’ve been low-key burning my face off with Differin (if you wanna know more about that, check my Instagram). I feel like this mask really helps to seal in all of my other layers, and I love the concept of hydration + exfoliation, so this is something I can see myself repurchasing.
This hibiscus cream has a special ceramide formula that provides fresh hydration without any stickiness. It helps smooth away flaking skin and rough patches while building a firm moisture barrier. Directions: (After serum) Dab a small amount of the cream over face and massage into skin.
This is like a lighter version of the sleeping pack, with the same light hibiscus scent that I love. I’ve mostly been layering this under the sleeping pack because I think they work well together. This is a thick cream in the jar, but once you start to rub it in, it thins out and absorbs easily. It’s hydrating without feeling heavy, so I think this would be a great every day cream for normal to combination skin types, even moderately dry skin types might like this. It leaves a nice velvety finish behind and makes my skin feel soft and hydrated. I like this cream, but there’s nothing that ‘wow’s me about it, it’s just a moisturizer. There are tons of moisturizers that I like (Belif Aqua Bomb, Dr. Jart Water Drop, Anthony Oil Free Facial Lotion, etc) and there are always more to try, so I don’t know that I would repurchase this one, but I also don’t have anything negative to say about it. I would choose to repurchase the Mamonde Sleeping Peeling Pack over this because I feel like it’s a more unique product, but they also serve different functions, and I like the way they work together.
A.H.C. The Real Eye Cream For Face Season 4 | Full Size
Say hello to this famous eye cream that doubles as an intensive face cream. It reduces wrinkles and fights aging with ingredients such as fermented collagen, natural moisturization factor, goami extract, snail filtrate, ceramide complex, and 14 kinds of peptides. Directions: Pat a small amount of the cream under eyes and around creases. Spot treat other areas of face that are prone to wrinkles or where wrinkles have already formed.
I like this, but nothing can replace my precious Algenist Power 360 Eye Serum. This is a thick cream, with a bit of a perfumey scent. I don’t really notice it when I’m applying it, nor does it irritate my sensitive eyes, but it’s there. This cream also forms a bit of a barrier, which is something I like in an eye cream, and it hasn’t given me any millia. I haven’t been using this long enough to see results, but I do like it so far. Algenist has just totally spoiled me for all other eye treatment products.
Peripera Milk Moist Lip Balm in Peach Milk | Full Size
Say goodbye to dry chapped lips with this tinted lip balm in strawberry milk or peach milk flavors. The lip balm is infused with milk extract rich in moisture, protein, and vitamin D. Directions: Squeeze tube to dispense lip balm and apply directly to lips.
This smells so good😍 I love pretty much anything peach-scented, so this was an immediate winner for me. The balm is thick, plush, and non-sticky, with a slight orange tint. It’s quite hydrating and stays on well, but for me the main draw is the scent.
This sheet mask contains 1,000 ppm of grape extract to vitalize and brighten your skin tone. The elastic jelly texture allows for deeper nourishment and absorption of the extract. Directions: (After toner) Place mask over face and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Pat remaining essence into skin for additional absorption.
I haven’t used this yet, but keep an eye out for a review on Instagram sometime in the next 1-2 weeks (it takes me a while to go through sheet masks, especially in the winter).
Natural Pacific Premium Metal Snow Mask | Full Size
Your skin will enjoy radiance as bright as snow through this mask’s active ingredients of pearl extract, niacinamide, and vitamins. The unique silver coating helps retain moisture to allow for higher absorption and longer lasting hydration. Directions: (After toner) Adhere mask over face and leave on for 10-20 minutes. Massage in the excess serum.
I haven’t used this one yet either, but I’m super excited about it. I haven’t tried any of the metallic sheet masks yet, and I’ll take any excuse to wear a mask that I can use to scare my sister! Again, look for a review on my Instagram.
I received the Holika Holika Good Cera Super Cream and the Too Cool For School Pink Girl Jelly Base as my bonus samples this month. I haven’t tried either of these products before, so I’m excited to give them a try!
The total retail value of the January/February 2017 box was between $58.36 to $61.36, depending on the cost of the nose pack that I couldn’t find a price for, and not including the bonus samples. The cost of the box is $44.95, so that’s at least $13.41(possibly $16.41+) more than what I paid for the box. I would like to see a little bit higher box value, especially since it’s now a bi-monthly box, but I also tend to cut smaller companies like Jini Beauty a break on box value (as long as it’s above what I paid!) because I know they don’t have access to the same bulk purchase discounts and distribution deals that larger companies like Ipsy and Birchbox have. I also factor in what my personal value of the box is, and since I’ll use everything in this box, it has a high value for me. I know that may not be the case for everyone, so take a look at previous boxes on Jini Beauty’s website or my previous reviews (note that these are all for the boxes prior to Jini Beauty switching to bi-monthly boxes) to get a feel for the boxes and to assess whether or not you think the subscription would be a good fit for you. I’ve consistently discovered new and exciting products in these boxes, including some I now consider favorites, such as the CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner and the Cosmo Monster Aqua Gel Sunscreen, so it just makes sense for me to continue subscribing to Jini Beauty because I get so much out of it.
I think Jini Beauty Box is a great choice for beginners especially because it provides a variety of products tailored to your skin type and a helpful info card that even tells you where to use the product in your routine. As someone who’s been using Asian beauty products for quite a while now, I feel like I still discover new products, especially some lesser-known gems such as the Cosmo Monster Aqua Gel Sunscreen. If you think this box would be a good fit for you, I definitely recommend giving it a try.
A full list of ingredients for the products in this box can be found here on their website. Reviews of all of the previous months’ boxes, as well as additional information about the service can be found here. If you’d like to subscribe to Jini Beauty Box, you can do so here. Additionally, Jini Beauty can be found on Instagram (they post spoilers for each month’s boxes!) and Twitter. I can also be found on Instagram and Twitter, come hang out with me!
It’s been a few months since my last favorites post, but they’re some of my favorite posts to write. I’ve got some great products to share with you today that I’ve really been loving (including some non-beauty favorites!). Hopefully you’ll love them too!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette
C’mon, we all saw this one coming, right? I’ve said several times that the Anastasia shadows are my favorite formula, and if you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that I’m completely addicted to orange/red/bronze tones. This is a perfect everyday palette for me, I haven’t even touched anything else since I got this (with the exception of dipping into my MAC single in Blanc Type, which is what I pretty much always use on my brow bone). I foresee this being a favorite for a very long time.
The reason I love it, beyond the versatility of the color selection (don’t be intimidated by the orange and red tones, you can work them in in a way that still keeps a mostly neutral look, if that’s your jam), is because the eyeshadows are so freaking pigmented, yet blendable and buildable. I know a lot of people complain that the formula kicks up too much, and it does kick up a lot, so be careful not to use too much pressure when you dip your brush in and to lightly tap off the excess. Personally, I don’t mind the kick up because in my experience shadows that do that tend to blend better, and because I don’t get much fallout from most Anastasia shadows. They probably wouldn’t be the best shadows for a beginner because they do take a little bit of skill to work with. For a beginner, I would recommend something like the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette because the shadows practically blend themselves out (they actually blend too much for my liking, to the point where I feel like they’re not intense enough, but that’s personal preference, and not a problem that most beginners are likely to have).
Verb Ghost Oil
I’ve tried Verb’s detangler in the past, and it didn’t work for me at all (to be fair, my hair is giant ball of evil, most hair products don’t help), so when I saw Verb’s Ghost Oil in my November Ipsy bag, I didn’t get my hopes up. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when adding a couple of drops of this to my hair actually made a huge difference in my ability to brush my hair out (way less tangles!) and made it feel and look healthier. I split my hair in half along my part while it’s still damp, add a dime-sized amount of oil to my hand and rub my palms together, then rub my hands over my hair, being sure to coat all of the layers of my hair, not just the top and bottom. I also keep it about an inch or two away from my roots. Then, I repeat on the other side. Most people probably won’t need to section their hair or use quite so much oil, but I have absurdly thick hair that still requires quite a bit of product even after I chopped off several inches. What can I say, my hair is a problem child. This oil is also lightweight, and has a very light, barely noticeable scent that doesn’t really smell like anything specific. It’s definitely not something that would compete with your perfume or give you a headache. I’ve tried tons of hair oils, but this is by far my favorite.
Urban Decay Primer Potion in Enigma
Enigma is basically the product I’ve needed my whole life. I have super oily eyelids, and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion works significantly better for me than any other primer I’ve tried. What makes Enigma so special is the tint, which is a light beige. It works perfectly to camouflage the veins on my eyelids, which I’ve never been able to achieve with a concealer the way that most people can because my eyelids are so oily. Setting concealer with powder, applying concealer over a primer, nope doesn’t work, creases in 30 minutes. I don’t always want to wear eyeshadow, but the veiny-ness of my eyelids sort of acts like dark circles and makes me look tired and disheveled (I’m probably both, but no one else needs to know that!). Enigma allows me to look more put together without having to wear eyeshadow and keeps my eyelids from getting too oily throughout the day. Sometimes I wear it with eyeshadow, other times I wear it on its own with a little bit of face powder over top to take away some of the tacky feeling. As an added benefit, Urban Decay donates 100% of the purchase price of this product to charity organizations that support women. So far, they’ve donated over 1.28 million dollars!
Cosmo Monster Aqua Gel Sunscreen
I’m surprised I haven’t seen more people talk about this Cosmo Monster sunscreen, it’s a total winner! I hadn’t heard of this brand before, but I was excited to see a sunscreen in the Oily/Combo edition of the September/October Jini Beauty Box. After giving it a try over the past month+, I can honestly say I love this stuff! I’m actually surprised by how much I love it because I typically don’t like gel face products as they tend to feel quite sticky. This one feels like water (hence the “aqua” in the name) and doesn’t leave any sort of sticky or slippery film on the skin. It’s also clear, has a very mild sunscreen smell, and plays well with makeup. It feels so lightweight on my face, just like a moisturizer, but it has an SPF of 50, heck yeah! It’s also only about $10, so budget-friendly too! Like I said, I don’t know why more people don’t talk about this. I have nothing negative to say about it, and have even been reaching for it over my (super) expensive Radical sunscreen. Super glad to have discovered this thanks to Jini Beauty Box!
Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Magic Wand Makeup Remover Swabs
These makeup remover swabs are another awesome find from the September/October Jini Beauty Box. I’d heard of them before but hadn’t gotten around to trying them, until they arrived in my Jini Beauty Box. The way these work is you twist one end of the cotton swab and pull that end off, which releases makeup remover from the stick portion into the cotton portion of the swab. They’re a super easy and convenient way to fix mistakes, especially to clean up winged eyeliner. These would also be great for travel or to keep in your purse. The makeup remover in these is really effective and non-irritating. Love ’em!
Stok Cold Brewed Coffee Shots
These little pods of joy are a life saver. Not literally. Well, maybe a little bit literal if you’ve ever seen me after I’ve been drinking crappy hotel coffee for a few days. Have you ever wished you could amp up the amount of caffeine in your coffee? If you have, you’ll probably fall in love with these. Housed in little pods like the creamer you get at a diner, Stok is a pod of cold-brewed, highly caffeinated black coffee. I found them at my local Smith’s (Kroger in some parts of the country) about a month ago, and since finals were coming up, I threw them into my cart without a second thought. Not only were these great for adding caffeine to my coffee and keeping me sane during finals, they also prevented disaster yesterday morning when the only coffee left in the house was decaf. Decaf coffee, man. Not only is it caffeine-free, it just doesn’t taste right. Thankfully, we were well stocked with Stok, so no one had to go caffeine-free! I’ve also been experimenting with other uses for these. So far I’ve tried adding them to hot cocoa and oatmeal, by subbing a little bit of the water for a pod of Stok. Works great! Adds a tiny bit of coffee flavor (plus caffeine!) without overpowering the other flavors. In the future, I want to try adding them to brownies (if you’ve never tried adding a bit of coffee to your brownies you’re missing out!), protein shakes, and maybe even homemade protein bars. There’s a lot of applications for these beyond adding them to a cup of coffee. I can’t wait to play around with them some more!
Better Oats Oat Revolution Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
This is my favorite oatmeal ever. I’ve actually been eating it for years, but just recently went back to it after awhile without it because I was sick of eating bars for breakfast every day. I hate making breakfast in the morning, if I can’t find something quick and simple, I’m just getting by on coffee until lunch. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for me to reach for something unhealthy for breakfast, but this oatmeal gives me a healthy option that doesn’t require much brain power or effort. I love the way this oatmeal tastes, I love that it has added flax seeds for omega-3s, but most of all I love the measuring cup pouch. After you dump the oatmeal into a bowl, you fill the pouch up to the line with water and dump it into the bowl, no need for a separate measuring cup! Simple enough for my mornings, but so good I eat it for dinner sometimes!
If you workout at home like I do, but are tired of the same boring, overly peppy or bootcamp style workouts that are popular for at-home workouts, try FitnessBlender. I found them years ago and have been working out with their videos ever since. I recently got back into working out after not having the time or space for it for the past two years, and it felt great to come back to their videos. They have over 500 free workouts on their YouTube channel, ranging from beginner to advanced, kickboxing to yoga, and a wide variety of workout formats to keep things from getting boring. They also have workout plans that you can purchase if you’d like someone to do all of the workout planning for you, but they never push you to buy their plans, and all of the videos are completely free. There’s no gimmick to FitnessBlender, and the workouts truly work. In the past I lost quite a bit of weight with FitnessBlender (I never weigh myself, so I don’t have an exact number, but I’d estimate it was 30+ lbs), and their workouts also helped me to significantly increase my endurance and strength. I’m so much healthier thanks to FitnessBlender, and it’s been so great to get to workout with them again. Seriously, I can’t recommend them highly enough, give them a try!
L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Transparent Brow Gel
I hate this brow gel, plain and simple. It’s a total disappointment. Like when your parents tell you they’re getting you a puppy for Christmas, but they come home with some animatronic thing from Toys R’ Us. Yeah, that bad. Sure, it’s clear and it doesn’t flake off in weird white patches that look like dandruff, so it’s got that going for it. But ya know what else it doesn’t have? Hold. Staying power. Things a good brow gel really needs to have. The brush on this is nice and small, but the brow gel itself doesn’t hold my brow hairs in place at all, it just has some weird waxy feel that makes it seem like I put Vaseline on my eyebrows. Not cool, man, not cool. I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as Anastasia brow gel, but c’mon. Even my Essence Make Me Brow (a Benefit Gimme Brow dupe) has better hold than this, and that’s meant more so for adding color and volume to the brows, the hold it just an added bonus. This L’Oreal brow gel isn’t even worth the $6 I paid for it. Pass.
That’s it for this month! What are some of your recent favorites?
Hello friends! I’ve nearly used up the Somang Keratin Silkprotein Hair Aqua Essence that I received in a Jini Beauty Box a few months ago (paid for with my own money), so I thought now would be a great time to review it for y’all.
What is it?
A leave-in conditioner containing keratin to help treat dry, damaged hair. It’s meant to give your hair moisture, repair the cuticle, and prevent further damage. As the “essence” name indicates, it’s much like the type of essence you would use for skincare as far as the texture goes, but personally it feels a bit more like an emulsion to me in the sense that it’s essentially a watered down lotion/conditioner. “Watered down” makes it sound like a bad thing, but it’s not. Just the best way of describing the texture. By comparison, the Beauty Protector leave-in conditioner from Birchbox is much thicker, but the Somang essence is a little bit thicker than water. The scent is a little bit flowery and sweet, but grounded with something a bit more earthy. I can definitely smell the chamomile and sage in this, with a bit of the lavender, not much of the rosemary comes through. The scent is definitely noticeable as I’m spraying it on my hair, and it does linger for a little bit, but it’s gone by the time my hair is dry.
110 ml $8.99 eBay || I’ve seen it listed on Amazon, but it’s higher priced and the packaging is different. Not sure if it’s new packaging or a fake product, so I’m not linking it here.
First, a bit about my hair. My hair is long, thick, wavy/curly, fluffy, color-treated, heat-styled, tangly, breaker of hair brushes, spawn of satan, and woefully misbehaved. It’s a few sarcastic taunts short of being a Buffy villain, basically. This hair essence wasn’t enough to tame it. It did give me softer and shinier hair, so it gets points for that. However, since it’s so thin, I basically had to drown my hair in it. On the bright side, it didn’t weigh my hair down. Didn’t help to detangle my hair at all, but it doesn’t claim to be a detangler, so fair ’nuff. Ultimately, I would say that if you have fairly normal hair and are just looking for something to give you shine and softness, you might like this. If you’ve got thick, curly, or coarse hair, I don’t think you’ll like this because it’s not going to do much for you. People with thin hair may also like this because the essence texture keeps it lighter than some of the other leave-in conditioners I’ve tried in the past, but this is coming from someone with fluffy, unruly hair, so take that with a grain of salt.
Would I repurchase?
Nah. The price is decent, it smells nice, and it gave me softness and shine, but this one didn’t wow me. I’d rather keep trying other products. Maybe they make Demon-Away* for hair? Here’s to hoping.
As promised, here’s my review of the May Coop Raw Sauce, which has become a k-beauty classic. It’s a much buzzed-about product known for giving the skin a radiant glow. But did it live up to the hype?
May Coop Raw Sauce 1.35 oz bottle
Disclosure:This product was purchased by me, with my own money. This post does not contain any affiliate links.
This product is marketed as a “toner, emulsion, and essence in one” (Peach&Lily). While the muti-tasking benefits are great, it does make it kind of difficult to figure out where to put it in your routine. Since I use a lot of actives and didn’t want anything to interfere with the pH, I used it after I finished all of my actives, but before any serums or moisturizers.
One of the most unique and interesting aspects of this product is that it uses maple sap in place of water. Waterless skincare has been a lowkey trend (as in, it never really took off in the main stream you probably haven’t heard of it /hipsterjokes), especially in Korea, for a while now. The idea behind it is that waterless skincare is able to cut out an ingredient (water) that doesn’t really do much for the skin in favor of higher amounts of active ingredients or other liquids that have additional skincare benefits, in this case maple sap. Maple sap is known for having a high antioxidant content, as well as the ability to absorb into the skin quickly due to a smaller molecule size, according to Peach & Lily. I couldn’t find any scientific studies to support the claim that the molecules are smaller, thus making them absorb faster. Additionally, all of the studies I found on acer mono sap were based on ingestion, not topical use, which makes them kind of useless to evaluate any claims about a skincare product. Bummer.
As I was going over the ingredients list for this review, I noticed something a bit concerning that I haven’t seen anyone else mention. First, let’s take a look at the ingredients. Then, I’ll explain which one concerns me and why.
Acer Mono Sap, Alcohol, Glycerin, Peg-8, Sea Water Maris Aqua (sea Water), Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Water, Betula Alba Bark/leaf Extract, Castanea Sativa (chestnut) Bark Extract, Olea Europaea (olive) Fruit Extract, Pinus Sylvestris Bark Extract, Ribes Nigrum (black Currant) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Vitis-idaea Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (grape) Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (wheat) Flour Extract, Oryza Sativa (rice) Extract, Zea Mays (corn) Germ Extract, Glycine Soja (soybean) Seed Extract, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methylparaben, Carbomer, Arginine, Panthenol, Creatine, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Fructan Powder, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Parfum, Sodium Hyaluranate, Ci 15510
You thought I was going to say alcohol didn’t you? Nope! It doesn’t actually concern me, and I’ll explain why. Alcohol gets demonized a lot, but ultimately I’ve never found it to be a problem in my skincare, nor have I found enough research to convince me to avoid products that contain alcohol. Alcohol can be drying, true, but it’s also important to the formulation of many products because it helps the excess product to evaporate from the skin, enhances penetration of ingredients, and acts as a solvent, which means that it helps to dissolve the other ingredients when the product is being made. Without alcohol or an alternative solvent, a lot of ingredients wouldn’t break down properly, and instead of nice, smooth, silky formulas, you’d end up with a bottle of chunky (likely unstable because the ingredients wouldn’t be equally distributed) goo. Think of it like trying to make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese without any milk to dissolve the cheese powder. Unless you have a skin condition or are particularly sensitive, there’s really no reason to freak out about a little alcohol. If a product smells like a distillery and stings your skin, that’s a different story. I don’t know what the alcohol concentration is in this product, *briefly considers trying to set it on fire a la Tracy from FanServiced-B* but it never stung my skin, even when it was at its most sensitive and damaged point.
The ingredient that does concern me is Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate,* also commonly listed as Octinoxate. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is a UV filter, which is why it caught my attention. What’s a UV filter doing in a product that’s not intended for sun protection? Turns out it’s there to protect the ingredients from degrading in the sunlight, which makes sense since the bottle is clear. However, when I was trying to figure out why Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is in this product, I discovered several sources that indicated that Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is an endocrine disruptor. Translated into plain English, this means that substances such as Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate act similarly to the body’s natural hormones and can potentially confuse it, causing a disruption in hormone production and/or behavior. Why does this matter? Well, hormones are pretty important. They aren’t just related to sex characteristics and libido, they’re also significant players in the management of metabolism, fertility, immunity, and are crucial to the proper development of a fetus, among other things, according to PBS.
My next question, and probably your next question too, was does this apply to topical use? The answer is yes, it does. Since Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is most frequently used in sunscreens, there have been several studies performed on the effects of topical use. Octinoxate absorbs into the skin rather easily, as do most active ingredients used in chemical sunscreens (as opposed to physical sunscreens, which sit on top of the skin), causing them to have a greater effect on the the body than most topically applied products do. However, and this part is pretty important, Octinoxate has only been found to cause endocrine disruption in larger amounts than you’re probably going to apply of a toner/essence/emulsion.You’re unlikely to experience endocrine disruption from anything less than a full-body application repeated over time, as indicated by Manova, von Goetz, and Hungerbuehler (2015). The only people who should be concerned about Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate in small doses such as this are pregnant or nursing women, and products containing Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate should not be used on young children (Maipas & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, 2015). This is because the endocrine-disrupting effects are more likely to have a negative impact on the development of fetuses and young children (Maipas & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, 2015).
So if this product is unlikely to cause you any harm, why am I mentioning this? First, because the potential side effects of this ingredient are something I was unaware of until I started writing this review. Chances are, many of you are unaware of it too, which brings me to my next point. People deserve to know what’s in their personal care products, along with any risks associated with them. I’d wager that most of us have no interest in diving into academic research papers, and even if we are interested, there are often paywalls, forcing us to rely upon click-baity articles written by people who are just regurgitating other click-bait articles. I’m lucky enough to be able to access academic journals through my university, so when I have questions like this and a bit of spare time, I’m happy to go wandering around in the rabbit hole.
Finally, I don’t want this information to come across as alarmist in any way, and I especially don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about “chemicals.” The whole anti-chemical thing is something I’ve been seeing a lot of in the skincare community lately, and it drives me absolutely bat shit crazy. EVERYTHING IS CHEMICALS. Water and air- two things I think we can agree are pretty crucial to our very existence- are chemicals. Everything on the periodic table of elements- chemicals. Just like there are healthy foods and unhealthy foods, and a myriad of kinda-maybe-healthy-ish foods in between, there are just as many varying degrees of chemicals that are helpful or harmful in differing quantities and circumstances. So, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the reason why most of you are probably here: to hear about how this product worked for me.
You guys get a bit lucky with this one because my skin type actually changed while I was using this product. When I first started using it back in the winter, not only was I suffering from seasonal dryness, but I’m almost certain that my moisture barrier was compromised, leading to skin that was both oily, and dry/flaky. Fun times, y’all, fun times. Later into the spring and early summer, which is around the time I finished this bottle (June, maybe), my barrier was beginning to heal and become a bit oiler, but I was still suffering from the occasional bit of dryness, especially if the weather changed suddenly. When my skin was at its driest, I was thoroughly unimpressed with this product. I was under the impression that it would give my skin tons of hydration and a nice, lasting glow, but alas, it only gave me a glow on the surface. I guess I was expecting it to improve my skin overall so that my skin was in a state that would allow me to have an actual lit-from-within glow rather than a glow that was the result of having a product on my skin. That being said, it did give me a really nice glow, so as long as you understand that the glow will go away when you remove the product from your face, then you might like this. I’d compare the effect to the Papa Recipe Bombee Honey sheetmasks, but with far less of a moisturizing effect.
The texture of the product is slightly thicker than water, but not quite what I would describe as syrupy. It absorbed easily into the skin and didn’t leave a sticky or oily residue. The scent is a fresh, slightly sweet and earthy scent. It smells a bit like plants, but not any specific plant that I’m aware of. The packaging is a thick, frosted glass bottle with a plastic wood-effect cap. The product is dispensed through a hole in the top of the bottle that is approximately 2 to 3 millimeters in diameter. While the bottle feels luxurious and is certainly very photogenic, the glass bottle does mean that there’s a greater risk of breaking it. I definitely wouldn’t recommend travelling with it.
I wouldn’t recommend this for very dry or oily-dehydrated skin types, but I would recommend it for normal to mildly dry skin. Since I didn’t find this product to be particularly hydrating for my skin when it was dehydrated, I don’t really see the point. You’ve already got surface oil, so you don’t really need the glow, and it’s not doing anything for the dehydration. Skip it and grab some of the Papa Recipe Bombee Honey sheet masks instead.
If you’re normal/combo to mildly dry, on the other hand, I think you’ll quite like this. When my skin was changing from dehydrated to combo, I went from not liking this product at all to feeling like I would miss it when it was gone. At that point, I had realized that it was a purely superficial glow, but that was fine with me when my skin was in better condition overall.
Oily skin might like this as a lightweight moisturizer, especially in the summer months. I think if you have oily skin, this would be plenty of hydration for you, though I’m not sure you’d enjoy the glow. It’s not extreme by any means, but it is noticeable.
Would I repurchase it? At this time, no, though I wouldn’t completely rule out a repurchase in the future. I have a long list of other essences I want to try before I repurchase anything. Also, I just don’t really find I have a need for it at the moment.
Finally, I want to address the Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate one last time. All of the studies I read (there were more than what I’ve cited below, those are just the studies that directly contributed to the information in this post) indicated that there is no cause for alarm with a product such as this, that you’re only using over a small portion of your body. It also makes me feel better that I didn’t find any scientific evidence to the contrary, they all reached the same conclusion. So yes, I am recommending this product to appropriate skin types, but I’m doing so having looked into the safety of the ingredient in question. I would still use this product myself, but maybe the presence of Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate still makes you squeamish, and that’s ok. My goal is to provide information so that you can make the decisions that are right for you. As I mentioned above, products containing Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate shouldn’t be used on small children, or by women who are pregnant or nursing. Everyone else should be fine with minor exposure 🙂
Man, I really thought this was gonna be a short and simple review, but this got out of hand pretty fast. Pfft, thanks Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate >.<
Maipas, S., & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, P. (2015). Sun lotion chemicals as endocrine disruptors. Hormones,14(1), 32-46. doi:10.14310/horm.2002.1572
Manová, E., Goetz, N. V., & Hungerbuehler, K. (2015). Aggregate consumer exposure to UV filter ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate via personal care products. Environment International,74, 249-257. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2014.09.008
*My discussion of this ingredient is in no way meant to slander or defame May Coop or May Coop Raw Sauce. My purpose in discussing this ingredient and the potential side effects is purely for the spread of scientific information and creating better informed consumers. Plz don’t sue me, thx.
Things are a little bit crazy for me at the moment. I’m starting classes at a new university (if you’re curious, I’m working on a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication), preparing for a friend’s wedding, which I’m also a bridesmaid in, and doing the bride’s makeup, starting a new job, and to top it all off, I’m in the process of house hunting (stalking them from the bushes and everything*) and getting ready to move. Hence the lack of blog posts recently. I’m trying y’all. I’ve got a few long-awaited reviews in the works and lots of empties posts coming up, I’m just trying to find a way to sneak them in amidst the chaos.
If there’s any sort of theme to this month’s favorites, it’s definitely “get ready in a hurry.” I’ve had to be ready to go with very little time to get ready, especially by my usual standards. I’m notorious for taking forever to get ready, so I’ve been having to change up the way I usually do my makeup. For instance, one of the things I like to do most is to change my look nearly every day. It’s not often that I wear the same combo of eye makeup or lip color two days in a row. I get bored easily and I like change, especially when it comes to makeup. However, in order to adapt to my lack of time, I’ve set aside a few products that work with nearly everything, are fuss-free, and free up more of my time so I can maybe not have to lose sleep to get everything done… yet. I’ve pretty much already resigned myself to the reality that I’ll be sleeping in 2-3 hour chunks throughout the month of September. Ok, I’m done whining now, back to the products.
Disclosure: This post does contain referral links, all of which are clearly marked so you can decide for yourself if you’re comfortable using them. If you do, thanks so much, I really appreciate it!
NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita
The first of these products is NARS Dolce Vita lipstick. This is the lipstick I reach for if I don’t have time to pick something out or I have no clue what I want to wear. It’s sheer, and it’s close to my natural lip color, so for me it goes with pretty much everything, ever. It goes on smooth, is hydrating, and it’s easy to touch up throughout the day. The downside is that if you have a medium to deep skin tone or have really pigmented lips, it probably won’t show up on you. If you’re pale to light-medium, however, this would be an excellent lipstick for you, especially if you’re looking for an easy, everyday lipstick. I like to build it up with a few layers to make it more opaque.
Left: One swipe of NARS Dolce Vita Right: Dolce Vita built up ~4 to 5 passes
The other big change I’ve made to my routine is using just a couple of brushes that can do nearly everything instead of using a specialized brush for each step. I’ve got three brushes to share with you today that I consider to be must-haves for multi-functions.
Makeup Geek Cheek Highlighter Brush
It’s slightly damp from being spot cleaned with the Garnier Micellar Water, it doesn’t look quite so spiky when it’s completely dry.
First up, the Makeup Geek Cheek Highlighter Brush. This one is a bit amusing to me because pretty much the only things I don’t use it for are eye makeup and highlighter. For me, this is too big to use for highlighter, but I do love it for blush, concealer, foundation, bronzer, and occasionally setting powder. I’ve pretty much been doing my whole face with this brush because it does a great job of applying and blending products-whether they’re liquid, cream, or powder-without having to change brushes. For my face, it’s the perfect size to apply blush and bronzer without giving me an overly heavy or wide application. It’s also a great brush for stippling on foundation, which I often do. Then, I’ll either blend it in with this brush or my BeautyBlender, and BOOM, done. Even though it’s a smaller brush, it only takes about the same amount of time as a BeautyBlender and doesn’t absorb as much product.
For my eyes, there are two multi-functional brushes I’ve been reaching for. I’ve previously mentioned the Essence Eyeliner Brush in last year’s year-end favorites, but I’m mentioning it again because it’s a crazy affordable brush that should be in everyone’s collection. It’s a fine tipped eyeliner brush, at a great price ($1.99!! at Ulta), and great quality. I’ve purchased two of these so far, one I use for eyeliner, and the other I use to do my eyebrows with NYX Tame & Frame brow pomade. Despite their low price, I’ve never had any issues with bristles coming out, the ferrule is still completely firm and intact, and all of the writing is still on the brush despite me having washing it numerous times over the 9-12 months I’ve had them. One of the brushes is older than the other because I purchased a second one after realizing how great it was. Despite the age difference (only a couple of months, but still), you can’t see any wear and tear on either of the brushes. The one thing I can see being a negative for some people is the thin, plastic handle. Some people will likely feel that it’s difficult to grip, or may prefer a more weighted handle, but it doesn’t bother me one bit. Excellent brush, excellent price.
The final brush I wanna talk about today is the OCC 005 Angled Blending Brush. I originally purchased this hoping it would be great for concealer because of the shape, but unfortunately it’s not stiff enough. It is meant to be an eye shadow brush, so I really can’t fault it for that. Ultimately, the shape of this brush is what I love about it. It’s super easy to get into the innermost corner of my eyelids and right up against the lash line because of the narrow tip. The flat angle of the brush also makes it easy to lay down color all over the lid or at the outer corner (although I wouldn’t use it with a shadow that’s prone to fallout, the bristles aren’t dense enough to keep a firm grip on something too loose or powdery). Then I can flip it around and blend that color out, or add a transition, crease, or brow bone color. It diffuses powders really well with very little work, which has been a major plus for me lately. I’ve also used this brush to highlight my cheeks from time to time, although I have a different brush I prefer to use for that. I’m considering purchasing more of OCC’s brushes, so if any of you have any experience with them, please let me know your thoughts good or bad!
My “assistant” approves of this cruelty-free, vegan brush.
Ask me how long I spent trying to photograph a sponge -_-*
Unpopular opinion: the BeautyBlender Pure is the best BeautyBlender. If you’re experienced with the various colors of BeautyBlenders then you’ve probably realized that they have different textures. I’ve only tried the white and the pink versions, but I can say for sure that there’s a difference between the two. The BeautyBlender Pure was designed with sensitive skin in mind, so it doesn’t contain any dyes. This is one of the things I love about it because it means I don’t end up with a pink sink from all of the dye leaking out, which, if you’re not familiar, does happen with the pink BeautyBlender for several washes. The BeautyBlender Pure is also bouncier and more squishy/soft/fluffy/lightweight whatever you wanna call it. Not only does it feel nicer on my face, I’m happier with the way it applies my foundation. With the original BeautyBlender, I have trouble with foundation looking a little streaky on my nose, but despite using the same foundation, the same thing doesn’t happen with the BeautyBlender Pure. On top of that, I have a theory that the BeautyBlender Pure absorbs less product that the original does, likely due to its slightly different texture. I know a lot of people avoid the BeautyBlender Pure because they think it will get super dirty and will be difficult to get it clean, but with the right cleanser and technique, that’s actually not the case at all. Enter my next favorite for this month, the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleaner.
I received the BeautyBlender Solid Cleanser along with my very first BeautyBlender in a subscription box a couple years ago. When it came time to repurchase the cleanser, I decided to give the less expensive Sephora Collection cleanser a try, especially since they had just come out with a smaller size that was only $8. In my opinion, the less expensive Sephora version works just as well as the BeautyBlender Solid Cleanser. I use it for all of my brushes, and it keeps them all clean and soft. As for my technique for keeping the BB Pure clean, I wet the sponge, swirl it in the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleaner, then gently massage the sponge with my fingers and lightly squeeze on the areas where I can clearly see foundation and concealer to work it up from the inner layers of the sponge. It comes right out and my BB looks good as new. One thing I wanna mention, however, is that some foundations come out of BeautyBlenders easier than others. The MAC ProLongwear concealer and Revlon’s ColorStay foundation are two products that I know are especially difficult to get out of a BB. I haven’t used Revlon ColorStay in several years, so I can’t say whether or not the Sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleanser will be able to get that out of a sponge, but I am able to get MAC ProLongwear out by washing it two or three times. The other foundations I use, such as Urban Decay Naked Skin, and Rimmel Lasting Finish come out without an issue. The sponge pictured above has had around 3 months of use. There are two small stains at the top and bottom of the sponge, but other than that, it still looks clean.
I’ve been on a no-buy for the last month or so, which means I’ve been rediscovering some old favorites. One of those favorites was Urban Decay Sidecar. I’ve depotted most of my UD shadows, so I’m not sure which palette this was from, but it’s available as a single if it’s something you’re interested in. It’s one of the shadows I’ve been keeping in my “go-to” palette (a few of my favorite shadows in corresponding shades that I’ve been keeping in my Makeup Geek Travel Palette) lately because it’s a mid-tone slightly warm beige that pairs equally well with warm and cool tones. I absolutely adore Urban Decay’s eye shadows, there’s a reason they’re known for having some of the best formulas in the beauty industry. Sidecar is a super smooth beige with silver microshimmer that adds a bit of texture to a look without screaming glitter or creating a fallout nightmare (earlier formulations of this color had a lot of fallout, but I don’t have problems with this one, and I’m pretty sure the problem has been corrected in the singles). I’m probably in the minority here, but for me this is an everyday shadow. I rarely wear entirely matte looks, and I like to make my eyes stand out most days. Sidecar definitely does that for me. As with any of UD’s shadows, this is long-wearing, silky, and pigmented.
Earn points towards future purchases by joining the Beauty Junkies program If you sign up using my referral link, we both get 10 points.
Left: Swatched with finger, no primer. Middle, top: Swatched with brush over Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Middle, bottom: Swatched with finger over Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Right: Swatched with brush, no primer.
Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Tiger Eye
Left: One pass of Estee Lauder Tiger Eye. Right: Three passes of Estee Lauder Tiger Eye.
Another gem that had been hiding in my makeup collection was Estee Lauder Tiger Eye. My mom received it as a gift with purchase awhile ago and promptly handed it over to me because there was no way in hell she was gonna wear a shimmery bronze lipstick. Actually, at first, there was no way in hell I was gonna wear a shimmery bronze lipstick either. I’ve tried it on so many times I’ve lost count only to wipe it off after a minute or two because it just didn’t look right. Cut to last month when I had gone through nearly every lipstick in my collection trying to find the right match for the look I was wearing. I tried Tiger Eye as a last resort and immediately wondered why I had ever thought this lipstick didn’t look good on me. It’s gorgeous and completely unlike anything else in my collection. I’ve realized that I’m a sucker for colors like Ofra Miami Fever and ColourPop Taurus (both collabs with KathleenLights), essentially super warm-toned, out-of-the ordinary colors. I think they look amazing with my green eyes and I love the way they add a bit of edginess to a look without having to be bright and colorful. Don’t get me wrong, I love colorful makeup, but I don’t always want to wear bright colors. It’s smooth, pigmented, hydrating, and shimmery goodness, and the peachy bronze is oddly flattering with my green eyes and copper hair. The one thing I dislike about this lipstick is the scent, which is a sweeter version of a granny scent. Other than that, this is a complete win for me. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on so many opportunities to wear this! With metallic lipsticks becoming a trend again, it’s definitely one to consider adding to your collection.
With all of the craziness going on, I’ve been majorly slacking on my skincare. Despite this, I still have three skincare favorites to share with you this month, then we’re done, yipee!
These next two products were sent to me to review last month by 0.8L, but I’m including them in my favorites because I genuinely loved them and plan to repurchase them with my own money. My discussion of these products here is in no way sponsored, nor was I asked to include them in this post for any sort of compensation. I just wanted to let you guys know that I didn’t purchase these products myself in case you feel that could effect my review (I don’t feel that it does, but make your own decision). I’m all about keeping things honest!
Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Sheetmask
The Papa Recipe Bombee Honey mask is one of the most hydrating sheet masks I’ve ever used. Throw in the soft, sweet honey smell and the super thin material, and you’ve got a great mask for dry or cranky skin, or just a nice relaxing sheet mask when you want to do something indulgent for your skin without the hassle of a long routine. These do leave a bit of a sticky honey-ish film behind, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend using these before you have somewhere to be, but if you’re just kickin’ it at home or getting ready for bed, these are amazing.
When you use my referral link, you get 20% off your first purchase at Memebox, and I get a $10 credit.
Ultru I’m Sorry For My Skin Black Mud Mask- Tightening
Photo from Memebox’s website since I’m currently out of these masks.
I can’t wait to get my hands on more of these I’m Sorry For My Skin mud masks, especially the black mud mask. It’s not only one of the most interesting and innovative skincare products I’ve ever used, it’s also one of the best performing. If you’re unfamiliar with these masks, they’re sheet masks that have been coated in a mud mask mixture. It makes it much less messy to use a mud mask (though there is a bit of a mess initially as there’s a bit of moisture in the packet) and it’s also much easier to rinse off than a traditional mud mask because as the mask dries, it sticks to the sheet rather than your face. Rinsing a traditional mud mask off is the part that I dread, so for me, this is awesome. The effects are also quite surprising. It made my skin smooth and soft, my pores looked smaller, and there was some serious brightening action going on. So much so that I had to reach out on Twitter to see if anyone else felt like it had made their skin tone look 2 shades lighter or if I was just losing my mind. Turns out, other people have experienced similar results. It’s a temporary effect that’s pretty much gone by morning, but it’s a very noticeable effect for the duration. I loved both the green mud and black mud versions, but the black mud gave me more noticeable results, so I’ll be repurchasing that one for sure.
Finally, a product recommended to me by several of you (you cheeky little enablers): the Garnier Micellar Water. After I mentioned that traditional cleansing was too dying for my skin in the mornings, a few people suggested that I try cleansing with a micellar water in the morning instead of using plain water or water and cleanser. I had a sample of Bioderma from Beautylish, and after using that a couple of times, I found that my skin felt less tight than it did after cleansing with just plain water. I’d heard that Garnier’s micellar water was comparable, and since it’s cheaper, I briefly broke my no-buy to pick up a bottle from Amazon. No regrets, y’all, no regrets. It makes my skin feel so much more comfortable, I feel like my skin is more balanced, my makeup goes on better. I love cleansing with a micellar water in the morning and have absolutely nothing bad to say about this particular micellar water. Thank you so much to everyone that suggested it to me!
If you’re wondering how it removes makeup, I think it definitely does a good job of that as well, though there are some mascaras it doesn’t take off, such as Maybelline Lash Blast Volume, but I’m convinced that mascara could survive the apocalypse, so it really doesn’t surprise me. I still use a 2nd cleanser after it like I nearly always do if I’ve been wearing makeup, (more on how and why I double cleanse here), but I’ve also used it on its own on nights when I was too tired to make it to the sink for a proper cleanse, and it didn’t cause me to breakout or make my skin feel clogged at all. I’d still advise using another cleanser afterwards if you’re removing makeup just be sure that you’re completely removed any residue. Speaking of residue, I know some people feel this cleanser leaves a residue on their face. I can see what they mean, but for me it’s such a slight oilyness that it really doesn’t faze me. My face still feels refreshed and clean after I’ve used it, without feeling stripped at all, which is exactly what I was looking for.
After one swipe with a cotton ball covered in Garnier Micellar Water
After a few more swipes of the cotton ball w/ Garnier Micellar Water
Available at: Amazon | Ulta | Target | Walmart (For my international readers, it’s also available at Boots, Superdrug, and Priceline)
That’s it for this month’s favorites! What were your favorites this month? I hope everything is going well for you!
xx Cristine *kidding, the roof has a better vantage point
Hey friends. Now that I’ve had a chance to use everything in this month’s box, it’s time for me to share my thoughts with you.
If you haven’t heard of Jini Beauty Box before, they’re a monthly Asian beauty subscription box that retails for $24.95. The box usually contains mostly skincare, along with one makeup/cosmetic item per month. You’re promised 1-2 full size products and 3-5 samples. The unique premise with this box is that it’s curated by skin type (normal/combination, dry/mature, oily/acne, or sensitive/troubled). If you want to learn more about this box, I have an entire post here that explains everything about this box in-depth. I also have a review for last month’s box here if you’re interested. Ingredients for all of the products included in the box can be found here.
Disclaimer: I paid for this box with my own money. All views expressed are my own, authentic opinions. This post does not contain any affiliate links.
Pretty up your nails with the sparkly shower of glitter in this Holika Holika nail polish. The pink, red, and white flecks will add a quick pop of dazzling color for summer!
Directions: Apply polish to bare nails over your usual base coat or as decoration over another nail polish.
I only applied this over an existing manicure briefly before taking it off, so I can’t attest to the wear time of this polish. What I can tell you, is that it applied smoothly and that the base has a red tint which showed up on the white polish I applied it over. The little red flowers did tend to gather near the bottom of the bottle, so you may need to shake the bottle and dig out the flowers with the wand if you’re specifically trying to get the flowers on your nails. All of the other glitter in the bottle applied easily. Overall, I like the polish and thought it was a nice inclusion as this month’s cosmetic item, especially since it arrived in plenty of time to use it for a 4th of July or Canada Day manicure.
Neogen Dermalogy I’ll Give You The Optimum Moisture Milk Cream Essential Mask (Full size)
Retail value: ~$3.37 to ~$4.45 eBay $10.11 for a set of 3, Amazon $44.44 for a set of 10
Jini Beauty says:
Enjoy the milk, pine mushroom, and green bean infused in this mask from Neogen’s dermalogy series! These power ingredients help even out skin tone and blemishes and impart smoother and brighter skin overall.
Directions: (After Toner) Carefully place the mask over face and leave on for 20 minutes to allow for maximum absorption. Gently massage any leftover essence into skin.
The essence in this mask surprised me. I was expecting it to be a milky/lotion essence, but instead it was a clear, slightly thick essence that just smelled milky, though it was a slightly sweet powdery milkiness that reminded me a lot of shea butter, which isn’t actually an ingredient in this mask. The milk in this mask comes from milk protein extract. It also contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, grapefruit extract, and pea extract. This mask contains added fragrance, so I would probably avoid this one if you have a sensitivity. As for the actual scent of the mask, it wasn’t really noticeable while I was wearing the mask. The mask was made from thin cotton, not quite as thin as a silk mask, but definitely thinner than the majority of cotton sheet masks on the market. The mask had adjustment slits around the chin area only. The fit was pretty good for me, a tiny bit wide from cheek to cheek, but the lip flap wasn’t too big for me, which is usually my biggest trouble area with masks. There was a little bit of essence left over in the packet (about half a teaspoon), but the majority of it was coating the sheet mask, which was just short of dripping. It didn’t have any sort of backing, and I did have a little bit of difficulty unfolding this mask because it was so thin and so well-coated in essence. I wore the mask for 36 minutes, which is definitely longer than I should have, but I got distracted by Instagram, oops. Overall, the mask made my skin feel hydrated, which was awesome because my skin was super dry the night I used this. It left my skin feeling slightly slick, but didn’t feel filmy or tacky, especially once I added the rest of my skincare products. I liked the effect it created and would definitely use this again.
Purple Tale 5 Steps to Lovely Skin Kit (Full size)
This 5-in-1 skincare kit is perfect for traveling and takes care of your entire skincare routine in one convenient pack. The products have been formulated with RGII, which is extracted from ginseng saporin through advanced fermentation technology, and repairs aging and damaged skin cells to deliver a youthful glow. The result is brighter, more even toned skin plus whitening, and your skin will feel supple and softer!
Directions: Tear off each packet and follow the instructions provided at each step for the foam cleanser, ampoule, bio-cellulose sheet mask, facial cream, and neck cream.
I’ve seen this all over Instagram and AB blogs, and it tends to get rave reviews, so I was pretty excited to try it. Oddly enough, the part of the kit I was most nervous about ended up being my favorite. Since there are five parts to this mask, I’m going to go ahead and discuss them separately.
Step 1 is the cleanser. It was a white cream-to-foam cleanser that smelled somewhat like SweeTarts with a hint of citrus. As I was rinsing it off, I could feel it stating to make my skin feel rubbery and squeaky clean, which is something that I personally don’t like. It did dry my skin out more than any of my regular cleansers do, but it didn’t make my skin feel stripped. (At the moment, my skin is slightly oily on my forehead and nose, and slightly dry on my chin and cheeks, but it easily delves into dehydrated or oily-dehydrated territory if I don’t work to maintain my skin’s balance) If I were to use this kit again in the future, I would probably just use my own cleanser, especially because I have enough trouble keeping my skin hydrated as it is. So, the cleanser was a bust for me.
On to Step 2, the ampoule. The ampoule was a clear, slippery serum that sank in quickly and easily, though it did feel kind of heavy on my skin, and had a slightly tacky finish. I didn’t notice any immediate effects from the ampoule besides it replacing some of the hydration I lost through cleansing. There was no discernible smell, despite the added fragrance that was in every step of this kit, so probably not something you would want to use on sensitive skin.
The sheet mask was Step 3, and unfortunately it was a bio-cellulose mask. Loads of people love bio-cellulose masks because they’re so good at clinging to every curve of your face. I, on, the other hand, feel like I have a trash bag clinging to my face, especially as the mask dries out and clings even tighter to my face. It’s a texture I just don’t enjoy in sheet masks, but I totally get the reasoning behind using a bio-cellulose mask right after an ampoule to aid penetration of ingredients. I think most people will enjoy this step, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
It was a two-piece mask, divided like a hydrogel mask typically is, horizontally above the mouth. The essence was thick and slippery, and there was a ton of it left over in the package. That’s actually another downside to bio-cellulose masks, they don’t hold essence the way that cotton or silk do. As a result, they tend to dry out a bit quicker. I did apply a bit of the left over essence to my face before applying the mask though. The mask was wrapped in a very thin backing on both sides of both pieces of the mask. It was a bit difficult to unwrap, but the wrapping was definitely necessary because of the thinness of the mask itself. The fit was good overall, but the nose piece was a little too long for me. Keep in mind, though, I have a small nose, so this will probably fit most people, especially people with larger noses, just fine. The flap above the lip was super thin, so I was able to avoid the biggest problem I usually have with sheet masks. Yippee!
After the sheet mask comes the facial cream, Step 4. I lost my notes for the last two steps, unfortunately, so these will be from memory. I can’t remember what the face cream smelled like, since it was over a week ago, but I do remember thinking that it was just ok. There wasn’t anything particularly memorable about it, which is probably a good thing in this case, because it means it didn’t cause me any problems or frustrate me in any way. It did feel like it helped to seal in all of the other steps though.
My favorite step ended up being Step 5, the neck cream. I was actually terrified to use this because my neck is just as acne prone as my face, if not more so. Putting any form of skincare on my neck nearly always causes me to break out, and you can even see that I already had a blemish on my neck in the sheetmask photos above. I know how important skincare for your neck can be, especially when it comes to anti-aging, but I just can’t do it. However, this cream may change that for me. Not only did I love the texture of the cream and the way it sank into my skin, it didn’t cause me to breakout at all. It made my skin look and feel more hydrated. While the rest of the steps of this kit aren’t something I can see myself using again, I would definitely use the neck cream again. I’m still shocked that it didn’t break me out. I do love the concept of this skin kit, especially because it would be great for travel, but since a few of the steps didn’t really fit with my personal preferences, I probably wouldn’t use it again, with the exception of the neck cream and maybe the face cream.
Sulwhasoo Renewing Kit (Deluxe Sample Size)
Retail value: $4.25 eBay, set of 2 kits (4 pcs total) for $8.50
The kit contains 2 items: the First Care Activating Serum and the Essential Firming Cream.
First Care Activating Serum (4 ml):
Jini Beauty says:
Rebalance your skin and replenish its nutrients with this first step serum. Milkvetch promotes natural skin circulation, while dwarf lilyturf and licorice boost the synergy of concentrated Korean medicinal herb extracts to restore skin’s healthy radiance. The serum helps prep your skin to “activate” its efficacy in receiving your next skincare products.
Directions: (After Cleanser) Apply the serum with your fingers and gently massage into skin to enhance penetration.
The serum was a thin, translucent, medium brown liquid that absorbed into the skin super quickly without leaving anything but smoothness behind. It had a strong herbal smell that I personally found to be very pleasant, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I felt like this was the type of product that you know is doing something for your skin, you just can’t pinpoint what. Maybe if I used it for longer, I’d be able to figure it out, but I’ve already finished off my sample of this and the full size is $84, so probably not buying that any time soon. I would consider purchasing more samples of it though, because ultimately I did like it.
Essential Firming Cream EX (5 ml):
Jini Beauty says:
This cream can be used for day or night to help firm and tone your skin. Adlay millet detoxifies skin and promotes elasticity, while pomegranate, ginko, and green tea extracts supply potent antioxidants to deliver radiance. Your skin will be nourished both inside and out!
Directions: (After Essence or Serum) Scoop out a tiny amount of the cream with your finger or a Q-Tip. A little goes a long way! Gently massage the cream into skin.
I definitely agree that a little bit of this goes a long way. It spread easily, and has a thin, lightweight texture. The scent of this is similar to the serum, but the scent is way more subtle. I’m about half-way through the jar now, and I haven’t noticed it firming at all, nor have I noticed any other effects beyond moisture. If I had to choose between the two, I’d definitely pick the serum, hands down. I think a cream that’s $95 for the full size should do more than moisturize. At least now I know it’s not something I’m interesting in purchasing.
An innovative substitute for eye cream, these hydro gel eye patches are infused with EGF (epidermal growth factor) and pure gold to help stimulate cells and restore elasticity. They also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles while moisturizing, plumping, and firming the under-eye area with aloe vera, ginseng, caviar, and green tea extracts. One jar contains 60 gold-flecked eye patches, so there’s plenty to go around for nightly pampering!
Directions: (After Toner) Use the spoon to lift out a patch. Adhere patch to the under-eye area and leave on for 20-30 minutes.
This is one of the items I was most excited for this month, and it turned out to be the biggest let down. I have horrendous dark circles and often suffer from a dry undereye area, so eye patches are always something I’m wanting. However, they also tend to be the first thing kicked out of my cart when I’m trying to bring my total down, because I don’t really need them, I just want them.
The patches are made from hydrogel and come soaked in a thin, clear serum. I love that this comes with a little spatula, which is both helpful and hygienic. The patches are nice and large too. They cover from the bottom of my eyes all the way down to my cheek bones, and also curve up to cover the area where crows feet form. They feel nice and soothing at first, but then they begin to sting my skin near my cheekbones. At first I though it was maybe just an interaction with my acids, and tried using the patches on nights I wasn’t using acids. Still stung. Oddly, they never stung my eyes or the area immediately below them, but further down my cheeks. I didn’t have any active or even any healing acne spots there any of the times that I used them, so I don’t know what would cause them to sting. I’ve tested the serum on my arm, no stinging there. These also didn’t do much for me in the way of hydration, so for me, these are definitely a pass.
Also, something worth noting: these are a different shape than the “eye and spot patches” from the same brand. The eye patches from the eye and spot patches are thinner “C” shapes, rather than the swooshes you see above. If these didn’t irritate my skin, I’d say these were good eye patches because they fit well and stuck to my skin without me having to constantly readjust them. Unfortunately, these just didn’t work out for me.
The total value of this month’s box was between $32.07 and $33.15
The stand-out products for me this month were definitely the Neogen mask, the PurpleTale neck cream, and the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. I really like that there’s been a variety of products in every box. A lot of other K-beauty subscription boxes tend to be all sheet masks, or if they are a mix of products, a lot of them tend to be gimmicky things that I would never get any use out of (that’s just personal preference, not throwing any shade). Even though not everything was a winner for me this month, they were at least all things that would potentially be useful to me. Have you tried any products from this month’s box? If so, let me know what you thought of them in the comments down below!
I would recommend this box to someone looking to try new products and expand their collection, or someone who wants to try Asian beauty products and doesn’t know where to start or what they should be using for their skin type. The info card that’s included every month is very helpful, so I feel like this box is very beginner friendly. They also include a full list of ingredients every month, which can be found here on their website. Reviews of all of the previous months’ boxes, as well as additional information about the service can be found here. If you’d like to subscribe to Jini Beauty Box, you can do so here. Additionally, Jini Beauty can be found on Instagram (they post spoilers for each month’s boxes!) and Twitter. I can also be found on Instagram and Twitter, come hang out with me!