Alert: There is a new AB (Asian Beauty) Subscription Service on the rise! I’m a new subscriber to The 3b Box – 3b standing for Beauty Beyond Borders. You’ve probably arrived at my page some way, some how because you’re interested in learning more about Korean/Taiwanese/Japanese Beauty and there’s no better way to start diving in by SAMPLING to see what right for your skincare/makeup goals and needs.

3b is a monthly subscription priced at $12/month, shipping included! You get 4 – 5 DELUXE samples in each month with an info card that gives you tips on how to use your new goodies (previously there were some FULL-SIZE surprises!).

According to their website, samples will range from go-to fan favorites like Etude House, Skin Food, Tony Moly to high-end like SK-II, Kanebo, and Sulwhasoo. They even translate the descriptions of each product in order to remove the language barrier to make these great, innovative products more accessible to you – hence their company name, Beauty Beyond Borders.
 photo IMG_4252_zps0c0xxewy.png

I was on the waiting list since February and I got taken off beginning with May.
I got to see some unboxings from other bloggers so I had an idea of what to expect. It sounded like it can be a hit or miss subscription for me since I might already have a LOT of their cult items. I’m looking for newer kbeauty items but I figured that trying this out for $12/month doesn’t hurt and I can always cancel if I think it’s finally not for me.

First Impressions

Whew! I don’t have any of these items yet! Since I’m turning THIRTY YEARS OLD this summer, I might be a little past the Asian Beauty curve with a lot of start-up AB companies trying to make a dime in this business. I’m a bit pickier with what I buy/subscribe to because I’ve “been there, done that” and my needs are different. For example, I won’t need anything “basic” like an eyelash curler or eye liner because I already have a lot of my staples in place. Someone in their twenties is probably still in their experimenting phase and haven’t yet declared their Holy Grail item/routine yet and they’re starting to discover AB (yay!).

 photo IMG_4299 copy_zpsy2qkswvi.jpg

With that, I’m happy I don’t have any of the 4 items in the May bag but I’m also iffy about loving everything in there as well. There’s definitely one winner in the bag already and it already pays for itself for the price of the bag! Let’s find out which one it is.

Tony Moly Tangerine Whitening Hand Cream

How adorbs? You can see the dimpling on this little plastic tangerine jar that opens up revealing on-point tangerine scent! The little green stem is actually silicone and bouncy to the touch. There’s 30 grams of product and it claims to whiten your hands. I’m sure everyone WON’T CARE what the product does because it’s so cute to just have on your desk and it’s enough to want to start a whole skincare fruits collection exclusive to Tony Moly (yea, don’t do what I just said).

 photo IMG_4303 copy_zpsorzl4dj0.jpg

I’ve seen on a forum chat that someone started to get a rash from using this cream and it was because she had a reaction to the Red 33 color dye used in the product. Just so you know, Red 33 is prominent in almost ALL skincare and haircare and it’s not particularly good for you because it’s made out of coal tar or petroleum but you would need to consume large amounts for any detrimental effects to show. Be wary of what your skin will react to and always test a patch of your skin first if you have a history of sensitive skin. You can read more here. I’m not too alarmed about Red 33 as it’s probably in 99% of my current products and I haven’t had a reaction to anything yet. The amounts in our products are kept small by law so that there aren’t negative health effects for consumers.

Etude House Baking Powder B.B. Deep Cleansing Foam, 30 mL

I remember seeing this product being heavily promoted in Korea 2 years ago. The Baking Powder line touts that baking soda will exfoliate and deep cleanse your skin. It claims to be gentle and will remove makeup and excess sebum for smoother and clearer skin.
 photo IMG_4306 copy_zpsd0ms6xzu.jpg

Hmmm. Foam cleansers have been getting a bad rap on the kbeauty internet community because they usually test really high on the 8 – 10 pH level! They are not recommended for anyone with ANY skin at all. If you have skin WITHOUT PORES then be my guest. This post by Snow White and the Asian Pear on pH levels is really popular on Reddit and will hopefully enlighten you on your next choice of (non-foaming) cleansers.

 photo IMG_4308 copy_zpsrw8hx87z.jpgCan anyone read Korean and tell me at what number baking powder is listed as?  (Don’t let it be on the top of the list…!)

Coincidentally I see BAKING SODA on the pH list ranking as a 9.5. Our skin is naturally at a 5.5 and to sum up her post, you ideally want a cleanser that is around 5.5 (but NOT in between 6 – 6.5 as that’s an ideal state for bacteria growth). As Snow has said before, this is a start of a pH rabbit hole that I don’t want to go down today. Conclusion, I don’t want to use this Baking Powder foam cleanser that will weaken my skin barrier and make any possible acne worse. Granted I have not tested this with pH strips, it’s already not looking good.

Skin Food False Eye Lashes – Daily 3

If I was only 5 years younger I would’ve loved these lashes. I uttered “ugh” when I saw these as a spoiler on 3b’s instagram post because I probably wore twenty different pairs of these criss-cross falsies when I was 25. They hurt when I blink. They hurt when I don’t blink. They block my vision because they’re so big and dramatic. I just pray that my mascara does a “falsies” look enough that I don’t have to wear false lashes again because I’m (kinda) done with going through this extra effort.
 photo IMG_4329 copy_zps5teqpcqt.jpg

I used to buy the “Darkness” brand found in the Queens Flushing Mall and these look like the ones I used to get with the same wide, plastic-y looking band and they came in packs of two pairs. Since then, I’ve discovered lashes with the soft and thinner bands that give you a more comfortable fit. Some even come with invisible bands and look more natural. I wish they gave me a box of individual lashes because I haven’t yet tried those yet! I will be giving these away or they will go on my swap board because I’ve grown out of this look but I can see the appeal for 18- 28 year olds. Note that lash glue is not included with these (my Darkness ones always came with lash glue <3).
 photo IMG_4331 copy_zps2zouo9qa.jpg

Tony Moly Lovely Eye Brow Pencil – No. 05 Black Brown

I wasn’t so sure about this pencil at first but after giving it a go for a week, I have to say that this saved the 3b bag! Yes, this was my favorite item. I’ve searched for other reviews and one YouTuber dubbed this as the Anastasia Brow Whiz dupe. It’s thin like the ABW, it has a spoolie at the end, it brushes into the brow really well and the color matches me! Dupe or no dupe, I was in search of new HG brow pencil and this may be it!
 photo IMG_4309 copy2_zpseorov5zk.jpg

My only complaint is the the cap is a bit loose on the pencil side and can come off on its own which is annoying but as long as the product performs well, I’m ok with that. Just make sure the pencil is retracted fully into the barrel so it doesn’t break off. The product when fully exposed out of the barrel, displays some whitish-grey color on the outside that’s closer to the base of the pencil. I don’t know if that means if it’s an old product (the Etude House Baking Powder Foam after all is way past it’s shiny new launch period) but it isn’t dried out yet and still brushes into my brows fine.

 photo IMG_4328 copy_zpspaotomdp.jpg

I did remember the Tony Moly SA telling me that their brow pencil (NOT this version) but the version with an almost triangular pencil tip was selling out really fast in the Tony Moly Chinatown NY store. Maybe that was a newly packaged brow pencil and this is an older model? No matter, I’m still happy with this one!

 photo IMG_4316 copy3_zpsm09w51zx.jpgConclusion – Is This Worth My Money?

So this bag was literally… a mixed bag for me. I had something that I really like (Tony Moly Eye Brow Pencil), something that reminded me of what I used to love wearing but will no longer wear (Skin Food eye lashes), something I’m happy to get more of simply because it’s CUTE (Tony Moly Tangerine Hand Cream), and something that I won’t be using/might trash (Etude House Baking Powder Foam Cleanser). If I were to buy a drugstore brand eye brow pencil, it would normally cost around $8 – $11 anyway and this entire bag was only $12 so it was really great in value. I wouldn’t use two out of the four items so I feel “meh” on usefulness of the entire bag but all was not lost.

If you feel like this subscription is right for you, sign up to get on 3b’s wait list and they will email people every month when they are ready to expand their customer base!

I think subscribing to 3b is great for someone who:
– Wants to start sampling Asian Beauty (Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese beauty) in an affordable way
– Wants to slowly build up a skincare routine that will work for them
– Wants to try out new makeup looks and products
– Wants experts to curate the best that Asia is offering and have it delivered to your door
– Doesn’t have time to sift through tons of online reviews and feels overwhelmed with too many options.

I DON’T think this is good for someone who:
– Is past the age of 35 (arbitrary number but someone who is in the older demographic who’s skincare needs lean towards anti-aging)
– Already has a buttload of Korean Beauty products
– Doesn’t like surprises
– Doesn’t want to try anything new or too picky with products
– Is NOT a beginner in the Asian Beauty world
– Has ultra sensitive skin (too much risk in getting a lot of products that will flair up a reaction)

Comment Below!

Was this review useful to you? What else you do you want to hear when I unbox things?

  • What a great review Cecilia! I’m excited to dig my Tonymoly pencil out now and give it a try! 🙂