Last month I received the fall Target Beauty Box, fall Walmart Beauty Box, and Memebox Global #15 (released in September, arrived in October). I usually only discuss Korean or Asian beauty products and a few favorites from Sephora, so what the what is going on? Well, I ordered the Walmart and Target boxes to compare them to Memeboxes in terms of value and usefulness to me. Do Western boxes have anything to offer this Korean beauty fan? Will it turn out that I actually like receiving boxes that contain products I can pick up locally better than boxes containing sometimes-obscure Korean beauty products? And what about box price and value: is the value in a $23 + shipping Memebox proportionately higher than a $5 or $7 total domestic box? I’m hoping to be able to answer those questions by the end of my review.
To make comparisons easier and more realistic I’m going to use the retail prices on Amazon for both the Target and Walmart boxes. I don’t shop at either store where I live (in fact, Walmart has been blocked from opening in NYC so far). As for Memebox, I’ll use the notoriously uneven values from the included card. In the end, that stats that really matter are: price I’d pay to keep the item in my collection and how that compares to the box price, ratio of full size products, and the ratio of products I’m keeping from the box after testing.
Let the international battle begin!
Walmart Beauty Box (sold out, sign up now for the winter box)
This has 8 shades of samples plus a $2 off coupon that doesn’t seem to be restricted to Walmart. I’m not giving up my hunt for the perfect bb cream to settle down with girl-next-door Neutrogena, but wow, I so wish kbeauty companies would send samplers like this instead of assuming that we’re all in the N15 range. Retail value: let’s just call all sachet samples and sachet sample sets $0.25.
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay for this: $0.00. The only value to me is knowing which foundation color I am so I can use it to look at other brands’ colors in the foundation matrix. Except this Neutrogena formulation isn’t in the matrix. And given that I don’t want products by those other brands either, we’re getting into a double negative situation and an armful of useless swatches. I sent this to my mom, maybe she cares.
.04 fl oz.. 1.2ml. Retail value: $20.44 for 100ml with free shipping at Amazon right now, so it’s worth about $0.25.
This smells so good to me urgh yess. The description states: “Sparkling with mouth-watering fruits, the fragrance imparts a playful cloud of pink floral petals that whisper the sultry warmth of vanilla, skin musks and woods.” Yeah, actually–all of that. YUM.
In or out: IN
What I’d pay for this: full price, $0.25. Seriously, this is not the most sophisticated scent I wear, but it smells so damn good.
Full size: 1.6oz. Retail value: $8.45 on Amazon
I have to be honest: I already whipped this out and used it before taking the photo because I ran out of my deodorant and this is a great option. So, yup, the box just paid for itself, legitimately with a product I actually need.
In or out: IN
What I’d pay for this: full price ($8.45). Strangely enough, sweater season rather than summer makes me smell gross, so this is much appreciated.
1oz each. Retail value: $19.55 for the full-size set (24 fl. oz. total) on Amazon, so the value is $0.81. Hmm that seems high, to be honest.
This is supposed to be for fine, flat hair. Yeah, my hair is kind of the opposite and nothing in the reviews is making me excited about this product.
In or out: OUT. Please don’t make me use this.
What I’d pay for this: $0.00. I’d probably use the hotel’s free shampoo and conditioner before this, to be honest.
0.06 fl. oz. Retail value: $17.97 for 1.4 fl. oz. on Amazon, so this is worth…not that much. Let’s just call all sachet samples and sachet sample sets $0.25.
Hmm I don’t know how I feel about stuffing my poor pores with anything else, but this is supposed to work to shrink them. … Yeah, good luck with that. I’ll give it a try, but, this is going to be a tough sell.
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay for this: nothing. I’m kind of not into pore-filling and I have a nice pore solution I received in the Makeup Edition Memebox that would probably do the job better.
.4 fl. oz. Retail value: $10.07 for 3.3 fl. oz. on Amazon, so the value is $1.22
This advertises African Macadamia Nut Oil on the front, but the main oil ingredient is mineral oil (macadamia comes second to last). Ok, so you’re telling me that Dove wants to market hair oil, long a staple of the segregated “African American” section of the drugstore hair aisle, to limp-haired white ladies and they do it by alluding to Africa, but then actually use very little of the star ingredient and on top of this, perfume the whole thing in a way that screams “acceptable to suburbia hair oil” while potentially driving up the cost of the hair oil ingredients for the women and men who have been using them all along. This smells like status quo and I hope to never set eyes on it again.
In or out: OUT. Honestly, this product just angers me and it’s not good.
What I’d pay for this: nothing. Less than nothing.
Full size: 0.09 oz. Retail value: I found this for $6.99 on Amazon.
This is bright and pink and sheer and honestly not all that distinctive. I look at this and think “why does this product need to be a thing? It adds nothing to the lip game that doesn’t already exist.”
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay for this: nada. This product is so meh. The people who like this sort of thing already own 12 of this style of thing. I used to it condition my lips during a cold because I didn’t want to contaminate things I actually like. Now it’s hitting the trash. What’s even in this balm? It doesn’t feel particularly luxe–is it a bunch of mineral oil? Groan. I don’t care, I don’t like it.
Full size: .11 fl. oz./3.5ml. Retail value: I found this for $9.20 on Amazon
What a craptacular nail polish, wow. It doesn’t go on in a particularly smooth way and the black color isn’t dense enough not to look like an early high school experiment with a marker in homeroom. Plus, it chips off in no time. Weak. It sucks. Buy Sinful Colors’ far superior 103 Black on Black for $2: the color is more substantial and it will last a lot longer.
In or out: OUT! Total crap.
What I’d pay for this: hA! NO! Nothing! Zilch!
Walmart Beauty Box Stats
Total number of items in the box: 8 (counting shampoo/conditioner as 1, foundation samples as 1)
Number of full size items in the box: 3 out of 8 (37.5%)
Total retail value of the samples I received: $27.42
Number of items in/out of my collection: 2 in/6 out (keeping 25%)
Value of the items I’m keeping in my collection at the price I’d pay to keep them: $8.70
Value of the items I’m keeping at the price I’d pay to keep them/what I paid for the box: $8.70/$5 = 174%
Target Beauty Box (out of stock)
subscription: no, buy each box separately
cost: $7 + free shipping
ordered: 7 October
received: 17 October
Retail value: Let’s just call all sachet samples and sachet sample sets $0.25.
Awe. Some. Yess. Trying cushion colors from thousands of miles away is insane unless one wants to buy a bunch of whole cushions. One issue: “Introducing the world’s First, Fastest, Foundation-forward bb cushion.” … That’s just not the case. As other people have noticed, the cushion sponge is noted in the promotional language to have antimicrobial properties, which is great news for cushion fans, who have been concerned about rampant bacterial growth in the cushion or sponge. The lightest color turned out to be too dark for me, but that is very useful information to know!
In or out: IN!
What I’d pay for this: I’d gladly pay $4 for this if offered by Tester Korea (that’s the high end of their sample price spectrum, but cushion samples tend to cost more than others).
Full size. Retail value: $6.50
I keep hearing about NYX, but what the what is this white eye pencil doing in my beauty box with zero explanation? I can think of a few ways to use this, mainly as a base under light glitter pencils and shadows to highlight and make sure that the glitter effect really stands out. But then I tried it and it looks so costume and it’s not smooth like Clio liners. Absolutely disgusting, no. I don’t find the formula terribly buttery, which means more tiny white pileups on my eyes, even after I try to blend them out. What a wreck. I wanted to love this after hearing so much about the brand, but no.
In or out: OUT.
What I’d pay for this: $0.00. Seriously, it looks terrible no matter how many different ways I try to make it work.
2.2 oz./64.2g. Retail value: $5.59 (travel size)
This. Smells. Absolutely. Wretched. Like, I can’t even think about the quality because I’m so disturbed by the smell. There’s apparently an unscented version–why on earth would this mess be sent to a bunch of people who are obsessed with beauty products to discuss and hate?? The other issue is that I don’t use hairspray. Like, just about never. It’s not really the style of my generation? This smells like 80s puff bangs and grandma’s dressing room. I have a lot of hair and it’s ok with being foufed around naturally, so this one is not happening.
In or out: OUT. Seriously, that smell…
What I’d pay for this: I’d pay NOT to smell this again, it’s that bad.
50g/1.7 oz. Retail value: $20.29 for 4.9 oz., which means that this is worth $7.04
I tested this a few times and it works pretty good as a dry shampoo, but it made my scalp do wild in terms of itchiness! I was seriously suffering as if someone had poured itching powder all over my head. I’m sad to see an effective product get the boot, but the itching was unreal!
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay for this: zilch.
Full size. Retail value: $7.97
Hot damn, this is a FINE color! It’s a bright, but dark red and the formula is pretty good. Honestly, it’s more like a lipgloss than a lipstick but whatever. It’s great. YAY!
What I’d pay for this: I can honestly see myself paying full price to keep this. Reds like this don’t come along every day. $7.97
Target Beauty Box Stats
Total number of items in the box: 5 (counting bb cushion samples as 1)
Number of full size items in the box: 2 out of 5 (40%)
Total retail value of the samples I received: $29.35
Number of items in/out of my collection: 2 in/3 out (keeping 40%)
Value of the items I’m keeping in my collection at the price I’d pay to keep them: $11.97
Value of the items I’m keeping at the price I’d pay to keep them/what I paid for the box: $15.47/$7 = 171%
Memebox Global #15
subscription: no, buy each box separately
cost: $23 + $6.99 for shipping. Buy in bundles of 3 to save $4 on shipping. In reality, I paid $16.25 for this box because there was a $15-off coupon at the time. Since that was a coupon available to everyone when I ordered, that’s the price I’m going to use since one of the benefits of a regular beauty box company is coupons, contests, and loyalty discounts.
ordered: 25 June
received: 10 October (it should have arrived 6 October, but nobody was home and I didn’t have time to pick it up until the weekend; it was shipped 24 September from Korea)
Mise en scène Perfect Repair Treatment Pack
Full size (180ml), retail price: $16
I think that what’s meant by treatment pack is “decent conditioner.” My usual conditioner, Neutrogena, handles my mop a bit better for half the price, so I’m going to keep this just out of frugality.
In or out: IN
What I’d pay to keep this: $6. That’s a bit less than my usual conditioner that works better.
Mise en scène Perfect Serum
Full size (70ml), $9
Hot damn, this is good. It certainly has a fragrance, but nothing as stomach-turning as the Dove hair oil. This is somehow effective at calming my frizz a bit without introducing a lot of weight to my hair or greasing it up.
In or out: IN
What I’d pay to keep this: $9. This product is actually worth full price, rock on.
Ariul Stress Relieving Purefull Cleansing Foam
[no photo because I already kicked it out of my collection!]
Full size (75ml), $8
Confession: I don’t have photos of this because I tested the pH of this cleanser and it was around 8.5, which is way higher than I’m using these days. Why the obsessive pH testing? Stuff that’s too high (basic) harms one’s acid mantle, potentially allowing bacteria that’s bad for skin to flourish. Read more about that here.
In or out: OUT!
What I’d pay to keep this item: $0. Do not want.
TonyMoly BCDation All Master SPF30 PA++
Deluxe sample (20g); full size is 50g/$24; $9.60 value
This bb cream was so promising. The color was pretty good for my N15-looking-toward N20-a-little-yellowish-on-the-
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay to keep this: $0.00. This recently was shipped off to my mom so she could test it. But it will probably suck for her, too, let’s be honest.
Recipe by Nature miss.age Snail Anti Wrinkle Serum
Full size (50ml), $29 (available here)
This is ROCKING! WOW! I wasn’t sure about the ingredients in this serum so I translated the list and it’s fantastic! Here’s the list and ingredient analysis. This product is made by Memebox fan favorite brand Recipe by Nature and I get why people like it. From my ingredient post:
It turns out that this serum is actually a skin nutrition bomb, loaded with over 80 ingredients, including a bunch of cutting-edge extracts and a giant helping of snail filtrate
In or Out: IN!
What I’d pay to keep this: hmm this is tough. I have so many good serums and skincare products. $29 is quite a bit although this product is very good. Let’s say that I’d pay…30% off the current price of $29–that would be $20.30.
Tosowoong Makeon Lip Manicure 30 Seconds
Full size (5.5g), $12
This is a super long wear lip “manicure” product. First off, It. Is. Bright. Wow. I have tough luck with keeping lip manicures on my lips. Perhaps it’s due to my diet coke addiction? Also, I’m 31 years old and my job title includes the word “director” (with a modifier to soften the awesome)–I just can’t wear this to the office and I doubt I’d wear this anywhere else either. I just can’t do this.
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay to keep this: zilch. I keep getting colors appropriate for kpop stars and teenagers in Memeboxes; I don’t need anything sedate, but maybe not REALLY BRIGHT HOT PINK?
Shara Shara I Wanna Pencil Gel Liner
Full size, $8
This is just about the crappiest product I’ve received in a Memebox. Worse than the tampons. Worse than the ladybit rose oil. Mainly because it looks like poo. Yeah, yeah, I get that it’s brown, but this is a particularly crappy brown with zero staying power. Between this pencil and the terrifying sun cream doll from the Cute Wishlist 3 box, Shara Shara is now my no-go kbeauty brand. Truly horrifying stuff, really.
In or out: OUT
What I’d pay to keep this: I think I’d pay to make sure I never saw this wreck of a liner again. Absolutely disgusting, please no.
Memebox Global 15 Stats
Total number of items in the box: 7
Number of full size items in the box: 6 out of 7 (86%)
Total retail value of the samples I received: $91.60
Number of items in/out of my collection: 3 in/4 out (keeping 43%)
Value of the items I’m keeping in my collection at the price I’d pay to keep them: $35.30
Value of the items I’m keeping at the price I’d pay to keep them/what I paid for the box: $35.30/$16.25 = 217%
Walmart vs. Target vs. Memebox Stats
|Percentage of items still in my collection||Value of the items I’m keeping in my collection at the price I’d pay to keep them||Value of the items I’m keeping at the price I’d pay to keep them/what I paid for the box|
|Walmart Beauty Box||25%||$8.70||174%|
|Target Beauty Box||40%||$11.97||171%|
|Memebox Global #15||43%||$35.30||217%|
The chart tells the tale: while both Target’s and Walmart’s beauty boxes had solid products that I ended up keeping, my needs and tastes clearly are more aligned with Korean beauty products and boxes these days. What’s interesting is that even though I kept roughly the same percentage of stuff from the Target box as I did the Memebox (which, by the way, wasn’t my favorite global box ever), the value of the Memebox products was considerably higher, likely due to the box having more full-size products. I think that all clearly offered a great value, despite my extremely rigorous six-week test of the products and desire to destash as much as possible so I’ll keep getting all of the boxes and doing these comparison reviews if people find them useful. It’s possible that other folks may prefer American-born beauty boxes, especially since they have lower price tags, but I think I’m going to keep looking mostly outside US borders for my beauty fix.
Anyone else receive any or all of these boxes and care to weigh in?
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