Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wantable Accessories June 2015 Review and Unboxing

As some of you may know already, I've had an incredibly packed schedule for the past few months! With balancing multiple jobs, learning Korean and getting ready to go back to school- I've also been trying my best to keep up with my blog posts as well as have some semblance of a social life this Summer! It's been super busy, but I feel like I'm somehow managing! I wasn't planning on reviewing my Wantable box this month due to a packed schedule, however I really just loved this one so much that I decided to write up a last-minute review on it! Wantable Accessories is probably one of my all-time favorite boxes because it's basically perfect for me. I love customization and easy, free returns- and not only does Wantable offer both, they also offer skip options and tons of awesome customer service!
The Details
(feel free to skip this section if you're already familiar with Wantable!)
Wantable offers a variety of different subscriptions, each one of them costing $40 per month. There is a way to make the price lower, which I will explain later.
The boxes that Wantable currently offers are Accessories, Makeup, Intimates and Fitness. You are able to subscribe to one or all the boxes on one account if you so choose!
Wantable is much different from other subscriptions in that it's completely customizable and risk-free. You take a profile quiz to tell the stylists exactly what you want or don't want based on a "Love, Like, Don't Want" scale. They will never send you something you have marked as "don't want." If you hate necklaces, you'll never get them. If you are tired of getting red lipsticks in subscription boxes, you can simply tell wantable you never want them. Problem solved! You can take the profile quiz as many times as you want- so if one month you want to get socks and bras, but don't want any the following month, simply change your preferences! It really is that simple!

Here's what makes this a really interesting experience: You can return your entire box if you're not happy with it. Even better? You can return or keep as many or as few items as you want! Not only do you get to tell them exactly what you like and don't like, but you can return anything you're not really into- or even return the whole box for a full refund!
  You can start the return process on their website and be done in just minutes. You're able to see how much credit you will receive for the item you're returning, and then you can print out a return label free of charge. Then simply stick the item(s) in the box everything came in, tape the label to the box and leave it outside for the mailman!

$4 Credit for Keeping Everything
If you decide to keep everything in your box, Wantable will reward you with a $4 credit, which you can put toward your next box, making it only $36. This way, you're rewarded for keeping your products, however you also get credits or a refund for anything you return. You really can't go wrong!

There is nothing I hate more than a subscription box that doesn't have a way to cancel easily and quickly! As if Wantable couldn't get any better...they allow you to cancel your subscription with one click on their website. If you don't want to cancel, but would rather skip a month or two, they also have a "skip" button available. Awesome!
Here's a peek at how I rated things on their survey. As I mentioned, Wantable will never send you anything you've listed under "dislike" and they will try to send you more things from your Love category if they possibly can.

As you can see from my preferences above, I almost exclusively wear "bohemian" style pieces and I prefer gold tones. So while you may not love everything I receive, the great thing is you will get accessories more closely catered to you! 

Here's what was in my June Accessories Box!
First up is the Erika Necklace. I immediately fell in love with this piece because it's like nothing I have in my jewelry collection! I love the bold blue natural stone that is wrapped in wire as the focal point, but I love even more that the rest of the necklace is incredibly simple so it lets the stone be the centerpiece. I like the collar-like band rather than a chain- it really looks beautiful when I'm wearing it and I've already received so many compliments! So thrilled with this piece!
 Next up is the Evie Ring which is so incredibly pretty. I absolutely love simplistic, geometric jewelry and this ring fits the bill perfectly. I love how dainty it is while still making a statement. It fits absolutely perfectly and I really love the brushed brass/gold tone!
 The Etta Earrings Feature a simple brushed silver bar with arrow detailing along with brass arrow heads dangling from delicate chains. I immediate decided to keep these because I love simple drop earrings like this. Unfortunately I didn't realize until it was too late to return them that they are stud earrings. Since I stretched my ears when I was a teenager, they never fully closed back up to normal size, so I have to wear fishhook-style earrings so they stay in. While I did decide to keep these, I'm going to have to give them away to a friend or possibly see if I can mess around with them and put them on some fish hook backings!
I immediate fell in love with the Kelsie Bracelet. It's a brushed brass/gold tone with a little weathering on it. It's stretchy so it goes on easily, but has the appearance of a cuff. It has a pretty chevron-like design and really looks great with all my outfits! Unfortunately, I was so excited about this bracelet that I didn't notice that it was broken. You can see how one of the points is broken off in the upper right photo. It's barely noticeable when it's on my wrist, but I wish I had returned it or contacted CS about the issue when I had the chance. Either way, I'm really happy with the piece and regardless of the damage, it does feel like good quality.
Overall Thoughts
This box costs $40, however because I kept everything last month, it was only $36. The total retail value of my collection is $68. What I love most about this box in particular is that everything goes beautifully together. I feel like I could wear all of these pieces with one outfit and they're very cohesive. I'm bummed that I didn't notice the earrings were studs, although I do wish that they had some sort of customization option so I would be able to opt out of studs in the future. I might try contacting their customer service about that and see what I can do! Otherwise, These pieces were spot-on for me. They were exactly my style! I love that the longer I have my subscription to Wantable, the better the boxes get! They're so good that I occasionally get TWO accessories boxes each month, although I've been passing on that lately since I have so much jewelry! I'm crossing my fingers for a cool pair of sunglasses next month! 
If you'd like to learn more about Wantable or sign up for one of their boxes, you can do so HERE.
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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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mishibox June 2015 Review and Unboxing

Not that long ago, there were no Korean Beauty Subscription boxes available. The Kbeauty world was pretty unknown to most Western customers, aside from those who had already stumbled upon it accidentally. While I had purchased a few Korean beauty products and had some staples already in my routine, I didn't truly become passionate about them until I received my very first Memebox. It seems that many beauty subscription lovers were turned on to the wonderful and expansive world of Kbeauty through Memebox- and when they were good, they were good. What made them so different was that they were the first kbeauty "box" (while not a subscription) that shipped to the US, but they also included many smaller and lesser-known brands that weren't always readily available to those of us outside of Korea.
Since then, Memebox has become completely US-based, making their boxes more expensive and admittedly, a little more generic. So what's a subscription box/kbeauty addict to do? Well- there's Beauteque and 3b Box, which both offer some great kbeauty boxes, but they both lack things in their own way which leaves an open space in the kbeauty subscription world.

Enter Mishibox! I had heard about them through some fellow beauty bloggers a couple of months ago before they officially launched. I wasn't sure what to expect from them at the time, however I decided to go ahead and subscribe to their first box so I could let you guys know what it was all about. I do want to disclose that Mishibox refunded the price of this box to me for review purposes, however I have since paid for a subscription- so that's a little hint as to how I felt about this first box!

The Details
Mishibox is a beauty Korean Beauty Subscription service that sends subscribers 4-6 items each month- which can be a mixture of deluxe samples and full size products.

    While the box normally costs $19.95 per month (including shipping), you can sign up before the July Box cutoff and only be charged at the rate of $18.95. Mishibox currently only ships to the United States, but if you're an international customer and want in on the fun, you can join their International Waitlist.
I know packaging is just packaging, but I really love when I see thought and effort put into it. Not only does Mishibox have a branded box, but inside was packaged so nicely with a cute little sticker with their bunny logo. I appreciate when a subscription clearly has thought these things out prior to launching!
Mishibox immediately impressed me with their info card before I even saw what was inside the box. On the front side, Mishibox suggests that you patch test products in case of allergies. But here's where they really won me over: each month, Mishibox will have the ingredients for every product they included translated on their website! You can see the ingredients for the June/Launch box on their blog HERE. Since English translations for Korean ingredient lists are not always readily available, I think this is already a step above and beyond on their part.
Mishibox is also planning on sending out survey's each month so you can give your opinions on each product included. I received my survey today and it's set up similarly to a Birchbox review survey. I love this because you're able to give the company feedback on each individual product.
My love for this info-card doesn't end there: Look at how nice-looking it is!! Not only is there a small color photo of each item, it clearly states which products are full size, what they are, how to use them as well as the retail price. Doing it right, Mishibox.

So let's dig into the very first Mishibox!
Benton: Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack
 So anyone who is deep into their kbeauty obsession knows the drama surrounding Benton. While at one point their products were raved about by almost everyone across the board, there were many people who were affected by contaminated batches of products. Having said that, I will openly admit that I have continued to use certain Benton products because I've yet to find things I like more. This sheet mask happens to be one of those products. It contains snail secretion filtrate, EGF, and bee venom which help with anti-aging, whitening and skin-soothing. I rarely find sheet masks that help with my acne almost immediately after using them. The Innisfree Bija mask is one, and this one is the other. The moment I take this sheet mask off I see any breakouts I have are calmed, less swollen and red. Since I use sheet masks at night, if I use this particular mask I almost always wake up with significantly diminished breakouts. Happy to have another one on hand!

Benton: Honest Cleansing Foam
While I'm not totally against Benton, I am totally against cleansers that have a pH higher than 6. I'm pretty sure I read this one clocks in at 9.5, which makes this cleanser a hard pass. Ever since I switched to low pH cleansers, by acne has been minimal to almost non-existent, so I'm not about to mess with success. This will go in the giveaway bin as I know plenty of people that don't have a pH preference when it comes to cleansers.
Holika Holika: Aloe 99% Soothing Gel
The Holika Holika Aloe body wash is one of my all-time favorites. Since it comes in the same packaging, I got excited and then a little let down when I noticed it was the soothing gel and not the wash. Even so, how cute is this packaging? I don't use aloe gel insanely often, however it's one of the most perfect products to have on hand during the Summer. This gel contains over 99% fermented aloe vera leaf juice, and can be used on the hair, face or body to moisturize, soothe, cool and rejuvenate. One of my favorite ways to use aloe gel is on my legs right after shaving. It not only moisturizes, but it soothes any nicks or cuts as well as keeps razor burn at bay. 
Banila Co: Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
 This particular product has been the buzz of the kbeauty world since it came out, and for good reason! If you've been avoiding oil cleansers and balm cleansers, you really have to throw your fears aside and get in on this trend! It doesn't matter what your skin type is, you really can benefit from these products! Clean It Zero is an award winning and best selling cleansing oil balm that removes makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of beneficial oils. This cleansing balm has a sort of sherbet-like consistency. I use this by rubbing a small amount between my hands and then massaging onto my face to remove my makeup. You can wipe this off with a tissue or rinse with warm water, the latter being my preferred method. You don't want to use an oil/balm cleanser as your only cleanser, though. These are more or less used to remove makeup and oil from the skin. It's necessary to follow up with a regular cleanser.

Holika Holika: Jewel Light Waterproof Eyeliner 
It seems like there were a variety of shades sent out of this eyeliner, however I'm incredibly happy that I received brown. Interestingly enough, I rarely ever strayed from my black liner my entire life- now suddenly I've been finding myself using brown liners almost exclusively. I find that it gives the same look, only softer, which is what I've been into lately! These Jewel Light liners from Holika Holika are pretty nice. I find them to be creamy and smooth when applying, and they do last a decent length of time, although its no mach for my oil slick lids. This does eventually wear off on me, but it lasts much longer than most liners I have. Seeing has how it's an inexpensive liner (around $8) it performs on par with some of the higher end western brands I have.
Skylake: Oriental Herb Shampoo
The lovely Tracy over at Fanserviced-b had sent me a Skylake sheet mask months back, and wow was it love at first sight! Not only did it have such a unique herbal/smokey scent, but it works wonders on my skin! I've been meaning to try out more from the brand, so I was excited to see this shampoo included here! This shampoo looks like there are some kind of weird mushrooms growing in it, but they're actually pieces of wilfordii root, which apparently is good for avoiding hair loss. Since I have thin hair that falls out easily, this seems right up my alley! This shampoo also claims to help prevent dandruff and itching as well, which makes sense since it has such a cool, minty scent to it. I haven't tried this one out yet, although I'm really looking forward to it! It does seem like it's a bit on the expensive side ($36 for 500ml) so I hope I don't love it too much!
Overall Thoughts
This box cost $18.95 (will be $19.95 after July) and has a value of about $30.
While I love a high value box at a low price, I still think Mishibox is a great deal. I think they've provided subscribers with a thoughtfully curated box with a variety of brands represented. While not everyone is going to be happy with the Benton products, I know there are still plenty of people who swear by them. I like that there's skincare, body, haircare and makeup all represented here as well. The only thing I'm mildly concerned about is overall value. Since I subscribe to 3B box as well, I can't help but compare to them. 3B is $12 a month, and if I removed the Aloe Gel from this picture, what's left would look a lot like a typical 3B, which is $8 cheaper than Mishibox. Granted the Aloe gel "retails" at $12, however I've seen it half that price. 

Here's the facts though: So far, Mishibox has gone above in beyond as far as subscription boxes go. Value is only so important. If the curation is bad, or the products are just not useful, then what's the point of a high value? This is only the first box, and not only has Mishibox impressed me with their curation and brand selection, but the info card is complete and detailed without being overly-so. They've provided english translations for all the ingredients. And just when I thought I couldn't love them anymore, I recently got an e-mail from them regarding the pH of cleansers. Apparently I'm not the only one that prefers low pH cleansers. Mishibox went above and beyond and sent a quick survey to subscribers asking for their preference (if any) regarding pH level in cleansers. It seems they'll be making a strong effort to not send high pH cleansers to those who don't want them. If that's not good customer service, then I don't know what is!

Overall, I think Mishibox is really doing it right. They seem like they took a lot of time to plan this service, from the packaging to the info card to the curation, everything is excellent. Their customer service already seems above and beyond their competition by far. I'm excited to see how this subscription continues to grow!

If you're interested in signing up for Mishibox, you can do so HERE.
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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.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Beauteque Mask Maven June 2015 Review

I would be lying if I said I needed more sheet masks. I probably have well over 100 at this point but I honestly feel like I can never have too many! There was a time when I was using one every single night during my skincare routine, but I noticed it was a little bit of overkill and I started to break out a bit. Since then, I probably use a mask 3-4 times a week. The great thing about having so many sheet masks is that you always have the right one for whatever skin concern you may have. Everything from soothing, to moisturizing to oil control and acne care- I have it on hand. Of course I find there are masks that instantly work wonders for my skin and others that do little more than moisturize temporarily, but even having cheap sheet masks in my collection can be useful! My friend Tiffany over at Sample Hime had made a suggestion to use cheap sheet masks to help remove stubborn wash-off clay masks, and I've been loving that method! Once your clay mask has dried, you simply place a sheet mask over the top for a few minutes to loosen it up and then wipe away! I have purchased lots of inexpensive sheet masks that I no longer use regularly for skincare purposes, so it's nice to have some use for them!

The thing about sheet masks is that there are simply a ridiculous amount of them. I feel like it's almost impossible to ever imagine trying them all, even though I want to! I really love mask subscriptions because they give me the ability to try new and different masks that I might not normally pick up on my own. Beauteque's Mask Maven subscription is a great service not only for it's affordability, but also it's variety and worldwide shipping!

What is Mask Maven?
Mask Maven is a monthly subscription service that sends you 9-11 masks each month. These masks range from sheet masks, hand and foot masks, hair masks, wash-off masks and more, although it seems that it's usually sheet mask-heavy. You receive a different variety of masks each month.

Subscription Details and Pricing
You can subscribe Month-to-Month, or prepay for a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription. You are billed on the 20th of each month if you subscribe for the month-to-month option. If you subscribe after the 10th of the month, you will have to wait until the following month to receive your bag. Bags are shipped starting on the 20th of each month, although they have shipped earlier occasionally.

 Month to Month:
$16 per month
3 months:
$16 per Month
 6 months:
$15 per month
12 months:
$14 per month

Shipping costs range from $3.95 to $9.95 depending on where you live. Beauteque currently ships Mask Maven to the following Areas: US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore.

While they haven't done so in the past, Beauteque is finally offering a fully-detailed info card for the masks included in Mask Maven. I love that this is happening because there are many subscribers who are new to kbeauty and would like to have more information on each mask, but I think everyone can benefit from getting more information on each mask, as the uses aren't always clearly listed on the packaging. 
3W Clinic: Pomegranate Sheet Mask
Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that help reduce inflammation, which makes this particular sheet mask great for acne and irritated skin. It also helps protect the skin from sun damage. These 3W clinic masks are incredibly inexpensive- I know because I've purchased them in bulk before, however they aren't bad for basic use. I have over 10 of this particular type and I'll admit they happen to be the ones I use to help me remove my clay masks. In a nutshell: it's not a bad mask, but it didn't impress me enough with it's results.
3W Clinic: Fresh Red Ginseng Sheet Mask
Red Ginseng is also full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that help to increase blood circulation in the skin. It's also great for lightening under eye circles and diminishing puffiness. Having said that, I have no idea how well this mask would work or any other with Ginseng for that matter, because my skin absolutely hates it. While I have combination/acneic skin, there aren't too many ingredients that my skin hates. Ginseng is one particular ingredient that I noticed consistently irritates and breaks me out no matter what product it's in. 
I'll be passing this one on to a friend who doesn't have the same Ginseng-issues as I do!
Nature Republic: Royal Jelly Real Nature Sheet Mask
 Royal Jelly is used in skincare products to increase moisture and help the skin produce collagen. I love Nature Republic and I love Royal Jelly masks, so this was a win for me. While I have combination skin and I don't always need a moisturizing mask (especially in the Summer) I find that Royal Jelly masks tend to give me just the right amount of moisture without making me feel greasy. I surprisingly haven't tried this one yet, but it's definitely the next one I'll grab when I need a little moisture!
Tosowoong: Pure Propolis Sheet Mask
Propolis defends and protects the skin while encouraging skin cell growth, which helps to repair damaged skin. I love honey and propolis products, but I also love Tosowoong. They're a brand that doesn't get nearly enough attention and love in my opinion! Everything I have tried from them I've really loved, so I'm excited to give more of their sheet masks a try. I also recommend their heel patches if you tend to get rough heels from sandals during the summer- they're less expensive than other brands and you can easily find them on ebay!
It's Skin: Blueberry Sheet Mask
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants that are great for your body, so why not for your skin as well? They can help treat acne and blotchy skin with soothing and repairing damaged skin cells. Interestingly enough I've never tried the sheet masks from It's Skin, so I'm interested to see the shape and the fit of their masks as well as how long they stay saturated. The blueberry one sounds perfect for my skin type, too!
Nature Republic: Avocado Sheet Mask
Here we've got another Nature Republic sheet mask, only this time it's avocado! Apparently, Avocados contain high levels of vitamin E and C which help prevent skin damage and signs of aging. They also help protect the skin from UVA/B rays while keeping the skin soft and moisturized. I've used avocado sheet masks before and while they're not the type to show visible results right off the bat, I do think they're great at moisturizing and soothing my skin!
Medicos: Pure Snail Essential Sheet Mask
I love, love, love snail sheet masks! Snail mucin is rich in allantoin, collagen, elastin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, which all work together to give your skin a myriad of benefits. While snail masks are great at moisturizing the skin without overdoing it, it also has worked to treat redness, acne and irritation for me. It's one of those ingredients that seems like it does it all. Love.
My Beauty Diary: Imperial Birds Nest Sheet Mask
This is one of my favorite sheet masks ever. I notice results as soon as I use it, and that is not very common with sheet masks. The Imperial Birds nest mask is amazing for keeping my combination skin hydrated but not overly-so, yet it also brightens and evens my skin tone as well as minimizing the appearance of pores. It's a wonder-mask for me and one that I highly recommend to others!
The Face Shop: Sparkling Wine Sheet Mask
At first, I thought this was a wash-off mask due to the way it's packaged, but then I remembered I've tried a mask from The Face Shop that was packaged this was all well. It's basically rolled up rather than folded. This mask is different from the others included this month in terms of it's benefits. The antioxidants in Grapes help exfoliate and cleanse the skin. I love natural exfoliators since I don't use anything abrasive on my face, so I'm very interested to see if this mask provides any immediate/noticeable results!
Overall Thoughts
Mask Maven costs $16 per month (less if you pre-pay for a longer subscription) and the June bag contained 9 masks, making each mask cost under $2. There was only one mask in this bunch that I won't be able to use, and I was also happy to see one of my all-time favorites included this month as well! My only complaint here is that Mask Maven does send a variety of mask-type products, like hand/foot masks and wash-off packs etc. The June bag only included sheet masks, which I was a bit let down about. I would absolutely love to see a foot peeling mask included in one of the Summer bags- I'm always trying to get my feet in good shape for all the sandals I wear! Fingers crossed that the July or August bags have some foot masks!
Other than that minor gripe, I think this was a nice selection of sheet masks with a variety of different uses and purposes, so I'm happy overall!

If you'd like to learn more about Mask Maven or sign up for yourself, you can do so HERE.
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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.

Beauteque Head-To-Toe Aloe Bag Review

Not everyone is interested in beauty subscription services. Now if you're reading my blog, you're most likely not one of those people, however you may be on a strict budget that doesn't always leave much room to pay for a monthly subscription. The good news is, every month Beauteque releases a new limited edition bag called their "Head-To-Toe" series. This is not a subscription, but a one-time purchase bag that is curated around a specific theme. So if you have a little extra month on a particular month and want to treat yourself to something special without committing to a subscription, the Head-To-Toe bags are perfect for you!
Or...you could subscribe to the BB bag and grab the Head-to-Toe bag if you're really addicted to kbeauty!

The June Head-to-Toe bag was all about Aloe, and there's really no better time of year to stock up on Aloe skincare products. During the summer heat your skin really can take a beating if you're not extra careful. Sunburns, dryness and irritation are all pretty common during the warmer months, and there are few things better for soothing and treating irritated skin than Aloe!

From Beauteque:
 June means time outside, and time outside usually means sunburn. It's commonly known that the aloe plant is the perfect remedy for skin spent in the sun. However, aloe can be featured in a wide range of products such as lotions, emulsions, toners, mists and sheet masks. The hydrating and cooling properties as well as Vitamin E, A, C and B in aloe might make this plant your new favorite skincare ingredient!

(Prices of items are estimated by me based on an average price found through various online stores as Beauteque did not provide retail prices on the info card)

3W: Fresh Aloe Sheet Mask ($1)
Tosowoong Pure Aloe Sheet Mask ($2) 
Aloe sheet masks are amazing for soothing your skin after a day in the sun. They're perfect to throw into your purse or beach bag- you'd be amazed at how refreshing they feel on skin that has been in the sun all day! I've even put sheet masks on other parts on my body that have been accidentally sunburned like my shoulders or chest etc. These are also great to put into the fridge and apply on a warm day for an instant cooling sensation. Ahh...so refreshing! I definitely got through aloe sheet masks pretty quickly since I find them great for this time of year, so I'm happy to see 2 in this bag!

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Body Cream ($10)
 Speaking of soothing irritated skin, what is better than a body cream that contains 90% Aloe? This lotion will soothe and protect the skin from irritation while healing dry skin and leaving it feeling dewy and soft. I love a really creamy body lotion, so I decided to immediately give this one a try.
Nature Republic is known for their great Aloe products, and this lotion is no exception. It's creamy but not so thick that it doesn't absorb well. It feels cooling and soothing, and genuinely made my skin feel super soft. I feel like this is going to be a great lotion to use on my arms and legs after a long day at the Farmer's Market!

 It's Skin: Aloe Soothing Gel ($6)
 I mean...what's an Aloe bag without an Aloe Soothing Gel, am I right? While I'm used to seeing those giant tubs of Aloe gel from Korean companies, I'm actually pleased to see this smaller, more portable squeeze tube! Aloe Gel can be used for so many things skincare-wise. You can use it on the face and body to soothe irritated skin. One of my favorite ways to use aloe gel is on my legs immediately after shaving. It really helps moisturize and keep razor burn and irritation away completely. Ever since I discovered how well it works on my legs, I tend to go through it pretty quickly, especially during the warmer months. This is a great product to have on hand!

 Welcos: Aloe Vera Soothing Gel Mist ($8)
 I've noticed that most people either love or hate facial mists. I was one who didn't like them before I discovered kbeauty. I hated the sensation of being sprayed in the face with something. After seeing so many magical-looking facial mists though, I ended up giving in and now I'm a huge fan of them! This is similar to an Aloe Gel, only it comes in an easy to apply mist. This is probably the most important thing in my beach bag because you can mist your face and entire body with this to keep your skin calm and moisturized. The first facial mist I ever tried was an Aloe mist, and I found that it worked amazingly well when used immediately after a sheet mask. It helps remove that sticky residue that some sheet masks can leave behind!

Nature Republic: Smoothing Aloe Moisture Emulsion ($12)
This is an emulsion, which is another word for a facial lotion that isn't as thick as a cream. It claims to immediately absorb into the skin leaving it fresh and hydrated. Most people either prefer emulsions or creams. Some people with very dry skin will sometimes apply an emulsion and a cream on top. For me, it depends on the season. I have combination skin, so in the winter I tend to use a heavier cream and in the warmer months I will switch to an emulsion to keep from getting overly oily. I was excited to give this a try, only I ran into a little problem.
So while I did just mention earlier that Nature Republic is known for their aloe products...I never said they were known for their packaging. For some reason, they decided to put a relatively thick emulsion into a bottle like this:
 Guys...I cannot get this lotion out to save my life. I have shaken it with all my strength. I have smacked my hand into the opening hoping I could suction some of the lotion out...nope. Nada. I couldnt' even get a tiny amount out to do a swatch. I'm not sure if I somehow got a dud product or what, but this is definitely too much of a pain in the butt for me to continue bothering with. It's unfortunate too because I needed a lighter emulsion for the warmer weather and I was hoping this one would be it. Did anyone else get this bag and have the same issue?

Silicon Massage Pad ($1)
Silicon massage pads are used to deep clean the skin while also still being gentle. The soft silicon bristlesget into had to reach places and help remove excess dirt and oil from deep within the pores.
I like the Beatueque includes beauty tools and lifestyle products. I especially like it when they're branded, like the Tonymoly eyelash curler we recently received. The reason for that is because I find these "no-name brand" products have all been lackluster quality-wise, and this Massage pad is no exception. If I didn't already own a Skinfood version of this massage pad, I might have nothing to compare it to, but alas...I do. The Skinfood one is relatively inexpensive (I believe under $3) and is 10x better quality than this one. If you don't already have a silicon massage pad and you're thinking of picking up this bag, don't let me deter you. This massage pad will do the job just fine, but it's definitely not worth much more than $1 in my personal opinion.
Overall Thoughts
The Head-to-Toe Aloe bag costs $29 plus shipping, and from my estimated value calculations is worth $40.
While I don't think that this is the best value that Beauteque has ever offered, I am always more interested in the curation. Why? Because even though the total value of these products is $40 or so, paying for overseas shipping, or separate shipping costs due to buying from multiple places etc would end up costing much more. Plus it takes work sifting through the hundreds and hundreds of kbeauty products to find the ones that work for you! Beauteque is able to curate a bag filled with essential Aloe products and do a great job including a wide variety. I would have liked to see a toner in here in place of the emulsion that I couldn't get out of the bottle, but other than that I am pleased with the Aloe products that were included. I think this is a great choice for anyone who spends a lot of time outside during the Summer (and who doesn't?) but it would also be a great gift for anyone in your life with a Summer birthday! 

If you'd like to purchase the Head to Toe Aloe Bag, you can do so right HERE. And don't forget: Beauteque ships to many more countries than just the US and Canada- so no matter where you are you can get your kbeauty fix!
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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, June 24, 2015

The 3B Box: Beauty Beyond Borders June 2015 Review and Unboxing

 First off, let me apologize for the dark and dreary photos that will be appearing in the next handful of reviews I have this month. I received a massive pile of packages on the same day and then days afterward we had a ton of rain and darkness. It was either take the photos in the dark/unnatural light, or risk not getting the reviews finished in time! I hate when the weather works against me! 
Having said that, let's chat a little bit about Kbeauty subscriptions. They're really starting to take off here in the US, aren't they? First we had Memebox, then Beauteque, then there were a few dud boxes that tried and failed before even getting off the ground (kpop beauty box, anyone?). 3b hasn't been around for a year yet, but it has consistently been my favorite subscription in it's (very affordable) price range. While there's a lot of kbeauty products to choose from and brands to obsess over, it can get incredibly overwhelming for anyone who is new to the Korean Beauty world. Where do you even begin? A great way to dip your feet into the water and familiarize yourself with kbeauty is to get a subscription. 3B is a great choice, especially for people on a very limited budget!
 What is 3B?
3b (stands for Beauty Beyond Borders) is a subscription service that I have coined the KBeauty Birchbox. While you receive mostly Korean products, they have also included Japanese brands in the past as well. Normally the boxes contain deluxe samples, however they have been known to also include full sizes! 

The Cost
Only $12 a month! (that includes shipping!)
(3b currently only ships to the US)

What's In the Box?
Each box contains a collection of  4-5 deluxe samples that are new or popular in Asia but hard to get your hands on. The products will change each month, and you’ll get to try new skincare, haircare, nail care, and cosmetic products. Sample products range from go-to brands such as Lioele, Etude House and Skinfood to high-end premium brands like SK-II, K, and Sulwhasoo.

Where Do I Sign Up?
You can learn more about 3B, and sign up for their monthly subscription HERE. 3B has become quite popular and there is currently a waitlist to subscribe- so if you're interested I would get on that list asap!
While this is called the 3B box, and it does arrive in one, your products are housed each month in a cute organza bag. I really prefer these bags to getting full-on makeup bags (like ipsy for example) because these are easily stored away to be used again, are lighter to ship and take up less space. I can only use so many makeup bags, so I'm never a fan of receiving them each month through various subscriptions.
It's Skin: Mangowhite Lip and Eye Makeup Remover Tissues
I believe these tissues were in a past Beauteque bag, and I loved them so much that I have since repurchased them a few times! While they appear to be cleansing cloths, they are actually a makeup-removing wipe! On lazy days, I love using these as my "oil cleanser" if you will, and follow up with a regular cleansing cloth. These do an amazing job removing my eye and face makeup, and they smell absolutely amazing. I know the Mangowhite line has other products included in it, so I'm dying to try more to see if they all smell as delicious!

Skinfood: Aloe Soothing Body Wash
We don't get many body washes in kbeauty subscription boxes, so I'm always happy when I see one. I have very sensitive skin on my body, so while I'm pretty picky about my body washes, I have had great luck with Aloe-based ones. One of my favorites is the Holika Holika Aloe body wash, so I'm hoping the Skinfood one will also be nice! This is a smaller tube: I'd call it travel-sized, but it's still more than enough for quite a few uses. 

Etude House: Precious Mineral BB Cream
There are so many pros and cons to getting BB cream samples in subscription boxes. First off, there are so many BB creams on the market, that it's really beneficial to receive samples beforehand so you can test them out and see which ones work best for you formula and coverage-wise. The downfall is that whatever shade is sent, it's not going to work for everyone. This particular BB cream claims to moisturize, soothe and cover blemishes. I have actually tried this BB cream before and I was not a fan of it at all. I found that it looked a little cakey on my skin and also made my face feel dry, which I dislike. I also think this shade is a bit too dark for me, so it will be going in the give away pile.

A'Pieu: Finger Blusher
I've actually been eyeing these Finger Blushes from A'Pieu because I love a good cream blush in the summer. They give just the right amount of flush to the cheeks without looking powdery. Not to mention they seem to last a lot longer on my skin when I'm sweating. This is a gorgeous pink-coral shade that is absolutely perfect for the warm, sunny weather. When you first squeeze it out, it has a matte appearance. Once I blended out on my skin I found it has a very slight, pretty sheen to it. You can definitely build this up or apply it more sparingly depending on preference. I think this might be my favorite item in the box this month. I've already worn it quite a few times and it really lasts quite a while!
Overall Thoughts
While I always enjoy getting my 3b box, I found that this one was much better than last month's for me. 3 out of the 4 products included are items that I would have purchased on my own, or have already purchased and enjoyed. I also think it's a nice variety of items: makeup, skincare and body care. I always say it, but I still think this the perfect subscription for people new to kbeauty and/or people on a budget that still want to get a fun package each month! Overall I'm really pleased with the products and happy that I will actually use them! I hope 3b continues to curate bags as well as this one!

There is currently a wait list to subscribe to 3B, so if you're interested I would sign up as soon as possible. You can get on the wait list here. Right now they're only shipping to the US, but they have been openly asking their customers where we would like them to ship to next. So if you live outside the US, make sure you get in touch with them and tell them you want them to ship to your country!
 If you'd like to learn more about 3B, you can do so HERE.
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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.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Birchbox June 2015 Review and Unboxing

After a couple dud boxes, Birchbox started to pick up again last month. While it wasn't a complete homerun, it was much better than the boxes I was receiving earlier in the year. As I always say, Birchbox is a great "discovery" service in the sense that you don't always get large samples, but you will try lots of different products from many different brands. Plus you really cannot beat their point system. You'd be amazed at how many free products you can get when you combine coupon codes and points on the Birchbox website! That alone is enough of a reason for me to continue to subscribe to this service- not to mention it's the very first subscription I ever signed up for!

What's Birchbox?
If you're unfamiliar with Birchbox, they are one of the reasons why subscription boxes are such a huge deal! They weren't the first beauty box, but they were one of the first, and definitely the original low-cost beauty box to hit the market.
For $10 a month, 4-7 (on average it's about 5) deluxe beauty and lifestyle samples are delivered to your door. You take a little beauty survey when you sign up that helps them choose samples they think you would most enjoy. Birchbox is always fantastic for trying new up-and-coming brands, as well as some higher-end. I still use this subscription as a way to "try before I buy" because it's truly set up to be exactly that.

What's the Points System?
Each box you get contains a random number of samples, however the average amount is usually 5. When you receive your box, you can try out the products, and then go on the Birchbox website and review them. Birchbox awards 10 points per review, which is equal to $1 to spend in their shop. So at the end of it all, you're spending $10 on a box, and getting $5 or more dollars back in credit on their site. This pays off big when you find a product you really love and want to buy a full size. More often then not, you can pick it up for free with the points you've earned over time. There are also many other ways to earn points. You get 1 point for every dollar you spend in their shop, you occasionally can get 10 points for sharing your box on twitter or facebook, and Birchbox offers many coupon codes that can also be used to boost your points!
The theme for this month is, "Say Yes!"
Adventure is a state of mind. It's about exploring the unknown, dreaming beyond the horizon and letting go of the word, "no." What's on your list? Scuba diving with sharks? Sleeping under the stars (hey, your backyard counts)? Here's to adventures big and small, near and far.
I immediately noticed that this is one of those magical months were I got SEVEN products. Which means: 70 Birchbox points when I review each item on the site, or in other words $7 worth of points. Score!
 Klorane Shampoo and Conditioner with Mango Butter
While Birchbox noted on the info card that they threw in the conditioner packet as a bonus, I'm still bothered by the fact that they send shampoo/conditioner samples separately. I have no problem getting them in my box, but I expect an equal amount of shampoo and conditioner so I can really try them and see what I think. Aside from that minor annoyance, I actually really like Klorane products, and this shampoo smells like the most heavenly mangoes you've ever sniffed. It contains mango butter which helps nourish, smooth and hydrate the hair. I have normal hair with oily tendencies, so I don't think I need a moisturizing shampoo/conditioner, but I will probably use the foil pack of conditioner on the ends of my hair.
 Dr. Jart+: Dermaclear Micro Water
This was my sample choice this month, and I'm pretty excited to give it a try! It's a cleansing water which is kind of the Western answer to a cleansing oil. It's made of hydrogen mineral water and helps remove makeup and impurities while brightening and toning the skin. I haven't actually gotten around to trying this yet, but I've already seen quite a few positive reviews, so I'm excited to see how it works for me!
Caudalie: Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid SPF15
At first glance, I thought this was just an spf, and I was pretty confused as to why it was only spf15, but it's apparently a moisturizer that preps skin for makeup as well as minimizing pores. I still don't think SPF15 is enough for my liking though, so I'll be passing this on to my mom. Caudalie is a great brand and I've had good luck with their products in the past, but as someone who wears a high SPF regularly, this one not for me.
Clean: Fresh Laundry Perfume
I love perfume, but I'm incredibly picky about the scents I like. So far, the only perfumes I've ever been obsessed with are Dior Addict and Kenzo's Jungle Elephant. They have to be deep, spicy, oriental, musky and sexy. This scent is none of those things. It's Citrus, floral and woody- it smells clean (obviously) which is nice, but not something I would wear myself.

L. Erikson: Grab & Go Ponytail Holder
I love getting lifestyle items in my Birchbox since they seem few and far between lately. this little ponytail holder seemed a little childish-looking at first: it reminded me of the hair elastics I used as a kid. I tried it out though, and I have to say it holds my thin hair really well without leaving that "mark" on my hair after wearing it for awhile. Actually impressed with this!
Marcelle: Waterproof Eyeliner
Waterproof eyeliners are my LIFE, because I have hooded lids that are also oily, so rarely does an eyeliner stay on my eyes for very long. Waterproof formulas tend to do better on me, unfortunately this liner is navy blue and does not look good on me at all. Pout. It does apply super smoothly and is very pigmented, though!
Overall Thoughts
While only a few of the items in my June box are keepers for me, something about getting 7 items makes the box feel more valuable to me for some reason. I'm one of those "the more the better" people when it comes to subscription boxes! I do think this was a nicely curated box with a wide variety of products ranging from fragrance to skincare, haircare and makeup. While not everything is up my alley, I still think objectively it's a nice box. I'm still waiting on the month where I'm blown away by everything! If I had received a different color eyeliner, a shampoo/conditioner duo in travel bottles and a perfume that was more up my alley scent-wise, it would have been a dream box! Here's hoping July a dream box for me- fingers crossed!

If you're interested in signing up for Birchbox, you can do that here!
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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.