Sunday, October 19, 2014

Memebox Special #42: OMG 3

Well, it's been a while since my last post, and while I've been way too overwhelmed at work to have any time to post anything, the boxes just keep piling up (I have a serious problem).  So I'm now officially way behind, but instead of embarking on a never-ending journey to try to catch up while still posting everything in chronological order, I'm just going to jump to the here and now.  So today I present to you Memebox Special #42: OMG 3.  OMG is the series of beauty/skin/hair care products that are (supposed to be) funky and unusual and surprising.  This is my weakness, so I'm guaranteed to continue buying them all (see the first one in the series here, and the second one... some time in the future).  Anyway, onto the main event, the box contents!

1.  First up is the On the Body Makgeolli Soap (full size - $12).  I'm not really a big soap person, at least when it comes to my face, but this one apparently contains (or is made of, or somehow related to) makgeolli, which is a sweet, alcohol drink made of rice, wheat and water that contains lactic acid, which helps smooth out the skin, amino acids which are thought (by some, at least) to help keep skin taut, and certain types of vitamin B which are good for brightening the skin.  Now, whether or not this soap accomplishes any of those things is beyond me.  Unfortunately, once lathered up, this soap has a pH of about 10 which will probably be fairly drying, so I won't be using it long term to test its claims (I'm not chemist so won't go into the details here, but as I understand it, in rough, layman's terms, our skin is happy and healthy at a pH of around 5.5, ish, and using cleansers with too high of a pH will break down the oils that keep our skin moist and protected to a greater extent than is necessary).
Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review On the Body Makgeolli Soap

Next up is what Memebox released a spoiler about, the Cleomee Three-Layer Perfume Donkey Oil Mist (full size - $59? Hard to tell as it doesn't seem to be available elsewhere).  This is a "fragrant triple layer milk and oil body mist" that hydrates your skin with donkey oil (I can't tell if this is really an ingredient, and can find much evidence of any use of donkey oil in skincare, except for a few references to Armenians using it to help wounds heal. It does have it's own facebook page though!) and donkey milk (same comment as above, although it does appear on (which may or may not be biased) that donkey milk may have good moisturizing properties).  You're supposed to shake this to get the layers to mix together just before spraying.  I'm not sure what the layers are made up of, but they combine into this lovely, natural looking green color.  This feels like most other oil mists that I've tried, but I don't have dry skin so I'm not the best judge.  I'm not sure how to describe the scent, but it's not bad.  It's not something I would buy as a perfume, but it thankfully does not smell like donkey.
Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review Cleomee Three-Layer Perfume Donkey Oil Mist

Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review Migabee Bee Venom Honey Propolis Royal Jelly CreamThe third item is the Migabee Bee Venom & Honey Cream (full size - $54?).  True to the brand name, this is a bee-centric moisturizer, containing bee venom, royal jelly, propolis and honey.  I know honey is a super popular skin care ingredient in Korea (based on Memebox offerings - this may be true of other countries as well), and bee venom is, I suppose, the "omg" aspect of this, and the theory is that it will trick your skin into thinking it's been stung (without the pain and inflammation, I hope), so that blood flow to the area is increased, stimulating collagen and elastin production.  I thankfully don't have wrinkles yet, so won't be able to test out those claims, but based on short term use, it at least seems to not make my face any oilier and it seems relatively moisturizing.  That being said, is it just the way gravity took effect, or does it look like half my jar is already gone?

Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review Migabee Bee Venom Honey Propolis Royal Jelly Cream

Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review Tonymoly Delight Tint Crayon 06 Neon Pink Blacklight Glow in the DarkAnyway, the next product is the Tonymoly Delight Tint Crayon in 06 Neon Pink ($8).  What's special about this?  It's supposed to glow in the dark!  I think what they meant though is maybe that it glows under blacklight, because it most certainly was not visible in the dark.  Unfortunately, I do not own a blacklight with which to try this out... In any case, as a regular old pencil, I definitely expected this to be way too bright for me to wear, considering it's called neon pink.  In reality, it is pretty bright, but it's actually more wearable than I thought, and you can apply a light layer to get a wearable (for a mildly conservative environment) but definitely noticeable color.  Also, it smells deliciously fruity - just like the Tonymoly delight lip tint/stain that was in some earlier boxes.

Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review Tonymoly Delight Tint Crayon 06 Neon Pink Blacklight Glow in the Dark

The last thing in the box is the Tosowoong Platinum Total Solution Miracle Skin Pore Tightening Pack (full size - $19).  This pack (a.k.a. mask) contains platinum gold powder (unclear what that is) and tea tree oil, and is supposed to control oil, tighten pores and remove blackheads.  I'm not sure why but I was very skeptical of this.  I don't know if it was the packaging, the ingredients (I don't expect much skin care benefit from so-called platinum gold powder) or the smell (the box smelled a bit... minerally/coppery when I opened it, and I assumed it was this), but for some reason I just did not expect to like this at all.  But I tried it on just my nose for review purposes, and it seems ok, even worth trying again on my whole face.  The mask itself is a brownish/reddish cream that looks a bit like red clay, and it's surprisingly gentle. I was expecting it to not be kind on my skin and for it to burn or at least tingle, but it felt fine the entire time, and when I washed it off, while my pores did not look noticeably tighter, my skin did feel softer, so I definitely plan on this out over my whole face to see how it performs.
Memebox Special #42 OMG Unboxing Review Tosowoong Platinum Total Solution Miracle Skin Pore Tightening Pack

Anyway, that's the whole box for you.  The first two were fun, but kind of hit or miss on the "OMG" aspect of it, and I felt this one was equally tame, despite Memebox's promises that they would really bring on the weird stuff.  To give credit where credit is due, I suppose each product has some element that is new for me (soap made of an alcoholic drink (though I'm not particularly eager to use alcohol on my face), donkey oil and donkey milk (assuming they are actually in the product), bee venom, blacklight lip color and some unknown powder called "platinum gold").  I think for me the problem is that I can't really discern the difference each of those ingredients actually makes.  But I still enjoyed it and will continue getting these boxes, even if they're not the most shocking products ever.  Would love to hear anyone else's thoughts about these!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Birchbox Review

It's been a busy few weeks, so this is a little late, (ok maybe more than a little late, given that it's October...) but better late than never!  At this point I'm sure no one is really interested in unboxings so I'll just get straight to the point! September was Birchbox's anniversary (see my post about their Customer Appreciation Day) which was the occasion for the extra special boxes (literally, the box itself).
September 2014 Birchbox Unboxing Review Design

But I know what really matters is what's on the inside (or so I'm told), so I suppose I'll share that too:
September 2014 Birchbox Unboxing Macadamia Treatment Healing Oil Spray Acure Organics Day Cream gotu kola stem cells CGF chlorella growth factor brandt vacuum cleaner temptu highlighter champagne shimmer ruffian nail lacquer naked dressing room

From left to right:
1.  Macadamia Professional Healing Oil Spray (at 2 oz., this extremely generous "sample" (generous for a hair oil, at least) is actually sold as a standalone product for $14.5 so if nothing else I certainly got my money's worth, given that a Birchbox costs $10 and you get $4-5 back in points!)  This is supposed to be like a hair oil lite.  In spray form it's much easier to distribute evenly, and the risk of instantly taking your hair from freshly washed to oily mess is much smaller.  It's also supposed to reduce frizz, boost shine, and protect your hair against UV rays.  I think it's a nice spray, and it did seem to make my hair a bit softer.  I thankfully don't really suffer from frizz, and I rarely notice any difference in shine (no matter what I use), so I can't really speak as to those qualities.  I won't even try to get into how well it protected my hair from the sun.  In any case, my hair felt pretty nice, but I already have other products I love too much and make my hair crazy soft that it's hard to compete.  Also, for some reason the smell of the Macadamia Oil spray reminds me of summer camp.  Mind you, it has been quite some time since I was anywhere near a camp-attending age.  But it's a sweet, earthy smell, which smells nice (but not as nice as my trusty Beauty Protector).

2.  Moving on, this month's box also contained the Acure Organics Day Dream - Gotu Kola Stem Cell + 1% Chlorella Growth Factor (1 oz., which is apparently worth about $10 because the $19 full size is only 1.75 oz?)  Anyway, this highly scientifically-sounding anti-aging moisturizer is supposed protect collagen and elastin fibers, which keep skin elastic and firm.  Obviously, this is due to the chlorella growth factor ("CGF") (everyone knew that, right?).  Research indicates that CGF promotes the rapid growth of chlorella (during which each cell multiplies into four new cells every 20 hours - this is faster than any other plant on Earth. That's a lot of new cells.)  It's also been shown to enhance RNA/DNA functions responsible for producing protein, enzymes and energy, stimulating tissue repair and providing protection against certain toxins (source).  So if you're going for anti-aging, this sounds like a decent bet.  But wait, there's more!  The day cream also has gotu kola stem cells, and gotu kola has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds and conditions including psoriasis.  The wound healing properties come from something called triterpanoid which some studies have suggested strengthens skin, boosts antioxidants in wounds and increases blood flow to the area (source - it's a .edu link therefore must be legit).  So overall, sounds pretty great, no?  Well, looking at the ingredients list, there seem to be a whole lot of things that come before either the gotu kola or the CGF (the CGF in particular is almost at the end of the list).  But I can't honestly say I can fairly interpret that - just pointing it out.  As for my experience, this moisturizer has a citrus-y scent but for some reason I don't love it, though I can't pinpoint the reason.  It actually seems to be keeping my oiliness at bay a bit, which I love, but for some reason I'm just not loving the product.  The texture is fine, though not as soothing or refreshing as some other moisturizers.  It works fine with my makeup, as well - no balling up, which I often get.  So why don't I like this?  It's kind of irrational, really, but I think the not-so-refreshing scent, the fact that it just feels ok when I put it on, and the packaging will prevent me from really getting into this.  It's kind of silly, but the packaging just reminds me of a random drug store product.  It doesn't scream "groundbreaking skincare developed by actual scientists" but it also doesn't look especially nice.  So who knows, maybe that's making me biased, but oh well.

Anyway, the third (and fourth) products are the Ruffian Nail Lacquer in Ruffian Naked  and the Ruffian Acetone-Free Dressing Room Perfumed Nail Lacquer Remover Towelette (that name needs to be cut down).  I really like nude nails for work, so I was excited about this one, but I'm feeling kind of meh about it overall.  The hue isn't great for my skintone, and as you can see the formula ended up kind of uneven, so sadly this will have to get used by someone else.  I haven't tried the nail polish remover wipe, which I hear is black, has vitamin E and has a lily scent, but I can't imagine having anything revolutionary to say about it anyway.

September 2014 Birchbox Unboxing ruffian nail lacquer naked dressing room swatch

5.  Next up is the TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Champagne Shimmer.  In case you're not knowledgeable about these things (like me), S/B means silicone based, which gives it a nice, smooth texture.  That being said, this is called a highlighter, but given the shade, it would be more appropriately called a bronzer ,at least for me.  I put a bit on my cheeks one day and it seriously made me look more tan (and I mean darker, not just a nice glow).  I wear blush every day but with this on, there was no room for blush.  So I think the name is a bit misleading, but otherwise it's a fine product, except that I don't really use highlighter or bronzer.  I do like the texture though.
September 2014 Birchbox Unboxing Temptu S/B Highlighter Champagne Shimmer
Do I look like a highlighter to you?
The final product I got to try this month was the dr. brandt pores no more vacuum cleaner (and I will respect dr. brandt's apparent disdain for proper capitalization).  This is described as a "blackhead extractor mask" that degunks pores for fewer blackheads and smoother skin. It's a light blue gel that turns into a pale blue, crumbly substance when it dries.  After rinsing, I really so no difference in my pores, but I have noticed that if I use a pore strip immediately after, it seems to get out much more gunk than usual, so I think it does help to loosen stuff up, even if it doesn't actually remove anything on its own.  So I do like it for that.  Unfortunately it also seems mildly irritating, at least to the inner corners where my nose and cheek meet (unfortunately also where I get the most gunky stuff).  This may be because the second ingredient is benzyl alcohol, which is a preservative, a solvent (i.e., it dissolves stuff) and the main ingredient in head lice treatment and above all, a potential skin irritant (see here and here).  Or it could be the fifth ingredient, denatured alcohol (i.e., ethanol) or the sixth ingredient, methyl lactate, which is probably responsible for the cooling effect the gel has, since it's a derivative of menthol, but is also classified as a skin irritant (source).  One morning when I used this + a pore strip, the edges of my nose were slightly raw feeling all day.  Nothing painful or even that bad, but still mildly uncomfortable.  So while it does seem to be effective, I probably won't continue using it (or at least, I'll only put it on tougher spots on my face).

Oh and one last thing - Birchbox has a system where each month (for the past few months, at least) you can choose one of your samples out of a select group.  This month, I chose the Davines Oi Conditioner, which came with the Oi Shampoo and Oi Absolute Beautifying Potion, but was very sad when I got my box and that wasn't included.  (Instead, I got the Macadamia Oil, which was another one of the options).  But, I emailed Birchbox about it (they have great customer service, by the way) and they promptly sent me the Davines samples separately.  Unfortunately I rushed too quickly to try them that I forgot to take a picture, but the conditioner was a big, generously sized tub, while they included only a foil packet of the shampoo.  Technically the conditioner was the sample and the shampoo and oil were just bonuses, but come on, why would you give someone one use of shampoo to go with their 15 uses of conditioner??  But I digress.  Overall, using the combination of the three products worked well for my hair, and it made it very soft and light.  Unfortunately, I really don't like the smell - it reminds me a bit of baby powder, which some people are fine with, but it's just not up my alley.  So that's kind of a bummer.  But even if I won't be using the shampoo/conditioner, the Davies Oi Absolute Beautifying Potion seems to make my hair super soft and the scent is pretty faint and doesn't linger, so I may consider buying the full size, but we'll see.

Anyway, that's my September Birchbox for you.  In my opinion, totally worth my $4 (since I got $6 back in points for reviewing each of these on the Birchbox website).  Now, onto October's box!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...