I don't know if you've noticed, but Korean beauty products have become really, really popular lately. This is great news for folks like me who have been using this stuff for years—at long last, some of our favorite products are available for purchase without weeks of waiting time! (International shipping is slow, yo.) But one thing I've really been missing is a good subscription K-beauty box. There are several non-subscription options out there (I'm sure I don't need to name names), but companies that will send you good boxes of surprise stuff each month. And not just samples—a mixture of samples and full-sizes. Luckily, new subscription box service Mishibox offers just that—and they ship from right here in the USA! They were kind enough to send me their first box for review, so let's take a look and see if it fills that K-shaped hole in my heart.
This is a brand new service, so here's what you need to know:
- Mishibox is a Virginia-based monthly beauty subscription box specializing in Korean beauty products. Each month subscribers receive 4-6 items, including a mixture of deluxe samples and full-sized products.
- The box costs $19.95 per month and includes shipping within the United States. If you sign up before the July box cutoff, you will be billed at a special promotional rate of $18.95 per month instead. At present Mishibox only ships to the United States, its territories, and APO/FPO/DPO addresses, but if you're outside those areas, you can sign up for their international wait list to express interest.
- The introductory June box was a special one-off preorder thing, so if you ordered that box, you are not automatically subscribed. Just visit this page to sign up for the subscription! From the July box onward, boxes will be billed monthly and sent out on a regular recurring schedule. You can read more about the particulars in their FAQ.
I was very happy to see that they'll be including ingredients lists for the products they send on the website. English ingredients lists for Korean products are becoming easier to find these days, but most folks don't want to spend time hunting around for them or figuring out what the name is in Hangul so they can search for it, you know? When a beauty box company makes my life easier, I really appreciate it. The "how to read expiration dates" post referenced on the card is also worth checking out if you've ever been confused about the subject—up until a year or so a lot of products were only stamped with the manufacture date, which had a lot of consumers outside Korea confused and concerned that they received expired goods.
Flipping the card over... here's what came in the first box:
Glad to also see some basic instructions on the card! Let's take a look at all of the products individually now.
Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel (250ml/full-sized, value $12):
You know what's perfect for a summer beauty box? Aloe gel! Here's a super-awesome hot weather tip for you: Get a tube of aloe gel and stick it in the fridge. Then on those days when you feel like you're going to suffocate from the heat, take the aloe out of the fridge and slather it all over your body. Et voilà! Instant cooldown. I already had some aloe gel in my fridge when I got this, but I opened it up anyway because the packaging was just too fun to resist. It has a light, fresh scent. Ahhhhhhh.
Skylake Oriental Herb Cool Shampoo (40ml, approximate value $5):
Skylake is a natural brand specializing in beauty and personal care products with oriental herb extracts. While they are very much Korean in origin, they do have one shop in the US—right here in New York, in fact! Herb Cool Shampoo has a strong minty tingle and this:
No, it's not alive. It's a big old chunk of ROOT. Mmm, root. Supposedly this root (wilfordii) has anti-hair loss properties—but in any case, it definitely adds to the novelty of the product. My scalp felt super-refreshed after using it thanks to the mint extract, so I'll also be adding Herb Cool Shampoo to the "great for a summer beauty box" list.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack (1x 20g mask, value $3):
Hmm, where to start with this. Benton is a natural brand known for making skincare products that are packed with awesome ingredients... problem is, they had a couple of contamination scares last year. I didn't have a bad experience myself with their products at the time (just do a Google search if you're curious what happened to other people), but the possibility of contamination plus how they handled the situation back then (short version: not good) means they haven't really earned my trust as a consumer. So I probably won't be trying this. The brand does still seem to have a large number of fans though, so I'm sure a lot of people were excited to get this in their box.
Benton Honest Cleansing Foam (8g, approximate value $0.64):
Banila Co. Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm (Maybe 10ml-ish? Approximate value $1.90):
This is probably one of the most popular balm/sherbet cleansers on the market. If you're not familiar with this type of cleanser, here's what you need to know: Clean It Zero is an oil-based cleanser, so you would use it as the first step in your routine to remove makeup. You scrape a little bit of the balm out of the jar, and as you rub it onto your dry skin, it starts to melt into a regular oil-like substance that's easily spread around the face (but washes away cleanly when it comes into contact with water). I've tried this cleanser before and I think it works pretty well... I still prefer regular cleansing oils, but it's definitely effective.
Holika Holika Jewel Light Waterproof Eyeliner (2.2g/full-sized, value $8):
Customers received one of several shades at random. I got #15, Burgundy Garnet, which is (as the name would suggest) a burgundy color with a slight shimmery sheen.
It looks matte in this photo, but trust me, there's a bit of shimmer there (just not full-on glitter). I really like the formula of this liner... it's very creamy which means it glides on smoothly, and once it sets, it doesn't smudge easily at all. You do have to wait a couple of minutes for it to set completely though—if you rub it immediately after applying, you'll end up with a smudgefest on your hands. I don't know how many different colors Mishibox sent out, but I'm really glad I got this shade—burgundy liners are cool. True red is interesting as an eye makeup color, but on some skintones it makes you look like you have a disease. Burgundy flatters many.
Total box value: Approximately $30.50
I think Mishibox is off to a strong start. We got two full-sized products, a mask, and three reasonably-sized deluxe samples—not bad at all for the price. And despite my concerns about Benton, I do think this was a well-rounded box—no repeat product categories. Skincare, makeup, haircare. A little bit of everything.
At this point it's unclear to me whether Mishibox is trying to cater to K-beauty newbies or hardcore enthusiasts—if it's the former, I think this box is pretty much perfect. If it's the latter, I think they'd do well to focus more on the Skylakes of the world and maybe a bit less on the Clean It Zeros. But this is their introductory box, so I guess it sort of makes sense that they'd send more "basic" products. Either way, this box seems like it was curated in a thoughtful way, so I look forward to seeing what they have in store for the future.
Like what you see? You can subscribe here!
What do you think of the first Mishibox? If you're already signed up, did you like what you received?
Disclosure: The box featured in this post was provided to me for review by Mishibox, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. I did not receive any other form of compensation. Some or all of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.