Friday, February 27, 2015

K-Beauty Blog Hop Week #17!

K-Beauty Blog Hop

Welcome to the K-Beauty Blog Hop!

The K-Beauty Blog Hop is a weekly chance for bloggers to share their favorite posts about Korean makeup, skincare, and subscription boxes. Want to share you latest Memebox unboxing? A recent order from Beauteque? A product review, coupon code, or giveaway? All those posts are welcome here.

This Week's Featured Post:

iSibsie - I'm so sad 

  Hosted By:

K-Beauty Blog Hop Rules

1. Follow host blogs via Bloglovin', E-mail, Facebook, or some other form of social media.
2. Add a direct link to your blog post below. Don't just link your blog address. We want to visit a specific post that you'd like to see more interest in.
3. If you submit a link, please visit at least two other links and leave a comment. Use hashtag #kbeautybloghop so others will know that you're part of the blog hop.
4. Feel free to also pin, share, and retweet links to blog posts you find interesting or helpful. Want to link up to our post? Feel free to use the button below.
5. Make friends and find great content from other bloggers!
Each week, a post will be selected and featured in the following week's link-up. This post will be chosen by the hosts.
The Blog Hop Link-Up will be active each Friday from 8 am Eastern until Sunday at 11pm. Be sure to check in each week and link up your posts.

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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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Memebox The Empress's Secrets Review and Unboxing

This is the 3rd and final box I picked up during the Memebox sale, and I've got to say- seeing this on my porch today was kind of bittersweet. I was super excited to see that pink bubble mailer, but I also knew that this is the last old-school Memebox I will probably ever get. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, and as many of you Memebox fans probably already know: Memebox is no longer shipping Internationally, and they are now based and only shipping in the US. While that may not change my ability to purchase items from Memebox, it has changed the kinds of boxes they are currently putting out. They're definitely not like they used to be, and unfortunately none of the new boxes have been of any interest to me, personally. So I decided to take my time opening this box and having fun reading and testing out all these products- who knows if I'll ever get a chance to again!
(product info card tells you more information and how to use each product. Some recent boxes have included these types of cards, which direct you to a virtual info card on the Memebox website.)
 If you're new to Memebox, they are a website that sells Korean beauty products, but their most popular items are of course, the Memeboxes. These boxes are full of deluxe samples and full size Korean beauty products. Memebox has been kind enough to create a FAQs page that you can view HERE if you want more info on the boxes and what they offer.

This particular box is one of their special edition boxes, which are based around a specific theme.
  "The Empress's Secrets" cost $23 plus $6.99 shipping, and includes 5 products.

From Memebox:
 Queens in ancient Korea used a (regimen) chock full of nature's most precious ingredients to beautify and enhance their natural beauty. Various ancient herbs, oriental medicines, flowers, rice powders and more natural and effective recipes were prized among the royalty, and their effectiveness and potency are still prevalent today. Unbox the Empress's Secrets to reveal the mystical beauty secrets and solutions of the east!
Purederm: Makeup Cleansing Tissues in "Green Tea Extract" ($6)
 I understand that these cleansing wipes were added into this box because of the green tea extract, but I can't help but chuckle imagining an ancient Korean empress whipping out her silver foil package of cleansing wipes! These are pretty standard, and from a low-cost brand, Purederm. Having said that, I still really love Purederm products! I am obsessed with cleansing wipes, but I don't use them to actually cleanse. They're great for removing sleeping pack and spot treatment residue in the morning, plus they make my skin feel fresh and clean right out of bed! I'm one of those people that wakes up 2 hours before I have to get ready for work so I can enjoy my morning cup(s) of coffee and check all my daily websites- so having my skin feel fresh before my morning shower is awesome. I actually just ran out of my Face Shop Herb Day Cleansing Cloths, so I'm super happy to have these!

Tosowoong: Syn-ake Wrinkle Free Essence ($30)
 This is an essence that is used to help fill fine lines and wrinkles while helping your skin maintain a healthy moisture/oil balance. It's got lots of awesome ingredients in it, so I'm totally ready to add this into my routine! I am a tiny bit nervous though, as the only other time I used a product with Syn-ake complex (it was a SeaTree essence) I got little red bumps all over my face. I'm not sure if it was the syn-ake or another ingredient in that product, so I'm willing to chance it and give this one a shot. If you're unfamiliar, Syn-ake is a peptide/synthetic snake venom, which is used to sort of mimic the effects of botox- it temporarily fills and smooths fine lines and wrinkles. Some of the other ingredients featured in this essence are also excellent. First is Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, which is a fermented ingredient that helps improve skin texture, calm troubled skin and provide hydration. Next is Niacinamide, which helps lighten dark spots and brighten the overall appearance of skin. There is also adenosine, which helps combat wrinkles and fine lines with also improving skin's elasticity. So overall, this sounds like a fantastic anti-aging product! 

Lime Nature: Double Very Moisturizing Cream ($39)
This cream is enriched with acai berry complex and a rich blend of ancient medicinal herbs like chuanxiong rhizome, peony, licorice root, kudzu root, portulaca, and cornflower. It's is a gentle formula that delivers rich moisture and nutrients deep down into the skin. While this cream sounds absolutely lovely, I find that the scent is incredibly overpowering. I am not someone who is normally sensitive to fragrances, but this cream is extremely heavily scented, although I'm assuming it's coming from the herbal ingredients. It's very herby/floral. After swatching this on my hand, I could still smell it over an hour later and it started to give me a headache. It's a shame, because this product sounds really lovely. I might have to pass this one to someone else though- I have a lot of creams to get through and I'd rather not take the chance of a migraine using this!

Daltokki: Facial Scrub ($30)
 This is the second Daltokki product I've received through Memebox, and both times I've had the same reaction to the creature on the packaging: A mixture of sheer horror and amusement. It's absolutely ridiculous looking- I don't know whether to laugh hysterically or run away!
 Here's a close-up of the texture of this scrub. It's incredibly thick and kind of reminds me of cream cheese!
This facial scrub is made from Korean glutinous rice cake, which is known to be rich in vitamins and nutrients. It works by smoothing and clarifying the skin by exfoliating dead skin cells without hard stimulation. It has a sticky, thick consistency, but once it starts being massaged in, it become thinner. I'd definitely say this is a gentle scrub, however Memebox mentions on the info card to not let any water get into this container, as the rice cake extracts could spoil. I used a large spatula to remove this first before I wet my face and applied it. I gently massaged this on my skin for about 30 seconds and rinsed with warm water. I didn't really see a visible difference in my skin after using this, but it definitely felt much softer! I normally don't use abrasive scrubs on my face, but this one felt gentle enough to give it a try. I really do like this product quite a bit! If it starts to irritate my face, I will most likely finish using it up on my body.

Soy Bio+: Fermended Lumpoule 5ml x2 ($25)
(Full Size Product: 5ml x14 $174)
This product has popped up in quite a few Memeboxes, and has been one of the more buzzed-about, popular products because it not only works well, but it also contains safe and gentle ingredients for all skin types. The word "lumpoule" comes from a combinatio of the words "lump and ampoule." Korean beauty brands love blending words together like this all the time, it seems! This product is a facial ampoule that is made from 100% Korean fermented soy bean lumps. It prevents the formation of fine lines and brightens the complexion. You can use this like a regular ampoule and apply a few drops directly to your face before applying your moisturizer, or you can mix it a couple drops into your cream. I've heard fantastic things about this product, so I cannot wait to start using it!
The Empress's Secrets cost $23 + $6.99 shipping and has a total value of $130.
This box is a bit hard to judge for me. While I think that all the products are really wonderful, I don't necessarily think of an ancient Empress when I see them. I feel like the the older "Oriental Medicine" Memebox from a while ago hit the nail on the head theme-wise much better than this one. Having said that, I can understand why most of these products were included- and the reasons were mostly ingredient-based rather than appearance/packaging based. It would have been really great to see a more visually oriental/ancient box, but hey- I can live with creepy human-faced bunnies too! Overall, the products included are all things I will happily use, and I would have enjoyed the cream too if it didn't have such a strong scent.  I can't help but be a little sad that this could potentially be my last Memebox unboxing for a long while! Although I am holding onto a shred of hope for Memebox. I still think that the new US boxes can be turned around and made better. I guess we'll all have to wait and see what they have in store!

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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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Memebox Soothing Sista Palette Review and Giveaway!

Not too long ago, Memebox collaborated with Stephanie Villa (aka youtuber, Soothing Sista) on her very own Memebox. While I didn't purchase it, I thought it was a nicely curated box and probably one of my favorite youtuber collaborations Memebox has ever done. I think many others agreed, as the box sold out lightning fast! Memebox and Soothing Sista have teamed up again to bring us a really lovely and on-trend eyeshadow quad!

When I first took a glance at the shades in the Soothing Sista Palette, I decided against buying it because it has a very similar color scheme to the Naked 3 palette which I own and love. However once Memebox released it, I took a second look and realized it would be the perfect little travel palette! I've mentioned a few times in the past that I really love quads for traveling. You'd be surprised how many looks you can create with just 4 shadows! So of course, I used up what I had left of my memepoints and grabbed this palette along with some Missha body lotion and waited (impatiently) for my package to show up so I could do some swatching!

Enter to win this palette as well as some other mystery kbeauty goodies at the end of this review! 
 The Soothing Sista Palette comes in a really nice box with Stephanie's picture on the front. How cool is her hair, seriously?
The shadows do photograph a bit on the brown side, however they are all pink/rose-toned shades. There are 2 matte shades, one shimmer and one glitter.


-Palette contains 4 eyeshadows: 2 Matte, 1 Metallic/Shimmer and 1 Shimmer/Glitter.
-Shadows are paraben free and cruelty free.
-This palette retails for $17 on the Memebox website, however you can also buy it in a variety of bundles. If you're interested in grabbing more than just the palette, you can snag a few really nice deals. Check them out HERE! I think the $34 set is an especially great deal!

Now back to the palette!
 Here's the top of the palette, which is also adorned with the Soothing Sista and XO Memebox logos. I find that the packaging on this palette is quite sturdy! It feels well-made and like it could stand to be jostled around in a purse or an airplane carry-on without the shadows getting damaged. It has a click-into-place clasp, like a typical hard black shadow case, which I prefer to magnetic. I also love the fact that this quad also has a mirror inside for quick on-the-go touch ups.
It's worth mentioning that there is a sponge-tipped applicator included, and while it's better quality than the ones you'd find at the drugstore, you're still going to get a much better application if you use an actual brush.
 Inside the palette, you find 4 shades:
Sutro- (matte) Light Dusty Rose
Valencia- (matte) Medium Pink Brown
Candy Rain- (shimmer/metallic) Burgundy Rose with Silver Microglitter
Bae Area- (shimmer/glitter) Peachy Pink with Incandescent Glitter
(diffused natural light)
(direct sunlight- no flash)

When I popped this palette open, It was pretty much love at first sight. I love pink/burgundy/rose gold color schemes in shadow palettes. I think one of my favorite smokey eyes to create on myself is with deeper pinks and berry tones! I really like that there are a variety of finishes featured in this palette as well, although I did find the two very similar matte colors to be a bit redundant, but let's see how they swatch!
Just as I suspected, the two matte shades look almost identical on my skin tone, although you can tell that Sutro is a bit lighter and more muted. I don't think there would be a very noticeable different when applied to the eye, though.
 (dim natural light)
 (natural light- no flash)

Here are the swatches from the Memebox site:

Bae Area
  This shade comes off as a rose gold/peach tone, and it is very glittery. It does take a little bit of effort to get this on without a ton of fallout, but the payoff is worth it. The shade is gorgeous and would make a stunning highlight for the inner corner of the eye, or all over the lid for a really dramatic sparkly look.

Candy Rain
 This is probably my favorite shade in the palette. I really love cranberry-toned shadows, and this one is a stunning metallic shimmer with a punch of pigment. I think this could be used in the crease as a defining shade, but it could also be used all over the lid for a more dramatic look.

  This is the darker of the two matte shades in this quad, and I'd say it's a transition color between Sutro and Candy Rain. It has that almost smokey-tone to it like Sutro, however it leans more cranberry shade-wise, like Candy Rain. This is also a great shade for the crease if you're doing a natural look using Sutro as the lid shade. This is a very versatile color though- and I'd probably use it on my lower lash line, blended out to get a really pretty smokey look.

  This is the palest shade in the palette, and appears to be a matte dusty rose. I find it to be incredibly similar to Valencia once it's applied to my eye. Where you see them differ is when they are applied concentrated in the crease. You can really build up Valencia to a deeper shade for some natural definition in the crease, however Sutro is really better for using as a all-over-the-lid shade, or for blending out harsh lines in your eye look. This could also be used very lightly on the brow bone to finish up a look, especially if you have a deeper skin tone.
-Beautiful Color Scheme (fits with the Marsala color-of-the-year as well!)
-Versatile, with many different eye looks possible.
-Pigmented, paraben free shadows
-Long staying power
-Travel friendly
-Can be worn lightly or more intensely for day-to-night looks
-Well-made case that includes mirror
-Priced very well

-Applicator is not very useful.
-The two included matte shades (Valencia and Sutro) are very similar
-Fallout with the glittery shade (Bae Area)

You can clearly see the Pros to this palette far outweigh the cons, and I could not be more thrilled to add this into my collection! The shadows are high quality, pigmented, and stay on my eye all day without fading or creasing (when a primer is used underneath.) I have been fighting a tooth infection from Hell, so I've been spending most of my time in bed and haven't been able to wear these shades out and about yet, but I cannot wait to start coming up with some looks! I think this palette will make for a subtle, yet pretty day look, as well as a really sultry smokey eye! I highly recommend picking this up. At $17, you really can't go wrong!

To buy the Soothing Sista palette by itself, you can go HERE.
To check out the Value sets, Click Here!

Here is your chance to try this gorgeous palette for yourself! I'm giving one lucky person the chance to win this palette as well as a few extra kbeauty goodies because I totally want to spoil you!

 I have added a second prize to the giveaway! Second place will also receive a Soothing Sista Palette!! 

Simply complete the tasks below to enter! And guess what? This Giveaway is open Internationally! That's right! I want everyone to have a chance to win this, especially those of you who are no longer able to shop the Memebox website! Good Luck!!

More Chances to Win!
Head on over to Unboxing Beauty and enter her giveaway for the Soothing Sista palette as well! Double your chances to win!

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget above. This giveaway is open internationally.  The prize is one "XO Memebox Soothing Sista Palette" as well as a small variety of mystery kbeauty products chosen by Harlot Beauty. The approximate retail value of this prize package is US $60. The winner will be chosen at random by a random number generator. Winner will be contacted through e-mail provided by Rafflecopter account, and will have 48 hours to respond before they are disqualified and a new winner is chosen. Name and address will be required if chosen as winner in order for prize fulfillment. 
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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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Memebox Moisture Surge Review and Unboxing

This is the second of 3 boxes that I decided to pick up during the review sale that Memebox did not too long ago, and it is probably the box that I was most looking forward to getting! When this was first released, I honestly had very little interest. While I think it's important for everyone to keep their skin moisturized and healthy, A lot of times when you hear "moisturize" of any kind in a description of a Memebox, it usually means that the products are geared towards dry skin. I have combination/oily skin, so I didn't think this would be the best fit for me at first glance. Once I saw the reviews, I knew I missed out on some pretty great products! Luckily I was able to snag one during the restock!
(product info card tells you more information and how to use each product. Some recent boxes have included these types of cards, which direct you to a virtual info card on the Memebox website.)
 If you're new to Memebox, they are a website that sells Korean beauty products, but their most popular items are of course, the Memeboxes. These boxes are full of deluxe samples and full size Korean beauty products. Memebox has been kind enough to create a FAQs page that you can view HERE if you want more info on the boxes and what they offer.

This particular box is one of their special edition boxes, which are based around a specific theme.
  "Moisture Surge" cost $29 plus $6.99 shipping, and includes 5 products.

From Memebox:
 It's a Dry Skin Smackdown! Dry, flaky skin sucks almost as much as breakouts and oily skin! Whether you're dealing with an all-over moisture problem, or battling just a few annoying dry patches, this moisture surge box will cure all- even during the harshest fall and winter months! This box will lock in moisture for a dewy, supple complexion, and fortify the skin's moisture barrier for all day hydration!

Original Raw Deluxe Kit 3.0 ($60)
This Deluxe kit includes a cleanser, essence and moisturizer. I really love how this set comes in a little gift box! Each tube contains just over 1 ounce or product, so I think it's pretty nuts that this kit retails for $60. Regardless- there's some interesting products in here! Here's a description of each one:
 Black Bubble- This cleanser is naturally derived, and is a bubbling machine! The formula contains an oxygen transmitter that when put in contact with the air, transforms the cleanser into fine, minute bubbles that help deep clean your face. This didn't bubble at all when I applied it to my dry skin, however it went nuts as soon as I added a bit of water to my face first and then applied. This has a ph of about 6.5, which not awful, but still a bit to high for my liking, so I'll be passing this on to a friend.
 Chan-mool Patting Essence- A patting essence is essentially product that you apply to the skin and then gently pat onto your skin until absorbed. Most of the patting essences I've tried have been quite liquidy, but this is a jelly-texture and actually pretty thick. It's supposed to moisturize, brighten and tighten the skin while creating a protective moisture barrier. Since this is a thick consistency, it's best to apply this over the face first and then pat it into the skin. I honestly don't believe in the patting motion helping products absorb- you really cant push products into your skin...but hey- I'll still use this as a regular essence and apply it normally.
 Water Block Black Jam- I expected this to have a black or grey tint to it, but it's just as clear and jelly-like as the patting essence. This is essentially a moisturizer that doubles as a sleeping pack if you'd prefer to use it that way. It uses plant extracts and hyaluronic acid to create a moisture wall over your skin. It also claims that a single application will keep your skin moisturized for 48 hours without need for re-hydration. Interesting...I'll have to test that out on a weekend when I'm just laying around the house!

Derma House: Aloe Vera Moisture Mist ($14)
Aloe Vera mists are great for dry and sensitive skin. It can be used to cool and soothe burned or irritated skin, or simply pack an extra moisture punch for flaky skin. I have used a few different aloe mists from various Memeboxes and I've always used them all up! I was never sure how often I'd use mists, but I found a really great time to use them is right after you remove a sheet mask. Sometimes, certain masks can leave a sticky residue on my face, and a gentle mist can not only add extra moisture and skincare benefits, but it will also break up any of the residue on the face, and let you continue layering your products.

imface: Vio-Xellose Neck Patch ($5)
I love getting neck patches in kbeauty boxes, because it's one of the places I neglect more than I'd like to admit, and let's face it: no one wants saggy, wrinkled skin on their neck as they age! This patch has a naturally derived coconut jelly texture and contains a botanical wrinkle complex and adenosine, which all work to great signs of aging along the neckline. This mask is free of parabens, benzophenone, sulfates and artificial pigment and fragrance. To use this, simply apply the patch to the neck area and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Peel away the patch and massage in any remaining essence and that's it. It's essentially a sheet mask for you neck. I wish that these neck patches were as cheap and widely available as regular sheet masks-I'd use them all the time!

Wish Formula: Premium Ampoule Mask ($14)
This sheet mask improves the skin's natural recovery power while combating winkles and deeply nourishing the skin, leaving it moist, supple and radiant. I figured I'd give this $14 sheet mask a try considering most of the masks I have in my collection are all under $1 in value. This fit my face well, stayed moist for awhile and really did make my face feel super soft and smooth. I don't know if I'd spent anywhere near $14 for a single sheet mask, but this was definitely nicer than the ones I usually use!

Insobeau: Hiaromax Vitamin Stick ($29)
This product was the main reason why I wanted to grab the restock of this box! Sarah over at Bits & Boxes had a lot of great things to say about this product, and since she's awesome and I trust her opinions, I knew I needed this in my life asap. You can use this around your eyes and mouth, on your cheeks...really anywhere that you need some instant moisture. It replenishes skin with a vitamin and hyaluronic acid formula while also cooling and soothing. It even treats enlarged pores, which I most definitely have. You can use this under or over makeup as well, so it's great to stick in your purse and apply through the day when your skin gets dry. I don't normally suffer from an abundance of dry skin, but since this winter has been so frigidly cold, I've definitely had more dry patches than usual. This stuff has a light mentholated scent, but it's not unpleasant at all. It feels instantly cooling when you swipe it on, and almost feels like it turns to water when it hits the skin. It's incredibly soothing and really works well on the dryness I have. Definitely the best item in this box, hands down!

Rosemoon: Rich 53% Collagen Smart Balm ($47)
I really dig the sleek packaging of this product for some reason. It just reminds me of a high-end American brand or something. Either way, this is essentially a moisturizer. It has 53% collagen, which is great for moisturizing the skin, but for not much more than that. According to Paula and well, all scientists, collagen molecules in skincare are too large to penetrate into the skin, so it cannot be absorbed. Even it if was made small enough to absorb into the skin, it still cannot bind to existing collagen in the skin. This doesn't make these products useless though, since collagen is a great moisturizer, but you should never spend an arm and a leg on a collagen product simply because it contains collagen- you're better off just buying a regular moisturizer for a tenth of the price! I have more moisturizers and creams than any other skincare product in my collection, so I am going to be passing this on to my mom, who will love it I'm sure!

Overall Thoughts
The Moisture Surge Memebox cost $29 + $6.99 shipping, and has a retail value of $169.
This is the kind of Memebox I really miss! This was well curated, filled with a variety of products, and has a great value. The current offerings that Memebox has are really leaving something to be desired. I can see they're trying to curate fun boxes, but because they're all unboxed (you're able to see what's in it before you buy the box) the mystery factor is gone. On top of that, now that Memebox is working out of the US and not Korea, the prices of the boxes have gone up, and the overall value has gone down. They may be featuring more recognizable brands, which is good for some people, but I know many of their customers loved being introduced to unfamiliar brands and products- that is really what made Memebox stand out so much. Getting this box yesterday gave me a little kick of nostalgia since this was originally released back in the Fall. 
I can only hope that Memebox sees where they can be most lucrative, opens up international shipping again, and starts to curate boxes like they used to. 
My thoughts on this box in particular: Fan-freakin-tastic! There's nothing here that is focused too much on dry skin, so I think people with all skin types could make good use of these products. Really glad I snatched this one up!

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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.