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July 10, 2016

[Review] Jini Beauty Box June 2016 Normal/Combination Skin

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.

Holika Holika Glitter Nails, “Flower Shower” (Full size)

Retail value: $5.48 (Jolse)
Jini Beauty says:

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)

Retail value: $7.99 PurpleTale, Beauteque
Jini Beauty says:

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.

Petitfee Premium Gold EGF Eye Patches (Full size)

Retail value: $10.98 Amazon
Jini Beauty says:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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!

May 28, 2016

Review: May 2016 Jini Beauty Box for Normal/Combination Skin

Another fun box from Jini Beauty this month! This month’s box included a couple of products from brands I hadn’t heard of, which is always fun, plus an interesting surprise in the form of a hair essence.

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 and occasionally one makeup 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.

Sometimes if you’re really lucky, your cat will “help” you with your blog photos. Clearly he likes the packaging of the Sansooyu Yoon Gyeol Peeling Gel, too.


Reme+G 3-in-1 Aqua Peeler Kit (Full size)

Retail value: $6 (GlowRecipe)
Jini Beauty says:

This 3 in 1 kit is awesome for treating yourself to a peeling treatment at home. Step 1: Wipe your face with the giant cotton swab, which has been saturated with AHA complex for gentle exfoliation and removal of dead skin cells. Step 2: Nourish and brighten skin by massaging the vitamin-rich serum into your skin. Step 3: Finish your treatment with a hydrating sheet mask designed to lock in moisture and soothe skin with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. Directions: (After Cleanser) Follow the 3 steps that are outlined above and also on the back of the kit.

I’ve actually used this product before (original Instagram review below) and though I enjoy the concept of it, the acid concentration isn’t high enough for my mega acid-loving skin. I do feel it’s effective for skin that doesn’t have such a high acid tolerance, and it’s worth trying at least once for the fun of the giant q-tip alone.

Step 1 is to rub the giant cotton swab all over your face. It has a slightly unpleasant smell and leaves a tacky finish, which hangs around for a bit after you’ve finished using the product. It’s only tacky to the touch though, I couldn’t actually feel the product on my face. According to the instructions on the packet, you may experience some tingling during this step. Since my skin has such a high acid tolerance, I’ve never experienced any tingling with this product. People with sensitive skin should exercise caution, though.

Step 2 is to apply the serum. It’s a very liquidy, amber-colored serum that smells fresh and slightly like citrus. It absorbed quickly into my skin.

Step 3 is the sheet mask. It had a generic, unfragranced sheet mask smell that didn’t smell of anything specific. The fit was good, and the material was comparable to a mask from any of the major Korean manufacturers such as Etude House, Tony Moly, and Nature Republic. It was comfortable and lightweight, but not as thin as the silk masks from Taiwan.

My order from @hkcplaza arrived! Picked up a few things during their 60% off sale. 🍬#leejiham Tea Tree Essence I usually stay away from tea tree products for fear of drying out my skin, but I’ve heard several people with dry or dehydrated skin say they had a good experience with it, so I’m willing to give it a go. Tried a bit on the back of my hand last night, first impression: absorbed quickly, smell wasn’t overpowering, and didn’t seem to dry my skin out at all. 🍬 Reme+G 3-in-1 Aqua Peeling Kit Used this last night, and while I enjoy the concept, I can’t say I’m impressed with the results. The giant cotton swab was amusing, but the serum in step 2 was quite sticky. The sheet mask portion of the kit fit well and had a lot of serum, not in a messy, drippy sort of way, but in a ‘how the hell has this thing not started to dry out yet’ way. I left it on for 35 minutes and it was still really wet. I just couldn’t take it anymore because the heater kept coming on and it blasts cold air before it gets warm. My face was freezing ⛄️ I think if you’ve never used AHA before or are used to a low strength AHA, you might have better results with this since it’s 6% lactic acid, but for me it was too gentle since my skin is used to the 14% AHA serum from Alpha Hydrox and Sunday Riley Good Genes, which is 40%. I could practically hear my skin asking “6%, is this a joke?” Love the concept of this though! 🍬Take Out Spa #myrenewbottle and #mybrightbottle sheet masks Haven’t seen or heard much about these, so naturally they wandered into my cart. If any of you have tried them, let me know what you thought! 🍬Samples LJH Hydra Whitening Cream and Vital Firming Lotion
A photo posted by Cristine Crawford (@hey_itscristine) on Feb 2, 2016 at 6:53pm PST



Sansooyu Yoon Gyeol Peeling Gel (Full size; 150 ml)

Retail value: $17.30 (ebay via RoseRoseShop or direct from RoseRoseShop for $5.17+shipping)
Jini Beauty says:

For weekly exfoliation, Sansooyu’s peeling gel provides mild but effective exfoliation to rid your skin of ‘debris’ built up from dead skin cells. The gel is infused with Oriental herbal and plant extracts plus collagen to help protect your skin during the exfoliation process. Directions: (After Cleanser) Apply the gel to a dry face and massage into skin to remove dead skin cells. Rinse off the gel with warm water.

There’s not much information available about this brand in English, but from what I’ve been able to find, it’s a hanbang (traditional Korean, herb-based medicine) brand. They seem to have some other interesting products too, mostly face creams and such, and yes, they all have equally gorgeous packaging. I’d love to see this brand again in a future Jini Beauty Box, especially since it’s a brand that the mainstream U.S.-based AB retailers haven’t picked up yet, to my knowledge.

There’s a bit of controversy over whether or not peeling gels really work the way that the marketing claims they do (more on that from Michelle at LabMuffin and Colin from Colin’s Beauty Pages), but the gist of the controversy is that in many cases the ‘dead skin’ that you’re supposedly rolling off is actually just the product balling up on itself, the same way a primer might ball up when applied over a moisturizer that it doesn’t get along with. The controversy isn’t that these types of products don’t work at all, but rather just that they don’t make your dead skin cells roll off of your face in the way that the manufacturer usually claims it will. A lot of times, the conclusion that’s reached is that the balled-up product ends up acting as a gentle physical exfoliator.

Personally, I really enjoy these types of peels because they give me the satisfying feeling of a scrub without using anything too abrasive. My favorite is the Skin Inc. Pure Revival Peel, but it’s expensive, so I’ve only ever used the samples I could get from Sephora and then sobbed a few tears when it was gone. One of the things I liked about that peel is that my other products seemed to be more effective after using it. I felt the same effect with this product, but to a lesser extent. Using this product makes me feel like there’s less… crap, gunk, whatever sitting on top of my skin, it got rid of some of my dry patches from healing breakouts, and it helped to make my skin smoother. It smells like most peeling gels do—a little bit plasticy with a touch of alcohol (faintly), and it has a thin gel texture that rinses cleanly. If I was going to choose between them, I still prefer the Skin Inc. peel because it was more intense, but I like this one enough to continue using it as part of my regular routine.

Etude House Pink Vital Water Serum (Deluxe Sample; 5 ml)

Retail value: ~$1.22 (RoseRoseShop, set of 4 for $4.87 or full size (80 ml) for $11.09)
Jini Beauty says:

The ‘Pink Vital’ is a different kind of serum—75.54% pink peach water gives a light, watery texture to the serum, which allows for quick absorbtion. Moisture, nutrients, and antioxidants easily soak into the skin without leaving behind any sticky residue! Directions: (After Toner) Dispense the serum onto a cotton pad and gently swipe over face.


The serum is thin, milky, lightweight, and smells fruity. To me, it doesn’t quite smell like peaches, more like strawberries, but either way, it’s light and fruity. I wasn’t that into the Etude House Pink Vital Water Serum. It didn’t have any negative effects on my skin, but it also didn’t have any noticeable positive effects either. It absorbed very quickly and didn’t leave a sticky residue. I don’t really have anything to say about it beyond that.



Etude House Skin Note Deep Moisturizing Hydrogel Mask, Brightening Up (Full Size)

Retail value: ~$3.20 (Amazon, set of five for $15.98)
Jini Beauty says:

Indulge in this amazing hydrogel mask from Etude House, to experience a mask that locks in moisture and essence better than a regular sheet mask. The brightening version has pearl extract and Vitamin C for radiant and glowing skin results. Directions: (After Toner) Unfold the mask and remove just the opaque film from the upper and bottom halves of the mask. Carefully adhere the exposed halves over your face, then remove the transparent film covering the other side. After 15-20 minutes, take off the mask and massage the remaining solution into skin.

This was actually my first hydrogel mask, since I usually try not to spend any more than $2.50-3.00 per mask, and most hydrogels are at least $3. After using this mask, I might be a bit more likely to splurge though. While it did provide basic hydration, I didn’t notice any major brightening effects from this mask. However, I really liked the feel of the hydrogel and it fit well. Like the Reme+G mask, this just had a generic sheet mask smell. I left it on for about 15 minutes, and didn’t have any issues with it sliding around at all. I probably wouldn’t purchase this mask again since I’ve used other masks that give me a more noticeable effect, but I would purchase other hydrogels.


Somang Keratin Silk Protein Hair Aqua Essence (Full size; 110 ml)

Retail value: $11.49 (Amazon)
Jini Beauty says:

This hair essence is made with keratin, silk protein complex, and 7 types of floral extracts to nourish and heal any damaged layers of hair. It’s a multi-purpose product that delivers and locks in moisture, strengthen hair cuticles for silky shine, and helps untangle hair to prevent breakage. Essence isn’t just for skin! Directions: Spray onto wet or slightly dried hair before styling.

This was my surprise favorite of this month’s box. I’ve been getting more into AB hair care products, so I was happy to see this in the box, especially since it contains keratin, which my hair responds very well to. I have very long, thick, frizzy, tangly, unmanageable hair, so I’ve tried a lot of products over the years that claim to make hair softer and easier to brush. Most of them have let me down, and the first time I used this product, it actually let me down too. I sprayed a bit in my damp hair, tried to brush it, and ran into the same problem I usually do: my hair was too tangly to get a hair brush through it and the hair essence didn’t seem to help. The next time I used it, I sprayed a lot more product on since it hadn’t seemed to weigh my hair down at all. I think this was part of why it worked better the second and third time. I also waited until morning to brush my hair, and I was completely shocked by how easily the brush went through my hair. I haven’t noticed it making my hair any softer, but it does make it look shiny and healthy without making it look greasy, even when I’ve used it on my roots. I keep forgetting to spray it in my hair before I go to bed, so I’ll update you with a more thorough review of this product once I’ve used it more. The texture is lightweight enough that I think even those with fine or thin hair could use this without fear of losing volume. The scent is nice too, sweet and herbal, but not so strong that it would compete with a perfume or be disturbing to coworkers in an office environment. I didn’t notice the scent throughout the day or night, but I do think the scent is strong enough that it might bother you if you are particularly sensitive to smells.

Final Thoughts:

The total value of this month’s box was ~$39.21

Although not every product in this box was a winner for me, I still enjoyed this month’s box. As usual, there was a good array of products, and I felt like I got my money’s worth. I will say this though, if you’ve never signed up for a subscription box before, you should be mindful of the fact that you probably will receive some products that you just don’t love. It comes with the territory since you’re not personally picking out the products that you’ll receive. If you’re not flexible with what you’re willing to try, and unwilling to accept that you probably won’t like every single thing you receive, subscription boxes may not be for you. I just want everyone to be happy with their purchases. This blog has never been about telling people what to do, it’s about giving people more information so that they can make an informed decision that’s right for them. I enjoy the surprise of subscription boxes, and especially the ability to discover new products that may not have been on my radar before.

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!

Have you tried any of the products from this month’s box? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments!

May 13, 2016

[Review] April 2016 Jini Beauty Box for Normal/Combination Skin

Hey friends! Today I’ve got another review for you, this time for the April 2016 Jini Beauty Box for Normal/Combination Skin. This has quickly become one of my favorite subscription boxes, and I think this is the best box yet!

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 and occasionally one makeup 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.

Disclosure: 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.


Missha Near Skin pH Balancing Cleansing Gel (Full size; 8.80 oz)

Retail value: $21 (Beauteque)
Jini Beauty says:

This mild cleansing gel is a nice pH 5 to help balance your skin’s pH level in the very first step. Get ready to experience the optimal effects of your serum and other skincare products after using this cleanser! Bonus- the pH 5 also protects your skin’s moisture barrier. Directions: (First Step Cleanser) Do not wet skin; first massage a small amount of the gel into dry skin, then emulsify the gel with warm water. Continue massaging the foaming gel into skin and rinse off.

I’ve actually been using this as my second step cleanser for the past couple of weeks, so I don’t know how well it works for taking makeup off, but for a second cleanse, it’s wonderful. I’m completely in love with it. It’s functional and easy to use, it emulsifies well and rinses cleanly, and most importantly, it doesn’t strip my skin of moisture, which is a major problem I have with other cleansers because of my oily-dehydrated skin. I hate feeling like I need to slather on a bunch of products to replace the moisture I’ve just lost through cleansing, so this product is basically a godsend for me. The smell is also very pleasant, it’s a subtle fresh, sweet green scent. It smells familiar, but I can’t seem to figure out why. It also foams gently, maybe not enough for foam-addicts, but enough for those who just prefer a foaming cleanser over a non-foaming one. I have a few other low pH cleansers that I like, but this one is my favorite because I can use it in the shower, unlike some of my other low pH cleansers that have packaging that really isn’t shower friendly. While this isn’t the most fun cleanser ever invented (so a bit of a negative if you’re a skincaretainment lover) it does exactly what I need it to. This cleanser also contains SLS, which can be too irritating for some people’s skin, but I haven’t had any negative reactions to this cleanser. For me personally, there aren’t any negatives to this product. Bonus: The retail value of this product nearly covers the cost of the box by itself, so we’re off to a great start.

The Saem Zoo Park Brightening Lamb Mask (Full size)

Retail Value: $2.44 (Korea Depart)
Jini Beauty says:

This mask is so much more than an adorable character mask that might have you mistaken for a little lamb. It’s soaked in milk protein to remove dead skin cells for brighter skin, as well as to restore moisture for ultimate silkiness. You can say baaaa to that! Directions: (After Toner) Place sheet mask over face and leave on for 15-20 minutes.

Yes, my eye-holes are a bit lop-sided…oops.

This mask was so much fun! I’m such a sucker for these cute character masks, but this one was extra fun because I got to scare a few people too. The lamb face is cute, but I have to admit, there’s something creepy about this mask too. As my sister put it when I told her it was supposed to be a lamb face: “A lamb or Silence of the Lambs??” As for the actual experience and effects of the mask, they were both nice, though not mind-blowingly awesome. The mask was soaked in essence and there was very little remaining in the pack. The essence was clear and silky, like the essence that’s found in the majority of sheet masks, and it had a faint, generic skincare smell, maybe slightly floral. I say “generic skincare smell” because it seems like a scent I’ve smelled many times before, but it doesn’t seem to distinctly smell of anything specific. The fit was good, thought the mask didn’t quite cover the sides of my jaw, and the nose flap was too long, but that’s a common problem for me since I have an abnormally small nose. It started to dry out around the 15-20 minute mark, which is about as long as I like to leave my masks on anyway, so that was perfect for me. At first it felt like it left a bit of a film on my face, and my skin was immediately glowy and soft. The film-like feeling faded after about 10-15 minutes, after which my skin just felt silky. The silky skin and the glow stuck around until morning. Overall, I’d give this mask a 3.7 out of 5. How do you feel about this mask? Does it make you think of a petting zoo or is it making you want some fava beans and a nice chianti for dinner?

SU:M 37 Secret Repair Toner (Deluxe sample size; 5 ml)

Retail value: ~$0.90 (eBay; set of 20 deluxe samples for $17.90 or full size, 150 ml, $70.17 at w2beauty)
Jini Beauty says:

It’s no secret that fermentation of deep and rich ingredients encourages their efficacy in doing everything from refining skin texture to optimizing the balance of oil and moisture in skin. This toner contains enzymes and amino acids which repair skin from beneath the surface to improve skin elasticity. Directions: (After Cleanser) Dispense the toner onto a cotton pad and gently swipe over face.

This came at a perfect time for me. I ended up with a massive breakout on my face (seriously, it’s like it has its own cavern system, zits on zits on zits in two big clusters) because like an absolute idiot I forgot to clean my brushes. Ugh, rookie mistake. Anyway, massive breakout means broken skin because I’m terrible and can’t stop myself from popping and picking (I haaate texture to the point where I pick at breakouts without even thinking about it), which also means that I have skin that needs help healing. This, paired with the SU:M 37 Secret Repair Emulsion also included in this month’s box has really been helping with that. The texture of this toner threw me off at first, it’s a little thicker than most other toners I’ve used. I’d compare it to a slightly thicker version of the LJH Tea Tree Essence. The scent is quite herbal/medicinal, which I don’t mind, but I know that some people are put off by those types of scents. It’s quite strong at first, but it fades once it’s applied to the skin. I definitely think it’s effective for repairing damaged skin. It also contains niacinamide, which helps to fade the pigmentation left behind by breakouts, sun damage, etc.


SU:M 37 Secret Repair Emulsion (Deluxe sample size; 5 ml)

Retail value: ~$0.98 (eBay; set of 20 for $19.50 or full size, 130 ml, $75.52 at w2beauty)

Jini Beauty says:

This lightweight emulsion has fermented ingredients, just like its toner counterpart, to improve skin elasticity while delivering nutrients to your skin. In fact, more than 80 fermented plant extracts are mixed together for the “secret repair” formula, and the resulting scent is a surprisingly pleasant herbal citrus. Directions: (After Toner) Use a Q-tip to scoop out the emulsion and dab onto forehead, cheeks, and chin. Smooth the emulsion evenly over face and massage into skin.

The texture of this is thick and creamy, but easily spreads onto and absorbs into the skin. It’s light weight, but packs a punch of hydration. The scent of this product is more citrus and less herbal than the toner. I’ve used this emulsion both in conjunction with the Secret Repair Toner and separately so I could really gauge which product was doing what. The toner seemed to do a better job of repairing the skin, whereas the emulsion was better for hydration. Ultimately, I saw the best results when I was using them together, which makes me extra glad that they included these samples together in the same box.

Too Cool For School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack (Deluxe sample; size unknown)

Retail value: ~$0.64 (Rose Rose Shop, set of 10 for $3.19 or full size 100 ml/3.4 oz for $18 at Memebox)

Jini Beauty says:

This sleeping pack is almost too cute to use and yummy enough to eat! It contains pumpkin extract, which has exfoliating enzymes that work to smooth your skin overnight. Licorice root oil serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and hyaluronic acid locks in moisture. Directions: (After Toner) Spread the pack over your face and leave on overnight. Rinse off in the morning and enjoy glowing skin all day!

I was stoked to see this in this month’s box because it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while. I’ve read reviews of this product before, so I knew that this product wouldn’t look like or smell like pumpkin (I didn’t detect a scent at all, actually, so a bonus for those who prefer fragrance-free skincare), which I know is a bit of a disappointment for many people. What did surprise me was the texture. I was expecting something much thicker since it’s a sleeping pack, but it’s really more of a gel, and quite a silicone-y one at that. Considering the texture, I was surprised by how much I liked it and how well it worked. I hate slippery, silicone-heavy primers, but this didn’t feel heavy the way some primers do, it just had a bit of a slippery feeling. It also helped to seal all of my other layers of skincare in, which is one of the many functions of silicones (found in this product as several variations of dimethicone). I’m so happy that Jini Beauty included two sample packs of this product in this month’s box since that was the only complaint I’ve had about this box. Some of the samples they’ve included in previous boxes were only enough for one use, which makes it difficult to tell whether or not you like a product  (yes, I would like some cheese with my whine, thanks). These packets are big enough to get a couple of uses out of each, so these are a great sample to receive. Consider me content. Thanks for listening to your customers, Jenny and Sunny!

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Cushy Blusher in Beach Break (Full Size; 20 ml/0.67 fl. oz.)

Retail value: $23 (Sephora)
Jini Beauty says:

The next wave of blush is the cushion! And TCFS wants you to ride the wave with its hydrating cushy blusher. Achieve a sheer, natural look with this blush which contains rose oil and lily extract to help soften skin. Beach Break is a peach color that is universally flattering on all skin tones. Directions: Squeeze tube until the blush rises up onto the cushion. Dab onto cheeks and use the cushion applicator to blend outward. For more vibrant coverage, build color with repeated application.

How cute is that packaging?! This was the product I was most excited about this month, but my favorite actually ended up being the Missha cleanser, with this blush taking second place. I love the color, texture, finish, and scent of this product, but the applicator has given me a bit of trouble at times. I had no problems the first time I used it, but the second time I went to use it, it felt like it was clogged and I had trouble squeezing the blush into the cushion. I tried it again just now, and it didn’t feel clogged, so maybe it was just a fluke, but I felt it was worth mentioning for anyone considering buying the product separately. Now, back to the things I did like about this product.

The blush came with an extra cushion sponge, which is awesome for keeping things sanitary.

When you start to squeeze the package, this is what the blush looks like as it saturates the cushion.

This is what it looks like before it’s blended. It smells amazing, just like a bouquet of fresh roses. The texture is smooth, you can immediately feel the oils in it, but it doesn’t feel greasy at all.

Blended out, it’s a sheer peach that reminds me of watercolor, which I absolutely love. I like to apply it with the cushion, then blend it out with my fingers. I didn’t notice it eating through my foundation like some liquid/cream blushes do, nor did it settle into my pores. The finish was very skin-like, not overly dewy or matte, more of a satin finish. I this will be great in the summer months when I’m wanting more of a minimal look.

Final Thoughts:

The total value of this month’s box was ~$48.96 (not including shipping costs associated with buying each item separately), which is very nearly double the price of the box, and the highest box value so far (February’s box was ~$37). I loved everything in this month’s box. It was a great array of products, and they were all products I’ll get a lot of use out of. Additionally, they all are well-suited to my skin type. In my opinion, this box keeps getting better and better. Many of the products I’ve received in these boxes have made it into my regular rotation, and several of the products I’ve received were products that were already on my wish list or products that I was unfamiliar with/wouldn’t have thought to purchase for myself, but ended up loving. I can’t wait for May’s box!

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!

April 24, 2016

[Review] Jini Beauty Box Normal/Combination Skin March 2016

Aaaand we’re back. Excuse the long break between posts, I’ve been bogged down with schoolwork and also went out of town for a bit. You know how it is when you go out of town, it takes awhile to get everything back to normal, especially when you go out of town the week before finals start (thanks mom). I may or may not still have a load of laundry to do. Ooops. Anyway, on with the review.

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 and occasionally one makeup 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.

Disclosure: I paid for this box with my own money. All views expressed are my own, authentic opinions. This post contains one referral link (Memebox).

This month’s box included 3 full-size items (sheet mask, hand mask, and cleansing water), and 3 samples. 

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Water (Full Size 5.07 oz/150 ml)

Retail value: $10.41 (Amazon)

Jini Beauty says: “Rice water is an amazingly simple, yet effective ingredient for cleansing and smoothing skin in one step. Mild organic brown rice is a natural exfoliant and coupled with Japanese apricot extract, this cleanser helps remove makeup while also exfoliating dead skin cells during the cleansing process. Directions: (First Step Cleanse) Apply a few pumps of the cleansing water directly onto dry skin and massage in a circular motion over eyes and face (or dispense first onto a cotton pad to wipe onto skin instead). Rinse off well with lukewarm water.”

The bright side of this review being so late is that I’ve had longer to test out the products. I can’t always fit new products from subscription boxes into my routine right away, especially skincare, but I’ve used this about 10-15 times now. I can’t say that I’ve seen any of the exfoliation benefits, but my skin is used to some heavy-duty acids and tends to be unfazed by products meant to exfoliate gently. However, I do feel that this product does a good job of removing makeup, with the exception of waterproof mascara. I’ve been using Covergirl Lash Blast Waterproof for most of the time I’ve had this product, and it was basically hopeless trying to get that off. But, I can say the same for nearly all of my other cleansers. I’m convinced that this mascara is actually an alien life form that clings to my lashes until it dies, so when I just can’t seem to get this mascara off, I don’t hold it against a cleanser. It did a good job of removing all of my face makeup and my non-waterproof mascara, but you would definitely want to follow up with a second cleanser as part of a double cleansing routine. It also didn’t cause my skin to breakout or sting my (quite sensitive) eyes at all. Overall, I like it, and it’s something I’ll get a lot of use out of.

Tosowoong Pure Blueberry Mask Sheet (Skin Whitening*) (Full Size)

*Just to clarify, ‘skin whitening’ in most Asian beauty products just indicates that it lightens pigmentation from sun spots, acne, etc. not that it will bleach your skin. 

Retail value: $2 (Peach & Lily)

Jini Beauty says: “Indulge in delicious blueberries for dual “skin whitening” and wrinkle fighting effects for your skin. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that strengthen collagen for elasticity and nourish skin by eliminating toxins that lead to dullness. Directions: (After Toner) Unfold mask and lay over face, leaving on for 10-20 minutes, then pat the excess serum into skin for additional absorption.”

I haven’t had a chance to use this yet, but I definitely will.

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition (Deluxe Sample Size, 30 ml)

Retail Value: ~$4.00 (Memebox full size (150 ml) $20) 
Get 20% off your first purchase at Memebox by using my referral link: I’ll also get $10 to shop at Memebox, which helps me to buy more products to review on the blog. If you decide to use my referral link, thank you so much, I really appreciate it! If you’re not a fan of referral links, it’s cool, we’re still friends. 
Jini Beauty says: “This limited edition essence is formulated with Rosa Centifolia flower water for special hydration. Secret Key boasts that 94% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate provides 10 benefits including anti-wrinkle, whitening, elasticizing, moisturizing, and exfoliating functions, that are delivered together in the first step after cleansing. Directions: (After Cleanser) Dispense the essence onto a cotton pad and gently wipe all over face. To treat areas that require extra care, soak the cotton pad with the essence and apply to the area for 3 minutes.”
Again, haven’t had a chance to work this into my routine yet. It’s a good sample size though, and something I definitely will use eventually. Judging by the use of galactomyces, I’m guessing this is supposed to be along the same lines of the infamous SK-II treatment essence, which I wasn’t that impressed by, but I’m totally open to trying alternatives.  

Caolion Pore Original Pack (Sample Size, 7 g)

Retail Value: ~$2.00-2.07 ($20 eBay, set of 10 samples (7g each), or full size (100 g) Amazon $29.50)
Jini Beauty says: “This mask’s claim to fame is its “magical” ability to minimize pores through deep cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration. Glacier clay, volcanic ash, and charcoal help draw out impurities and excess sebum, while Alaskan glacial water purifies and hydrates without overly drying the skin. Peppermint and menthol provide an intense soothing and cooling effect that really lasts! Directions: (After Cleanser) Apply the mask evenly over face and concentrate on covering areas with most visible pores. After 5-10 minutes, rinse off the mask with warm water.”
This was probably the most exciting part of this month’s box for me since I’ve been eyeing this mask lustfully since the Caolion brand first popped up at Sephora. Holy menthol, Batman! Wow, did this make my face feel cold. The ingredients that cause that sensation can irritate the skin, but I think all except the most hard-core skincare junkies will make an exception every now and then for a fun masking experience. I, for one, definitely will. The mask itself was a green-tinged gray with a thick, smooth texture. Clay-based masks often go one way or the other for me: either I end up with itchy, uncomfortable skin the entire time I’m using the mask, or I forget I even have it on. Luckily, this mask fell into the latter category. The cold sensation started to build within a minute or two of applying the mask, got really intense to the point where I felt I had just stuck my face in the freezer, which continued for about 3-4 minutes, then it subsided pretty quickly and left only a subtle cooling sensation behind. The texture of this mask was a bit surprising to me because it felt a lot more moist than most clay masks do. When I washed the mask off after about 8 minutes, there was a pleasant, refreshing feeling, and my skin really did feel more hydrated and soft, which is very surprising for a clay mask. Most clay masks leave my skin feeling dry and tight. My pores were also less visible, and my skin felt very clean without feeling stripped. By morning, my pores were back to normal, but my skin still felt soft, hydrated, and seemed to be a bit less oily. Overall, I really liked this mask and would totally consider buying the full size. It’d be a great treat for the summer months when I feel like I’m melting.

The History of Whoo Secret Court Cream (Sample Size, 1 ml)

Retail Value: ~$0.83-2.00 (Amazon, pack of 30 [1 ml each] samples for $24.80)
Jini Beauty says: “This cream fit for royals is more like a condensed balm that melts into skin to immediately infuse 32 herbal ingredients of the highest quality. Your skin will stay youthful and energized from herbs such as Japanese catnip for anti-inflammatory boosting and mint for instant pore tightening. Directions: (Last Step) Gently massage the cream into skin until it melts and becomes fully absorbed.”

I’ve had a sample of the Jinyul cream from The History of Whoo before, and it was one of those products that had me shouting at the sky, “why, cruel gods, why must I love expensive products??” Given my past experiences with the brand I had high hopes for it, and I wasn’t let down. It has a luxurious balmy texture that feels amazing on the skin and instantly made it feel more hydrated. It also had a lovely herbal scent that reminded me of a garden. I think between the Jinyul cream and the Secret Court cream, I still prefer the Jinyul cream, but they’re both lovely. I can’t speak to the long-term effects of either, but short-term, they’re very elegant, soothing creams. The History of Whoo products are absurdly expensive (but so prettehh, ugh), and the full size (50 ml) of this cream retails for over $100, but you can often find samples of this and other super high-priced creams in sample sets for much cheaper on Amazon, eBay, and a few Korean retailers. You won’t get as much product, and you lose out on the beautiful packaging, but it’s a good way to indulge in some more expensive products for much cheaper. I mentioned in my review for the February box that I wished they would include more than one of these little sample packets because it’s difficult to judge a product from a single use. While this month’s box only contained one packet, the April box (review coming soon) did have two packets, so clearly they’re listening to their subscribers, which is awesome.

Etude House Hand Bouquet Rich Butter Hand Mask (Full Size)

Retail Value: $5 (Beauteque)
Jini Beauty says: “Pamper your dry hands with this ultra moisturizing treatment and revive your hands for spring’s manicures. Contains fragrant shea butter and olive extract for luxurious moisture. Directions: Massage the shea butter onto clean hands. Put on the hand mask gloves first, then insert your hands into the clear plastic gloves. Keep the gloves on for 15-20 minutes. Rubbing your pressure points is optional!”
I thought this was a nice inclusion, and something my poor hands desperately need. I put my hands through the ringer on a regular basis between cleaning, doing swatches, and other little projects around the house, plus I’m basically the worst ever at remembering to moisturize my hands. A nail technician would probably scream if they saw my cuticles. I’ve been saving this for my next manicure, which seems to keep getting put off since I’ve been so busy. When I do use this, I’ll update you guys somewhere on social media, either Twitter or Instagram

Final Thoughts:

The total value of this month’s box is somewhere between $24.24 and $25.48 (not accounting for the cost of shipping if you were to buy each of these products individually), so approximately the same as the price of the box. I would’ve liked to see a slightly higher box value, like last month’s which was $36.73, but that being said, I’m still happy with the box overall. It’s a good selection of products which are all useful to me and appropriate for my skin type. 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. If you’d like to subscribe to Jini Beauty Box, you can do so here

February 24, 2016

[Review] Jini Beauty Box February 2016 (Normal/Combination Skin)

It’s here! It’s here!

I’m so excited to be bringing you guys another review of a new subscription box—and in one of my favorite categories: Korean skincare!

When this box was first announced I did a whole post explaining the concept and features, so if you’re looking for more in-depth information head over here for a full run-down. The Sparknotes version: Jini Beauty Box is a new Asian beauty subscription box launched by blogger, Geekinheels (Jenny) and her friend, Sunny. The box is unique among the quickly growing AB subscription market because it focuses on monthly boxes curated by skin type (Dry/Mature, Normal/Combination, Oily/Acne, and Sensitive/Troubled). Each box contains 1-2 full-size products, and 3-5 deluxe samples for $24.95 per month (discounts available for longer subscriptions).

Disclosure: 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. 

Now on to the fun stuff!

February 2016 Normal/Combination Skin 

The products were securely packed in a cardboard box with the company logo on it. They also included an info card, which is very important for a box that deals with skincare, especially when the instructions and ingredients on the packaging may be in another language. The card doesn’t contain an ingredients list, but they’ve provided an ingredients list for all of the products on the website here. Additionally, they’ve posted the contents of all of the February 2016 boxes here, which may help if you’re having trouble deciding between skin types. Or maybe, like me, you just have to peek into everything. Look, we both know we’ve been through each others’ medicine cabinets, so let’s just own up to it and call it even, shall we?

What the card does contain is a brief description of each product and directions for how to use it. It also tells you where it fits into your routine, which I think was very smart and helpful. We’re off to a great start!

Ciracle CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

From the card: 

“This toner provides daily exfoliation that leads to clear, smooth, and even skin without the harshness of intense chemical exfoliators. The AHA/BHA is a mild formulation of .1% in the form of willow bark water and apple water that will unveil your inner glow and in the process, allow better absorption of nutrients into your skin.

Directions: (After Cleanser) Spray the toner onto a clean cotton pad and lightly sweep or blot the pad over your face”

Full size. Retail value: $16
This product has actually been on my wishlist for a few months. I ended up buying the Acwell 5.5 toner instead, so this will be on the back burner for a while, but I was thrilled to see this included in the box.

Mineral Water, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Water, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Lactate, Glycolic Acid, Water, Betaine Salicylate, Allantoin, Panthenol, Ethyl Hexanediol

 Banila Co. Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm

“This classic cleanser dissolves every little bit of your makeup with the same clout as a traditional oil cleaner — except it’s a sherbet-like balm that doesn’t strip your skin dry in the process. The balm magically melts into an oil upon application. Thanks to papaya extract (exfoliation) and acerola extract (brightening), your skin will feel nourished as well as clean and free from makeup, dirt, and impurities.

Directions: (First Step Cleanse) Scoop out a small amount of the balm and massage into dry skin until it emulsifies into oil. Wet hands and rinse off. Follow with a foaming second cleanser.”

Deluxe sample size (7g). Retail value: ~$3.50

Another product that was already on my wish list! I was actually just getting ready to buy this when I saw a spoiler on the Jini Beauty Box Instagram stating that this would be included in this month’s box. I’ve been a lover of cleansing oils for several years now (check out my posts on two Western cleansing oils, and how and why I double cleanse if you’re new to cleansing oils), but have been more interested in cleansing balms lately after trying the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm. The texture of this balm was less grainy than Clinique’s version, and melted more easily. Haven’t used this enough to form a solid opinion on it yet, but so far I like it.


Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG-10 Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Lead Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinesnsis Root Extract, Papaya Fruit Extract, Acerora Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, BHT, Butylparaben, Acid Red 18, CI 15985, Spice

Etude House I Need You Vita Complex Mask

“This sheet mask contains multiple vitamin derivatives that work together to brighten dull skin. Niacinamide is the star ingredient of the vita complex — it’s an all-around antioxidant that not only brightens the skin, but strengthens its barrier and increases ceramide levels.

Directions: (After Toner) Put the sheet mask on your face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Remove the mask and massage the leftover essence from the pouch into skin for extra softening.”

Full Size. Retail value:  $2

I’ve only used one mask from the Etude House I Need You line before (hyalunronic acid), and had to cut the eye holes to fit, which kind of put me off from trying any more from that line. I’ll give this one a try though, it’s right up my ally in terms of what I look for in a mask. I wanna glow brighter than a phone screen at 3 am, is that too much to ask? P.S. I do most of my sheet mask reviews on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there if that’s something you’re interested in.


Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Alcohol, Panthenol, Carbomer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Niacinamide, Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Calcium Pantothenate, Maltodextrin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pyridoxine HCL, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Silica, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

“This ‘cream’ is really a gel that contains a hydrating herb called Lady’s Mantle, which helps deliver supple moisturization despite the deceivingly lightweight consistency of the gel. The aqua bomb has a minty scent and feels slightly tingly, yet cooling and refreshing upon application.

Directions: (After Essence or Emulsion) Scoop out the gel and lightly massage into skin, taking care to focus on any drier patches.” 

Deluxe sample size (10 ml). Retail value: ~$10

The Aqua Bomb is new to me, but I’ve tried the Belif Moisture Bomb before and quite like it, which is surprising because I don’t usually like gel moisturizers. Even when my skin was more on the oily side (#RIP2myyouth, bonus points if you get the reference. Let’s be friends?) I didn’t really enjoy the texture because it always made my skin feel sticky. The Belif moisturizers, on the other hand, feel more like water in the sense that there’s an immediate sensation of moisture. I can see this being an awesome moisturizer for spring/summer due to the cooling sensation, although based on my experience with the Moisture Bomb, the hydration level is probably adequate enough to make it an acceptable winter moisturizer for most skin types.


Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, SD Alcohol 40B, Dimethicone, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60, Malachite Extract, Phenyl, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Panthenol, PEG-150, Carbomer, Tromethamine, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Avena Sativa Kernel Extract, Calendula Officinalis, Nepeta Cataria Extract, Rubus Idaeus Leaf Extract, Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract, Stellaria Media Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract, Equisetum Arvense Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica Leaf Extract, Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Stearic Acid, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, C14-22 alcohols, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cholesteryl hHdroxystearate, Cholesterol, Ceramide NP, Triethanol Amine, Trisodium EDTA, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Citrus Aurantifolia Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Citronellol, Limonene, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool

 Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

“This multi-tasking essence provides soothing, hydrating, brightening, and wrinkle repairing benefits through the power of yeast. It contains 80% fermented yeast extract (Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate), which repairs and nourishes the skin on a deeper cellular level. The essence also contains niacinamide, which improves elasticity and revives tone and texture, for daily refined skin. 

Directions: (After Cleanser or Toner) Dispense a small amount of essence onto a cotton pad (or your hands!) and pat lightly onto the skin until completely absorbed.”

Sample. Retail value: ~$0.66

This is often compared to the famous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence since they serve essentially the same purpose and feature the same main ingredient: Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate. Having tried the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and not been very impressed with it, I’ve never been that interested in trying the Missha FTE, but since I have the sample, I’ll give it a go.


Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Bigida Ferment Lysate, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Polyquaternium-51, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Betaine, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Pirper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Beta Vulgaris Root extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Trehalose, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Raffinose, Tromethamine, Acetic Acid, Lactic Acid, 1-2-Hexanediol, Caprytyl Glycol, Hexapeptide-9 Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate

Mizon Original Skin Energy Placenta 45 Ampoule

“The ampoule contains 45% mammalian placenta, which sounds unpleasant, but it’s surprisingly good stuff for your skin. The placenta stimulates cell regeneration that normally slows down as the skin ages. You see reduced wrinkles and fine lines, brightened skin tone, and faded dark spots after continuous use.

Directions: (After Toner) Dispense ampoule onto palm. Lightly rub hands together and dab over face until absorbed into skin.”

Sample. Retail value: ~$0.57

If you’re new to Asian skincare, don’t worry, it’s not human placenta. Normally, it’s the extract from a cow, pig, or sheep placenta. I haven’t tried any products with placenta, but I’ve seen it in other products before. I’m crazy enough about skincare that I’ll put damn near anything on my face if there’s science to back it up, so my reaction to products such as this that use ingredients that aren’t common in Western skincare is pretty much “Huh? What’s it do? Ok, gimme.” What’s a little placenta between mammals, eh? Mi placenta es su placenta. Too far? Ok I’ll stop.


Water, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Placental Extract, Niacinamide, Glycerin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tropolone, Adenosine, BetaGglucan, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Extensin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Achillea Millelfolium Extract, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Potassium Sorbate

TonyMoly Delight Tony Tint in 02 Red

“Finally, a lip stain that’s lightweight and long-lasting at the same time! This tint contains jojoba seed oil to encourage cellular regeneration for youthful lips. Rosehip and argan oils help prevent lips from drying out. The sheer formula allows you to build the color, layer by layer, to go as light or dark as you wish.

Directions: Wipe excess tint from applicator, then apply tint in one or more sheer layers until the desired color intensity is achieved. Tint needs to be blended quickly due to fast drying.”

Deluxe sample size. Retail value: ~$4

This tint is both more pigmented and more hydrating than tints I’ve tried in the past. I used to love the Revlon lip stain, but it was quite drying. The other tint I’ve used was from The Balm, and I didn’t like it at all. It was too sheer, the texture felt like saliva, it had no staying power, and it would sometimes ball up on my lips. This tint from TonyMoly doesn’t appear to have any of those problems. I can definitely see myself getting a lot of use out of this.


Water, Glycerin, Trehalose, Triethanolamine, Ci 15510, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer Emulsion, Propylene Glycol, Glucosyl Stevioside, Glyceryl Caprylate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Ascorbic Acid, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Rosa Canina Seed Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract

Total value of the box:  ~$36.73

Final Thoughts:

I’m very happy with this box. I felt like there was a good variety of products, a good amount of value, and several of the products are things I would have picked out for myself, so I’d say they did a good job picking products that fit well with normal/combo skin. The absolute only negative thing I have to say is that I wish they had included more than one of the sample packets for each product, or that there had been multiple of the same product. It’s quite difficult to tell whether or not you like a skincare product from a single use. But in the grand scheme of things, not a deterrent from the subscription. I actually want to give them props for their customer service. The boxes shipped out a little late due to a supply chain issue caused by Lunar New Year, and they emailed their subscribers to let us know about the delay. Communication goes a long way, and this simple act gave me reassurance that they care about their customers.

I think Jini Beauty Box is great for anyone who wants to take the guess work out of Asian skincare products, or for someone who is always looking to discover new products. It’s also great if you have sensitive skin and get frustrated by other subscriptions because they often include products you can’t use. Overall, I would say I happily recommend Jini Beauty Box, and I can’t wait for next month’s box!

If you’d like to subscribe to Jini Beauty Box, you can do so here
February 10, 2016

MaskBox: Sheet Mask Subscription Box Review February 2016

Today I’ve got a brand new subscription box to share with you!

Maskbox is a monthly sheet mask subscription box. Each month you will receive between 2-6 masks, depending on the plan you choose. Plans start at $10. I’ll discuss the subscription options in more detail down below. Maskbox is based in Los Angeles and ships between the 5th and the 8th every month. The plan that I chose for my first month is the Combo Box, which contains 3 masks and retails for $10/month.

Disclosure: I purchased this product with my own money. All views expressed are my own, authentic opinions and experiences with the product. This post does not contain any affiliate links.

My MaskBox arrived in a sturdy cardboard envelope, with this cardboard pouch inside. It folds out to reveal the contents.

Bonus points for spelling my name correctly!

It contained a small note card, a sheet explaining how to use a sheet mask, and three masks.

February 2016 Combo MaskBox

 The Combo MaskBox is essentially a variety pack. The other box options are aimed at specific needs, such as anti-aging, or concepts, such as the Luxury MaskBox. Since I like to use a little bit of everything, I thought the Combo box would be the best fit for me.

These are the two Valsarea masks, Pearl on the left, and Royal Jelly on the right.
The first two masks are from the same brand, Valsarea, which I had never heard of before. I really appreciate that they’ve put in some masks that are more difficult to get in the U.S since many subscriptions tend to repeat the same brands and products. They’ve also translated the ingredients into English, which is really important for anyone who has any sensitivities or allergies. 
The downside to these being less well-known masks is that it’s difficult to track down any additional info on them, such as their price. I wasn’t able to find an active listing for either of these Valsarea masks anywhere, so I have absolutely no idea what their retail value is. What I can tell you is that they’re manufactured by Samsung and are sometimes also listed under the brand “FD Agency.” Valsarea has a physical store located in Tokyo. That’s where the info ends, unfortunately. I’ve tried numerous search terms, as well as the Korean and Japanese Google sites, but turned up very little. 
As for my personal experiences with these two masks, my feelings are a bit mixed. 

Valsarea Pure Essence Royal Jelly Sheet Mask

Price: edit 3/13/16— MaskBox is now selling a 10 pack of these for $30 on their website, so approximate value is $3. Still no idea what they sell for in Japan or any other Asian countries that have access to the Valsarea brand.


When I took it out of the package, it was soaked with clear essence, and there was about 1.5 teaspoons remaining in the packet. The mask was made from a slightly stiff cotton, but not so stiff that it was uncomfortable. It didn’t adhere well to my chin, but was fine everywhere else, aided by the small slits that made it adjustable. At first, the smell was sharp, almost a bit vinegary, which I think was the royal jelly. It quickly became a sweeter, softer smell after I applied it to my face. It was light, but noticeable for the duration of use. I kept the mask on for about 30 minutes, at which point it had started to dry out. The remaining serum was non-sticky and absorbed quickly. Afterwards, my skin felt hydrated and soft.
Didn’t adhere well to the chin and was a bit big above the lip, but that’s a common problem for me since I have so little space between my nose and my upper lip.


I liked it, but I don’t see myself repurchasing (assuming that I could actually find it anywhere). It was effective for hydrating the skin, and I really enjoyed the scent, but the fit wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t a bad mask, I just have others that I like a lot better. I don’t actually know what the purpose of the mask is since it’s not anywhere on the packet and there’s no info card included, but judging by the ingredients, I’d say it’s meant to be anti-inflammatory. I didn’t really notice any anti-inflammatory effects, just softer skin.
Totally ripped into this before taking a picture. Oops. Sorry.

Valsarea Pure Essence Pearl Sheet Mask

Price: edit 3/13/16— MaskBox is now selling a 10 pack of these for $30 on their website, so approximate value is $3. Still no idea what they sell for in Japan or any other Asian countries that have access to the Valsarea brand.


My experience with this mask was very similar to the Valsarea Royal Jelly mask. It was soaked with clear essence, with about 1.5 to 2 teaspoons remaining in the packet. It was made from the same stiff cotton, but this mask didn’t have any scent. I wore this one for about 25-30 minutes before it started drying out. When I removed the mask, my skin felt a bit slippery, almost greasy to the touch. Not so much that I felt like something was sitting on my skin or that my skin felt dirty, it just had a bit more of an oily feel. I’d compare it to the slight bit of oil that’s left behind from an oil cleanser if you don’t remove it properly. My pores appeared to be a bit less noticeable, but that was the only effect that I noticed from this mask.


I didn’t really enjoy this one. I preferred the texture and scent of the Royal Jelly mask, plus I felt like it did more for my skin. I had the same problem with this mask: no idea what it’s supposed to do. Pearl is often used in brightening masks, so that’s my best guess.

Nature Republic Real Nature Shea Butter Sheet Mask

Price: $1.60-1.99 (not including shipping)


This mask was a thin cotton, soaked in a milky essence. There was very little essence left in the package, maybe a dime-sized amount. It had a light scent that reminded me of baby powder. I’m not a fan of powdery scents, but surprisingly this didn’t bother me while I was wearing the mask. The fit was good, it conformed to my face nicely and didn’t have any major gaps, though it did stick up a little where it met my hairline. I wore this one for 35 minutes, but easily could have worn it for another 10-15. My face was cold from the heater coming on (blows cold air first, stupid electric heat) and I wanted to go to sleep. The essence was very hydrating, which allowed me to skip moisturizer that night. It did leave a little bit of a sticky feeling, like lotion before it’s dry, but I could only feel it when I touched my face. It didn’t end up being a problem, and trust me, if it had, I’d have woken up with cat hair stuck to my face. Luckily, I didn’t.

A bit too big for my face, but a good fit overall.


This was my favorite of the three, and I would definitely repurchase this. I actually haven’t tried any of the Nature Republic Real Nature masks before, but after using this one, I plan to try the full line. The fit was very comfortable and it did a great job of hydrating my skin. This one did include a description in English on the packet: “shea butter nourishes the skin with a luminous glow,” which I definitely agree with.

Subscription Options:

$10/month. 3 masks per box. Choose from Hydration, Brightening, Anti-Aging, or Combo. 
$20/month. 6 masks per box. Choose from Hydration, Brightening, Anti-Aging, or Combo. 
$20/month. 2 masks per box. Luxury Box. This box features multi-step masks and hydro-gels. 
$40/month. 4 masks per box. Luxury Box. This box features multi-step masks and hydro-gels.
There is also an option to purchase a specially curated box as a one-time purchase, no subscription necessary. The current offering is the Girls Night In box for $40. Contains 12 masks. 
If you’d like to, you can subscribe here. You can also find MaskBox on Instagram and Twitter.

Final Thoughts:

I really like that they included masks I haven’t seen before, which I think gives them a possible advantage over other sheet mask subscription boxes. I’m curious to see if they’ll continue to send masks that are lesser known, I really hope so! Although the masks weren’t the highest quality, they were something I hadn’t seen before. I appreciate that they included a translation of the ingredients, but in the future I would really like to see some sort of info card included that explained what each mask was for and the retail price. I have no idea what the Valsarea masks cost, so I don’t know how much the total value of the box is**edit 3/13/16 total estimated value of the box is between $7.60-7.99, so for the value, no I would not recommend this subscription** Shipping was super quick since they’re based in Los Angeles. 
Overall, I think MaskBox is off to an ok start, but like any new company, there are a few kinks to work out. I have some mixed feelings, but I want to see how the future mask selections develop. Congrats on the launch Tammy and Bryan!