A WTF Moment

Everything was going so well. i mean, so well. at first, i had apprehension but as more Korean goodies arrived at my doorstep, the more my worry faded, and the more fun I had and for a while even I – the always critical one – saw a noticeable change in my skin.

Was it anything more than the mystique of the magical looking elixirs, that convinced me of significant and positive epidermal change? Well, we could argue that long into the night. The point is, me and the “probably Korean drugstore products” as Hubby would say, well we were getting along. Making beautiful beauty music. But, I guess I always knew that one day it would come to a screeching halt.

By no means is my skin perfect. Who’s is? Yet, my skin and I, we’ve got an accord. I know her, intimately. I know her inside and out, I know her tendencies, I know when she’s about to get bitchy and I know how to put her back in her place, but all bets were off when I started experimenting with lotions & potions from afar.

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Usually with a proper cleanser, and a decent drugstore foundation I could pull off looking like a female. Win. Sure, sometimes people would tell me I was more pale than the dead … but what of it? I was a stranger to the tan, but lucky to have just bouts of hormonal acne once in a while, and as I aged my skin got a little less sensitive. We were in a good place. So what drove me to dally and gamble with my skin care routine?

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The promise of “even better skin.” A harrowing thought now that I’ve taken a turn down another path: Reaction a la ma-face-she-go-boom.

It is extremely hard to nail down a culprit to label devil but I have a hunch! Dick Tracy hats on, Beauty Detectives.

I am not as smart as many of you out there currently receiving Memeboxes. Most of you open one product, use it and then open another. Or you all have specifically rendered routines where you have three or four (five, six … twelve) products you use over the day and night and you become well accustomed to each one and their results on your individual skin. Very smart Memeboxers!

I am more a student of chaos theory? Yes, I have a few items I use without fail because I love them (e.g. LJH Tea Tree Essence) but with every box that arrives, I’ll throw something new into the mix. I play it fast and loose, and shoot from the hip. And, apparently I’ve gotten a little too bold with it. I had a really good run with my skin for so long, and I stupidly started to feel invincible. New cleanser? Yes! New serum? Why not? New moisturizer? Hells yeah, baby. Pour some sugar on me, I am your sweet sweet cherry pie!

… Wow. Total Eighties hair-band flashback.

New (weird, odd smelling, EGG SHAPED) facial soap? Again, I said yes but this time, I hadn’t realized I was in the presence of pure evil.

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photo credit: memebox website

I was so excited to receive my “Free from Oil & Trouble 4” box from Memebox and this one had some real winning products. I figured one night, as I was lazily soaking in the tub that the “Linzy Egg Soaps” would be nothing short of deeeeelightful!

I wish I could smack those soaps right out of the hands of Kelsey of the past, but no. I left my Wiccan powers in my summer jacket. AGAIN.

Now, I know it is unfair to point the witchy-poo finger at the eggy soaps, but I have thought about it. It is the only new product I’ve introduced in the last week. Everything else that is relatively new has been with me now since the last box I received which was weeks ago. Thusly, I elect the eggies as the evil-doers.

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Here’s the D-L on the haps, peeps. I broke out in the weirdest (angriest) way. The pimples came and they came with friends. They were the red, painful kind – not a lot of whiteheads or blackheads, just round painful dots, ranging in size, spread out from the underside of my chin up to about mid-cheek. Against my white skin, they looked exactly like little constellations splattered out from chin to lip to cheek. Constellations as in just like the stars, but in pimple form. But curiously? Less attractive. And, definitely less romantic. You get a sense of what I mean by the pictures above – the polysporin I’m using to quell the rage and take the edge off the pain, covers their pattern pretty exactly.

For about three days now the infection has been spreading and worsening, because I didn’t think the innocent white and red eggs were the issue at first. I also did some things in an attempt to calm my skin, that I found out recently you should not do. Not ever!

One. I tried popping the buggers.

Ok. So I know already that isn’t what you’re supposed to do – so sue me.

Two. I tried using a hot compress to help heal up the broken skin.

Apparently, no! You should be using cool water, to calm, close the pores and not irritate.

Three. I introduced yet another new product. Blithe Patting Water (soothing & healing green tea). Something which had no hope of helping! Zero chance because let’s face it, this was no small skin freak out and again, *hangs head in shame* I used super heated water.

So Beauty Adventurers, where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me to go to a baby shower on Sunday looking like my good old halloween pal, Freddie. And, it leaves you with this cautionary tale. Yours to use as the last line of defence!

What was my last line of defence, you ask? Well my darlings, I have a two-year old that was obsessed with the evil eggs from the moment he saw them … So after the obligatory will this give you flesh eating disease? check …

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Holy Grail Beauty Must-Haves

For the longest time, this term as far as it related to beauty products made no sense to me. I didn’t know what a “holy grail” item was because I rarely finished any beauty product unless it was out of necessity, like shampoo or conditioner. More often that not, even if I found something I loved, I either quickly lost interest or I physically lost it before the real love affair began. (Hello, Bonnebell lipsmackers, I think lost you most of all)

There are, of course, the holy grail items you hear about through the beauty grapevine. And for a time, I listened and followed suit, buying up whatever was the hot ticket. This is how I came to be the temporarily proud owner of many beauty-mistakes: the quintessential 90’s pixie cut with blonde frosted tips, orange lipstick, roll-on body glitter, chunky glitter hairspray, neon blue mascara, frosted pink lipgloss – just to name a few. Let’s just say I didn’t exactly make high school easy for myself. That haircut especially, haunted me for many years … *shrugs off chills* egads. It just didn’t always register with me that my pale skin, big eyes, and freckles just wouldn’t look so hot coupled with many of these trends … ah, the folly of youth.

And, so? It goes on. And, it gets worse. We finally grow up a little and learn to not blindly take on every trend whole-hog and we become a bit more discerning in our tastes. Yet, no matter how old we are, if our best friend finds something and shouts “Holy grail! Holy grail!” we all still jump in line, don’t we? Even my Bestie – the makeup neophyte – even we have this relationship when it comes to mascaras. If I ever stand a chance of holding a cosmetics-related chat with her then you can bet it’s about that. If she finds one, I buy it. If I find one, she’ll roll her eyes but usually she’ll buy it too.

But none of these situations truly constitute finding a real holy grail item. These are just scenarios where we amuse ourselves while we wait for the real thing to come along. And for me? It never did. I would use certain things a few times, maybe repurchase them if I was really caught up but eventually something new would come along and I was a terribly disloyal harlot and frankly, when it came to cosmetic brands, I really “slept around,” I liked them flashy and I liked them cheap. Hence the Bonnebell and roll-on glitter filled purses of my youth.

But now, as I stand at the end of my twenties, staring down my thirties, my relationship with cosmetics has changed. I have to be more thoughtful with what I splash on my face, and sadly, I have to spend more money and give myself over to the going theory that you get what you pay for and with cosmetics and makeup that really tends to be the truth.

In my recent explorations into the Korean beauty market, and on the back of a well researched friend’s opinion I found something that fits the bill. A truly holy enough item to call itself grail.

Now at first when I was buying and trying new products from Korea I was hesitant about anything that alluded to “whitening” or “peeling” … even the mention of skin-brightening or descriptions of dead skin cells sloughing off … I just buried my head in my western beauty ideals and stayed away. It wasn’t until I was more versed, and did my own research that I finally became open to these ideas. And now, frankly these elements are integral to my new skin care regime.

On Instagram, I had started to follow fellow beauty bloggers, and thrill-seekers in the Memebox/Korean beauty sphere, and a few became friends and the more we all talked, the more I valued their opinions, reviews and suggestions. Christina, another Vancouver-based Memebox lover posted a picture, late one night on Instagram that hooked me straight away. A peeling gel she had received in one of her Memeboxes, and she touted it as being an almost-holy grail. Suddenly, at two am, I found myself skulking around ebay to find this illusive lemon peeling – magic – gel. I had to find it. It became an obsession. I the hunter, it my prey … ten dollars later it was mine. My own. My prrreeeecious. *cough cough*

Two weeks later, it arrived and it sat on the bathroom shelf for a while more … even though I had taken the plunge, I was still terrified to try it. The idea that I would apply this and my skin would drop off horror movie style to the floor and I would have no one to blame but myself, stopped me every time I reached for it. It became a game of chicken. Nightly. And every night, I lost.

One night somehow I found the balls it took to whip it out and slather it all over my face. Listen, I told myself You’re married. If your face falls off, guess what? He still has to love you. He took vows and shit. Girl. He has to love you even if you come out looking like Voldemort. Go on. Do it. 

and so, I did.

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Here is my review of the Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel by Secret Key

If you’ve never tried a peeling gel before, take a breath and be brave – it is worth it. If you think you’ve exfoliated successfully, try this and see what a peeling gel can really do, things that an ordinary exfoliant can’t do, even in its most sudsy, soapy, moistest dreams.

I think I thought that dead skin cells were few and far between, and that I obviously had the issue covered by exfoliating twice a week. Bah, oh Kelsey of the past. I laugh heartily at you. Fool!

This peeling gel is miraculous for one reason. It is an incredibly gentle yet effective product that not only renews your skin, but removes your dead skins cells and lets your true “best skin” emerge. You’d think that a lemon extract peeling gel product would have to be particularly harsh to be effective, but not so with this Secret Key winner – and that in itself was extremely surprising.

I sparingly applied the gel to my face and even before I had evenly distributed it, I could already feel my dead skin begin to ball up underneath my fingers. It took less than thirty seconds for the gel to permeate my skin’s surface and begin to remove all the waste. It didn’t burn, irritate, leave my skin red or inflamed in any way – and for someone with sensitive skin, this was a huge shock – I kind of expected my skin to scream out in agony, or break out, breakdown or break up with me entirely … but she remained calm. Bloody fucking miracle. I washed away the bits of old skin with warm water, and my skin didn’t feel dry or tight which I expected. It felt extremely clean, so soft and oddly moisturized which I did not expect.

But the best came after looking in mirror aprés my pampering session in the tub. My face was bright. Beautiful. And as I inspected, it truly was descaled and smooth. Best of all was my acne scaring; all of it was at least a shade or two lighter. The old red marks where my hormonal acne had gotten the better of me and I bugged it far beyond the point of necessary, all of those reminders of breakouts past were remarkably diminished. Anyone who battles hormonal breakouts – and is like me, always has their fingers to their face to “cover it” or bug it – would know that even after those breakouts heal, they leave behind a red spattering of marks that only a decent foundation can really hide. Yes, they do fade over time, but it takes eons, and by the time they fade, a new breakout has begun and the cycle begins again. It’s heart-wrenching.

Well, this gel helped more than anything else I’ve tried to help heal, hide or blur those marks, and I wasn’t even expecting that as a result when I applied the Lemon D-Toc for the first time. It was a perk and it was glorious. I sincerely urge you to try a peeling gel if you’re so bold, and I think this one by Secret Key is something to consider. Gentle, effective, and surprising. Give it a whirl.

A few tips from me to you:

One, with this product less is more. Two, you don’t need to leave it on long. Just cleanse then apply, wait a second and then rub & rinse. Three, don’t use it more than once week. Since it is as effective as I say, it is pointless to use it more often. I used it a second time in a week where I had previously used the gel and I had no dead skin for it to find, so it ended up being unnecessary!

If you’ve tried this or something similar, tell me about it below! This newly appointed holy grail item comes to me by way of my fellow beauty adventurer “Mmnoob” – A braver soul than I by far so check out her blog too – We thank her for her bravery and for her need to share her beauty secrets! Beware though, if you’re the jealous type. She has the most beautiful skin EVAH!

Until next time, beauty-bots. Be safe out there.

Thoughts on Memebox’s Restocked Boxes – Zero Cosmetics Box

Since joining in on the Memebox fun in late July, I quickly realized I had missed quite a few boxes since the company’s inception. When I found out Memebox “restocks” some popular boxes from time to time, I began to watch very closely to see if any old missed opportunities popped up.

In my early relationship with Memebox – as with all my relationships – I was very chaste. (Hubby is snickering) I was extremely choosy and I let many boxes slip by even if I was interested, I rarely pulled the trigger. By September of course, I had a full-blown addiction to the hot pink box and I rapidly fell to other extreme. On a high, I sailed through a few weeks buying boxes on a whim, catering to my fancy, my mood and ignoring any telling signs that maybe, just maybe, not all the boxes were right for me. After doing some calculations late that month, I drearily made myself revaluate and once again I slowed right down, however, when a certain restock hit my radar – I aimed. I fired. Target acquired.

“Zero Cosmetics” was on my list because I am always on the lookout for natural, simple skin care options, because the fair british skin I inherited from my father rarely takes on cosmetics of any kind without struggle or utter rejection in the form of the angry “Fuck you PIMPLE” – You know those beasties, I am sure. Zero Cosmetics promised nature’s best options for any myriad of skin issues and even though I had intended to dam-up my purchasing, I let one more slide in the gate.

To me, the term “restocked” means that. Re-stocked goods. We’ve gone out and acquired the contents of a certain box to sell again, hoping to capitalize on its earlier popularity. Ok. So that is completely fair. You are a company. You’re money-hungry, and by God we the consumers, well we love you for it. Here here! But what I don’t think I realized, or maybe I just didn’t think long enough before I metaphorically injected myself with the online shopping high – “Restocked” can mean whatever they want it to mean.

Every Memebox I have received thus far has been very well presented. Not only have they been packed well, I’ve had no leaks or breaks and most of all everything has been safety sealed and wrapped up tight. This is something I personally really appreciated about the box and the products I receive inside. My restock was different.

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Now, I have heard (after the purchase was made) that restocks were cancelled boxes or send-backs but I guess I didn’t really heed that information at the time. It wasn’t until I received my box and I was ravenously tearing into it, that I thought to myself, Whit-a-tick. Where is this box actually from?

Much of my box’s content was clearly untouched (the soap was wrapped, and the sheet masks obviously still enclosed) but the creams, serums and so on – none of them had safety seals. So many boxes in, I was used to and comfortable with those safety seals, so missing them got me to reconsider my decision of investing in a restock.

So, call me crazy, but I guess I feel just a little divided on the subject. I think I knew all along what a “restock” could be, so I can’t really be upset. Can I? A cancelled box that never left the warehouse is one thing, but a send back is another. In that sense they aren’t restocks so much as they are “refurbished”. The more I think about it the more I feel like one of two things probably should have happened on Memebox’s end.

One, they could say up front, what we all are thinking or what many of us know – give us, the customer, the head’s up, tell us where the restocks come from, and two, maybe sell them at a discounted price if they are in fact, refurbished boxes. Then I think you would have all the information you would need to make the decision that is right for you. I still don’t know if I would have bought this box now after receiving it the way I did. I also don’t know if I blame Memebox for being vague or if I blame myself for not thinking about what “restocked” meant in reality. So, I put this out to the interwebs to foster some conversation.

What have you thought about restocks? Have you received one in the condition I received mine? Is it better to know, or is blind acceptance easier? Of course … it is possible my situation was a one off, hell, it is possible that just not all products come with safety seals – but I don’t know, so, of course I am filled with questions!

I ask you fellow beauty-addicts and memeboxies – How do you feel about the “Restocks”?

Quick Review – The “Oh Sheet Mask” Company – Updated Nov 24th 2014

Well, beauty aficionados. i found yet another subscription service that i like! My credit card heaves a heavy sigh … I hear him cooing sadly from inside my wallet … Yet, we mustn’t spoil the joy of finding a new service, especially this one because I think I found a gem!

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Oh Sheet Mask is a new company run by a husband & wife team living in the Thai city of Chiang Mai. Patt is the woman who makes the beautiful boxes that the (10 luxury) mask come in, and Phil, her husband takes care of the business side, together they travel, find & test each of the masks that go into their monthly handmade subscription boxes. They have an option to just buy one box, as needed, per month should you choose not to subscribe – and that is what I did. I’ll likely order as I need more masks and as my stay-at-home-mommy budget allows.

One of the first things that stuck out to me about this company was their website. It is extremely welcoming, easy to navigate, beautifully designed, simple and functional. The content on every page is helpful, humorous, light-hearted and engaging. It really feels home-spun but in the best way possible because it still retains a level of professionalism and sophistication. Being married myself, whenever I work with my husband on a project, I truly feel that much of our love and great working relationship shows through the work – and I think Oh Sheet Mask has the same vibe going on. Their site feels happy & joyous and it immediately makes you want to support them and their efforts in bringing quality Asian sheet masks to the masses!

Secondly, their pricing and shipping is on point. There are two options, One being a mask bag (5 masks for 11 dollars) and the subscription box (10 masks for 23) – what makes this a fair price in my mind is their attention to detail, their customer service, the handmade boxes and the fact that they give free worldwide shipping. A little over 2 dollars a mask may seem the pricier option as you can find masks on the market for cheaper – but because of everything else I’ve stated thus far, I personally didn’t feel it was too much to ask. I enjoy the surprise element of the masks being chosen for me, and that they are tried and loved by the owner and operators themselves.

My box arrived mid-month as expected, in great condition with a hand written address. The box comes with a little note citing the individual mask’s list of ingredients. Something I am always looking for because I am interested in what I am putting on my skin, especially when trying something new and from afar. When I emailed the company to inform them I would be writing a review, I instantly received a lovely response from Phil with some personal information about the company.

We’re fairly new to the business side of things so any feedback would be great and help us to improve or add new features that people are looking for, and we want to have a great relationship with our customers, that’s one thing we aim for first and foremost.

I was pretty charmed. In this day and age, I rarely expect a response to some of the things I personally write to, big companies are usually pretty dismal at reaching their customers on a personal basis or even responding to issues in a timely manner, so the fact that Oh Sheet Mask even wrote back, to me, was pretty impressive. I hope that as their company grows they continue to be so dedicated to this aspect of their work.

We don’t want to just be generic and send you the same old stuff because it’s ‘safe’. We want every box to be special, brands you haven’t tried, a wide variety of different masks, stuff you’ll rate without any other influence so you’re really just judging it on quality and effects.

I appreciated Phil & Patt’s candor and lively enthusiasm of their newly launched business and it just added to my positive experience with them through the process of buying one of their boxes. I’ve unpacked my own box and begun to use the masks, and so far, I am happy and having a lot of fun experimenting. For any girl or guy that loves a good long bath, some pampering and of course, sheet masks! I think this subscription service is a great place to start. Check out Oh Sheet Mask here, and you’ll see for yourself that it is true: good things come in small packages!

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This is an unsponsored review of Oh Sheet Mask and I am not affiliated with the company in any way

Hello all. I wanted to update this entry now that a huge controversy has surrounded “Oh Sheet Mask”, its products and its owners and operators.

I had a very early conversation with Phil Miles of Oh Sheet Mask when I emailed the company after purchasing a box of my own, asking to review his box upon arrival. I wanted to post my email and his response to my blog in order to add to the conversation about this company that is currently under hot debate amongst beauty bloggers, and beauty lovers alike. The date of this conversation took place on October 12, 2014 – it seems much has changed since. Please go to Eugenie’s blog to familiarize yourself with the issues that have come to light on this company. Her unboxing is informative, and the reader comments below are extremely illuminating.

I will leave my entry and review of “Oh Sheet Mask” unaltered because I mainly reviewed the company’s website and customer service. However, I have been upset by some comments coming from the company’s owner, in his replies to customers and friends of mine on social media. Hence why I’ve decided to share my information. Though, It is up to you alone, to read, research and come to your own opinion on this company regardless of my opinion or anyone else’s.

October 12th 2014 (unedited)

Hi,

I’ve ordered one single box for the month of October – it has yet to arrive – I am very excited.
I wanted to reach out and ask if it will be all right for me to review your subscription box, online, on my personal beauty blog. I know I haven’t received the box yet, but I am already impressed by a few important features to your company: service, website and your choice to provide free worldwide shipping.

If I have your permission I’d like to review your company and the box. If there is anything you’d like me to include (ex special information about the company/products) please let me know.

Thank you in advance of what is sure to be a great box, and relationship

Kelsey Huyghebaert
Vancouver, Canada

October 15th 2014 (unedited)

Hi Kelsey,

Of course, feel free! We’d love to know what you think.

We’re fairly new to the business side of things so any feedback would be great and help us to improve or add new features that people are looking for, and we want to have a great relationship with our customers, that’s one thing we aim for first and foremost.

The main idea was to show you guys in the West that there are a lot of really great masks in Asia, they just don’t get marketed to you like MBD and The Face Shop etc. Those are not bad masks of course, but they’re kinda generic bargain masks, they fill the 7-11s here, you can even pick them up in dollar stores now over there from what I’ve read on reddit, so they’re really standard, not ‘special’ you know? Also brand blindness affects everyone. I’m sure you’ve read countless positive MDB blog reviews (has there ever been a negative?!) but for instance, a good proportion no doubt received fake masks when buying cheaply online yet they didn’t know any better and gave a glowing review, based on brand, other reviews and not having tried a good selection of high quality masks to compare them to. (Or maybe the fakes were just that good!) Not sure if that makes sense, but one thing we don’t want, is just to be generic and sending you the same old stuff because it’s ‘safe’.

We want every box to be special, brands you haven’t tried, a wide variety of different masks, stuff you’ll rate without any other influence so you’re really just judging it on quality and effects etc..

Of course some people would like to have the usual brands (far better and far cheaper just to buy online though we think) and there might be masks people don’t like but we’d rather have a few misses and the rest hits out of the park than 100% safe first bases. Probably a terrible apology there but we hope you catch our drift!

Sorry I’ve rambled a bit! Basically, sure! Review away!

If you have any questions just let us know!

Phil & Patt @ Oh Sheet Mask.

Ancient Practice For Modern Girls

Well, Let’s face it. There is just something primordial and satisfying about slathering your face in mud. I can’t be the only one who feels this way – am I? I mean I know I am the cheese … and mayhaps in this case the cheese stands alone?

I ask you to walk with me on this one. When I am stripped down to my all-together (that’s naked, darlings) and I sink my fingertips into in the cool, soft, pliable clay of my mask packs, I am instantly soothed. Then, as I spread the muck across my face, the warrior in me emerges, slowly at first and then more and more – meeeeoooow – and by the time my face is fully greyed-out, I begin to feel a kinship between me and ancient man. Going back thousands and thousands of years my ancestors did this very same thing. You know … late on Wednesday evening, when the little cave-babies wouldn’t shut their gobs, and the cave-husband forgot to take the carcass out, again … you can bet our cave-sisters took a stroll to the water’s edge and packed on some clay for relaxation, therapy, and of course to cleanse. Believe it or not – getting mucked up – is a very natural thing to do, even now, in the age of sanitation, technology and zero relaxation time. For me, a clay mask is a beauty must, a soul rejuvenator and mind relaxation tool … all reasons why I may or may not have purchased several varieties of clay pack in the last few weeks, two of which tonight we shall discuss in finite detail. Parchment and quills at the ready, beauty geeks!

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The Volcanic Ash Pore Pack from Secret Nature is from the raved about Earth & Sea box. A slow-starter for me, because by the time I had hit midway to the bottom of the jar my thoughts were undecided. A few weeks ago, I explained my findings like this:

This is a great middle of the week mask. It hasn’t broken out my über sensitive skin – yet – and it is easy to apply and wash off. What I like about this clay mask is pretty simple – it’s non irritating and the 100g container is enough product to get 5 – 7 masks applied. Many of you might get more as I tend to really pack on products like this in thick layers. I don’t mind the fragrance but I don’t love it – It’s a little pine needle-y but in a more chemical way than say, natural but fear not, it’s light and it dissipates. As for results I find this mask helps to just keep my facial skin “calmed” I can’t say it does more than that however, that is fine with me – for a mask that’s a result I would expect but not one you always get! I find the action of applying it very therapeutic, it is velvety-smooth and because of that it doesn’t quite dry like other clay masks. Its very unique texture is extremely smooth, and the clay has a very subtle blue hue or undertone. If you leave it on for eons it will dry for the most part. If you require that your mask dry, try applying less than I apply, if you like it dried out and tightened on the skin. Is this mask a repurchase for me? Probably not simply because I’m not in love, it was a great mask to play with and to experiment with but I’m not keen on the scent, not enough to buy again, however, if it is as integral to my clear skin as it could be, I may have to reconsider.

Now, a few more weeks have passed and I am a little more “in love” with this mask, one because I’ve now compared it to another, and two because I think this mask had a larger effect on my clear skin than I had given it credit for prior. Also, call me crazy – don’t worry my friends do – but the scent grew on me, and that is saying something. Usually I am pretty steadfast in my opinions … don’t know if you’ve noticed. So after some real quality time with Secret Nature’s Volcanic Ash Pore Pack, I can say it is effective. Not only does it clean the pores, but it calms the skin really well, and quickly. It doesn’t irritate the epidermis or the olfactory – Also, I got way more than 5 – 7 uses out the 100g, like Kelsey of a few weeks ago told you. That chick is batshit crazy. This pack delivers ten uses or more. After use, my skin felt clean, and primed for absorption of further skin care. This mask gets a solid 7.5/10 and find it for yourself, here.

In the other corner we have a mask I picked up from Memeshop (on the memebox website) as part of a late-night, wine-induced small spending-spree. At the time my skin was going through its usual hormonal breakdown mid-month, culminating in those deep-seated, painful bumps that are both unpopable and impossible to calm. When they descend – it’s all hands on deck – and fingers – and it just makes it all worse. Enter Velieve White Clay Mask.

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I know, I know. It is a stunning picture – thank you. I get asked this all the time, and no. No, I do not model.

On to my findings. All right. yes. I saw the Toucan on the label and was definitely swayed by the stupid tropical creature. But let’s remember, it isn’t just me that is always raped and pillaged by good packaging … but the bird and then the “limited edition” comment on the top … oh it was all so good and before I knew it, it was in my basket. I paid around 15 dollars in USD for the beaked bird and its clay. When it arrived, I went against good sense and dove into it before finishing my last open clay pack – but it was a good thing. These two packs ended up being very different from each other.

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Velieve’s clay pack was a lighter in colour (white amazonian clay) and is a more dense clay and therefore it felt much dryer to apply. It also dried quicker and more throughly than the volcanic one from Secret Nature. It has no discernible fragrance which for me is a good thing, and usually means it won’t be as reactionary with my skin – my rule tends to be, more smell more chance of holy shit my face just blew up. This clay mask is effective but maybe a tad average. It does do a lot of what the first mask did, but just on a lesser scale, I suppose. I did feel it just wasn’t as active in taking out the red or calming the inflamed areas as well, but it did leave my skin dryer – not too dry – and more matte than the volcanic ash mask. If that is your preference, then this mask would be great for you. For myself, I did find this mask useful for the morning routine because my makeup went on my skin flawlessly and with ease because my skin was calm and matte after the mask application. This reason was the one quality that both set it apart from the other mask and differentiated it. In the end, I enjoyed it and it did perform as expected, I just wish it did more to heal up and calm breakouts, so 7/10 is where it stands.

I have been looking for a more in-depth list of the ingredients than the memebox website provided, when I come across an English list of ingredients for both masks I will be sure to add them for your perusal.

In closing, if you should take anything away with you from this piece, then let it be this: slapping a little war paint on and having a soak will do more for you than you think. And maybe, just maybe you’ll feel akin to your ancestors too. Until next time beauty-adventurers, be safe out there.

Don’t be Daft – I Have Many Obsessions – This is Just One of Them

This was me in july when i received my first box. 2014-08-07_1407380172

My dear friend Chelsea’s voice was ringing in my head, “Beware products from overseas! They’ll burn your skin off!”

Ok, well. She said something like that anyway. I usually listen to Chels, my beauty guru. She knows everything about cosmetics, she has exquisite taste and she is obsessed with sparkly trinkets and glitter just as I am. If I wasn’t already twenty years deep with Bestie, I’d consider giving Chelsea the best friend crown. Katrina, my best friend is going to read this and be thinking my head would look prettier separate from my body. Well? Not everything can be helped, Bestie, and our relationship would be healthier if you didn’t roll your eyes at me in Sephora when I ask your opinion on eyeshadow. For shame. Sephora is holy.

So, against my friend’s advice I ordered my first box. When I received it weeks later, its hot pink outer shell and wondrous and zany innards made my beauty-geek fingers tremble. It was cosmetic-love at first sight. it wasn’t long before I was obsessed with this company called “Memebox” and I was chatting online in the forums, posting and gabbing on Instagram. Actually, I’ve met and made some fantastic new friends from all over the world. These twenty-something dollar boxes have improved my social life. It went from non-existent to expensive but riveting.

Now, I’ve been in deep with these pink boxes since the summer and I’ve acquired a few more boxes since I decided I might try my hand at being a beauty-blogger. So this, my dear ones, is the recap of what I’ve experienced so far – in rapid fire speed.

I’ve been unboxing my treasures on Instagram and doing small reviews on the products that to me were gems, and the products that did less than shine in my opinion and they have been fairly well received by my small audience of friends in the memebox addiction realm. It has been fun, but the more I posted the more I grew and nurtured this new compulsion: to blog about beauty. Why? Well, because I am already a mommy-blogger and writing is in my blood. It was only a matter of time before these two loves got into bed together and shagged. Now, here we are, in post-coital beauty bliss.

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That’s a selection of my unboxings – and don’t worry, mom. That “selection” is most of what I’ve acquired. From the top down we’ve got the Earth & Sea Box, The Anti-Aging 2 Box, The Honey Box, The Moisture Surge Box, The Anti-Aging 3 and finally, The Whole Grains 2 Box. As I said I’ve done a few mini-reviews on products here and there and in the coming days I will post those findings here on the blog for your amusement as your personal product-testing-monkey.

As for how this blog will unfold, well, as far as memebox is concerned, I will do unboxings but I will focus on reviews of individual products because this is what I see the least of, out there in the blogosphere. And, it is what I love to read personally, not just a product’s specs as given to us by the company or memebox but how it feels, smells, reacts and if it follows through on its claims. You know – the real beauty nitty gritty.

You know I’ll bend toward the more “natural” products I receive so expect to see a lot of that but please leave a comment if there is something you’d like to see, discuss or have reviewed, you know should anyone ever see this little blog … she’s a modest one but she desires to be undressed by your eyes! Huh. I think sounded way less creepy in my head.

And, I believe in transparency! So, tonight I became an affiliate to Memebox because it was time. I spend enough money so I better just have a link for those of you wanting to tread down the path I did. It’s nice here. Think I’ll stay. Join me, won’t you?

I’ll have a link below of course, but here are few things to know: Memebox is a company based in Seoul, Korea. They have another headquarters in San Fran USA. They are non-subsciption service catering to those who desire new and cutting-edge Korean Beauty Products. Adventurous spirit an asset. By non-subscription I mean you don’t get a box every month or at any interval that is set by the company – you set the interval. Buy a box here, or buy twenty boxes there – it is completely up to you. The boxes are themed, come in different sizes and run the gamete of prices from $15 to $60+ dollars (USD) though the majority of boxes are priced at $23. I have exclusively purchased boxes between the $19 – $29 dollar mark (except one. Damn you Anti-Aging Box 2) because I am a stay at home mom on a budget but the boxes I’ve received have exceeded the purchase value and have been well worth it. Though be knowledgable, in doing some research I have found that memebox can inflate or overstate the retail value of the individual products – but that doesn’t seem to affect the box price, just memebox’s estimated value of the box. In short, the boxes are a great, extremely fair deal but if you want individual products and you’re looking at memeshop (on the memebox website) some times it pays to look at ebay or amazon to compare prices.

I look forward to blogging about all my upcoming boxes, discussing with you the winning products, the poopers and hopefully giving you reviews you find helpful and engaging.

To all my other beauty bloggers out there, thank you. Your blogs have truly made me feel apart of a little community, I hope this blog finds its place among you. Now. Onward. To beauty adventures!

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{Disclaimer – all boxes on this blog have been purchased by my own money, and all links are affiliate}

The Spark

The magic apothecary in my home as a child was my mother. She would always look to the most common sense solution for an issue before anything else. Especially when it came to taking care of us all. If it was a cold, we would have to gargle with salt water, follow it with drinking copious steaming mugs of hot water, lemon and honey. And repeat. If it was a swollen something, she would alternate heating and cooling the affected area. Mental calamity? Talk it out. Sunburn? Aloe. Pimple? Tea Tree oil. Headache? Peppermint oil on cold compress applied to the head. It was rare my mother would ever prescribe a simple tylenol, employ expensive therapy or do something as outlandish as serve us something for dinner that was frozen or from a can.

That was just who my mother was, and still is. If she’s going to do something she’s going to do it the way her mom taught her, the most natural way, with the most natural ingredients she can find. It’s even in the way she loves. It’s no frills, serious, simple love. I never doubted that my mom loved me. If I did she would slap me upside the head and ask, “What. Are you stupid?!” And, maybe that sounds awful to some – but it is such a comfort to me. It started me in this life with a handful of very firm answers to all of life’s problems: don’t over complicate; if you’re going to trust two things let it be your gut and nature; use what’s real, tried & true, and simple; and finally, her favourite – a positive attitude will cure anything. Now, at almost twenty-nine I am happily married and mother to a healthy, beautiful two-year old boy, unequivocally because my mother taught me everything I know.

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Hence the spark. This blog is dedicated to her (even after she finds out how much of my husband’s money I’m spending.) My love of bath salts, essential oils even beautiful, quirky bottles filled with mysterious ointments and elixirs, all of it is her. And, if you haven’t already sorted it out, this blog might have a particular bend toward the natural elements, ingredients, methods and remedies … someday I’ll tell you how she once told me to rub bergamot essential oil between my hands, hold them to my face and then inhale, and how that saved my life in my teenage years.

Whatever the seemingly intangible quality I love about these lotions & potions, they certainly have never lost their magic – or effectiveness – for me. I hope this venture leads to some beauty adventures, I hope to find my explorative spirit and honour my childhood self, the little girl who spent hours mixing up trouble in the sink when she was supposed to be gargling salt water and going to bed.