Pink Seoul is a newcomer on the K-beauty subscription box scene. Intrigued by some of their distinguishing features (which I’ll get into below), we accepted a box to review courtesy of Pink Seoul. Was I Seoul-ed or do I still need to Pink about it?
What Makes Pink Seoul Different from Other K-Beauty Subscription Boxes?
Pink Seoul offers 3 types of subscription boxes: the regular box is $39.95 every 2 months, the Plus box is recommended for ages 35+ and $49.95 every 2 months, and the Mask box is $29.95 monthly. Read more about the differences here. Free shipping to all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; extra for other destinations. Use code FRIENDS10 for 10% off your first box.
- Full sizes. And by “full size,” it doesn’t mean a full-size sheet mask. These are honest to goodness full sizes of skincare and makeup. The Plus box promises at least 4 full sizes (our box had 5!) and an accessory item.
- Customization based on skin type, skin tone, and skin concern. (Note: We’ve seen this feature in another newcomer, Jini Beauty Box, which–full disclosure–sent us a box for feedback.)
- Bi-monthly boxes. The box that we’re reviewing is for March/April. May/June will be a different box, and so on. However, Pink Seoul ships the boxes once a month around the 20th/21st of each month, and orders placed by that month’s shipping date will receive that month’s box.
The cutoff for receiving the March/April box is Tuesday April 19th (or if the box sells out earlier). Orders placed after April 19th will receive the May/June box.
Being the aging kittens that we are, we opted for the Plus box. We’re not actually 35 yet, but our skin concerns definitely lean that way. We also specified normal skin, medium skin tone, and pigmentation as our area of concern.
Pink Seoul PLUS Box Contents (March/April 2016)
PinkSeoul listed the March/April 2016 contents for combination skin here, and I’ve typed it out below because it mirrors what we got for normal skin (except for the sheet masks):
- Mizon Black Snail All-in-One Cream (FULL SIZE) + spatula
- Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash-off (FULL SIZE)
- Verysix 6 Seconds Lip Gloss in Coral (FULL SIZE)
- Nature Republic Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel (FULL SIZE)
- Missha 3D Mascara (FULL SIZE)
- 4 sheet masks (selection varies depending on the area of concern you specified). We received 3 brightening masks and 1 tea tree mask by SNP, Leaders Insolution, Mediheal, and Holika Holika, matching our self-described normal skin and concern about pigmentation.
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence (deluxe sample bottle)
- TonyMoly Tomatox Massage Pack (2 sample packets)
- Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++ (2 sample packets)
- Fluffy bow headband
Yup, that’s 5 full sizes of both skincare and makeup! Plus the headband as the accessory.
This Plus box costs $49.95, Pink Seoul values it at $117 retail, and Pink Seoul promises that the value of any Plus box will be worth over $80 retail. (The prices are based on what the items retail for on Pink Seoul’s own website.)
While a few of the items can be found online for cheaper (much cheaper in the case of the Mizon cream), I still estimate all the items to exceed the cost of the box even if one were to shop around for the cheapest deal–and that doesn’t count the fact that they’re shipped for free from within the U.S. (i.e., super fast delivery) and ignores the value of having something akin to a beauty buddy give recommendations and tips.
Review of Pink Seoul Product Selection
I loved the good mix of skincare and makeup items and of different brands. It didn’t feel like the same old brands or products that I see in other K-beauty boxes on Instagram (although they are all quite familiar/entry-level brands and products in general).
I also liked that a fair amount of products were ones that I was curious about: Classics such as Skinfood Black Sugar mask and Nature Republic aloe vera gel, but also items that have only recently popped up on my radar such as Missha 3D mascara (it’s in the Missha x LINE Friends collab) and Verysix lip gloss (which Holy Snails posted on IG).
I also appreciated the tips and insights printed on the info cards. I often ignore the ones in my Birchbox (just more marketing spiel), but Pink Seoul actually has some good tips on K-beauty basics and less intuitive tips such as mixing aloe vera with foundation to make a dewy base and thinning out the Black Sugar Mask with cleansing oil.
The biggest downside is that every PLUS subscriber received the same (correction: mostly the same) full-size products and samples. In fact, Pink Seoul says that everyone received the Mizon snail cream, Skinfood mask, and Verysix lip gloss.
The sheet masks were the only (correction: one of the few) opportunities for customization–unfortunate because the results from sheet masks are only temporary. (Check the #lovepinkseoul tag on IG to see the sheet masks that others got.) Update: I’ve seen boxes with a full-size Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner or TonyMoly Tomatox instead of the Nature Republic aloe vera. Also, only the Mizon Black Snail cream and some of the sheet masks jump out as addressing aging skin in particular.
PinkSeoul’s distinguishing features–customized selections and full-sized products–has so much more potential than this particular box shows. In the future, I hope to see products that are more tailored to the 35+ age group and more tailored to skin type, skin tone, and skin concern.
In some ways, I see the March/April box as appealing to the widest possible audience and playing it safe. Example #1: Lip gloss that matches any skin tone because it’s so subtle. Example #2: Aloe vera gel and mascara that, sure, just about everyone can use but that also don’t require knowing anything about someone’s skin or age. I hope to see more unexpected choices that keep us excited about getting a new box.
Initial Impressions of Pink Seoul Plus Box Products
- The headband. So K-drama. Much floof.
- Mini spatula: Pink Seoul included a spatula to use with the Mizon cream because the cream didn’t come with one. OK, I didn’t really need another spatula, but this just showed the thought that went into the box. It’s the little things, you know?
- Skinfood Black Sugar Mask: Can you believe I’ve never tried this classic K-beauty product before? I was happy to see it included and it left my skin soft and smooth. The sugar particles are pretty coarse though and leaves my skin a little red afterward–even after thinning it out with water/toner. Was pleasantly surprised to see that the scrub turns milky and emulsifies when I rinse it off, making it easy to wash off.
- The sheet masks: Solid masks and I especially liked the SNP, Leaders Insolution, and Mediheal ones.
- Nature Republic Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel: Glad to have tried this cult favorite, but ultimately it’s…aloe vera gel. Unexciting. I’ve slathered it on my body (and once on my face) and haven’t noticed a difference compared to skipping it.
- Missha 3D mascara: Failed to hold the curl in my lashes. But if you don’t have hooded lids that weigh on your lashes, it should hold the curl decently well.
- Verysix coral lip gloss: A natural nude, slightly milky peach gloss that lasts and lightly moisturizes. Good product but a little too subtle for my pigmented lips.
?? No basis to judge:
- Mizon Black Snail All-in-One Cream: I don’t use snail products and so only did a hand swatch. It feels like a light cream with a slightly stringy texture–silkier, lighter, and less stringy than Beauty of Joseon Cream. Promising anti-aging and skin-repairing ingredients (in addition to snail): niacinamide, adenosine, peptides, ceramide…see the full ingredients at the bottom of this post.
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence: Moar ingredients I don’t use!
- TonyMoly Tomatox Magic Massage Pack: Titanium dioxide is high on the ingredients list, and based on reviews, I suspect it temporarily whitens/brightens by depositing a lot of (chalky, somewhat water-resistant) titanium dioxide. No thanks!
- Missha Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPPF 50+ PA+++: It left a soft finish on the back of my hand and absorbed really well. But since sunscreen milks tend to dry out my skin, I skipped trying this on my face.
Below are ingredients for the full-size skincare and the sheet masks. Click to enlarge!