Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jini Beauty - New Customizable Asian Beauty Monthly Sub Launches!

I've been diving into the Asian/Korean beauty and skin care realm over the past few months and while I'm no expert, I do enjoy reading about snails and algae and ferment filtrate, and of course slathering it on my face to see what happens!

While trolling the internet the other day, I found a new Asian beauty monthly sub box that's different than most because you can choose from four different targeted skin concerns.  Jini Beauty promises to deliver a variety of skincare and makeup items targeted towards your skin concerns: dry/mature, normal/combo, oily/acne, and sensitive/troubled.  

Jini Beauty costs $24.95/month.  You can save by purchasing a 3, 6 or 12 month sub, or if you go month to month, you have the option of skipping months if you like.  

I received my first in the mail today and am really excited about the contents!  My box is the February 2016 Normal/Combo set.  The website FAQ says you can expect 1-2 full size items and 3-5 deluxe samples per month.  

The box contained a nice card with a code for 10% off your next renewal when you complete a short survey.  A fun addition to the card was a a little translation of the characters for Korean manufacturing and expiration dates.  

The items:

1) COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner  - 150 ml Full size!  $16 from Memebox (affiliate link)
This toner is a chemical exfoliator that will soften your skin and even your complexion.  It's considered an active in the lbeauty routine, so it goes right after your cleanser and before serums/ampoules and moisturizers.  I haven't tried this toner before, but am excited because I've used other COSRX products before and they are affordable and effective.

2) Etude House I Need You Vita Complex Mask - 1 mask $2 from Memebox
I'm wearing this mask while writing this post.  The mask doesn't fit my face as well as others I've tried, but it's super juicy with essence and very soothing on my skin.  With sheet masks, I feel like you definitely need to try the same one several times in a row to see if they'll be effective, but I'm happy to sample as many as possible!

3) Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb - 10 ml Deluxe sample $7.69 from Sephora
I tried this super moisturizing gel cream last year when it was in Sephora's sold out kbeauty sampler.  I completely fell in love!  I have dry skin, so this isn't moisturizing enough on its own in the winter, but will be great for summer.  I always love having more minis for travel.

4) Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm - 10 ml Deluxe sample $1.60 value

This is an oil cleanser, which is the first step in the kbeauty routine, and is designed to be a makeup remover and cleanser in one step.  I've been eyeing this cleanser for awhile!

5) Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence - Foil
I just bought a full size bottle of this and was waiting to finish my sample of SK-II lotion before I dove in.  This particular essence is full of saccharomyces ferment filtrate, which is similar to the magic ingredient in SK-II.  This goes on after you cleanse and tone.  It would be pretty hard to tell if you like this product with just the foil though.

6) Mizon Original Skin Energy Placenta 45 Ampoule - Foil
I may have tried snails, but I haven't tried placenta yet!  This product is made with 45% mammalian placenta, which makes it not a good option for vegans.  The placenta is supposed to stimulate cell regeneration and slow down the aging process.  To be used after toner.  Again, this will be tough to determine if this works as claimed with just the foil packet. 

7) TonyMoly Delight Tony Tint in 02 Red - $2 value Deluxe sample from Birchbox (affiliate link)
I tried this a few months ago through the Birchbox kbeauty box and it wasn't for me.  The color doesn't look that great on my fair skin, but it does last for a long time!

Total Jini Beauty February value: $  29.29
Number of Items: 7
Full size: 2
Deluxe size: 3

Foils: 2
Categories: Haircare (0)  Skincare (6)  Makeup (1)  Perfume (0)
Brands:  COSRX, Banila Co, Etude House, Belif, Missha, Mizon, Tony Moly

I bought a 3 month sub when they first started advertising and received a 15% discount, so each box is $XX.  I'm happy with the curation of this box and am excited to try all of these products except the Tony Moly, which I tried before and didn't like.  I didn't count the foils as contributing towards the final value of the box, so with my calculations, the box value was only a few bucks more than the subscription price.  However, keep in mind that if you were to find all these things in just one place, you'd likely still pay shipping and tax, so I still think it's a great way to try kbeauty for newbies who don't have an extensive collection.  My favorite item this month is the Banilo Co Clean It, what's yours?  Have you subscribed to Jini Beauty?  Which skin concern did you choose?  I can't wait to see what comes next month!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sephora Play! January 2016 Review

Sephora launched a monthly subscription box last year, and there's currently a wait list for invitations to subscribe.  Play! costs $10/month, plus tax where available.  My total is $10.83/month and I pay for this subscription.


January 2016 is the fifth box since the subscription began.  The theme is "No Appointment Necessary."  So far, my boxes have contained 6 samples.  Mostly there have not been variations on the products sent out.  Let's take a look at what I've received, shall we?

Each box has a nice info booklet that is several pages long and talks quite a bit about the products in the box.  It also has a Play! pass in the back designed for you to take to your local store and learn new tips/techniques about the products in the box.  Also, if you make a purchase and have the card with you, you'll get an extra 50 Beauty Insider points.  Personally, I have not tried this yet.

First up - Living Proof Prime Style Extender Spray deluxe sample 15 mL/0.5 fl oz  $2.94 value
Full size $20 for 3.4 oz bottle
The product description says this is a weightless spray that helps hairstyles last twice as long.  You're supposed to spray it on your damp hair before you style.  I have naturally wavy hair, and I usually spray in It's a 10, comb it through, and let the waves air dry.  I used the same technique for this product.  While I like the results, I hardly believe that this sample bottle contained much product.  I barely used much on my shoulder length hair before it started spurting out like the container was empty.  When I opened it and shined a flashlight inside, there's maybe a small film of product left at the bottom on the container.  Maybe I got a bum sample?  I also don't feel like this extended my particular hair style method.  Moving on...

Dr. Brandt Needles No More 0.085 oz/2.5 g  $15.13 value
This product is supposed to temporarily relax wrinkles and blur expression lines.  It's suggested to try this on the forehead, crow's feet, cheeks, and between brows before moisturizing.  I've received this sample previously in a BeautyFix box and I gave it to my mom to try.  I don't really have prominent wrinkles yet, so I'll probably pass this one along.  

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight in 01 Hefty Highlight 0.12 oz/3.6 g  $12.57 value
Highlighting and contouring is still wildly popular in beauty magazines, so no surprise that we're receiving a highlighter!  I noticed several reviews online said this was difficult to blend, but I didn't find that to be the case.  I'm MAC NC15 (aka so pale!) and this works well for me.  I like the stick!  Plus it's slightly over half of the full size version.  

Sephora Rose Ultra Moisturizing & Brightening Eye Mask 1 pair  $5.00 value
Sheet masks are also very popular right now, so including an eye mask is something I enjoy.  Subscribers will receive either Rose, Honey, Lotus, or Green Tea.  Each has different beneficial properties.  I have so many sheet masks from subscription boxes, that I don't know if I'll ever actually need to purchase any!

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel 3 each of Step 1 and 2 treatments  $9.60 value
This at-home peel is full of potent ingredients including retinol, resveritrol, salicylic acid, green tea, and others.  Step 1 is a surface refiner that you apply to clean, dry skin and wait two minutes before applying Step 2, which is a deeper treatment.  This product is vegan, cruelty free, and paraben and phthalate free.  My skin is kind of sensitive from other face products I've tried lately, so I'm saving this for a little later.  

And last but not least, Tocca Isabel pefume sample 0.05 fl oz/1.5 mL  $2.00 value
A classic floral with Spanish rose, bergamot, and Mediterranean orange with leather and vetiver.  Sigh - I love Tocca!  Isabel isn't my favorite, but I don't have this one in my collection so I'm happy to add it.  One thing I see about the Play! box is that each of the 3 boxes I've received contained a perfume sample.  I know a lot of people don't care for perfumes in their subscription boxes, so I think it's important to note that.  However, the perfumes they've sent are generally well liked, included Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf and now Tocca.  

Total Play! January value: $47.24.  I think that's really good for $10.83!
Number of Items: 6
Full size: 1
Deluxe size: 4
Categories: Haircare (1)  Skincare (3)  Makeup (1)  Perfume (1)
Brands:  Living Proof, Dr. Brandt, Clinique, Sephora, Dr Dennis Gross, Tocca

I've been kind of underwhelmed with my Play! boxes so far.  I think if you subscribe to Birchbox, Ipsy, or multiple beauty boxes in one month for any period of time, you're bound to have product burn-out.  I would recommend Sephora Play! if you are new to subscription beauty boxes, or if you're tired of other beauty boxes at similar price points and want to try something different.  Also of note is that several of the items in the boxes have been or currently are 100 point Beauty Insider rewards, or part of the 500 point rewards.  I feel like they should be completely separate and not do that, since I'm paying for Play! and the point rewards are free.

Of course, the waitlist is problematic!  If you are interested, send me a message with your email because Sephora has been asking current subscribers for referrals to "send that friend to the top of the waitlist."  

I'll probably continue to subscribe for another two or three boxes, but if I'm not wowed I'll likely cancel due to product overlap and overload.  

What do you think about Sephora Play!?  Have you been invited off the waitlist yet?  How long did it take?

Until my mailman stops again,
Hi, my name is Emily.  I shop online.  Most days, it's just window shopping, but sometimes I actually buy something.  Every now and then, a stack of boxes sits outside my door like this.  My poor mailman.

I subscribe to several monthly boxes and I'd like to share them with you here so you can decide if they will be a good fit!  I'm also venturing into Asian and Korean skincare products, so I'll be reviewing products here for you too.  Which are your favorite subscription boxes?  How many do you subscribe to per month?  No judgment here!!

Until my mailman returns,