After receiving Memebox Luckybox #1 and deeming it a big hit I wondered if Luckybox #2 could live up to that standard. Luckily (har har) I liked Luckybox #2 even better.
Memebox is a subscription mystery item beauty box company minus the subscriptions. Each box may be purchased individually and the regular Memeboxes come with 4 to 8 deluxe samples and full-size Korean products, with most of the products focused on skincare. Since its launch Memebox has received mixed reviews due to some PR and customer service missteps by the company, but the overall value offered by the boxes made this a chance I was willing to take. The thing that convinced me to take the leap was the Luckybox, which costs $23 like the regular boxes, but contains the most wanted items from the earlier boxes. That sounded like a good way to maximize value, minimize the risk of dud products, and “catch up” with some of the hot items I’d missed.
Ordered: 15 March
Shipped: 16 April (shipping dates are set by the company; check the product description for information about when the box is scheduled to start shipping)
Received: 26 April
The vast majority of the critical information about the Memebox products is in Korean, of course, so Memebox includes a helpful description card with each Memebox that has product and use information along with measures of size and valuation. Here’s the Luckybox #2 info card (click to enlarge).
Luckybox #2 Review Criteria
The philosophy behind this blog is that I need to get my skincare and cosmetics supplies up-to-date after 10 years of broke studentness, but I don’t have tons of space and cash to do it, so each product is scrutinized for its value and could be immediately eliminated from my supplies if it’s not performing well. With my goals in mind, here’s the fanserviced-b ratings rubric:
- Five stars: I love this product so much that I want to give it to people as gifts and discuss it all the time. I want to buy more immediately.
- Four stars: I really like this product, I’ll use it happily, and it is welcome in The Drawers for the rest of its beautifying life. I will consider buying it again in the future.
- Three stars: This product is good, but I’m hoping to find something better one day. It can stay for now and I’ll consider it under review, but I haven’t yet fully welcomed it into my heart. Given the range of great products out there, it is likely that this one will be out of The Drawers before I’ve used it all up. I doubt I’ll buy this again.
- Two stars: I have mixed feelings about this product and I’m going to send it out for a second opinion. Product: to the Mommebox (the boxes of items I’ve rejected that I’m shipping to my mom for a second opinion)! I will not buy this product again.
- One star: I actively hate this product and I wouldn’t even give it away. I consider it my life’s work to convince other people not to waste their money on this terrible product.
I’ll also assign a “value to me” for each product. This is the amount I’d be willing to pay to keep this product in my supplies; if I’m only planning to use a little bit of a so-so item, expect those values to be slashed mercilessly. When I find something really great I’ll assign the item the full value and possibly note a “+” if it’s really exceptional and makes my heart beat faster.
Let’s see how the products in Luckybox #2 fared after one week of testing.
Espoir Lipstick 3.7g (full size) in color Pink Ocean, value: $15
This is the product I was most excited about trying in the box. I literally rushed to take photos of everything so I could test it out. By the end of the week I was having to remind myself to put some on so I’d be able to review it properly. The problem was the color. It’s a very bright, springy pink that’s a bit tough for me to wear. My husband asked where I had found a Russian granny’s lipstick. Ha! I thought it looked more like the bright lip colors worn by Cheon Song Yi in My Love from Another Star. It’s not at all what I’d pick out for myself, but the point of mystery beauty boxes is breaking out of the routine and trying new things, so I’m actually happy I have it. The lipstick is moisturizing, but not to the point that it’s sliding right off my lips. The pigmentation is less dense than I expected. Given my difficulty with wearing the color I dab some on to use as a quasi tint, and it stays on reasonably well for about half the day. I experimented with wearing this plus Tonymoly’s Delight Tony Tint and it actually worked out better than I expected. I suspect that if you’re having trouble wearing a color like this, it might make sense to dial up the drama rather than tone it down.
Value to me: $5 (I might use this a few more times, but it’s not going into the regular rotation. I suspect that it will be packed into next month’s Mommebox of items I’ve rejected from my collection.
Nuganic Customized Sunblock Fresh SPF50PA+++ (full size), value: $45
I’m actually really excited about this product, but I’m going on vacation this summer and I’ll need crazy amounts of sunscreen. I’m going to hold off on breaking the seal on this one. Very very happy to have this though.
Rating: to come, 4 right now based on happiness at not having to buy good sunscreen on my own.
Value to me: $20. In no universe would I ever pay $45 for sunscreen are you kidding me? I was studying on the French fucking Riviera and buying premium sunscreens for my pasty-ass skin and it still cost a fraction of that. I don’t need my sunscreen to do everything, just protect my skin and my wallet from disaster. I feel like this price must be marked up a whole helluva lot.
Dr. Jart V7 Eye Serum (full size), value: $38
It’s going to take quite a long time to properly asses this eye cream that’s meant to reduce puffiness and dark circles. Oh, goodness, how do I need this wow. The problem is that I know what’s great for reducing puffiness and dark circles super fast for my eyes: reasonable amounts of uninterrupted sleep. I’ve kind of come around to the philosophy that maybe my skin is a sign of what’s going on in my body that might not be right, an external sign of internal distress. So I’ve stopped eating sugar for a bit as a skincare experiment and I’ll try other things, too, to see how my skin reacts. All of this is to say that, yeah, an eye cream that reduces puffiness and dark circles is great, but it also makes sense to lessen those naturally. But life is so fun why would I want to sleep?!?!?
Value to me: $19. This is a tough one. I’ll use this periodically because I’ll feel like I must, but I think I need to meet creams like this halfway by getting more sleep. Also, I will probably never buy a dedicated eye cream on my own; it’s too much stuff to stick on my face and not terribly fun. That said, I’m glad that I have this one (and such a nice one) if I ever feel like I must use it. But if I had $38 to spend on eye cream I’d happily go for tons of different samples of crazy fancy hanbang creams by luxury makers such as Sulwhasoo and Su:m 37.
LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence 20ml (full size: 50ml, $32), value: $12.80
I really dig this essence. I was surprised by it because I expected it to smell in some way like tea tree oil, but it doesn’t at all. It smells like nothingness. It’s also not greasy or even particularly oily. It absorbs fast. Along with the IOPE Bio Conditioning from Luckybox 1 and the Dr. G cream a few items down, my skin is looking really glowy and healthier than it has in a very long time. This could be due to my home chemical peels, an easy week hormonally, and/or the fact that I gave up sugar ten days ago. I’ll need to continue my tests, but this essence seems to have some sort of active ingredient that initially brings out a lot of redness in my skin and then calms it right down and makes my skin less red than in resting skin mode. In the event that my skin continues to improve I think this might become my go-to essence. I’ve ordered the Oil and Troubles Memebox and the Oil and Troubles 2 Super Memebox, and I have my fingers crossed that this product is in one or both of them. I’d be thrilled if I got this again because it would mean that I’d be able to go just a bit longer without buying a bottle.
Value to me: $12.80+
Dr. G Bio-RTx Mentor Cream 20ml (full size: 50ml, value: $35), value: $14
I have mixed [good] feelings about this cream. On one hand, it goes on without a problem, doesn’t seem to piss off my grouchy skin, and absorbs well while still moisturizing. On the other hand, I’ve already used a ton of it and I’m just not sure how much of my skin rebirth is due to this cream. I like it, I think it’s good, but I’m not sure I want to marry it just yet, although I’d be happy to get it again in another Memebox.
Value to me: $14
Mis en scène 2X Curl Essence 30ml (full size: 150ml, $10), value: $2
This was yet another great product. To put things in context, my hair is absolutely wrecked from years of bleaching. It’s now brown, my natural color, but aside from the six inches closest to the root, my hair has been processed like I’m a boyband member fresh off a string of comebacks. I should really get my ends at least chopped off, but I may need long hair for work. Also I’m lazy and don’t want to take the time to get my hair cut. So I’m a great tester for products that claim to temporarily help calm hair; if they can work on my straw, they’re golden. This product calmed my dead ends and added enough gloss to the point that my husband asked what I’d done to my fur. I noticed that although I only put this on my ends, my hair generally got oilier a bit faster so I’m going to save this for when I need my hair to look great and skip the everyday use. Added benefit: my hair looks and feels better even after I’ve washed my hair and not reapplied this. Very cool, I dig it.
Value to me: $2+
Leaders Insolution BIO Medi-curing Mask-Aqua Dressing 20ml, value $3
This mask was WILD. I read somewhere that you need to remove the paper from this mask before applying it. I was expecting one sheet of paper so I got that off, worrying that I’d made a terrible mistake because I noticed another sheet of paper. I decided to just take that off too and see what I was left with. I was left with a super moist, super flexible sheet of what felt to me like thin skin. In reality it’s a sheet of wound care material developed to help people with skin injuries heal faster and with less scarring. I stuck it on my face and I knew more about the psyche of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs than I ever wanted to. The mask fit my face better than any that I’ve tried before. Granted, my face is probably 1.5 times bigger than the biggest Korean face, not even kidding, so it wasn’t perfect on the nose and it ran out around the jawline, but it otherwise was great. My face felt moisturized and my skin was calmer with more glow and smoothness. I’m not a super fan of sheet masks, but this is the best I’ve ever tried.
Value to me: $3+ I love this mask despite the creepers I’m-wearing-skin feeling. I’m buying more at some point, for sure, if in part to make other people I know feel like they’re wearing skin.
Leaders Insolution Coconut Bio Mask With Tomato 20ml, value $3
This mask was less impressive because it was made out of paper, but having tried the Bio curing mask, I wonder if there was a soft, flexible layer hidden inside the paper, too? I feel like Memebox could do a better job of pointing this sort of thing out on the instruction card because nice masks don’t feel so nice when they’re not used properly–and I’m not sure that everyone who buys Memeboxes is such an expert in masks already that they should know that there’s a thin, squishy, skin thing perfectly encased in normal-looking paper mask sheets. I tried this while still in my “paper masks ain’t shit” phase, but now I’m more curious and wondering if I judged this one too fast. In any case, Leaders has really set the bar for masks for me, and I’d actually be interested in trying this mask again.
Rating: 3? (? due to possibility that I didn’t follow the instructions)
Value to me: $3. I’ve paid this much for masks that didn’t really blow me away, so getting cool, useful masks for this price is pretty exciting.
Overall Rating of Memebox #2
Overall rating: 4
Total value to me: $78.80
I really liked this box a lot and it was an even better value to me than the first one I received–largely due to the lack of fail products. I’m curious if Memebox is going to continue to get better or if this is all happening because I picked Luckyboxes. We shall see very soon!
Memeranking: #1 so far. This box was rock solid and I liked most of the stuff quite a bit or at least thought it was temporarily useful.
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