3B Box Unboxing and First Impressions

Monday, May 2, 2016

Those of you who have been following the blog (thank you) know that I'm not one to do too many unboxings, simply because I prefer to pick out my own products. But beauty boxes are often fun ways to discover new brands and try products that you wouldn't have necessarily picked out for yourself so when 3BBox approached me to review one of their boxes, I said why not?

I'd been curious about 3B Box for quite some time as in my mind it's the "beauty box with the wait list", as in it has pretty much always been booked out since the launch even. There's always a wait list for the service. Anyways, so here are the details about 3B.

Their mission statement is the following: "Our passion is bringing beauty beyond borders. We help you discover the most popular Asian beauty products through our curated pouch of deluxe samples each month."

3B, which stands for Beauty Beyond Borders, is a monthly subscription service where you can sign up to receive 4-5 deluxe Asian beauty product samples for $12 a month. They currently only serve the U.S. market.

I spoke with one of the founders Ke, who was kind enough to let me know a little bit more about what they strive to do better than their beauty box competitors. According to Ke, they send mostly skincare products every month. They tend to send not only popular Asian beauty products, but also new and trending ones, as well as some premium products out in their cute, purple mesh pouches (another differentiator: they use space-saving pouches instead of actual boxes). Some of the brands you can expect to see from them are affordable favorites like Etude House, Lioele, etc. and some higher end ones like SK-II, one of the top beauty brands in Asia. The pouches are curated by the 3B team using customer feedback like monthly surveys as well, so they like keep their customers' needs in mind.

So let's get into the unboxing shall we?

This isn't the most recent box they sent out for the month of April, but rather a box they had previously curated last year, that they thought would suit my dry skin type.

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Disclosure: This post contains a press sample kindly sent from the3bbox.com. All opinions are my own. If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Each box comes with an information card that lists out the product names, what makes them special, and how they should be incorporated into your already existing (or not) skincare routine. So let's see the treats from this particular pouch.

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Hada Labo Tokyo Skin Plumping Gel Cream deluxe sample
Ra & Gowoori Whitening UV Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++ FULL SIZE
Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence deluxe sample
Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil Moisture deluxe sample
A'pieu Nonco Tea Tree Spot Patch deluxe sample

So we have a light moisturizing gel cream, a full size sunscreen, a first treatment essence, a cleansing oil, and some acne treatment patches. Total swag is 4 deluxe samples and 1 full size product. While 3B doesn't list out the estimated value of each product in the pouch, I was able to confirm that the Ra+Gowoori full size sunscreen is worth about $10 on its own. So right there, it almost makes up for the entire cost of the beauty box. Boom.

I've got a few first impressions to share with you on some of the products as I've started to test some of them out. Since they're mostly deluxe samples, I won't be able to give any of these a full testing cycle anyway so I'll keep my reviews brief.

Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream

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This Hada Labo gel cream contains super hyaluronic acid, which is an excellent hydrator. It's a sort of humectant, which just means that it's able to attract and bind water molecules to itself as it is applied to our skin. It's fragrance and colorant-free. Looking at the ingredients list on CosDNA, I noticed there are skin-plumping and repairing ceramides in there, as is squalane, an olive-derived concentrated oil that is a great moisturizing ingredient for the skin.

This is a white gel-type moisturizer that is very hydrating. It melts onto the skin to a liquid-y consistency before absorbing fully and drying down matte. It leaves the skin smooth and softened without any residue. It's also quite cooling and very scent-neutral. I haven't used this too much, but I'm excited to use it more often as it seems like it will deliver on its claims.

Ra+Gowoori Whitening UV Sun Cream

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I was excited to try out this sunscreen from Ra+Gowoori because it's a cream-type formula which tends to perform well on my dry skin. It also contains Ethyl Methoxicinnamate which blocks UVA1 rays, and Titanium Dioxide, a physical UV filter that blocks UVA2 and UVB rays. UVA rays are the rays responsible for wrinkles, sagging skin, and skin discoloration, while UVB rays are the ones that cause skin cancer. None of these are bueno, so it's great that the sunscreen contains these ingredients that can block out the entire spectrum. Doing my customary check of the ingredients list on Cosdna however, led me to discover that there is an ingredient that rates a red flag when it comes to safety called 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor . While I'm not too concerned as I don't believe this to be used in harmful quantities, the KFDA is quite stringent when it comes to cosmetic formula regulations, I wanted to call this out. There's also some moisturizing and moisture-sealing ingredients in there like beeswax, fatty alcohols, and more. So all in all, very much so a sunscreen formulated for dry skin.

The sunscreen is a white melted cream-like consistency and goes on a bit sticky and as though it is very moisturizing. There is an initial white cast but it completely disappears after working the product into the skin. The skin does feel like it's retained moisture. My only issue with this sunscreen is that it doesn't perform well under bb creams. It works fine under light layers of CC cushion, but for some reason, when layered underneath a more hefty makeup formulation, it tends to not mix well, and the makeup looks a bit patchy. It's a physical sunscreen so I feel comfortable not topping up during the day even though I should, we all should. But just saying I haven't tested out whether or not this applies over makeup well. For now I'm fine to use it as my skincare parasol for the warm sunny days that are ahead. Real quickly on the packaging, it's just a plastic tube with a silver twist-off cap that is leak- and spill-proof. The product initally comes sealed with a bit of foil.

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence

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I was most delighted to see the inclusion of this Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence. This is a first treatment essence that features 90% galactomyces which = fermented sake yeast extract, and is often referred to as a passable dupe for the famed SK-II 'Pitera' (also fermented sake yeast extract) essence. First treatment essences are light hydrating watery skincare that goes onto the skin fresh after cleansing. The point of using a first treatment essence is to add hydration back to the skin, since cleansing can often be stripping. And essences are supposed to make it so that subsequent layers of moisture are more readily absorbed by the skin. The ingredients list can be viewed here at CosDNA.

The essence is clear and watery and scented like sake, although not as potently nor as funk-ily as the SK-II essence is rumored to be. Though not as hydrating as many other essences I've tried, it does make my skin soft and smooth, and dries down quickly - so, great for those who don't have much time to spare for layers of skincare to absorb into the skin. The next day is when the results are most obvious, the skin looks mildly brighter, much clearer, and more even in tone. This essence works nicely for me, but as I'm working through only a sample bottle, it's difficult to say whether it will deliver on some of its claims - such as whether it is actually brightening, fades hyperpigmentation, or fine line and wrinkle-reducing. For now it's a nice, passable essence that is priced reasonably compared to other yeast-based products in the market.

Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil Moist

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I groaned a little bit seeing this product in the pouch as I'd read some pretty harsh reviews on this one but I went in with a bit lowered expectations and was pleasantly -whelmed (not underwhelmed). 

Etude House has two versions of this cleansing oil, a light version for oily skin, and a moist version for dry skin. I was sent the one for dry skin. This one contains coconut oil, and stearic acid, so it may not be the best cleansing oil for those with skin that reacts to those ingredients. 

Cleansing oils are meant to remove makeup. This one is a yellow-tinged cleansing oil with a medium-thickness and a fresh, citrus scent. Even though the oil has some viscosity to it, it's also a drier oil than most I've used. The product removes base makeup and colored point makeup pretty easily, stumbling only on the heavy waterproof eyeliners and mascaras. It did eventually remove even the Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara, so it is a passable makeup remover. One of the strengths of this cleansing oil is that it emulsifies very quickly. Rinsing takes a little while though. In terms of whether or not it helped my dry skin at all, I would say that it doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped; my skin usually feels quite soft after using this particular product. All in all, I found the product to be average.

Apieu NonCo Tea Tree Spot Patch

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The last item in the pouch was this set of 12 acne treatment stickers. These are patches that are stuck on over active blemishes in order to protect it from dirt, bacteria, and of course your inexorable urge to pick at the spots heh. The spot patches contain tea tree oil and herbal extracts to help treat the acne as well. I haven't had the chance to use these yet as it seems my acne years are behind me but should a spot pop up, I know I'm prepared.

So that's all for today's unboxing. Thank you to 3B for making this unboxing and review possible. If you're interested in subscribing, head on over to the3bbox.com for details on how. Also, their website is where you would pick up full sizes of anything you've tried and come to adore.

Are you subscribed to 3B? What are some of your favorite finds from a 3B box?

Disclosure: This post contains a press sample kindly sent from the3bbox.com. All opinions are my own. If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

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