So last week my first Memebox arrived! I was so excited, oh my goodness. It came at work and it was all wrapped up in a hot pink parcel and I honestly couldn’t wait to get home and open the darn thing. Ridiculous. I am living in the land of cheap and amazing skincare and cosmetic products, and yet the mysterious ‘what’s in the box?’ gimmick works on me. Works a treat, I tell you. These guys know what they’re doing, which is probably why their business is BOOMING something chronic.
After I had ordered this box, my lovely friend Tiffany from Sample Hime kindly informed me that a lot of Western products had been included in the Korean versions of the boxes. Let me be clear: there are Korean Editions available to Korean citizens (in Korea), and then there are Global Editions for everyone else. The Korean editions are advertised solely in Korean and as it was all in Korean, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was signing up for. Not that I was going to let that stop me! I actually couldn’t order my own Memebox and needed to ask my Korean teacher to do it, as Korea is in some ways quite an exclusive country and it won’t let us ‘aliens’ do certain things (buy ski tickets online at certain places, sign up for certain loyalty cards, and this). Doesn’t make sense to me but there you go. So if you do want to try it and you’re a foreigner here, you might need to call in a few favours with your Korean friends!
Anyway so this long story is getting to the point (in a roundabout way) that I assumed this box would feature all Korean products, hopefully some that I am yet to discover. When I found out it may have Western products, I thought, it made sense, as the rest of the world wants to be like Korea and yet Korea is fascinated by the West (particularly American and French cosmetic brands). You always want what you don’t have, right?
So the day came and I rushed home with my big pink bag and could hardly WAIT to open it. I was really so excited! I actually want to order another one just based on this feeling alone, it’s so much fun ^^
My feelings upon opening the box, however, were slightly different. The first thing I saw was THIS (avert your eyes if you’re easily offended):
A GIANT bottle of Nivea Body Gel Lotion Express. Ahhhh! Now don’t get me wrong, Nivea is a nice brand and it works well and it is sort of a ‘luxury drugstore brand’, but this is not at all what I was expecting. Honestly, when I saw this I think my face just dropped (lol, not an exaggeration!). I know I am getting emotional about this but this whole idea is based on the emotion of excitement and I felt really let down with this. I haven’t actually used this yet and although it smells nice, it’s nothing too exciting and certainly nothing Korean. Boo.
The next thing I noticed was that when I took this out, the box seemed to be a little light on products. Well, full-sized products at least. There are actually quite a few things in here but a lot of them are mini. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the best first impression! But I’ll continue on because, you know, it’s a hard life but somebody’s gotta live it.
So the only other apparent full-sized product is this Cremor Lab Mineral Water. Koreans seem to love refreshing mists, and although I am yet to try one I wouldn’t mind testing this product (but I’m not jumping at the bit). I’m not 100% sure how/when to use them or if they will just make me look shiny and clammy, but I guess that’s my struggle to go through! Oh, another difficulty with ordering the Korean Edition: you can’t read the information card. D’oh! Luckily my friend Google helped me out but it does make it a bit trickier if you’re not up to the challenge.
Once those two bottles were out of the way, the rest of the box looked really small. What was next? Four mini Kerastase Elixir Ultimes, a sample of Burberry Brit Rhythm (at this point I had given up on the whole ‘Korean’ angle), a sort of unidentifiable and slightly confusing ampoule from Savia with an attachable nozzle (this is tiny but actually the full size product) and a cute little cleansing duo from illi, featuring a Cleansing Oil and Cleansing Foam, shown here:
Overall, 3 of the 6 products were Korean. This 50/50 ratio is really not what I was expecting, although upon further inspection there are some decent quality products… but I do love my Korean brands. As I said, I can’t read the fine print (oops) so I’m not sure if it stipulates this somewhere on their website, but I would prefer more/all Korean brands next time. No more Nivea please!
Here’s a quick roundup of the rough RRP’s of these products (converted to sample values by yours truly):
- Nivea Express Body Gel Lotion: full size 400ml, ₩16,000
- Cremor Lab Mineral Water: full size, ₩11,000
- Shabia Magic Countdown Naflex 5: full size 5ml, ₩12,000
- Burberry Brit Rhythm: 5ml sample size; 50ml size is ₩98,000;
Approx. value: ₩9,800
- Kerastase Elixir Ultime hair oils: 4 x samples, 14ml in total; full size 125ml is ₩68,000
Approx. value: ₩7,600
- Illi Total Ageing Care Cleansing Oil & Foam: both 15ml deluxe sample size; full size 200ml oil ₩18,000; full size 200ml foam ₩14,000
Approx. value: ₩2400
Total Approximate Value: ₩58,800
After doing these calculations, and despite Memebox’s sometimes dodgy reputations when it comes to quoted prices vs. actual prices, I do (somewhat reluctantly) feel that this Memebox gave a good range of products at a fair price. Keep in mind, the price for this one was only ₩16,500 including shipping, which converts to roughly AUD$17 (I work in Australian dollars but USD are very close. So, for this price I can’t really complain about the value.
One other thing I was fairly happy with was the samples provided. Although I have seen larger amounts (I do, after all, live in Korea), and they gave me three more samples of the illi cleansing duo (which I already have now…?), I thought there were a decent amount, including a Kerastase oil mask, 2x Essence Tonic and 1x Water Fluid from Cremor Lab and … dun dun DUN! Another Nivea sample! Nooooo (although it’s an ‘in-shower body lotion’ which is quite intriguing)!
So how do I feel about this Memebox? As you may have guessed, my overall reaction was a bit… meh. I’m not sure if it’s because I had hyped it so much in my head (very possibly), or if I was naively expecting all Korean products, or if it was actually just a bit dodgy overall. I actually feel better after writing this article and sussing everything out properly, because after I opened the box I was feeling a bit deflated and so didn’t really want to try anything straightaway. It was an emotional moment! But now I am feeling hopeful I am actually keen to try a few of these, particularly the cleansers, the mysterious ampoule and the hair oils, funnily enough.
As I mentioned, Memebox have really got a great thing going on with the amount of surprise and anticipation they have cultivated. I was so giddy to receive this beauty box, and despite my initial reaction I am still tempted to order the next one. Call me crazy and you’d probably be right! They actually advertise a fair few Western products on their Korean site, so it may just be that they promise both Western and Korean brands and I am once again just a flailing waygook who don’t understand. What I do know is that this is giving me a great incentive to learn Korean, so it’s educational, too! Overall, I do feel that there was a decent range of things in this box (as I much prefer skincare to beauty products, of which there are nil) and I will hopefully discover something I never would have thought of using.
So there you go, Memebox wins again!
What have your experiences with Asia’s No.1 beauty box been like? I love reading reviews of these and would love to hear your thoughts below!
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