February 2016 Sephora Haul

February 2016 Sephora Haul

Earlier this month, I had a little shopping spree at Sephora–a Valentine’s Day treat for myself.

List of products purchased:

I have yet to try all of the products, but right now I’m loving the Touche Éclat Neutralizer. I definitely want the other colors, as well as the Touche Éclat Strobing Light Highlighter.

Have you tried any of these items? Would you like me to review any of them?

Holika Holika Pig Nose Clear Blackhead 3-Step Kit

Important announcement: I’ve found my new holy grail for dealing with pesky blackheads!

Holika Holika Pig Nose Clear Blackhead 3-Step Kit

This 3-step kit is “perfect for pore control” and certainly the most effective blackhead removal product that I’ve tried thus far.

From the Holika Holika website:

The first step opens your pores which allow for removing blackheads easily. The second step removes blackheads. The third step [is] to minimize pores.

After cleansing, place step-1 on nose for 15-20 minutes. Remove it slowly and wipe off any blackhead or impurities from pores. Wet nose with water and place step-2 on nose. After 10-15 minutes and slowly remove it from the edge. After step 1 & 2, place step-3 on nose. Remove it after 10-15 minutes and gently tap it for better absorption.

For a full list of ingredients, please refer to the product page.

Packaging: All of the writing is in Korean, but it’s easy to figure out this kit even without instructions. There are also cute illustrations to guide you along. Each step is enclosed in a separate pouch, and the pouches can be detached from one another via perforation. Like regular sheet masks, they are very easy to tear open. Steps 1 and 3–a sheet mask and jelly mask, respectively–are super saturated and packed with extra serum.

Scent: Each step contains lemon extract, so the product overall has a very lemony/citrus scent. The scent is strongest and sweetest in step 1, the sheet mask. I personally really like citrus fragrances, and I did not find this overwhelming at all. In steps 2 and 3, the masks have a more chemical lemon smell–not so good, but not a big deal.

Step 1 – The cotton sheet mask is quite thin, but otherwise feels like any other sheet mask.
Step 2 – This is the blackhead removing strip. It is very soft and pliable, with a felt-like texture. Although it is strong, it does not feel grossly sticky at all. As usual, the strip turns rigid after use.
Step 3 – The jelly mask is a little thinner than other hydrogel masks I’ve tried, but it holds together well.

Experience: I am so glad that I ordered a pack of these kits during Memebox’s Cyber Monday sale, and I can’t believe it took me this long to actually put them to the test. After one use, I was in love. I get a ton of blackheads on my nose and chin, so I’ve tried a handful of different products to combat them. Holika Holika Pig Nose Clear Blackhead 3-Step Kit is by far the best one that I have used to date. It removes a majority of my blackheads, while keeping my skin hydrated.
Step 1 – I was doubtful that this lemony sheet mask would be able to open up my pores, but it was surprisingly effective. After 20 minutes of use, I could see my blackheads brought to the surface. I was able to wipe some away with just a cotton pad, before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2 – This blackhead removal strip is amazing. After carefully placing it on my nose, I could feel the adhesive really hug my skin. Once the strip was dry, I gently removed it. It looked totally gross–but in the good, effective strip kind of way. (I would have taken a photo, but no.) Most of my blackheads had disappeared, and my skin did not look dry or irritated at all.
Step 3 – Because the strip was not drying, I don’t think this jelly mask is really necessary; however, it’s still a pleasant and hydrating final touch.

Tip: Use the kit on your chin! I used steps 1 & 2 on my chin, and it worked wonderfully. For this purpose, I actually cut step 2 in half to be economical.

Rating: 5/5, obviously. This kit is seriously powerful, yet great for sensitive skin. I highly recommend it. Goodbye, blackheads!

Have you tried Pig Nose Clear Blackhead 3-Step Kit before? How about other Holika Holika items? Let me know in the comments!

Billie Amber Saunders: 500 Followers & Giveaway!

Hey Beauties!

I hope everyone has been having an amazing Valentines day! I received a card from my boyfriend that simply stated ‘have a great day’, i’m not joking! Either way, it must of been a sign of what was to come as I reached a crazy 500 followers today! A great day indeed. It was like the perfect way to start my day, I am so incredibly amazed that even though I have been a beyond terrible blogger these days due to my new job, that I have reached another incredible milestone. So thank you to everyone for your support and I am so beyond happy right now. I won’t bore you with my rambling, as we could be here a hell of a long time. So instead of talking about my appreciation, I have decided to show you instead.

Did someone say give away?! 

That’s right my friends…

View original post 498 more words

Beauty Box Korea Review

A review of the new online Korean beauty retailer, another Skinfood x Snoopy haul, and more!

Two weeks ago, I posted this announcement about the Skinfood x Snoopy collection and placed an order with Beauty Box Korea. My package arrived yesterday afternoon and I could not be more pleased with it!

Review of Beauty Box Korea —

Site navigation: The site is very easy to navigate. Everything is written in English and the prices are listed in USD. They have a huge selection, as well as a product request page. It looks like they’re still working out some minor details, but I have not encountered any issues.

Payment: You can pay via PayPal, credit card, or bank transfer.

Prices: As I mentioned in my announcement, their prices are extremely competitive. A large selection of sheet masks are priced under $1, from popular brands such as Tony Moly, Aritaum, Innisfree, etc. Most items are offered at a discounted price, and there are also coupons and reward points.

Shipping: Shipping costs are comparable to other online retailers. There are two options: EMS and standard shipping by weight, with the latter being the cheaper option. My package weighed 780 grams and shipping cost $14. The estimated shipping duration was 7-35 days, but my package arrived in just under 2 weeks. I placed my order on the 12th and the items were shipped from Seoul on the 13th. The items arrived at LAX on the 20th and were delivered to me (North Bay Area) on the 25th.

Packaging: I am so impressed with Beauty Box Korea’s packaging. They really take care to ensure that the products will arrive safely. My items were delivered in a brown cardboard box, which was fully protected with clear tape along all of its joints and edges. The box was taped up so well that I actually had difficulty opening it up (not a bad thing). Inside, each item was wrapped with bubble wrap.

Beauty Box Korea Review

These are the A’Pieu sheet masks that I ordered, along with a free sample pack. Seriously, how adorable is this packaging? I am in love.

Beauty Box Korea - Cute Packaging

Promotions: For new members, Beauty Box Korea is offering a new membership discount (10% off) and free gift ($5 coupon). These cancelled out the cost of shipping for me. As you shop, you’ll also notice that certain items offer reward points. Reward points can be redeemed after your order has been delivered.

Rating: Without a doubt, 5/5. I’m very, very happy with Beauty Box Korea and will definitely order from them again. The prices were great, the products arrived in perfect condition, and they also included a lot of samples and a free gift. Keep reading to see the free gift and the full haul!

Skinfood x Snoopy Haul, Part 2

Beauty Box Korea Skinfood x Snoopy Limited Edition Value Set

This is the Limited Edition Value Set that I ordered. It includes the Peanuts-embossed Royal Honey Cover Bounce Cushion, Royal Honey Good Moisturizing Cream, Marshmallow Hand Cream, Propolis Nourishing Lip Oil, and limited edition Snoopy & Woodstock pouch. The pouch is printed canvas and cushioned on both sides. I also ordered Innisfree Skinny Long Long Cara mascara, which I’ve read great things about.

I was really excited that Beauty Box Korea had the Skinfood x Snoopy clutch, which is a printed red leather pouch with black interior. I did not pay attention to the dimensions, and it turned out to be much bigger than I expected (300 x 220 mm). I’m actually very happy with the size, as I think it will be super useful for work and travel.

Skinfood x Snoopy Limited Edition Clutch

Here it is with my Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 for comparison:

Skinfood x Snoopy Limited Edition Clutch with Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

I also ordered a bunch of sheet masks, which were cheap and did not affect my shipping cost.

Beauty Box Korea Sheet Masks

And these are the free items that I received with my order:

Beauty Box Korea Free Gift and Samples

The Missha Bubble Maker looks like it will be super fun to use, and I can’t wait to try out all of the samples! Thanks, Beauty Box Korea!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out my my original Skinfood x Snoopy haul from Tester Korea.

Lush BOGO Picks: Joy to the World + Santa’s Belly

See what I bought during the Lush Christmas BOGO sale, plus reviews for all of the items inside both gift sets!

I recently popped my head into the closest Lush store to see what Christmas BOGO items were still in stock. The selection was quite limited, but they had a lot of bar soaps, lip tints, and some gift sets. I chose the Joy to the World and Santa’s Belly gift sets.

Lush Christmas BOGO Mini Haul

Jump to a specific item review:
• Joy to the World Gift Set, $19.95 — Snowcake | Love And Light
• Santa’s Belly Gift Set, $23.95 — Stardust | Santa’s Belly | Reindeer Rock

Joy to the World Gift Set

Lush Joy to the World Gift Set

The Joy to the World gift set comes wrapped in a pretty white and gold printed paper, with a neat bow on top. The products are contained in a cardboard box, with some peanuts inside for added protection.

Lush Joy to the World Gift Set Unboxing

Inside the box, there is a bar of Snowcake and a jar of Love And Light hand cream.

Lush Joy to the World Gift Set Contents

Snowcake Soap Review

Snowcake Soap

  • Packaging: Lush soaps usually come naked (without any packaging), but this was actually nicely wrapped in clear plastic.
  • Scent: The soap is supposed to smell like marzipan, which I love, but it doesn’t–at least, not quite. I think the scent is a mixture of marzipan (almond), cinnamon, medicine, and old people. Yes, it smells as strange as that sounds.
  • Texture: The soap feels soft and the raised ends are pliable. It is very creamy.
  • Experience: Snowcake lathers decently and cleans very effectively. My hands feel moisturized after using this soap, although I still need to follow with hand cream. The gold glitter washes off immediately under running water, and the rest of the bar is just creamy white soap. The scent stays on the skin for a few hours, so use at your own risk.
  • Best use: I have been using this primarily as a hand soap.
  • Rating: 2/5, because I can’t get over the odd smell.

Love And Light Hand Cream Review

Love And Light Hand Cream

  • Packaging: Like the full-sized version, the hand cream comes in a black pot with screw-on lid. The pot contains 1.5 oz (45 g) of product, so it’s shorter and smaller than what’s shown in the official product photo.
  • Scent: Lush describes this product as “fruity and fragrant.” I think it has a very citrus and spicy scent. The citrus smell is definitely more on the orange side, thanks to a blend of orange oil, neroli oil, and orange flower in the ingredients. This hand cream reminds me of the natural smell of orange blossoms on a tree, but also of Fruit Loops. Actually, the more I smell it, the more it smells like Fruit Loops.
  • Texture: The product actually has a very light and smooth consistency, kind of like emulsion.
  • Experience: My hands constantly look dry and overworked, so I’m always on the search for a good hand cream. I applied some Love And Light yesterday evening, and was surprised to find that my hands were still soft and moisturized when I woke up this morning! The scent is quite faint once applied to the skin, which is a plus.
  • Tips & tricks: With this hand cream, a little bit goes a long way! Apply a small amount to your hands first, massage well, then add more as needed. Using too much product will cause your skin to look and feel extremely oily.
  • Rating: 4/5. It’s not my favorite hand cream ever, but it definitely does a great job.

Santa’s Belly Gift Set

Lush Santa's Belly Gift Set

All of the Santa’s Belly gift sets were covered in white, powdery dust. [I had to clean the exterior surface for the photos.] I had no idea why, until I opened the adorable ornament-like metal tin…

Lush Santa's Belly Gift Set Unboxing

Although the soap was wrapped in clear plastic, the bath bomb was not. This resulted in a messy powdery explosion.

The Santa’s Belly gift set contains: Stardust bath bomb, Santa’s Belly shower jelly, and Reindeer Rock soap.

Lush Santa's Belly Gift Set Contents

Stardust Bath Bomb Review

Stardust Bath Bomb

  • Packaging: Although Lush bath bombs normally don’t have any packaging, I really wish that this had been wrapped in clear plastic like the soaps. That would have prevented the powdery mess that infected everything it could touch.
  • Scent: The bath bomb smells sweet like vanilla. In its solid form, it has a very strong scent; however, the fragrance quickly dissipates once immersed in water.
  • Texture: Solid and dusty, but easily breaks and crumbles into powder.
  • Experience: I don’t take baths anymore, but I recently started doing foot soaks with epsom salts and bath bombs. This bath bomb has an aqua blue center, so it turns water into a milky light blue color. It leaves my skin smelling sweet, and it is not drying at all.
  • Rating: 4/5. I would purchase this again.

Santa’s Belly Shower Jelly Review

Santa's Belly Shower Jelly

  • Packaging: The shower jelly (3.5 oz) comes in a smaller version of the container shown above–a clear pot with screw-on lid.
  • Scent: I absolutely love the juicy apple fragrance!
  • Texture: Shower jelly literally feels like dense jello. It’s smooth and jiggly, and super slippery under running water.
  • Experience: This is definitely my favorite product from the mini haul. The jelly lathers up very well, creating a lot of bubbles, and is an efficient cleaner. As a body wash, it feels very luxurious and is a great moisturizer. The apple fragrance really comes out in the shower and lingers on the skin afterwards, without being too strong. As a shampoo, it made my hair super soft and shiny, sans conditioner.
  • Tips & tricks: When using this as a body soap, take a small chunk and crush it into a shower pouf. This is the most efficient way to use the product, and the pouf will also enhance the lather.
    If using the jelly directly on the body, keep it whole in order to prevent precious pieces falling down the drain.
    To use the product as shampoo, I recommend lathering it up in your hands, then working your hands through your hair. Otherwise, your hair can easily cut through the jelly and waste it.
    In the summer, or whenever you want a cooling shower sensation, store the jelly in your fridge/freezer. When using the chilled product, keep it whole or else it will quickly warm up under running water.
  • Rating: 5/5. I absolutely love this stuff and will definitely be buying more shower jellies from now on.

Reindeer Rock Soap Review

Reindeer Rock Soap

  • Packaging: Like Snowcake, Reindeer Rock was also neatly wrapped in clear plastic.
  • Scent: This soap smells just like lingonberries. Thank you, IKEA, for teaching me this.
  • Texture: The soap has a soft touch and is somewhat malleable. If you look closely at my photos, you’ll see that the edges of the soap were completely bent to the shape of the metal tin. Under running water, the soap feels jelly-like and becomes incredibly slippery.
  • Experience: My bar actually had a purple plum color, as opposed to the lingonberry/cranberry color shown on the Lush website. The reindeer is cute, but the silver glitter washes off immediately. There is glitter throughout the bar, but that also washes away as the soap melts. This soap doesn’t have much of a lather, but it smells nice and cleans well. It did not moisturize my skin, but it wasn’t drying either.
  • Warning: This soap may stain, so take caution with where you store it. The color immediately bleeds into water, and it completely stained the plastic that it was packaged in.
  • Rating: 3/5. Reindeer Rock is not moisturizing, but it cleanses well and smells great.

Overall Impressions

Average ratings
Joy to the World Gift Set: 3/5
Santa’s Belly Gift Set: 4/5

My favorite product of the bunch is Santa’s Belly shower jelly, and I also really liked Stardust. I initially thought about buying two Santa’s Belly gift sets and skipping Joy to the World, and now I kind of wish I did. Although the hand cream is great, I was very disappointed by Snowcake. Nonetheless, it was so much fun testing all the different products!

Have you tried any of these products? Did you make any purchases during the BOGO sale? Share your answers with me in the comments!

All individual product photos are from LushUSA.com.