Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Whimseybox August 2014 Review

If you've read my last post about Whimseybox, you'll know that they've suddenly gone completely quiet. No e-mails, no responses from customer service, no social media posts. Their last Facebook post as of writing is September 9th, and they haven't even bothered to delete the complaints on their page. There have been reports about unauthorized charges to people who have already contacted Whimseybox about cancelling their subscription.

Anyway, here's the August box. I got this box in the first week of October. I got my July box so late that I didn't even bother reviewing it, even though it was a nice enough box (polymer clay jewelry).

Box Overview
Box: Whimseybox (Referral link for $5 off your subscription, if you really want to)
Price: $15/month, $45/3 months, $90/6 months, $165/yearly ($13.75 per box); $5 shipping surcharge per month to Canada
Ships to: US and Canada
What's inside: A monthly craft project with all/most of the supplies to make it, an art print, and the occasional extra.

The project included is a Pajaki, a paper chandelier of Polish origin. The name translates to "spider" so I don't recommend Googling it if you have arachnophobia! The kit includes a bunch of straws, a pack of cotton balls, a bunch of paper cupcake liners, a tiny paint brush, a palette of cheap watercolours, a ribbon, two metal rings (one large, one small), a needle, and some thick paper with circles of various sizes printed on it. While I realize that the lure of craft boxes is not the item value but the curation of them, I always liked that Whimseybox would include some things that I wouldn't, you know, have lying around my house. Compounded with the shipping and overall terrible service, this was just a massive disappointment. The only thing I can say is that I do like the art print on the card this month.

I've tried to cancel my subscription and it is still "pending". I think that I will be contacting my credit card company soon, as my subscription renews in November. I highly suggest you do the same.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Memebox Special Zero Cosmetics Review

When I saw that Memebox had a box dedicated to goodies formulated without harmful additives, I jumped on it. No alcohol, no sulfates? Count me in! This box shipped in early August.

Box Overview
Box: Memebox (Referral link)
Price: Varies -- typically $23 plus shipping
Ships to: United States, Canada, and over 40 other countries -- check here
What's inside: Korean beauty products. Specifics for each box may be found on their website.
Coupon: Use XW6C for $5 off your order!

Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream Full size || Value: $18
Beneficial ingredients of note: snail secretion filtrate (first ingredient), sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide, bee venom, argan oil, urea, willow bark extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: none

The famous/now partially infamous Benton. Say what you want about Benton, but I have not personally been harmed by their products. There have been reports of some sort contamination in some products (their aloe toner and their essence), but it appears that has been dealt with. Regardless, you should always been carefully checking and patch testing your products.

Anyway, I only have good things to say about this cream. It's a heavy texture not greasy. I like that they've changed the packaging -- it used to be in a jar container, which is less sanitary. The ingredients list is nothing short of stellar. The bottom line is that this cream leaves my skin feeling good. I already have another one as a back up.

Para recipe Bombee Soap Full size || Value: $13 (according to Memebox)
Beneficial ingredients of note: propolis, honey extracts, jojoba oil
Detrimental ingredients of note: citron seed oil
No sign of an ingredients list on this soap; I've used what Memebox provided me with. I'm always weary about bar soaps since the pH is far too high for my skin. I've yet to open this one, and may gift it to a friend. Otherwise, I would only use it on the body. It smells sweet from the outside of the packaging, which is great -- but keep it away from the naughty bits, alright?

Innerface Shy Blossom Soothing Serum Full size || Value: $36
Beneficial ingredients of note: aloe, hyaluronic acid, tea tree water, sweet almond, evening primrose, olive oil
Detrimental ingredients of note: lavender oil, orange extract
No dice on the ingredients list for this one. I've yet to use this serum more that a few times. It looks like a cream (it's opaque white when dispensed), but applies like a lightweight gel in my opinion. It's refreshing, but I haven't used it enough to get any sort of benefit.

Nature's Friend SaeHaneul Eye & Nourishing Cream Full size || Value: $25
Beneficial ingredients of note: many vegetable/herb extracts, jojoba oil
Detrimental ingredients of note: N/A
I wasn't able to find a good ingredients list for this, and the box has gone missing so I can't attempt to translate! I haven't used this eye cream much since I am trying to use up my other ones, but when I did use it there were no negative side effects.

Easydew Fresh Mild Sun Block SPF50+ PA+++ 7mL/0.24oz || Value: ~$2.38
Beneficial ingredients of note: ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate 7.5%, titanium dioxide 4.25%, ethylhexyl salicylate 2%, octocrylene 2%
Detrimental ingredients of note: alcohol denat (near end of list), fragrance (last ingredient)
Wait, I thought there wasn't supposed to be any alcohol in this box! Oh well. It's almost a given for the majority sunscreens that alcohol will be somewhere in the ingredients list. Most have it near the top of the list, so kudos to this one. It's both a chemical and physical sunscreen, and it's nothing special. There is a white cast. It reminds me of most American sunscreens.

All Nature Organic Mask Sheet Full size x 4 || Value: $6 x 4? (according to Memebox)
Beneficial ingredients of note: aloe, sodium hyaluronate, centella asiatica extract, ginkgo biloba extract, + the ingredient listed on the front (broccoli, blueberry, blackbean, houttuynia cordata)
Detrimental ingredients of note: N/A
DISCLAIMER: The ingredients above were translated by me. I cannot guarantee that the ingredients are 100% accurate nor in the correct order. This is not a full translation of the ingredients lists for any of the masks.
I was pretty amazed that Memebox managed to fit four masks in this box. They are sheet masks that are apparently >50% organic extracts. I used the blueberry one so far, it was nothing super special. I did not see anything that pointed to alcohol on the ingredients lists, so they get thumbs ups anyway. As for what houttuynia cordata is? It's a common Vietnamese herb, found in Asia. People usually describe it as tasting fishy. Apparently, it has antibacterial properties. I'm interested to see if the mask works.

If these values are presumed to be correct, this means that this box -- which I got for $23 plus shipping -- was a whopping $120. Even counting all four masks as $6 collectively, that is still a value of $100. My only complaint is that I will not personally use these items to their full extent, sans the Benton cream and the masks. The rest are just sort of extra items that are alright, but not something I am going to go ga-ga over and use every day. Yet I still get my money's worth if I look at the value based purely on the cream and masks, plus shipping! Good job, Memebox.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ipsy October 2014 Review

Another month, another Ipsy -- and I feel like the craze has died down a bit? Maybe it's just me, but I feel like left and right people have been dropping Ipsy for boxes that aren't subscriptions -- for instance, Golden Tote or Memebox (referral links). It may be that these services give a bit more semblance of choice, or more bang for your buck. Still, Ipsy is a nice pick-me-up in the mail, since I don't have to sign for it! 

Box: Ipsy (Referral link)
Price: $10/month, $110/year; $4.95 shipping to Canada
Ships to: North America
What’s inside: Various beauty product samples and full size products, very roughly personalized

Look at the bag this month. It's teal. I love teal. It's made of a durable plastic with a fabric lining. It doesn't seem like it will hold a whole bunch (for example, it didn't hold the wipes along with the other products), but... it's teal. Regardless of how the items turn out, I'm A-OK with Ipsy this month.

City Color Be Matte Lipstick in Cappuccino Full Size || Value: $5
Beneficial ingredients of note: mineral oil (first ingredient)
Detrimental ingredients of note: none
I'm pretty sure nude lipsticks are the bane of my existence. They always make me look washed out and unkept. I've yet to find one for me. This lipstick looks less brown and muted than other nudes I've seen, but until I see swatches on people with similar skin tones as me, I'm not taking my chances -- this goes directly into the trade/gift bin.

Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Shadow Powder in Esmeralda Full Size || Value: $3.99
Beneficial ingredients of note: mineral oil
Detrimental ingredients of note: none
This shadow has some beautiful packaging. It is physically raised in a dome shape to give an even more planetary look to it. Yet I was also pretty disappointed with this colour, as other colours available (Plum Frost, Rosemary Frost, Ocean Breeze, Graphite Frost, Kiwi Shine) seemed so much more vibrant and beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised, though. Here, some swatches (primer is Bellapierre Make-up Base):

The pictures really don't do it justice. It's a bit of a mix of white, light gold, reddish brown, and taupe (thanks to the mix of the two). It even seems a bit green at some angles. It's a difficult colour to place, even in the pan. Though it is pigmented enough to use without primer (the colour just doesn't show up well on my skin), primer is definitely suggested to get the most out of this shadow. I'm generally pleased with this, though I'm not sure how I'm going to work this into any looks.

Skyn Iceland Mini Glacial Cleansing Cloths 5 Cloths || Value: ~$5
Beneficial ingredients of note: sodium lauroamphoacetate, aloe juice (seventh ingredient), various fruit, vegetable, and flower extracts, jojoba oil, willow bark extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: some citrus enzymes (end of list), parfum (last ingredient)
I'm just not a fan of facial wipes. I will use them as a pre-wash before my double cleanse, effectively washing my face three times... if I counted them as washing my face. To be honest, I find facial wipes useless. These wipes, which use sodium lauroamphoacetate (a very gentle cleansing ingredient) are somewhat unique to other wipes I've used in that they actually have a soapy texture to them, instead of being seeped with liquid. I used one wipe on my arm in ten circular motions to try and get off the eyeshadow.

Can you still see the eyeshadow gleam? I can. The wipe effectively pushed the produce all along my arm. It took another 10-20 wipes to clean the swipe of eyeshadow off, and there's still some leftover particles. I can't say I'm super impressed with it's cleaning power. However, it felt very refreshing and light.

KISS iENVYbyKISS Lashes in Au Naturale 02 Full Size || Value: $2.99
Beneficial ingredients of note: N/A
Detrimental ingredients of note: N/A
What am I supposed to say about this? They're fake lashes. I don't wear them. It's kind of creepy that they use real human hair, when you think about it, but it also makes sense. It comes with its own glue, which is nice. I'm not going to use this.

Figs & Rouge Hand Cream in Rose Berry Full Size || Value: ~$6.30
Beneficial ingredients of note: shea butter (fourth ingredient), cocoa nut butter (halfway through list), algae (last half of list), ginseng root extract (last half of list)
Detrimental ingredients of note: parfum (halfway through list)
I was sad that I didn't get the other scent option for this hand cream, Mango Tangerine! I guess it's for the better, since I like to avoid citrus extracts. This cream actually smelled quite nice, too -- neither the rose nor the berry scent overwhelmed the other, and the smell wasn't overwhelming in general. I was surprised at how quickly this soaked in. It was basically like putting water on my hands. Unfortunately, it still leaves quite a residue on my keyboard, phone, etc. It will be a perfect hand cream for work.

This month's Ipsy contained four full sized products and one travel sized product for a total of approximately $23. I paid $15 for this, so the value is underwhelming when not considering the bag, which is at least $10. I love the bag, and that makes this month worth it to me. Otherwise, I'm not overly impressed by any of the products. I'm not using the lipstick nor the eyelashes, and the wipes will be relegated to wiping off swatches I make for reviews. The eyeshadow is nice but difficult for a eye-makeup newbie like me to handle, and the hand cream is good but doesn't overcome the rest of the products.

It seems that I too am falling out of love with monthly subscription services. No plans to cancel Ipsy yet, but we will see what the future holds in store.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Memebox Luckybox #4 (Four) Retro Review

Late to the punch, but here goes nothing! Here comes the fourth installment of Memebox's very popular Luckybox, from quite a while ago!

Box Overview
Box: Memebox (Referral link)
Price: $15 (for Memebox Mini), $23 (for Memebox Global or Luckybox), $23-$39 (for Nakedbox), $32-$70 (for Superbox), + shipping
Ships to: United States, Canada, and over 40 other countries -- check here
What's inside: Korean beauty products. Specifics for each box may be found on their website.
Coupon: Use XW6C for $5 off your order!

Dr. G Bling Bling BB Cream Full size || Value: $24
Beneficial ingredients of note: fig extract, ginkgo bilboa nut extract, centella asiatica extract, zinc oxide
Detrimental ingredients of note: pomegranate extract? (halfway through list), fragrance (last ingredient)
This BB cream is way too light for me. It has an almost sparkling quality which, on me, makes me feel like Edward Cullen a la Twilight. Many people who are paler love this, but alas, I am not a pale person. Otherwise, it feels like a normal BB cream! It didn't seem overly drying, though I didn't wear it for a whole day to find out for sure.

Miguhara B.P Cream 3mL/0.10fl oz x 2 || Estimated value: $4
Beneficial ingredients of note: sunflower seed oil (last half of list)
Detrimental ingredients of note: mandarin oil (last ingredient)
Wow, I know I'm behind on reviews when I've gone through three of these little bad boys and have a full-sized one in my stash. This is my favourite primer -- I can't say I've gone through a whole lot, but others seem to agree. It's a silicone-based primer which goes on a neutral beige but quickly blends into the skin, even my difficult to colour-match skin. It feels like putting a soft creamy mousse on. It even provides a tiny bit of coverage and I wear it on my "good skin" days alone. My only issue is that is loves to accentuate dry skin flakes. A gentle exfoliation with my konjac sponge and a hefty amount of moisturizer have reduced this issue a ton. I also find that using a damp beauty sponge helps as well.

Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil 15mL/ || Estimated value: $7
Beneficial ingredients of note: Almost every single oil imaginable, from macadamia (first ingredient) to argan to avocado to rosemary.
Detrimental ingredients of note: Lemon essential oil (last half of list)
This oil should be everything I ever wanted, but... it's not, really. Something in this oil smells too sharp for me. It may be the lemon. It's just like any other facial oil and to be honest, I wouldn't recommend it just because it could easily be comedogenic to many people with all of its different oils. Sometimes simpler is better.

Holika Holika Skin & Good Cera Super Cream 10mL/0.34fl oz || Estimated value: $6
Beneficial ingredients of note: Ceramides, shea butter, arugala extract?
Detrimental ingredients of note: N/A?
I can't seem to find a full ingredients list for this, unless the three ingredients above are the full ingredients list. I highly doubt that, as shea butter is fairly firm at room temperature and this cream is a light cream as any other. I did like this cream a lot and it did not break me out, and it was a perfect size to take with me on days out. A little went a long way with this cream as far as keeping my skin feeling moisturized. I probably wouldn't purchase it again, as it is a paltry 60 mL for $36 and I don't think it's worth that price.

HeartFace Ultra Pore Care Sleeping Pack 20mL/0.68oz || Estimated value: $12.95
Beneficial ingredients of note: hyaluronic acid (middle of list), aloe vera gel, mp galactomyces fermet filtrate, green tea extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: ethanol (first half of list), fragrance (last ingredient)
This sleeping pack is supposed to help with pores and oily skin. Surprise -- it has ethanol! As in rubbing alcohol. Ugh. I did try this once to see if it would do anything, and it made my face slightly less oily in the T zone. No news on pore shrinkage, because pores do not actually change size in the long term. It didn't seem super dry the morning after but I didn't want to take my chances by using it every day, and I don't need it anyway.

Glory Nail Vegan Lacquer Full size || Value: $8.33
Beneficial ingredients of note: N/A
Detrimental ingredients of note: N/A
This vegan polish is a dark red, almost black. It's very nice, but I am just not a nail person... yet. I never used to be a skin care or make up person either, and that's clearly changed!

Mamonde First Energy Serum 10mL/0.34fl oz || Estimated value: $2.65
Beneficial ingredients of note: Flower vinegar from the Lonicera flower?
Detrimental ingredients of note: None
This product was looked at in my Luckybox #1 review. I haven't used this new one despite finishing up the first; I simply haven't had a place to put it in my routine. I think I will start alternating it with my current toner to make it last longer, though. I can't say I've noticed any significant changes in my skin when I was using it every day versus not; I still like how it soaked in so well, though.

CNP Laboratory Cleansing Perfecta 50mL/1.7fl oz || Estimated value: $12
Beneficial ingredients of note: Rosemary leaf water?, sweet basil extract
Detrimental ingredients of note: citrus fruit extracts, lavender extract
I also reviewed this product in my Luckybox #1 review. I've warmed up to it; I find it to be a light cleanser that is fine for in the morning or days where I don't wear makeup. It still doesn't remove eye makeup like I want it too, though.

LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence 20mL/0.68 fl oz || Estimated value: $12.80
Beneficial ingredients of note: tea tree oil, trehalose, sea buckthorn, centella asiatica
Detrimental ingredients of note: none
I talked about this product in my Luckybox #2 review! I'm barely through the first bottle. I find it to be somewhat drying, and lately it feels a little more tacky on my skin and I'm not sure why. Still, it's been nice to use once in a while when I have small breakouts on my face. It also appeared to calm down a mosquito bite I got on my forehead (sigh...).

This Luckybox was bursting at the seams with nine different products (a total of ten items), with a value of about $90 -- for $23 plus $7 shipping! Beyond the products I said I wouldn't use, I am almost done all of the contents of this box, which is great. I haven't had any real issues at all.

Hope y'all enjoyed this retro review -- boxes which I received but never reviewed. Sorry for the poor quality; think of it as a blast from the (recent) past, I suppose!