Monday, November 30, 2015

Snack Fever: Korean Snacking Made Simple November 2015 Review and Unboxing

I recently celebrated my 6 year Anniversary with my fiance, and rather than doing something super-fancy and boring (we're not a jewelry and fancy dinner kind of couple) Jeff decided to surprise me with a trip into Boston. We actually live about 40 minutes driving distance away, but we figured taking the train in would be more fun! Since he knows how much I love Korean culture and more generally- Asian foods, we stopped at H Mart to stock up on some of our favorite snacks. If you don't have an H Mart near you, I'm so sorry. It not only has a food court that would make anyone's mouth water, but the grocery store is filled with all kinds of delicious asian foods and ingredients- including snacks galore! I actually scoured the aisle for some of my favorite items from past Snack Fever boxes and found quite a few! 
I mention this because I feel like Snack Fever gives me the ability to try out all kinds of new and interesting Korean snacks without having to make a trek out to H Mart. If I dislike something- at least I know and won't make the mistake of buying a larger size. If I love something- I make sure to keep an eye out for it next time! Plus, what's more fun than getting a box of exciting and different snacks each month?

 The Deets
Snack Fever is a snack subscription based out of L.A. that sends you a box full of really unique and interesting Korean snacks. They don't stop at cookies and chips though- they send soups, ramyun, drinks, candy and more! 

Box Options and Prices
Snack Fever offers 2 different sized boxes: 

The Original Box ($20 or less)
10+ Snacks in Every Box (there were 14 this month!)
Mini Box ( $12 or less)
5+ Snacks in Every Box

Snack Fever also offers 3 and 6 month pre-paid subscription plans that are discounted, so the more you buy in advance, the more you save!

Shipping
Snack Fever offers free shipping to all 50 US States and Puerto Rico. Snack Fever will happily ship outside of these areas for an additional fee. 
Snack Fever also includes a color photo info card that gives you a description of each snack so you're not going in totally blind...unless you want to! It's fun to do it that way sometimes!
 Ottogi: Ppushu Ppushu Spicy Rice Cake Noodle Snack
So while this walks like ramyun and talks like ramyun...it's not! Not really, anyway. Have you ever opened a pack of ramen noodles and smashed it up, sprinkled the flavoring on and eaten it as a snack? Weirdly enough I haven't, but I know a lot of people who have! This snack is made to do exactly that. Simple smash up the noodles inside, open it up and spinkle the Spicy rice cake seasoning into the bag, shake it up and enjoy! I haven't tried this one yet but I love spicy rice cakes so I have a feeling it's going to be delicious!

Ottogi: Sesame Flavor Ramen
Snack Fever seems to include a new type of ramyun in every box- which I am more than OK with. A lot of people avoid it because of the high sodium content, but I have a little trick that I use that really helps with that: I cook the ramen as directed on the package, let the noodles sit in the broth for a little bit and then drain the broth out completely leaving just enough behind to keep the noodles wet. It keeps the flavor but takes away a lot of that sodium! I also like to add green onions, egg, sriracha...whatever I want on top to make it more of a flavorful meal! This one is a sesame flavored ramen that...weirdly enough, contains an "egg block" which looks to be a little scrambled egg block that rehydrates when you put it in the water to boil. That's different! 
 Oh! Gamja Honey Milk Chips
Honey flavored chips are insanely popular in Korea. They have a very sweet flavor that sometimes is delicious, but other times its so insanely sweet and is occasionally flavored with aspartame which gives it a really fake, almost chemical flavor. These chips look like little hollow french fries and are light and airy. In terms of flavor...well, they're odd. You can taste the honey flavor off the bat, but then this weird milk aftertaste comes into play that I just wasn't into. Also they're seasoned with parsley flakes which is just a bizarre addition in my opinion. They weren't terrible, just not something I'd get again.

Lotte: Inner Beauty Planner Aloe+Berry Drink
I'm super happy to see this drink! Many of the drinks that Snack Fever has included in the past have been carbonated, and since I had weight loss surgery, I can't have carbonated drinks. This one is an Aloe and Berry drink that contains Vitamin C and E and is supposed to be marketed as a "beauty drink." I love things like this and collagen shots etc so I'm more than happy to give this a shot. I usually avoid aloe drinks because something about it skeeves me out. Maybe it's that aloe is so gooey and has particles floating in it like orange juice pulp? I don't know. But this one looks yummy enough that I will chance it and see what I think!
 Purple Rice Crackers
This is a package of 2 small rice crackers that are made with purple sweet potato. They're pretty standard rice cakes- a little bland, but airy with a slightly nutty flavor. They have a sweet, saltiness to the that is really nice, though. I enjoyed these although my roommate was not a fan.

Oh Yes! Sweet Potato Cake
I am not a fan of sweet potato normally, so I was a little reserved about trying this snack. It looks so delicious right out of the package though. You've essentially got a yellow cake with a sweet potato filling layer in between. The entire thing is then covered in chocolate. So much yum. I took a bite of this and immediately did a little dance. No joke. It was so yummy! I didn't really taste the sweet potato at all, honestly. Regardless, this is definitely something I'm going to look out for at H Mart because I want more of them immediately!
 Ace Sand Cream Cookies
This was the first thing I tried in the box, more so because I was curious as to what they would taste like. These are little sandwich cookie/crackers that are somewhere between an oreo and a cheese cracker sandwich. I can't explain it! It's definitely more sweet than savory, but the cookies have more of a cracker consistency. The filling is a vanilla yogurt flavor, and it's really light and cool. I liked these quite a bit and they're a great light snack to toss in my lunch bag!

Lotte: Soft Strawberry Malang Cow Candy
I don't eat a lot of candy, so I handed these off to my roommate who thought they were delicious. They're kind of interesting- they're a firm, yet still soft marshmallow candy with a strawberry flavor. 
 Nuneddine Italian Snack
This is a rather large package of what is apparently originally an italian snack. What they are is essentially little squares of flaky pastry with a sweet glaze on top that tastes a bit like coffee and caramel. They're insanely addicting and I ate the entire package myself. No regrets.

Gosomi
This was a pretty confusing-tasting snack I have to admit. Firstly, why do Korean snack companies package sleeves of chips and crackers like this? They end up getting all broken up into pieces and it's a mess! Regardless, these are little crackers with a very weird flavor combo. They have a nutty flavor and seasame seeds on top, however they have a hint of coconut that's really apparent in the aftertaste. They're topped with what seems like a mix of salt and sugar. I was not a fan of these at all, but my roommate thought they were delicious.
Choco Kit
Firstly, if this isn't the cutest packaging you've ever seen I don't know what is! This was such a silly and fun product to include! Inside the box is a tray, two types of chocolate in tubes, and little cookie sticks. You simply soften the chocolate tubes with your hands, twist the tops off and squeeze equal amounts into the mold. Then, put the cookie sticks in to make what sort of looks like little chocolate mushrooms. Put them in the fridge to harden and then enjoy! I made these last night and it was actually a lot of fun! They have a strawberry/chocolate flavor too and it was really good!

Goraebap Crackers 
Oh these little crackers are quite deceptive! At first glance I thought they might be something like Goldfish? I was wrong. Oh so wrong. I opened up the package and they seemed to have a savory scent to them that I couldn't put my finger on. I ate a couple. The taste was something I couldn't put my finger on, but it was salty and slightly fishy. Not very tasty in my opinion. The info card says they're seafood flavored, however the box itself says 'seaweed' so I'm going with that. If you like seaweed you'd probably love these, but they definitely weren't for me!
Overall Thoughts
Compared to the October box, this things was JAM packed with snacks! Seriously there are 14 separate treats here and I only paid $19 for this box (I have a 3 month sub so I save $1 on each box.) Knowing how much these things cost at H Mart, I think I got a great value, especially when you consider shipping costs that are included in the price. There were lots of delicious snacks this month, lots of interesting ones that I had never seen before too! I think asian snacks are always so much fun and so interesting because many of them are so different from what we have in the US. I love this subscription and I'm already anticipating the December box!

If you want to sign up for Snack Fever, I would love it if you'd use my referral link 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, November 28, 2015

Rice Force Skincare: Deep Moisture Deluxe Trial Kit Review!

Every now and then I will receive a message from a company asking me to review their products. Sometimes it can be something as ridiculous as an ice cube tray (because how is that relevant to my blog, I ask you??) but other times it's new or interesting skincare products that I am really curious about and think my readers would be too! I do my research on the brand and see if it's a company I'd feel comfortable working with or reviewing, and then usually get back to the company and make sure they're OK with possible negative reviews. Interestingly enough, there are companies that will say "never mind" and move on. However, if a company passes all my little tests, then I usually am more than happy to do a review!

In this case, I was contacted by a company called Rice Force to do a review on some of their products from the Deep Moisture line, more specifically their trial kit. I had never heard of this brand prior to them contacting me, however I have been very interested in familiarizing myself with Japanese skincare a bit more. They were more than OK with my stipulations (all honesty, even if it's brutal sometimes!) and sent me over a trial kit to test for you guys.

Rice Force is a very popular Japanese Skincare Company that began 15 years ago, who has won a variety of awards and the hearts of fans all over the world. You can find them featured in high end spas all over the place as well- even in the US in Hawaii!

Here's a Bit about The History of Rice in Skincare, the Fermentation Process and More from the Rice Force Website:

The beautifying power behind RICE FORCE skin care products lies with Rice Power Extract. Rice Power Extract was developed by a sake brewery that boasts a legacy of over 150 years. The perceptive owner of the brewery, who holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Science, noticed something interesting about the tōji, the craftsmen who make sake. The tōji were in daily contact with malted rice, the main ingredient of sake, and all of them had beautiful hands regardless of old age.

Entrusting there were more uncovered benefits in a grain of rice, the brewery owner embarked on a research program with the support from the Japanese Government and medical institutions to discover a brand new category of skin care products.

The key raw ingredient is 100% Japanese white rice.
This is the same kind of rice consumed by the Japanese people on a daily basis.
Rice Power® Extract uses only whitened and polished rice produced
by removing the rice germ and rice hulls from unmilled rice.
In a process that takes as long as 90 days, rice is steamed and extracted, then aspergillus, yeast, and lactobacillus are added. The preparation is then fermented and aged.
Rice Power® Extract is diligently created by drawing on nature’s energy.
Extracts with differing capabilities can be produced by varying the fermentation method. At this time, 36 different types of extracts have been developed.
We make the best use of the various properties of these extracts across our product line.

For more details on the importance of Rice-based skincare, as well as the history of the Rice Force brand and a list of the variety of high end retailers and spas that carry this brand, click here!
I'll be giving you my first impressions of the Deep Moisture Deluxe Trial Kit which includes samples of the Lotion (japanese toner) Essence, Cream, Makeup remover, face wash and sunscreen. They are all housed in a quilted makeup bag.

UV Protect Milk SPF 25
Description: 
The gentle lotion completely blocks off the UV rays without any fragrances, or white residue on your skin. Because many customers love this smooth and comfortable sensation of the lotion, they keep coming back for more! 75% of our customers are repeaters who are very satisfied with this product.

I have yet to find a sunscreen that I like to the point of repurchasing it. I have lots and lots of them in my stash and whenever I open a new one, I have this weird thought of "let this be the one!" It never is, unfortunately. It's not that any of them are terrible, but there's always some issue with it whether it be consistency, residue, scent etc. This UV Protect Milk is probably as close to perfection as I'm going to get. It has no fragrance, there's no residue on my skin and it smooths onto my face like a moisturizing, yet liquidy lotion. It's heaven, honestly. My only isse: SPF 25 just isn't gunna cut it for me, personally. I need something a little stronger than that. Having said that, if that sounds like a good amount of SPF for you I could not recommend this more. It's absolutely amazing. It also works really well under makeup and didn't break me out at all!

Ingredients
Water, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Zinc Oxide, Alcohol, Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-14, Dimethicone Copolyol, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizatem Tocopherol, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Titanium Dioxide, PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Aluminum Hydroxide, Silica, PEG/PPG-19/19 Dimethicone, Steareth-3, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Batyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Disodium Edta

Makeup Remover
Description: 
Make Up Remover is formulated with Rice Power Extract No.2. It easily dissolves and lifts away impurities and makeup yet is gentle to the skin. The gel-type Make Up Remover instantly binds to makeup and impurities for easy removal without dehydrating, for a refreshingly clean and supple finish.

I feel like I'm praising way too much right out of the gate, but seriously this is one of the best makeup removers I've ever used. This stuff is like a gel, but it still needs to warm up a bit on your hands similar to a sherbet cleanser. They're not lying when they claim this stuff "binds" to makeup. It took barely any effort to get my heavily applied eye makeup off myf ace, and the rest of my skin felt amazingly clean yet still moisturized after I rinsed this off. There was no tight/stripped feeling, and no residue. I absolutely loved this product!

Ingredients
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Octyldodeceth-25, Sorbitol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-10, Triethylhexanoin, Water, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

Mild Face Wash
Description: 
Mild Face Wash is a mild pH balanced cleanser that effectively cleans without damaging your skin, and without stripping away essential moisture. Moisture is preserved because Mild Face Wash is formulated with Rice Power Extract No.1. Uncomfortable pulling and tightness after washing is a thing of the past.

I'm always interested in trying new face washes because I rarely find one that I'm super in love with. I was a little concerned I wouldn't really know how I'd feel about this one considering they only include 2 foil packets, but you need so little that you could easily get 2-3 uses from each one! The pH is in the range I like (about 5.5) and feels like it cleans really well without stripping my skin. It has no obvious scent either, which I love. I'm actually really impressed with this product in particular, although I think the $37 price tag is a little out of my range- if I had the money to splurge I might just do it. You need such a small amount to cleanse the face that I can imagine the full size would last me a really long time.
Ingredients
Water, Potassium Myristoyl Glutamate, Butylene Glycol, PEG-400, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Sorbitol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil PCA Isostearate, Stearic Acid, Glycol Destearate, Lauric Acid, Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

Deep Moisture Lotion
Description:
 Deep Moisture Lotion is a fast-absorbing nourishing formula that fortifies your skin and hydrates from the inside to produce softer, smoother, more youthful skin. 

I knew going into this from some of the Japanese products I've purchased or received in the past that "lotion" in Japan is almost always a toner. I have no idea why this is because it's confusing for my dumb western mind, but hey- if you see a facial "lotion" in Japan, it's probably a toner! This is really like a toner/booster combo as it feels like a thicker water and spreads smoothly over the face. Its supposed to supply and restore moisture to the skin and prep it to accept more products. I actually quite like this product as well, but I tend to have a soft spot for toners/boosters for some reason. This feels more soothing than clarifying in terms of toning, and while it hasn't broken me out and my skin seems to quite like the formula, I'm partial to clarifying toners that occasionally give me a bit of a "tingle." Since I have large pores an acne, I want my toners to feel like they're doing something to help those issues. I think this one would be amazing for normal to dry skin.

Ingredients
Water, Oryza Sativa (rice) Extract, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dipotassium Grycyrrhizate, Sodium PCA, Lysolecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalene, Tocopherol, PEG-150, PPG-6-Decyltetradeceth-20, PEG/PPG-25/30 Copolymer, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Methylparaben, Carbomer, Aminomethyl propanediol, Citric Acid

 Deep Moisture Essence
Description: 
Deep Moisture Essence is a highly concentrated moisturizing lotion enriched with Rice Power Extract No.11. Deep Moisture Essence is also an optimal extra care lotion for the age-revealing, delicate skin around the eyes and mouth.

Essences are like a lighter version of a serum, and they tend to be one of my favorite skincare ingredients because I can layer them on and get lots of different benefits. This particular essence is loaded with goodies like vitamin E, olive oil, squalane, licorice root extract etc. I was really impressed with how nicely this smooths on. It's a bit thick for an essence, but it goes onto the skin so nicely and isn't greasy or sticky at all. I think this is a really lovely product in terms of how it makes my skin feel, although I don't think I would buy a full size simply because of the cost. I have a lot of essences that feel amazing and do amazing things for my skin, and while this seems like it could be one of them, I would probably choose a less expensive essence in the future.
Ingredients
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Water, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Squalene, Tocopherol, PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether, PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Batyl Alcohol, Laureth-7, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Steareth-3, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Disodium Edta, Methylparaben, Polyacrylamide, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide

Deep Moisture Cream
Description:
 Locks-in moisture provided by Deep Moisture Lotion and Deep Moisture Essence. Non-greasy and lightweight, Deep Moisture Cream is ideal for use anytime throughout the day.

This is the moisture line, so I was a little concerned at first that it wouldn't work very well for my oily/combo skin. This cream was especially concerning for me because ones made for dry skin tend to be very rich and dense, which can sometimes cause my skin to break out. This one isn't like that at all, though! I'd say it's right in the middle in terms of consistency- not too liquidy, not too rich. I felt like this did a great job moisturizing my skin without overdoing it. I didn't feel that it left a sticky or greasy residue either, so I was able to top this with my regular sleeping pack and spot treatments easily. I did find that when I used this moisturizer in the morning before applying my makeup, that by the end of the day my face was slightly more oily than usual, so I think it might be ever-so-slightly too moisturizing for daytime. However, that's one my combo/oily skin. I used this nightly until it was empty and simply avoided using it during my morning routine and I had great results. I love loading my face with moisture before bed and combining this product with my regular sleeping pack gave my skin consistent moisture throughout the night.

Ingredients
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Water, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol, Squalene, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Aminomethyl Propanediol
Overall Thoughts
I was actually way more impressed with Rice Force than I originally expected. I thought I might enjoy the products and that they'd be on par with Korean products of a similar type, but I absolutely can tell why these products are raved about so much and why people spend the money on them. I also noticed that while the full sizes of these products are expensive, You really need such a small amount of them to really cover your entire face. Each small bottle lasted me about two weeks, and the larger foil packets were 2-3 uses. I can imagine the full sizes would last an incredibly long time. I was worried that since this was  "deep moisture" line, that it would have a negative effect on my oily/combo skin. I didn't find that to be the case at all. Not only does my skin look and feel more plumped and moisturized, but there is no excess oil nor has there been any breakouts since I began testing this line. I'm really just thrilled with this brand! I am super tempted to buy the trial kit for oily skin as well because I would love to see how those products work for me!

Where to Buy and Awesome Deal!
The Deluxe Trial Kit has a $56 retail value and sells for $29.80 on the Rice Force Website. However, using my referral link, you can get the kit for only $19.80 with free shipping!

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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.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Beauteque Mask Maven November 2015 Review

Alrighty, so I usually do a little chatty intro here about sheet masks and why I love them etc etc, but hey- gotta be honest here: I start school on Monday and I've been running around like a crazy girl prepping and making sure I'm (over) prepared. I wanted to get this review up as soon as possible, so let's skip the chattiness this time and get right to the goods, shall we?

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

I didn't receive any sort of info card with this bag (again...) so I am going off of any information I can find on the internet. Some of these had very little to go off of, so I apologize in advance!
Nature Republic: Avocado Real Nature Mask Sheet
This is one of NR's more standard masks and I think I've used this one quite a few times before. This uses avocado extract to moisturize and plump dehydrated skin.

Tonymoly: Pureness 100 Collagen Elasticity Mask Sheet
This Tonymoly mask is made with 100% cotton and is specialized to use collagen to give moisture to the skin while providing firmness and elasticity.

Tonymoly: I'm Real Broccoli Vitality Mask Sheet 
These I'm Real masks from Tonymoly have been making a comeback lately since they've been popping up in Sephora stores across the country. They have super cute packaging and a wide variety of types so they tend to sell really well. I happen to like them as well, my favorites being the Wine and the Lemon. This is the Broccoli variety, which I have tried before and it's safe to say it does NOT smell like broccoli, thank goodness! This one uses vitamins A and C to provide vitality to the skin while enhancing it's radiance. I don't feel like this is a mask that will fix a specific issue, but this is a good one to have when your skin just needs a little pick-me-up.
 3D Foodaholic Blueberry and Orange Natural Essence Masks
These fruity masks while made by the same company, have completely different uses. The Blueberry Mask helps maintain skins lustre and elasticity while providing moisture and vitality to the skin.  The Orange mask uses Vitamin C to provide a healthy glow to the skin while softening dead skin cells, brightening dull skin, lightening scars and dark spot all while evening skintone. Vitamin C is a beautiful thing!
NO:HJ: Healing Mask Packs in "Lustre" and "Anti-Pore"
This is a totally new brand to me to the extent that I literally have never seen these before. The only information I could find on these masks was on a Korean blog, and I was having a hell of a time trying to translate the hangul. I did eventually find the brand available on a few different Korean websites, including TesterKorea and Koreadepart, and it seems like they have quite the variety of masks! Lots of different styles to choose from and also many different price points. All I know is that this packaging is super pretty and unique! The packets are frosted, but still see-through, where you can see the sheet mask sitting inside. Each packet has 25g of essence inside and both masks have 24k flecks within the essence. Gold extract improves the skin penetration of other components in the mask by accelerating skin cell division.
Anti-Pore improves irritated skin by hydrating and softening. I contains essence from 30 kinds of natural extracts and provides intensive pore care. Lustre is used to brighten the skin, improve the tone and texture while helping skin maintain it's elasticity and firmness. 
Green Harmony Mask Packs in "Pear" and "Pumpkin"
These are apparently made by Ladykin, which I'm excited about! Ladykin is one of my favorite "lesser known" brands that I discovered years ago through Memebox, so I am happy to see them starting to appear in Beauteque's store and subscriptions as well! 
These are wash off mask packs and normally you would apply, leave on for your desired time and then rinse.  You can also apparently use these as a sleeping pack if you so desire or if your skin needs some serious moisturizing. I couldn't find too much information on these, although I found that the Pear variety is used to improve skin tone while the Pumpkin is for moisturizing and hydration.
Overall Thoughts
Mask Maven costs $16 per month (less if you pre-pay for a longer subscription) and the November bag contained 9 sheet masks,making each item cost under $2.
I was pretty happy with the masks this month! I really appreciated that there was a variety of familiar brands as well as new-to-me brands, especially. I sort of wish they would start sending the info cards again, though. This is the second month I haven't received one and it was quite a pain trying to figure out what each mask was used for, and I had an especially hard time finding any sort of information on some of the more unfamiliar masks/brands. Another thing I will say is that I wish Mask Maven was more consistent in terms of giving us a bigger variety of "masks." There are so much more than just sheet masks that could be included- there are eye patches, body patches, forehead patches, lip masks and masks for around the lip area, neck patches, clay masks, steam masks, hand and foot moisture masks, foot peeling masks, peel-off masks...I mean I could go on forever! I realize Mask Maven is essentially a sheet mask subscription, but I really think they would wow me if they started regularly including a bit more variety in terms of the types of masks they include. I love seeing new brands too- I hope they start including more small brands and less of the Tonymoly's and Etude House's. I do love those brands but I'm already so familiar with their products that I always hope for new things to try!

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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beauteque Monthly BB Bag November 2015 Review and Unboxing

I've been doing something amazing lately: Actually using the products in my stash. I know. Crazy, right? I spent years constantly buying the newest and most exciting products and whatever was on sale or caught my eye, that I ended up with so much stuff that I'll never be able to use. So what did I decide to do? Give a lot of it away, of course. For the rest of the stuff hiding in all my drawers and in every nook and cranny of my bedroom: use it or lose it. I've really been plowing through products lately and I'm noticing there are so many awesome products I never even knew I had! 
Even though I'm cutting down on the products that come into my possession, there are still a small handful of subscription boxes that I get on a regular basis. I still have that weakness for kbeauty, even if it's stuff I don't need or maybe won't even use. I want packages filled with Korean skincare, damn it! Beauteque is one of the first kbeauty subscriptions based out of the US, and while they've had their ups and downs, I think that they have a solid value and do a good job curating new and interesting products. I wasn't overly thrilled with last months bag though, so I was hoping for a better one this month!

November's Theme:
Fall Favorites
Fall is one of the most visually stunning seasons of the year. Multicolored leaves, sunsets glowing through changing trees, and pumpkin patches are all a sight to behold. Inspired by the beauty this time of year, we curated an array to make you feel your most beautiful. Hand creams, body washes, masks and more are all here for your most beautiful season yet!
What is Beauteque Monthly?
Beauteque Monthly is a beauty subscription curated by the US-based Korean beauty website, Beauteque. Each month, subscribers receive BB Bags (Beauteque Beauty Bags) filled with all kinds of Korean beauty goodness! I have found that Beauteque's bags are perfect for anyone new to K-Beauty, as well as an old pro. There's something for everyone!

Details
Subscription Types (3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions are Prepaid):
1 Month (month-to-month) $24 per month
3 month $24 per month
 6 month $23 per month
12 month $22 per month
All subscriptions will auto-renew at the end of it's cycle so you never accidentally miss a bag!
You can also gift subscriptions if you want to surprise a lucky friend or family member!


WHAT WILL I RECEIVE?
-6 or more full sized products in every bag
-A value between $65 to $85+
-Makeup, skincare, and lifestyle products
-Products from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, America

SHIPPING
Beauteque Beauty Bags ship to the US, Canada, and Europe.
-US shipping is $3.95 per month
-Canada shipping is  $5.95 per month
-Europe shipping is $8.95 per month 
 Now that we've got the details out of the way, let's get onto the November Bag!

Banila Co: Radiant Lace Hydrogel Eye Patch ($6.90)
Love me some eye-focused skincare. It's the first place I started to notice aging, and since then I've been super diligent about using quality eye creams, being gentle on that area in general and pampering with under-eye hydro gels every morning. Once in a while I like to get a fancier eye mask to spice things up a bit, and this one fits into that category quite well. This mask goes around the entire eye area and looks like a piece of gelatinous lace. Weird, but kind of cool. It contains ceramide, rose and white flower complex which help with moisturizing, anti-aging and revitalizing the skin around the eyes.  Love it. Using it asap!

 Cow Bubble and Aroma Bath Salt ($4)
This is what seems to be a single-use sachet of bubble and aroma bath powder. By the packaging, my guess is that this is rose-scented, which is my least favorite scent of all time for anything, so I'll be passing this on to my mom. This product actually made by a Japanese brand, which is fun since we don't see much of those in Beauteque bags! I'm weird about bath powders and stuff though. I don't really use them that often so this was a bummer of a product even if it wasn't rose-scented. Why not just include a nice sheet mask instead?

Urban Dollkiss/Baviphat: Paprika Anti-Wrinkle Hand Cream ($10)
I know I've heard a lot of people say they're tired of getting hand creams in kbeauty subscriptions, but I'm the kind of person who feels like they can never have enough! I use hand cream diligently, and even more so in the Fall/Winter months, so I'm super happy to have another one. Plus they come in such cute packaging! This one is going right next to my peach and orange hand creams on my vanity! When I first saw this product, I was concerned about the scent considering it's called "Paprika" hand cream and it comes in a green pepper container. I mean, what would you think this would smell like? Spices? Peppers? I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had a light, fruity scent and absorbed quickly and easily. This isn't a heavy-duty moisturizer but it would be great for daily use to keep your hands soft and smooth!

Secret Key Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel ($15)
This stuff has become a bit of a cult favorite, especially with those of us who were part of that original makeuptalk.com Memebox crew. You all know who you are! It took me awhile to finally get around to trying this stuff out, but once I did I was super happy with the results. I usually don't feel like peeling gels do a much for my skin, but this one is amazing at gently sloughing away the dead skin, dirt and oil without being a "scrub" which I can't use on my face. Peeling gels sort of "ball up" on the skin and as you rub them, they roll away the dead skin and impurities on the face. I swear my skin looks brighter and more even-toned after I use this, and it's not overly abrasive which is perfect for me. I only use this product about once a week, but I definitely see a major difference when I do so I'm happy to have a backup of this!

A'Pieu: Finger Blusher ($10)
I love cream blushers that come in tubes like this- but I usually reserve them for the warmer weather. For some reason, that creamy, dewy tint on the cheeks just looks great during the warmer months! I actually own one of these blushes already in a different shade and I honestly wasn't impressed at all. They're not pigmented in the slightest, which is a shame. This shade is like...practically white from the looks of it. Perhaps it's a highlight? I didn't open this because I plan on giving it away since I'm not really a fan, but I might just risk it and pop this one open in case it's a highlight shade. Those can definitely come in handy!

Urban Dollkiss/Baviphat: Touch My Body Wash ($5.50)
I'm sorry, the moment I saw this body wash I started singing this song at the top of my lungs:

I mean...that's normal, right?

Back from kpop land, this body wash is part of a collection, and the bottles actually can hook together and stack on top of each other which is cute. I think subscribers all got different scents, and I unfortunately got the only one that I won't use. Rose. Always rose. Sigh. I like the addition of a body wash this month though- I tend to go through them pretty quickly and I'm always on the lookout for Korean branded body washes that are good for my sensitive skin. Maybe we'll see another one in a 2016 BB bag!

Bath Sponge ($5.50)
There's not a whole lot to say about this. It's a bath pouf! This tool pairs nicely with the body wash which is my only demand of the tools in these bags. As long as they're not just randomly thrown in the bag and they are there for a purpose, I'm all about them! This bath pouf is actually kind of neat though, because it has a mesh "handle" that you can slide your hand through and get a better grip while you're using it.

Beauteque Pore Brush ($8.99)
So according to the info card, there was supposed to be a pore brush included in the bag as well that I did not receive for some reason. Beauteque is awesome and already has it in the mail on it's way to me.
The exact pore brush was featured in the March Beauteque Bag, so I already own it. I'm not entirely sure why they would repeat an item like that, though. I suppose it's fine if you weren't subscribed in March, but I know that month-to-month subscribers or those who bought an entire Year subscription in advance might be getting a second one. It's actually a pretty nice product for cleaning out your pores around the nose and in little nooks and crannies on your face, so if you do already have one it would make a great gift.
Overall Thoughts
Beauteque Monthly costs $24 (plus shipping) and this bag as a Beauteque Value of about $65. Looking around briefly online and taking an average price for each product, I would say the value is closer to about $48. They did a much better job this time of putting non-inflated retail prices, although as usual with kbeauty, you can find a wide variety of prices on all these products. I tend to use the average price to come up with my overall value of these bags each month.
I think this bag was so much better than last month, and even more so when I ignore the Rose-scented items I got. Since scents are chosen at random, I'm only reviewing based on the product itself, not the scent. I think the only dud for me would be the bath salts since I won't use them. I would have much preferred another small item for the same retail price, like a lip balm or a nice sheet mask. I'm also bummed about the A'Pieu blush, however it's lack of pigmentation isn't really something Beauteque would know necessarily. Overall there are some nice products here, but my favorites are definitely the hand cream and the Banila Co eye mask. Cannot wait to slap that on tomorrow morning!

If you're interested in signing up with Beauteque Monthly, you can do so HERE!
If you want to shop Beauteque's regular website for limited edition bags, and K-Beauty galore, you can check that out 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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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

Ever since I decided to cut back on my subscription boxes, I'm amazed at how much stuff I actually have in my stash. I always give stuff away to my friends and family that I know I won't use, but the stuff I end up keeping is still way more than I could ever use. Since I don't have piles and piles of stuff coming in every month, I am really able to take a look at what I have and start using some of it! Crazy, right? I know any of you who are addicted to subscriptions know what I'm talking about! 
3B was one of the subscriptions I decided to continue receiving, and I admit that part of that was because of the low price tag- only $12 a month. I primarily use Korean skincare, so it's nice to get an affordable Asian beauty subscription every month that keeps the products coming in without burying me. This month was especially awesome as it included things that I have never tried before as well as some personal favorites!

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.

Secret Key: Starting Treatment Essence
This starting essence has over 90% fermented yeast extract which is used to help calm troubled skin and restore natural elasticity and hydration. While this is called an "essence" it's not actually used at the same time as a regular essence. Since it's "starting essence" it's actually used immediately after cleansing. Starting essences are usually applied to help restore lost moisture and nutrients that were stripped away after cleansing. I have used quite a few starting essences including quite expensive ones, and this is the one I am currently using and have repurchased multiple times. I find that I need only a few drops into my hand to cover my entire face, it's insanely affordable, and truly works better than every other starting essence I've tried. This is a highly recommended product from me, personally. I've yet to find a starter that I like more!

Etude House: Real Art Cleansing Oil
I feel like by now, most people have gotten over their fear of oil cleansers. I know in the past I've spoken to a lot of oily skinned ladies who say things like, "oh I don't use oil cleansers because I don't want to make my skin even MORE oily!" Most people know nowadays that oil cleansers do not make your skin oilier, and oily-skinned ladies actually benefit from using them as they help balance moisture levels on your skin rather than stripping the oil away and fooling your skin into thinking it needs to produce more. Oil cleansers are excellent for removing makeup quickly and easily! This one is made with coconut and argan oil (so use with caution if you're acne-prone!) and it helps remove tough waterproof makeup and foundation while moisturizing and protecting the skin. Keep in mind that after you use an oil cleanser, you should follow up with a regular cleanser!
This particular one I haven't tried before, so I'm excited to see how well it works in comparison to my favorites.

A'Pieu: NonCo Tea Tree Spot Patches
I'm kind of obsessed with spot patches lately. Whenever I break out nowadays, I stick a spot patch on the area immediately (usually my Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches) and within a day or two it's either gone or completely flattened. I actually purchase these A'Pieu tea tree patches in sets of 10- each sheet has 12 patches on it. These are not thick like the more expensive patches, but feel and look more like a sticker or a piece of tape. The backs of these are a bit sticky and have a tea-tree scent to them. While I don't think these work miracles, they're insanely inexpensive (like under 50 cents per sheet) so I buy them in bulk and stick them on less offensive pimples before I go to sleep to help soothe them and protect them bacteria. They're great to have on hand, especially if you use more expensive patches. Having these on hand keeps me from going through my expensive patches too quickly!

Hada Labo: Skin Plumping Gel Cream
Hada Labo is a Japanese brand- they're actually Japan's #1 skincare line according to 3B! I know they also have a pretty big following here in the US as well. This line uses "Super Hyaluronic Acid" for a deeper, multi-layer hydration. This helps your skin become smoother and younger looking. This cream in particular combines the power of a serum with the hydration of a moisturizer and is clinically shown to hydrate skin for up to 24 hours! Whoo that sounds like good stuff! I've tried 2 or 3 products from this brand before and I've enjoyed them, so I'm happy to give this a try too! It's a great time to get a moisturizer like this too- the weather has been so dry lately!

Ra & Gogwoori: Whitening UV Sun Cream
You might be wondering why the heck 3B would include a sunscreen in a November bag. You might also be like me and be super excited about it. While some people only use sunscreen during the warmer months to protect the skin that is more exposed, I personally use it every single day and I recommend you do the same! The sun can damage and age your skin no matter what time of year it is, and sun reflecting off the snow is just as bad as those hot summer rays! This particular sun cream is light, non-sticky and has SPF 50 to protect and block UVA and UVB rays. You can use it alone or as a makeup base. Since it does say "whitening" in the title, I'm assuming this also doubles as a whitening cream- which basically means it has a tiny bit of a white tint to it to lighten and even out your skin tone temporarily.
Overall Thoughts
3B nailed it this month. Honestly I was super happy with everything in this box! A full size sun cream and all of these really generously sized samples! I love having a travel size starting essence since it's a must-have for me no matter where I am. I'm also excited to have a couple of new products to try! This was also a pretty solid curation in terms of product and brand variety. I say it every month, but I think 3B is absolutely the best value out there for anyone who is looking for a kbeauty subscription. Whether you're brand new to Korean/Asian beauty and want to familiarize yourself with products/brands, or you're like me and just want some new pretties showing up in the mail every month, 3B is a great option.

There is frequently 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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Memebox: KBeauty Starter Kit! (Only $10 and will be back on Black Friday!!)

 Okay guys, I've got a really fun holiday gift to show you: The Memebox Mini K-Beauty Starter Kit! I saw this go on sale and I didn't really pay attention to it because I was thinking, 'well I've got enough samples to last me a lifetime.' I didn't think how perfect this would be as a holiday gift, though- and even though they sold out insanely fast, I have a little tip for you:

Memebox confirmed to me that there will be a SMALL amount of these kits available for purchase during the Memebox Black Friday sales!

I'm telling you, for $10, this is a fanastic thing to gift to friends and family, or even as a little addition to a larger gift!

What it is:
For $10, Memebox has put together a really nice selection of foil packet and deluxe size Korean beauty samples all housed in this super cute box. It would be great for a beginner, but also an awesome stocking stuffer for an enthusiast!
(currently sold out, but will be back in stock in small numbers on black friday!)
I'm not going to go in depth with the product reviews here, but I just wanted to show you guys what comes in this box and a little description of each product. 

Innisfree Green Tea Line
 The deluxe samples you receive are the balancing lotion, balancing skin and balancing cream. 
These samples are from the Innisfree line that is made for combination skin. It's to help balance the skin (control oil while also moisturizing). You also get 3 samples of the serum from this line, which are pictured below.

 Goodal Moisture Barrier Cream
 I actually quite like the Goodal products that I've tried, although I do think this particular cream is incredibly rich and would be better suited for someone with dry skin- I have oily/combo so this probably wouldn't work well for me.

Botanic Farm Grain Cleansing Sherbet
There are two options that can be included in this mini kit, one of them being the famous Banila Co Clean It Zero, which I own many of already, so I was happy to get this one. This is similar to an oil cleanser, only it comes in a solid form. You essentially warm it with your fingers and it turns to an oil. You use this to remove makeup, dirt and oil as a first step in a skincare routine. Make sure to always follow up with a regular cleanser!
Benton Honest Cleansing Foam
I used to be a fan of Benton, but with all their issues over the years and the recent competition from other companies, I've lost almost all my interest in them. This cleanser receives pretty "meh" reviews in the sense that it's not bad, but nothing special either. The pH is also relatively high from what I hear. Not a terrible cleanser to include, but I won't be using this sample.

 Skinfood Black Sugar Wash Off Mask
 I own a few of the products from the black sugar line and I really enjoy them. They have a fresh lemon scent that I really love. I actually haven't tried this particular scrub yet but I tend to avoid using abrasive scrubs on my face, so this one will be for my body.  
 Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
These are the samples of the serum I mentioned above that go along with the rest of the Innisfree Green Tea products. While you don't get a deluxe sample of this one like the other products, at least there are 3 foil packs so you can get a feel for what you think of it!

Cosrx AHA Whitehead Power Liquid, BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and Snail Mucin Power Essence
 While a lot of people in the blogging community rave over Cosrx products, I'm still kind of on the fence about them. They're pretty good, don't get me wrong, I just find there are lots of other products I prefer over them. Having said that, these are some good samples to include in a starter kit! It introduces the idea of using AHA's and BHA's regularly, and the Snail Mucin Essence will familiarize any newbie to getting used to smearing snail goo on their face! Because as over-used as it is- snail mucin is just awesome.
It's Skin Power 10 Effector Serums
 Each of these serums is used to target a different issue, and I've been familiar with them for awhile as they were one of the first products put up in Memebox's US store before when they were still based out of Korea. I'm not going to go into too much detail about each one but here's what each is used for:

WH Effector with Arbutin- Helps whiten, brighten and even the skin tone while also featuring anti-aging properties.

PO Effector with Hottuynia Cordata- Designed to treat enlarged pores, preventing blackheads and controlling oil.

YE Effector with Yeast Extracts- (best seller from this line!) Improves skin texture and restores clarity by using ingredients to help hydrate and prevent aging.

SYN-AKE- This uses peptides that are similar to snake venom, which help firm the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

VC Effector with Vitamin C- Used to brighten the skin and help prevent and eliminate dark spots, freckles and acne scars.
Overall Thoughts
I think this is a really fantastic variety of products to include in a little sample box like this! There is great brands included, and I think everything you would need to build a good skincare routine is here! Oil cleanser, regular cleanser, toner, AHA, BHA, essence, serum, moisturizer, cream and even a scrub. I think this only thing missing is a sheet or wash-off mask, although that could easily be added in by you to make a complete skincare routine gift! 
As I mentioned earlier, these are currently sold out (they went like hot cakes) but they will be available during the Memebox Black Friday sales, so keep an eye out for them and scoop some up for the holidays! I know I'll be grabbing a few for my sisters and my mom!

ALSO: If you buy these for gifting, the description the Memebox site gives directions and descriptions for each product that you could easily print out and include with the box so the giftee knows how to use everything!



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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.