Blow Your Beauty Budget: New Beauty Things You’ll Want

Hello beauty fans, I’m here to ruin your budget. I’ve found out about some killer awesome stuff while rolling around the web recently and taking to other beauty fans, all during a month where I theoretically have no money heh awesome. Here’s the stuff that I think deserves your cash.


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Memebox OMG 2 & K-Style 2 Unboxing + September Discount Code

I like wild, discussion-worthy beauty products so much that I started a kbeauty blog (here we are!) and I like kpop so much that I started a kpop blog before that (, original flavor). So when Memebox came out with an OMG box full of wild products and a kpop-beauty-themed box I was all over that. The thing is though, the first OMG box wasn’t terribly OMG (I think that most of us were expecting things that were kind of creepy crawly and/or in some way repulsive) and I didn’t find the products in the k-style box to have the quality I was looking for after taking them for a test. So these boxes need to overcome the kind of meh beginning of this series in order for me to keep interest. Today on fan-b: can OMG + K-Style come back in season two to win my heart???

If you’re new to Memebox I made a whole massive Memebox 101 post here. Seriously, it has everything I could think of. I also analyzed the stats from the various Memeboxes I’ve received to determine which types of boxes tend to have the most useful products for me. Past Memebox reviews and unboxings can be found in the menus by type of box or you could just check out all of them. My $5 off code for September is 3W4N, but take a look at the sidebar over there for other deals n’ things that might also be useful and more current.

I received both of these boxes today via express shipping because I bought them in a value set and received a free shipping upgrade WOOHOO! I rushed home to see what’s inside and determine if there’s a chance to save my OMG/KSTYLE love…. 

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April – September Memebox Use Analysis

As many people know, I’m 1) paying off the student loans I picked up due to a few graduate degrees and 2) married to an émigré from the Soviet Union. This means I 1) don’t have tons of spare money and 2) don’t keep things beyond what I need. Living with someone who remembers waiting in line for food, drying spare bread in the oven in case of shortages, and shipping toilet paper to the US when he moved since it was usually in short supply in Moscow is sort of like living with your grandmother who lived through the US Depression: the most random things need to be saved because “they might be useful sometime.” In contrast, while I did not grow up wealthy and certainly didn’t get everything I wanted, my basic necessities were always covered. We have a rule in our family that only one person gets to be crazy at a time, and since I never ate canned sea cucumber due to nothing else being in the grocery store I am the ruthless one who hacks through accumulating stuff while my husband’s desk resembles a…well, I don’t know what it resembles because I haven’t actually seen it under all of his stuff in awhile. lol

Memeboxes pose a problem for me. Since joining the Memeverse in April, I’ve received 22 boxes containing 140 products. Some things I’ve used, but many I have yet to finish because more keeps rolling in. I try to solve the problem of not accumulating stuff by trashing a very few things, but mainly giving things that I don’t love or are unsuitable for my skin away to family and friends. This editing process leaves me with only the very best stuff that I’ve found in Memeboxes.

I thought that it might be useful to open up my collection to y’all and show what I’ve kept and what I’ve exiled from my stuff. In a way, this is like a Metarating of Memeboxes–although I am certainly not the most Memeaddicted, the fact that I get rid of so much stuff might help to point out which of the box types, for example, offer the best value and reveal other trends I wouldn’t be able to see without a 22-box study.

A few words regarding the limited usefulness of this analysis. First off, this is obviously highly individualized. I have oily, very troubled skin, so lots of amazing creams just don’t work for me and end up being gifted to drier people I know. I’m also highly skeptical of diet and body slimming products, so in the one or two cases where those appeared I just tossed them into the trash. You’ll notice that the stats for the Luckyboxes are quite low compared to those of other box types, but keep in mind that I’ve had them the longest, so I’ve had time to make peace with letting go of things over the past few months–the other boxes will likely see similar declines in their stats over the next few months (especially since Luckyboxes have been some of my favorites).

If you’d like to buy Memeboxes I recommend checking out the sidebar–the slideshow has the available boxes and spoilers for available boxes. The current deals for this month (codes and links to secret and referral-only boxes and products) are below that.

I’ve organized this so that my overall conclusions (the most useful info) are at the top of this post and then I work down from box type to the individual boxes and products so you can “see my work” kind of like math class. Here’s a table of contents in case you’d like to jump ahead to a different section. I put a brief standard shipping time analysis at the end because I’m not seeing any major trends there over the past few months. Any links in this post are to my previous reviews of Memeboxes; I hope to review all of these boxes at some point soon.

Overall Conclusions
Stats by Box Type
Stats by Individual Box
Standard Shipping Time Averages by Month


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Cheap Photography Lightbox + Korea’s Most Wanted Superbox Unboxing

I arrived home after work yesterday around 6:30pm to find a new Memebox waiting for me…and the sun going down fast. I prefer to take product photos in strong, midday sun, but with winter approaching and work getting more rather than less consuming, it’s time to break out the second best solution: my stupidly cheap homemade lightbox. I’m going to show off my ratty lightbox and unbox my new Memebox: the Korea’s Most Wanted Superbox all in one post. Multitasking woo!

If you’re new to Memebox I made a whole massive Memebox 101 post here. Seriously, it has everything I could think of. Past Memebox reviews and unboxings can be found in the menus by type of box or you could just check out all of them…. 

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Memebox 101: Introduction to the Korean Beauty Boxes

I’m in the middle of cleaning up the site and it occurs to me that my description of Memeboxes in the reviews I do sucks terribly–the underlying message is “hey, you’re new, ok cool whatever, just sit here quietly while I rip into this box and maybe you’ll figure something out.” That’s not particularly nice! ahahaha So here’s my attempt to codify my current knowledge of Memebox into a post that I can edit and update as things change.

Memebox Global is a start-up company that sends boxes of Korean skincare and makeup products to customers around the world. It began shipping to international customers in January 2014. Memebox began (and continues) in South Korea, but a theoretically separate global Memebox company that ships to customers outside of Korea is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Or Palo Alto. I’m honestly confused about exactly where this company exists. The internet. It mainly exists on the internet, from what I can tell.

Memebox is pronounced “mee-mee-box.” I like to think of myself as a small child yelling “meeeeee” when I wanted something because that’s how I feel about Memeboxes. Memebox has nothing to do with internet memes such as cats discussing their need for cheeseburgers, but rather with a Korean doll called Mimi. Here are some current Mimi dolls (yes, I want this post to be comprehensive ahahaha): Mimi Hair Salon Set, Long Hair Mimi Doll with pink hair, Long Hair Mimi Doll with blonde hair, and Talking Mimi with Magic Wand. Mimi seems to be something like a Korean Barbie doll: a beauty heroine/setter of unrealistic body and grooming standards. I’m just really thankful that these aren’t called Barbieboxes because the hot pink color combined with the name would probably mean that I’d never get promoted ever again if I had them shipped to my office.


K-Style Memebox 1


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Upcoming Public Holidays in Korea–Expect CS & Shipping Delays

A heads up: there are a few national holidays coming up in Korea that will seriously impact handling and shipping times for online orders. I remembered this because family friends from Korea are coming next week, which is during the Korean mid-fall harvest holiday/thanksgiving feast called Chuseok. Chuseok lasts for three days, but as the travel plans of our family friends show, it’s an important and potentially elongated holiday, so businesses like online beauty shops and the postal-customs system can be impacted even outside of the official holiday days as employees take the opportunity to visit family (both living and dead–part of the holiday involves visiting and tending to the graves of ancestors)…. 

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How to Order from Any Korean Shopping Site (yes, any)

From the moment I saw the Memebox Korea website, with its frantic display of goods and prices to die for, I was a girl with a dream: to be able to buy my favorite LJH Tea Tree Essence in bulk from the site at the cost of $16 per bottle plus shipping (vs. $38 with free shipping on the US-Exclusive Memebox site).

I knew that buying services existed, but the ones I had run into seemed a bit idiosyncratic and their handling fees of about 20% negated just about any discounted prices I could find.

And then I found Avecko. Avecko is a Korean cosmetics online shop that also offers a buying service. The online shop carries some of the most coveted brands such as Sulwhasoo and Su:M37 with free shipping for orders over $45. Ok, that’s nice, but a little too high end for me. I’m after skin-saving dermocosmetics from my new skincare obsession, Leejiham.

The magical portal into Korean online shopping freedom comes from the Avecko buying service, featured heavily on the site. Basically, they’re your proxy shopper. You tell them what you want and can’t get, and they buy it and send it to you. The Avecko staff can also hunt for an item that you request, but I knew exactly what and where to find the items I wanted: the Meme-K site, so I selected the Buying Service. Here’s a photo guide to the process:


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Review: Missha Magic Cushion Case

I’m about to celebrate my ninth anniversary of moving to NYC, and I’ve picked up a few habits while living here. One is the tendency to walk with, shall we say, purpose down the street, propelled by kpop in my headphones and a general distaste for all things slow. The problem is that 1) my body doesn’t really like going as fast as my brain does, causing it to weep tears of sweat and 2) New York can be a disgusting swamp in the summer, particularly in the horribly under-ventilated underground subway stations. This basically means that my bb cream is sliding off my face in all sorts is weird and unwonderful ways by the time I set foot in my office in the morning. Gross.

The problem with on-the-go touchups while wearing bb cream is that the usual pressed powder kind of negates the dewy effect that I like and I don’t want to carry a major bb cream application kit to fix up my face. I need the look of fresh bb with the ease of pressed powder.

I looked into bb cream cushion compacts that allow one to apply bb cream on the go via a set of sponges housed in an otherwise pretty normal compact, but I was concerned about finding a match for my skin when it’s hard enough to find a reasonable regular bb cream match even after testing many foil samples. Even in NYC there aren’t a ton of Korean beauty retailers (although the list is growing! See the fan-b map here), so I wouldn’t be able to test cushions in a shop before buying. I’ve only seen…maybe two cushion samples ever on TesterKorea, the place to find a huge selection of Korean beauty samples, and those two were by brands I don’t love. Plus, cushions are not cheap. Sure, they often come with a refill, but my main bb cream is $11 including shipping for a serious tube that lasts for months, so an expenditure of $40+ on a cushion that I haven’t tested on my difficult-to-match skin doesn’t seen terribly wise.

All of this is to say that when I received an email from MisshaUS about their anniversary cushion that could be filled with any bb cream or cc cream or sunscreen or whatever, it felt like I had seen a heavenly vision. A cushion that could be whatever I needed it to be: what a world.

What particularly excited me about the magical cushion is that it would allow me to make a stable custom mix of bb creams that match my skin and store the mix so I’m not playing Leonardo da Vinci each morning trying to nail the right balance.

The gorgeous Missha anniversary cushion sold out before I could buy it, but I found a regular version on TesterKorea. It seems to be the same thing minus an extra application sponge. Cool, I’ll take it.


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Review: Memebox Memebrushes + August Discount Code


Memebrushes + chocolate caramel bubble tea

As I mention on my about me page, I was a college student from 2001 to 2012. lol At the end of the experience I had more degrees than decent makeup brushes.

My makeup brushes include some Bare Minerals brushes that I bought at a Sephora while taking an Italian class when I lived in a convent on the Upper East Side (cheap rent, yo). Those brushes now leave long bristles on my face after I use them (that I rarely notice while running out the door), meaning that I get to choose between nicely blended makeup with random hairs on my face or less polished makeup minus the fur. I bought these brushes when I was single and I should have tossed them to the trash like some of the lames I encountered on the NYC dating scene.

My convent's roof had a nice view.

My convent’s roof had a nice view.

My only eyeshadow brush is a cheapo thing I bought at the local Rite Aid; I swear the bristles are plastic. Having one eyeshadow brush poses some difficulties–I end up with a smoky eye no matter what I’m trying to apply. One end has given up on even looking like a brush, now resembling my younger brother’s hair when he would sleep in a closet rather than his bed as a toddler.

The problem with replacing terrible makeup brushes is that there’s always something else to buy. My skin has been in an absolute crisis for…too long, so the priority has been skincare. Then there’s the issue of the products I’d apply; for so long, I was limping along with virtually no makeup. But now my skin is improving rapidly and my makeup collection is growing each time I receive a new Memebox or haul package.

I can finally think about making the makeup I own look amazing, but brushes are intimidating to me. I’d still rather buy several makeup items than a single expensive brush that might go the way of my shedding Bare Mindrals brushes. And I’m not even sure which brush to start with–what do I want to look better: my eyes or my cheeks? I’m not easily overwhelmed, but I’ve shoved my brush issue under the table for the time being.

All of this is to say that when Memebox contacted me yesterday to ask if I’d like to review their Memebrush set I was really freaking over the moon. The brush set has been offered in the global Memebox store for some time, but the brushes are about to be sold in the US-exclusive Memeshop: which means free, fast shipping omg. There’s going to be a flash sale starting tomorrow (Thursday, 14 August), where these brushes will be offered at 50% off. [edit: here's the link to the sale!] Right now I’m going to unbox and briefly review these, and share some ideas for some of my current favorite products that would work well with them.


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Review: K-Style Memebox + August Discount Code


fanserviced started and continues as a kpop blog (over at, so when I saw the K-Style Memebox, with its references to girl group glamour, I freaked out and bought it immediately. My main question with this box was whether it would be able to capture the unique look of Korean makeup styles and translate them in some sort of new way for the global Memebox consumer. I think that this box struck the right balance between Korean styles and makeup that could also be used by people who aren’t obsessed with kpop.

To help give some ideas for how to use these products to create a girl group look I’ve inserted some of my favorite Korean makeup tutorials featuring kpop and kdrama stars. What’s the girl group look and Korean makeup style? Hmm…in my opinion, youthful, highlighted, dewy, and flawless. Here’s my favorite example of total goddess glamour: Girl’s Generation’s Genie 3D music video. It’s a few years old by now, but OMG WAAAA! GG!


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