Thursday, July 16, 2015

The 3b Box: Beauty Beyond Borders July 2015 Review and Unboxing

So I've been around the kbeauty block quite a few times over the past few years, and I'll admit that it takes a lot to excite me these days. While there are many beauty bloggers out there that really delve deeply into their skincare product reviews and probably know so much more than I do on the subject, I do at least feel as if I have a firm grasp on the brands and products that work well for me, personally. I'm starting to notice that every subscription box I get lately has been a bit of a letdown, and not necessarily because of the products themselves, but I find myself saying, "I already have this, I've already tried this, I got this in a different box 2 months ago..." The list goes on. Having said that, I vividly remember when I first discovered Korean/Asian beauty products and what an overwhelming feeling it was. There were so many different types of products that I had never even heard of in the Western market, and so many new brands with varying price points- it was all a LOT to take in. Because I remember what that was like, I try to review kbeauty subscriptions as objectively as possible because I feel they are best fit for people who are new to kbeauty, or looking to build up their korean skincare stash! 

3b is the perfect subscription for literally anyone that is into kbeauty. Why? Because if you're a newbie, it will help familiarize you with brands and products without overwhelming you or your wallet. If you've got storage bins full of korean skincare, you can still benefit from a subscription like 3B because it allows you to try products without having to buy them at full price. Sometimes I've made large purchases from Korean beauty sites and received an item after a month of waiting for it to show up, only to realize I don't like it that much. Having kbeauty-focused subscriptions allows me to try things I haven't gotten around to using yet- plus it keeps my stash stocked up!
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 is quite popular so there is occasionally a waitlist to subscribe, so if you're interested- the sooner you sign up the better!
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.

Skinfood: Wash Off Rice Mask
While you can find this particular product for varying prices online, it usually sell for anywhere between $10-12. Considering the price of the entire 3B box is $12 shipped this is a pretty impressive product to see in the box this month! I would agree with what 3B said on the info card about this being a "cult favorite" because I've seen quite a few people say many positive things about this mask. Its a mild exfoliant that contains rice extracts that help moisturize and brighten the skin while removing dirt and oil. To use this, simply massage onto cleansed skin in a circular motion, then leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse. It's suggested to use this once a week. While I have owned this product in the past, I'm pretty sure I swapped it with someone because I never actually tried it! I'm happy to have this because I've heard good things and I like treatment masks that I can do on the weekends when I'm hanging out at home!

Skinfood: Black Bean Eyeliner Pencil
While I have the black bean brow pencil from this line, I have yet to try the eyeliner pencil! I love that it has a sponge tip included on the end for smudging and smoking out the liner as I tend to do smokey eyes quite a bit when I go out at night. This is a pretty standard eyeliner in my opinion. It goes on quite smoothly although I had to go over it once or twice to build up the pigmentation. I think that can be a good thing though, considering it gives me the ability to start with a more natural line and build it to a darker, more dramatic look if desired. While I don't think this will become an all-time favorite, I'm always happy to have extra eyeliners!

Skinfood: Fresh Apple Sparkling Pore Toner and Emulsion
It seems as if my little toner bottle leaked a bit in transit, but there is still enough in the container for me to at least test out to get an idea of how it works for me. The toner and emulsion both contain apple extracts that clear skin impurities and manage oil production while tightening large pores. Anything that helps with my massive pores is a good thing! I would say the emulsion is more like an essence- as it's supposed to be applied after toner and it has an essence-like consistency. Almost like a thin, watery gel. 
A few things I'm bummed about here: firstly and least important: these products don't smell like apple! I mean, they have a scent of some kind added to them, so I'm not sure why it's not apple.
My major disappointment here is that each of these tiny bottles is considered it's own sample in the box. Since 3B usually gives 4-5 samples each month, I feel like this month's bag is seriously lacking because each of these is considered one sample rather than the pair being considered a set. What irks me a bit is that these small sample bottles can be purchased incredibly inexpensively (under $1) and/or are included as free gifts with purchase from kbeauty websites. Since 3B is so inexpensive, I don't necessarily mind getting these small bottles as samples, but I think they should have at least included a 5th item, even if it was a sheet mask.
Overall Thoughts
While I'm very pleased with the full size Skinfood Rice Mask that was included this month, I think that this was my least favorite 3B box. Not only for the things I mentioned above with the small sample bottles, but also because everything is Skinfood. While Skinfood is one of my favorite brands, I feel like I subscribe to these kinds of services because I want to try a variety of brands and products each month. I guess I was just hoping for a bit more here. I can't put my finger on exactly what is lacking, but I think the combination of the small sample bottles and every product being the same brand left me feeling a little less than wowed. 
Complaints aside, the fact that the wash off mask alone is worth the cost of the box is great value-wise, and it's also one of 2 full size items this month. I think that brand repetition aside, there is a nice variety of products here: emulsion, toner, mask and a makeup item. So while this month may have been a disappointment for me personally, I can still objectively say as I always do, that 3B is a really great way for kbeauty lovers that are on a budget to still try out new brands and products as well as cult favorites. I am starting to get a little weary of my reasoning for subscribing, though. At this point I feel like I only subscribe each month so I can do a review for my readers and not necessarily because I will use/enjoy anything that I receive. I suppose time will tell! At least this month I got the wash-off mask. I'm definitely excited to give that a try!

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.


  1. Same feelings here. When I first subbed to 3b, I wanted to get more brand variety - like when I saw that they gave out Sulwhasoo in one bag and SK-II in another. I'm going to hold onto the sub for a little longer and hopefully they take the feedback!

    1. I think that they're usually pretty good when it comes to variety- this is the first month I was disappointed. Either way, I think I agree with you that I'm going to hold on for a bit and see where they go. They're still a new company and I'm sure they're finding their footing and figuring out what works and what doesn't. Plus it's not a ton of money to invest each month to get a little kbeauty fun in the mail! ;)

  2. I didn't realize it but apparently the email they sent out said that the theme was Skinfood! If they'd mentioned that on the info card, I think the lack of variety would have been a little better explained.

    I think they are doing SO well with getting full size products in the bag for $12 but you're right about the minis. They should have counted as one. But if I weigh all the bags I've gotten, good and not-so-good, this subscription still comes out ahead. For $12, it's really pretty unbeatable. Especially for kbeauty newbies.

    1. Oh well then! I don't think I even receive emails from them other than my shipping notifications- unless it was included there and I didn't bother to actually look! haha. You're right though, putting it on the info card stating that there was an actual theme this month would have been helpful considering they've never done a themed box before! I don't necessarily have a major issue with a box like this but I just hope it's not a common thing that repeats often. I like the brand variety they normally have!

      I agree with you that I'm always impressed with the full size products they include. Especially this month with the rice mask! I still think 3B does a great job value-wise, but since I'm more of a visual person when it comes to subscriptions I always feel a little bummed out when I open a box and it looks a little barren. The little samples really should be considered one product, though- I hope they consider doing that in the future, even if they just add a sheet mask as the last item!