Tuesday, December 16, 2014

KPop Beauty Box #1 Review and Unboxing

The KPop Beauty Box first popped on my radar back in September. I didn't know anything about the box beforehand, but I found out through some lovely ladies over at makeuptalk that it was on sale, and the spoiler was that something from Etude House would be included in the box. 
I decided to reach out to the owner of KPop Beauty Box to see if I could do a review for them. Normally I will just purchase a box, however this one was a bit pricey for a completely new and unknown company. Pricey for me, of course. I'm a blogger with a part time job that barely pays for my heat bill, so I didn't want to sink cash into this before I knew what I was in store for. Also, I wanted to let my readers know what it was all about so they could have some perspective before doing the same.

So anyway, this box went on "pre-sale" in September, although the box was not shipping until the end of November. The first handful of people that pre-ordered a box would receive a "free gift" in their box. I was not one of those people, although I do know what the free gift was, and I will mention it later on in the post.

This box ended up being delayed until December 12th, which honestly made no sense to me. They went on sale in September. Why do you need THAT much time to curate the boxes? Regardless, it did ship on the 12th, and arrived on my doorstep yesterday.

KPop Beauty Box Details
 Love K-Pop or J-Pop beauty style? Let us introduce you to them through our KPop Beauty Box and shop! KPop Beauty Box was inspired by the world famous Myeong Dong cosmetic shopping street in Seoul, Korea, and we would like to bring that shopping experience to you through our KPop Beauty Box and shop. We handpicked many of the popular and trendy Korean and some Japanese beauty samples and products that will satisfy your need.
One of KPop Beauty Box goal is to bring our customers the trendy and popular Korean and Japanese cosmetic and skincare product that they had always wanted. 

Price: $29.99 per box plus $8.50 shipping (ouch.)
Subscription: This box is not a subscription, they are purchased one at a time as they are released(like Memeboxes)
Shipping: Currently, KPop Beauty Box only ships to the US.

So with Shipping, this box cost about $39.

Let's take a look at this long-awaited box!
(This Box contained 6 full sized products)
 Before we even get into the contents, the box arrived and it was HUGE. It's the size of a large shoe box. It was incredibly light, and filled 90% of the way with shredded pink paper. All of the products were buried in the pink paper, rather than laying on top. This made for a very un-fun experience trying to get everything out, especially feeling around in the depth of the grand-canyon-sized box to make sure I didn't miss any of the products.
This box was WAY too big for the products included. To give some perspective ahead of the unboxing, I was able to fit every included product in the LID of this box. The fact that customers had to pay $8.50 for shipping kind of upsets me, considering the box was absurdly over-sized and unnecessary.

 Innisfree: Green Tea Hydro Gel Mask 
KPop Beauty Box's Value: $4.73
My Value: $1.84 on TesterKorea
 A Dewy moisturizing hydro gel mask contained with green tea ingredients to replenish skin with moisture from deep within. 
So this is a hydro gel sheet mask. Innisfree is a popular brand, and hydro gels are pretty nice, but I mean...it's a sheet mask. Not much more to say about it than that.
So I noticed right off the bat that the "retail prices" on the KPop Beauty Box info card were inflated, which is a massive pet peeve of mine. I hate when a subscription box tries to up the value of their boxes by finding the highest price they can for a product. I easily found this exact item on TesterKorea for much less than the projected value, and aside from one product, every other product in this box has an inflated value. More about that later.

 Innisfree: Second Skin Mask Nourishing
KPop Beauty Box's Value: $9.29
My Value: $5 Innisfree World Official Site
2013 Beauty Award winner, this perfectly adhesive mask contains ceramide, which deeply penetrates into your puffy, dry skin, ultimately creating a resilient and sleek complexion.
This is another sheet mask/hydro-gel type product, although it does retail for more money than a typical sheet mask. I haven't tried this yet, but from reviews I've seen, I think I'm going to enjoy it.
Again, this product is highly over-priced, considering Innsifree charged $5 for this. Where they got $9.29 is beyond me. 

Holika Holika: Pig-Nose Clear Black Head Kit
KPop Beauty Box's Value: $3.99
My Value: $3.99
 This gentle, clear black/white heads 3-step kit is one of Holika Holika's best sellers. The 3 steps ensure gentle black/white head removal with the proper after-treatment that will not irritate your skin. 
This is an interesting product, that is luckily, priced correctly on the info card. 
After cleansing, apply step 1 for 15-20 minutes to remove sebum and black heads in the pores. Step 2 is applied to the nose for 10-15 minutes and then removed. Step 3 is then applied for 5-10 minutes to treat and tighten the pores. It seems that each step is a different type of nose "strip", so I'm interested to see if this 3-step process is any better than using a typical pore strip.

Innisfree: No Sebum Mineral Powder
KPop Beauty Box's Value: $11.35
My Value: $6.84 on BeautyNetKorea
This is Innisfree's #1 best selling product of all time, and contains no parabens, preservatives, talc, artificial colors, animal ingredients, mineral oil, or artificial fragrance. This multi-use mineral powder has Jeju natural minerals and mint extracts that help to control oil while moisturizing the skin for a soft and natural look. 
Aside from this being absurdly over valued yet again, I'm very excited to see this product. I have heard fantastic things about this powder, and considering it's the #1 best selling product in the Innisfree lineup, it's got to be good! A lot of people avoid using face powders because they can settle into lines and make the skin appear older, however I need them in order to set my makeup. The best way to use powder and keep it looking natural, is to use a setting mist of some sort. You can use a makeup setting spray, however any kind of "facial mist" will do. After setting your makeup with your powder of choice, very lightly use a setting spray/facial mist over the top of the powder. pat in the mist very gently. You'll get the setting powers of the powder, without that powdery look!  

Etude House: Silk Scarf Repair Hair Essence
KPop Beauty Box's Value: $13.99
My Value: $8
This hair essence's ability to deliver healthy-looking hair has ranked this product as Etude House's best selling hair essence of all time. Specially formulated with natural oil complex (camelia, argan, macadamia seed, sunflower seed) and a floral scent, this concentrated essence coats split ends and delivers shine and long-lasting moisture, leaving your hair instantly looking healthier, silkier and smoother. 
Like most hair essences, this is distributed evenly through clean, towel-dried hair while concentrating the application on the ends. It does have a light, sweet floral scent, which is quite pleasant. I do have very thin hair, although I have found that many Korean hair essences are light and don't weigh it down, so I'm interesting in trying this to see how it works for me in regards to my split ends. 
Yet again, this product was way overpriced on the info card. I was able to find this as low as $4.50 (when you buy 10 at once on roseroseshop) and most of the places I found this for sale had it for under $10.  

Etude House: Sweet Recipe All Over Color Blush
KPop Beauty Box's Value: $13.31
My Value: $7.20 on BeautyNetKorea
This cute, lovely scented and moisturizing blush will give you a warm, natural, fresh glow on your cheeks.
While this product is multi-use, it does have that typical chalky appearance that most cream blushes have. Many companies label their cream blush "multi use" or "all over color" products because they can technically be worn on the lips/eyes etc, but that doesn't mean they actually look good. This is definitely one of those items. It looks nice on the cheeks, but that's about it. I'm fine with it being a cream blush, though, it the packaging is super-cute. Looks like something Memebox should have put in their Cute Wishlist boxes! 
Not surprisingly, I found this product for much cheaper almost everywhere I looked. I also found these blushes available on Rose Rose Shop for about $4.25 each when you buy a set of 10. However, I used the price I found on BeautyNetKorea as most people aren't going to buy 10...however a subscription box very well could, if you catch my drift.

Overall Thoughts
Where do I even begin? This box is confusing, disappointing, and interesting all at the same time. 
The Good
Innisfree, Holika Holika and Etude House are all very popular brands, and KPop Beauty Box has done a nice job choosing their more popular products. I like that there's some useful items from a variety of categories: makeup, hair, skincare etc. I will probably use and enjoy everything in this box.
The Bad
This box was available for pre order in late September, and did not ship out until mid December. That is well over a 2 month wait for a box that did not deliver in value whatsoever. Customers paid $30 for this box, plus $8.50 to ship it in an oversized, heavy box, when it could have easily been shipped for much less in a small bag. Even more upsetting, was the "free gift." I did a little hunting, and found out that the free gift they offered to the first people who ordered the box was a few cheap tea bags. Just tossed in there. Not even a $1 sheet mask....tea bags. I just can't.

Price Breakdown
This box with shipping was about $39.
KPop Beauty Box's Estimated Retail Value: $56.66
My Estimated Retail Value: $24-$33
 The variation in my estimated values comes from the fact that, buying these items in bulk saves money. Even so, you can easily purchase these items for about $33, which is less than the box cost with it's exorbitant shipping.

Had this box cost $20, or $25 shipped, I would have a very different opinion. My negative feelings on this box are based solely on value. The fact that the values on the info card were extremely inflated, to the fact that customers did not get a value even when the real retail prices were tallied. 
I cannot recommend getting this box based on this one alone, although I can only hope that they see their errors, clear away any hiccups that occurred, and try again. They are on the right track with product selection, however they need to re-evaluate their shipping costs, ridiculously huge boxes, and price for the box in general.
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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services may have been provided and accepted for purpose of review. Post may contain affiliate or referral links.


  1. The products looks good. Probably would have been better if there was one more product added in to make the value worth it.

    1. Agreed. I was hard to review because all the products seem great, but the value wasn't there. Not even close :(

  2. I like the products included but I agree with you- the price is ridiculous. I thought I heard the reason they didn't ship when they were supposed to was because of box packaging... :\. Seems weird they would wait for such a giant box.
    Either way, I'm glad you were able to review this. I'm curious to see what they will do in the future. At least they got those innisfree items before that whole thing went down at the end of November :D
    Hopefully, they make the box price and the shipping price more reasonable and I think they'll see a higher purchase rate.

    1. Yep. I am not planning on sinking any money into this subscription, but I will keep an eye on it to see how it progresses. Since the products and brands here are good, there's definite potential to get better as it goes on!

  3. They could easily put this in an Ipsy sized mailer and cut their shipping down to half. Or less. I am so beyond disappointed in this box. Why would I pay this much for stuff I can get cheaper and I wouldn't buy half of it anyway. I did use the green tea hydro gel mask tonight and it was great, but just ugh. They (she) needs to work on this. I hope she succeeds, but I won't order again until I see a few months, if it lasts that long.

    1. Yes EXACTLY! I just got my 3b box, and they shipped everything in a small bag within a small box. It only cost them $3.50 or so to ship it, and I'm pretty sure it was heavier than the contents of this box. Everything was either flat, or small, and it could have easily fit in a large drawstring bag within a bubblemailer rather than a massive show box.
      They need to look at what people are saying and take the comments into account. Lower the price, lower the shipping cost, and focus on VALUE.

  4. Well this is definite letdown. I'd honestly estimate the value of these products a bit lower - maybe in the $20 range if you shop around carefully. That said I don't think the items they chose are bad and this service may have potential if they tweak things a bit, but l bet a lot of people are going to put off the price/value disparity of this initial box!

    1. You're right, I was able to get the value down to about $20, but I did go with some larger companies and kbeauty seller prices as well as non-wholesale prices to make the value more what a regular customer would pay, although this company probably paid MUCH less for all these products, bumped the price up WAY more than they should, and charged a ridiculous amount for shipping a practically empty shoe box.
      It sucks because if they do a quick switch, dump the giant boxes, use large organza bags in bubble mailers or small boxes, they could lower the price and really turn this around. They're on the right track with the products, so I guess we just have to wait and see!

  5. I'm struggling to think of how a box so ill-conceived could, in its second outing, have the necessary big turnaround. A fundamental grasp of what customers expect a beauty box to be just isn't there, it seems. I'm not going to pretend that I'm shocked, but WOW.

    1. I can't say I disagree with you. I'm hanging on a shred of hope that since the items are decent and the brands are solid, that they will come through. Maybe fix up the giant box/shipping cost issues, lower the price a bit and be more realistic...although considering their lack of enthusiasm and presence on social media, I doubt they're going to continue.

  6. So glad I never went for the pre-order of this box. I was on their facebook page within the last week and they're not even keeping it up. I posted asking if the site had died and got a very quick response which seemed promising but after reading your review I won't be giving them any of my money any time soon.

    1. I agree Marcey- for a new startup company, they're not really drumming up excitement for their box through social media. If anything they're completely silent aside from the customers complaining! I think it's a wise choice to hold onto your money and wait for a more reliable box to come along!