I received a complimentary January 2016 3b (Beauty Beyond Borders) box for review/feedback purposes last month and I’m so glad to get reintroduced to this $12/month K-Beauty subscription service again! I tried 3b for three months as an unsponsored customer and you can read my prior reviews here in 2015. 3b wanted to get my honest opinions on their new offerings and kindly sent me January and February boxes with no obligation to review. I was so excited to see a lot of great stuff in January’s bag that I decided to post an official review here and because I personally got to try ALL the items in the bag in the last 2 weeks. Click on to see the all the contents!
About 3b (Beauty Beyond Borders)
Beauty Beyond Borders is like an Asian Beauty Birchbox where you get 4-5 deluxe samples (sometimes even scoring a full sized product) to rotate into your routine. They are currently still working to get interested people off their wait list so you can sign up now and decide if you want to start your subscription once they contact you. I waited three months before I was contacted in 2015. There’s a mix of high, mid and low-end products as well as products coming either from Korea, Taiwan or Japan. At $12 a month, it’s an affordable way to try out a ton of goodies before committing to a full-size bottle. However, their “Full-Size” section still has not launched since they started and it doesn’t look like it will be live anytime soon so you’ll have to hunt down any favorites online elsewhere. The information card has English descriptions but no translated English ingredients so that’s another hurdle to go through if you’re sensitive to certain ingredients (or have a need to see a list if you’re skinsane like me).
3b Beauty Beyond Borders January 2016 Contents
You can click on each item to get a deeper review/first impression:
- 3W Clinic Collagen Whitening Essence, 50 ml
- Petitfee Dry Essence Foot Pack
- Missha Speedy Solution Eye Gel Patch
- Botanic Farms Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbet
- CosRx ADvanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, 7 foil packets
3W Clinic Collagen Whitening Essence
I’ve seen the 3W Clinic brand on RoseRoseShop and it’s in the lower price range (almost nothing over $5) and I’ll hold my tongue in calling it a low quality brand however as low price isn’t always equivalent to low quality. The ingredient list isn’t on 3b’s website or on the bottle so I looked it up on CosDNA. Key ingredients include:
- Niacinamide (brightening)
- Sodium Hyaluronate (moisturization)
- Japanese Apricot Extract (moisturization)
- Hydrolyzed Collagen (supposedly firming)
- Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract (antioxidant)
- Witch Hazel Extract (anti-inflammatory, anti-septic)
Not bad but it also contains a lot of solvents, pH adjusters, alcohol, preservatives and fragrance which is more than half the list. It makes me question just how much concentration there is of the effective ingredients and how much of it contains chemicals to make it a stabilized gel form. I also don’t care for skincare with collagen as the star ingredient as its molecules are too big to make any direct difference in firming or producing collagen naturally. You would need the right cell-communicating ingredients to tell your body to produce more, not rub collagen onto your skin.
The frosted glass bottle is quite beautiful but the pump is cheap as I’m afraid the plastic cap will soon crack as it clicks shut when you push it past the metal nubs on the base. It also pumps too aggressively as it’s almost impossible to do a half-pump and it will squirt out more than its intended amount. I used this product after my toner or after a first essence.
The product itself is a translucent white, liquidy gel that has a floral scent. At first it’s tacky on the skin but once it’s absorbed and dried, skin is quite smooth and feels plump. I can’t tell if it actually made any difference in brightening my face (lowering my hyper pigmentation) but I also have not used this for four weeks when your skin is supposed to completely turn over. A week into using this continuously, I also got a pimple on the side of my nose! I’m not one to brag, but I don’t usually get pimples! It may be this pesky ingredient I see: Triethanol amine (also written out without the space). It’s rated a 2 for acne and 5 for safety (meaning it’s UNsafe past a certain concentration). Just what the what?
Digging further, I see that Triethanol amine is a pH adjuster but its made “by reacting ethylene oxide (considered highly toxic) with ammonia (another known toxin)”. It has been determined that it is “safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products intended for prolonged contact with the skin, the concentration of Triethanolamine should not exceed 5%.”
I wouldn’t purchase this again because I’m convinced this product gave me a pimple and I haven’t had a pimple in maybe eight months when I kept touching my face from stress.
Petitfee Dry Essence Foot Pack
Yes! Just when my heels were getting a little rachet I get a new foot mask to test out! The mask will help stop you from unintentionally heel-cutting your boyfriend’s legs in bed or from getting your feet caught in the fibers of your fleece pants because your dead skin is clinging onto it like velcro. That’s just not cute. The most amazing aspect about this mask is that there is a “dry” essence in the plastic booties. I’ll also preface this review that the mask is NOT a foot peeling mask in that it makes the skin on your feet peel off layers of dead skin after several days. This is a moisturizing foot mask made with ingredients that have been dry processed. Full CosDNA list. Key ingredients include:
- Shea Butter
- Sunflower Seed Oil
- Aloe Vera Extract
- Urea (moisturization)
- Sodium Hyaluronate (moisturization)
- Portulaca Oleracea Extract (skin conditioning)
- Snail Secretion Filtrate!!! (Ok, not at the top of the list but hey! Snail!)
Since the essence is dry, the booties weren’t sealed shut and I was able to put them right on without cutting or breaking them apart. I was expecting the foot masks to be completely dry but there was gel within the booties and you need to rub the essence to cover your feet. The instructions say to thoroughly wash and scrub your feet clean before wearing them in order to reap the most benefit from the treatment. I used a pumice stone to scrub off as much dead skin as I could.
There were no stickers or ties to close the openings of the booties but I felt that was ok since essence wasn’t spilling over them anyway. I wore my slippers over them and the instructions say to keep them on for 15 to 20 minutes. If you don’t want to look at the dead skin on my heels, click here to skip to the next product but the after photo is pretty amazing! There was still some tough spots on the heel but a majority of the parched parts were quenched. You still need to continually put on foot lotion and scrub with a pumice stone in order to keep these hydrated heels. Would I buy again? If these were easier to find online, sure but I wouldn’t pay more than $4 because if I’m honeslty going to go through the trouble of using a pumice stone, foot scrub and drying it, I might as well just used a good ole fashion foot lotion with Urea in the ingredients list.
Missha Speedy Solution Eye Gel Patch
I love eye patches! It’s a great way to mask without needing to put on full cotton sheet if you don’t feel like it. It’s individually packaged and comes in a plastic tray to protect them from bending. These are hydrogels that promises to fade away dark circles and restore elasticity to your eye area. Remove after 20-30 minutes.
The ingredient list looks ho-hum to me, found on CosDNA. Also looking at the date submitted, the product has been around since 2013 (or older), so this isn’t the latest and greatest from Missha. Notable ingredients are:
- Sodium Hyaluronate (moisturization)
- Portulaca Oleracea Extract (antioxidant)
- Hydrolyzed Collagen (supposedly firming)
- Chestnut Shell Extract (skin conditioning)
- Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (antioxidant)
Wait, where are the brightening ingredients? There’s nothing on the list that has any proven brightening ingredients and yet it’s advertised to brighten. My before and after photos don’t show much improvement in brightening but I think it shows that they are less puffy.
The eye patches stay cool the entire time and it really helped getting the puffiness down. It also helped in making me feel more awake as I just woke up and decided to trial all the contents in the 3b box. Eye area was definitely more moisturized and smooth but effects were temporary – you’re still gonna need to use concealer around this area, don’t expect a miracle. It retails for $2.50 for one pair on MisshaUS.com – I think that’s too expensive considering how eye patches now come in tubs of 30 pairs for about $12 shipped on ebay (like my Petitfee Black Pearl Eye Patches). Nah-uhh. Not paying that especially for okay results.
Botanic Farms Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbet
I’ve been eyeing from MemeBox ever since Fiddy Snails did a rave review last year and I’m so happy to have a sample now! I already have the popular cult favorite Banila Co. Clean it Zero and I’ve been happy with it so I never thought there would be another to potentially take its place. This cleansing sherbet is a form of a “first cleanser” in your double cleansing routine. It’s supposed to take off all your initial makeup and dirt so that you can continue to use another cleanser to get even more off (yes, there’s IS more dirt on your face – I even use a cleansing water + cotton to get more makeup off my eyes as a third step).
Fiddy compares the Botanic Farms to the Clean It Zero and Innisfree Green Tea Oil Cleanser but my test was just to see how much debris my cleansing water + cotton picked up AFTER I cleansed with the cleansing sherbet.
The “sherbet” looks like solid wax in the tub and I used a mini spatula I have to scoop up a nickel size of product for my hand. I used all the makeup I wore on my face for a girl’s night out and replicated it on my hand for the test. Read: A TON of makeup.
The balm melts onto your skin and has the slip and texture of oil. The oil dissolves makeup really well and you can see it break apart. You’d want to keep massaging it in circles until it’s a disgusting puddle of grey muahaha.
Hand and face is soft after rinsing off and it looks unbelievably clean and free from makeup but I had to test with my cleansing water soaked in cotton to see if anything was left behind.
Ah-ha! Not all is clean! Jesus, my face was that dirty still? (My Son & Park Beauty Water is bomb.) The Missha BB Cream proved to be stubborn as that was the obvious remnant left on my hand because of its strong adherence on skin. There is still a slight tinge of beige on the hand cotton and there’s a ton more makeup left on the face cotton because there was eye makeup still left on my waterline and in between my lashes. This just proves why you need to double cleanse! This is honestly not that surprising as I still double cleanse with the Banila Co. Clean it Zero.
Skin feels very nourished and soft afterwards with both. I really don’t feel much of a difference between the two – I even cleansed my face with half the BF and the other with BC at the same time and it feels the same. It might just come down to what you prefer in the ingredients. Botanic Farms touts fermented rice bran and soy beans while the Banila Co. has paypaya, acerola fruit and willow herb extracts. I didn’t really intend for this to be a comparison review with the Banila Co. but it’s been such cult favorite that readers might be asking for the comparison anyway!
Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
The snail love is still going on strong in Korea and America but for those new to the powers of snail slime, it can actually heal acne scars, moisturize, even your complexion and smooth skin. 3b sprinkled seven foil packets of the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence and you guessed it, there’s 96% snail mucin (slime) in the formula! The ingredient list is short and sweet in CosDNA with only two ingredients rating a 1 as an acne irritant and the other as an irritant.
The product package is described as a “gel lotion that protects the skin from moisture loss and keeps the skin smooth without the heavy use of oils”. The instructions say to apply after cleanser and toner and afterwards you can apply your normal serum, cream and/or sleeping pack. There were a lot of nights that I just used the essence alone because I was tired and wanted to hop into bed asap and wow, it moisturized on it’s own SO WELL. It’s very sticky upon first application but after much patting, it absorbs fine. In my close-up shot you can see how the product has those sticky strings when you pull your fingers apart. One packet was enough to use both morning and night. I would consider purchasing this at full price one day.
Conclusion – Is This Worth My Money?
Overall, I’m happy with the majority of the items in the bag but the 3W Clinic Collagen Whitening Essence was the full-sized product as well as the biggest disappointment because it clogged my pores and gave me a pimple. 3b’s price is attractive at $12 a month but that also restricts their curated choices a lot more since they have to be on a budget when sourcing their samples. I rather get a sample of something superior than a full-sized product of something that I wouldn’t re-buy. With that said, I hope they won’t include full-sized products only because it’s within their budget in order to remain profitable. I wrote a list of reasons why you should or shouldn’t subscribe to 3b in past posts so I’ll repeat it below:
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)
Do you currently subscribe to 3b? What do you think of it so far? What has been your best find from past boxes? Please share below!