Asian Beauty, Review

BeautyBoxKorea Haul and Review

Okay, first of all… I have been waiting so long to write this post (I’ll get back to this in a moment) because I have finally completed my set of Missha’s MISA Geumsul line (pictured above) and look forward to using all of the products together. Secondly, I have been looking at the luxury brand Sum:37 for quite some time now. I got to try a sample packet of the Secret Programming Essence (one of their best-sellers of all time) and I just wanted more! So now I have the miniature gift set to play with and get a feel for more of their Secret Repair products.

BeautyBoxKorea Review

Products Purchased:

1.) Su:m37 – Secret Repair Special Gift Set

  • Secret Repair Toner 20ml
  • Secret Repair Emulsion 20ml
  • Secret Repair Concentrated Cream 10ml
  • Secret Programming Essence 12ml
  • Secret Repair Concentrated Serum 8ml

2.) Missha – MISA Geumsul Special Set (II)

  • Geumsul Skin Toner 145ml
  • Geumsul Milky Emulsion 100ml
  • Geumsul Rejuvenating Cream 50ml
  • Geumsul Rejuvenating Essence 7ml (Miniature)
  • Geumsul Skin Toner 30ml (Miniature)
  • Geumsul Milky Emulsion 30ml (Miniature)
  • Geumsul Rejuvenating Cream 10ml (Miniature)

3.) Missha – MISA Geumsul Vitalizing Eye Cream ® 30ml

Thoughts on Pricing:

1.)  Su:m37 – Secret Repair Special Gift Set –  $23.65 USD

I bought this long before I decided to hop on Ebay and see how the prices might differ. Painfully gypped. I could have bought this same little set for a much lower price on Ebay.

2.)  Missha – MISA Geumsul Special Set (II)  – $59.53 USD

I personally think this was a great deal. It happened to be on sale during a 30% discount, but even without the discount it would have still been cheaper than buying straight off of MisshaUS for the pretty penny price of $110 USD.

3.)  Missha – MISA Geumsul Vitalizing Eye Cream ® 30ml – $31.14 USD

The original price for this on MisshaUS is $45 USD so while this was a decent price drop, it was still nothing compared to the discount I got on the MISA Geumsul Special Set (II).

Total amount USD 151.24 + Shipping USD 25.91 – Discount USD 44.92 = Order total USD 132.23

That shipping price… ouch 😦

Condition of Products Upon Arrival:

Everything was securely placed in an adequately sized box and wrapped with bubble wrap. No complaints here. There was a small dent in the small box of my Su:m37 Gift Set, but with the way the products were wrapped, I am led to believe it must have happened before it was even shipped. All of the products themselves were in mint condition upon arrival.

Arrival Time:

I made this order on June 20, 2017 and it arrived on July 27, 2017. It appeared to actually arrive in Canada a few days after it was shipped, but Canada Post sucks, so what can you do? My mom also ordered from BeautyBoxKorea and received it fairly quick (~two weeks) in the US.

Samples Received with Order:

I was disappointed by how few free samples (not pictured) I received with my order. Jolse tends to send more if you spend more, so imagine my shock when I only received a measly three samples from BeautyBoxKorea after having spent over a hundred dollars on their site!

Will I Purchase from BeautyBoxKorea Again?

I can easily imagine myself buying from BeautyBoxKorea again ONLY IF they have a product I am desperate for and cannot be found on any other site. But honestly? I do not plan on it.

Side note: Remember that I bought these products to have them sent to Canada, so shipping prices and arrival times may differ depending on where you live.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Geum Sul Overnight Cream


Packaging: This product comes in a fairly large, light pink glass tub (80ml) accompanied with a spatula for ease of use and a twist-off top. It feels like a very sturdy jar that would likely not break if you dropped it (although I advise against doing so). The cap is decorated with the signature Misa Geum Sul flower, and although it did come with an inner seal, I ended up throwing it out because the cap twists for what seems like forever, keeping the contents fresh enough on its own.

Price: It goes for over $50 for the retail price, but I managed to snag it off of Jolse for only $23 USD while it was on sale. What a steal, am I right? Admittedly, I have only had this product for one month and have already made it through a quarter of its contents, so I expect this to last me about two more months’ worth. That being said, I could imagine this lasting much longer for somebody who applies with a less liberal hand than I do.

Consistency: I just want to start by saying this: I usually stray from products that feel thick and rich. The thought is scary to those of us with oily skin because, more likely than not, we have already had the unfortunate experience of clogging our pores by putting something too heavy on. I know. I get it. When I first felt the consistency of this product, I was worried. Yes, it is thick and it seems like it could easily be too rich for my oily skin. But to my surprise, it is amazing. It spreads nicely – almost feels like a soft butter upon application – and get this: I apply this liberally every night and have not experienced any clogged pores or an excessively oily face by time morning comes around. It has easily become my favorite step in my skincare routine because it feels so nice to put on my face. And if it is not evident by the photos I provided above, I have every reason to believe that adding this product to my nightly routine has made a real difference in the quality of my skin.

Scent: To the people who dislike strong fragrances or herbal ones: you will not like this product. The first time I got a whiff of this product, I scrunched my nose and was not convinced I would ever enjoy it. It smells similarly to the other Misa Geum Sul products I have already reviewed, but in a much stronger fashion. It is particularly earthy and I have no idea if that is just how ginseng smells, but after using it for a month, it has grown on me. Perhaps it is because I just love how effective it is and associate it with the joy that brings me. Who knows.

Ingredients: Taking a look at this product’s CosDNA analysis, the ingredient list looks similar to the Misa Geum Sul First Essence Booster that I reviewed in an earlier post. It has an amazingly large concoction of extracts, which I became a fan of after the positive results I saw from Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule. And, since this is another product from the Misa Geum Sul line, we see the familiar ginseng ingredient at the very top of the list (first ingredient) which has been found to effectively whiten the skin. It also features the following:

  • Cordyceps Sinesis Extract – Revitalizes tired skin
  • Deer Antler Extract – Firms dull, sagging skin
  • 7,100 µg of Pure Gold – Detoxifies skin

But an ingredient that surprised me was the Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Fruit Extract, because I had recently read an article that suggested that pumpkin extract contained many vitamins, one of the more important ones being vitamin A. This interested me because vitamin A is part of the retinoid family (source). Retinoid.. sounds familiar, does it not? When we think of retinoids, we think of the magical ingredient “retinol,” which a 2016 study confirmed

increased epidermal thickness… [and] showed a significant reduction in facial wrinkles following 12 weeks of retinol application.

And, another promising study in 2016 revealed that the oil from pumpkin seeds in particular

is an important source of many healthy components such as antioxidant and antimicrobial agents. Furthermore, the presence of tocopherols, sterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids in pumpkin oil make it an excellent drug in pharmaceutics and cosmetics which would provide potential protection against skin problem, e.g. dermatological wound.

Having considered the ingredient from this angle, it would make sense as to why my face has been clearing up since I started using this product, but we also have to remember that the ingredient is likely not very concentrated; it is unlikely that this ingredient made a significant change on its own with it being somewhere closer to the middle of the ingredient list than the top… But still, as it stands, I find the formulation of this product to be effective in its claim to whiten, brighten, and moisturize my skin.

Overall Review: It feels like it does exactly what an overnight cream should do, which is to seal everything in and make your skin radiant come morning time. It does not cause any acne/clogged pores despite its seemingly rich consistency and formulation. I love this product so much that it has actually convinced me to purchase the remaining products from this very line: the toner, emulsion, cream, and eye cream. With the great results I have seen so far, I can only imagine what I might see with the addition of the other Misa Geum Sul products. 5/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Geum Sul Tension Pact SPF30/PA++ No.01 (Bright Light)

Packaging: This is the most beautiful BB cushion I think I’ve ever seen. When the image first appeared on Missha’s Instagram, I knew I had to have it. It features the signature flower as seen on all of the Misa Geum Sul products, and the packaging sparkles of small pink glitter particles when the sun hits it the right way. When the compact (17g) is clicked open, there is a mirror and an accompanying tray that holds the applicator puff. Because this is a “tension pact” and not your usual BB cushion, it features a flexible net (with the shape of a rose on it!) that you press with your puff to gather as much or little product as you like. The idea is that these tension nets can allow for a more even application as you never have to worry about the product seeping too far down like with usual BB cushions.

Price: I purchased this product for about $25 USD from Jolse. I think this price is neither too expensive nor too cheap as it can last you quite some time (because a little seems to go a long way).

Consistency: The first time I used this product, I applied way too much because I didn’t realize how little pressure I needed to apply my puff to the tension net. But when applied correctly, it goes on light and rather moist, making it an ideal product to those with dry skin. As you can see in the photos above, it also looks quite nice on oily-combo skin, too. (A word of warning: If you have oily skin, it will make your skin appear very shiny after some time – and not in a cute, dewy way. I mitigate this issue by using a translucent powder on top.) Its coverage is medium to high as it is very buildable, so it covers my acne very well. I chose to take a photo of my skin in its worst condition despite feeling very self-conscious sharing it here because I wanted to show just how much of a difference using this tension pact makes. And since my skin is more oily here, you can see how it has seeped into the fine lines of my eyes (which, honestly speaking, happens with all BB creams, cushions, etc.), but it seems very minimal in comparison to others that I’ve tried.

Scent: As predicted, it smells exactly the same as all other products from the Misa Geum Sul line, which is a rather strong herbal scent. In my opinion, the scent does linger for some time, so if you don’t like herbal scents, you may not enjoy using this product very much. I find that it’s grown on me though.

Ingredients: Truthfully speaking, I was unable to find a full ingredient list anywhere, but based on the information that I was able to gather about it, I can tell you that it features a number of plant extracts geared toward fighting aging issues (as it was designed for more mature-like skin types). In particular, it includes as much as 36% of wild ginseng water though it doesn’t specify the actual type of ginseng used. However, a study in 2013 did demonstrate that panax ginseng root extract

can induce the synthesis of type I collagen

which is great news considering that:

There are at least 16 types of collagen, but 80 – 90 percent of the collagen in the body consists of types I, II, and III.

(Source: Molecular Biology. 4th Edition.)

Collagen are fibrous proteins in the skin that are responsible for basically holding everything together. For instance, if you have a cut, collagen is what heals that wound. And because our ability to produce collagen slows down as we age, using an ingredient like ginseng would be to our advantage since it promotes collagen revival. So I would expect mature and acne-prone skin types alike would benefit from the use of this product due to its ginseng component. (The Geum Sul Tension Pact is also said to brighten and whiten the skin, which leads me to believe it may include the popular niacinamide ingredient as well. That being said, with normal usage I haven’t noticed any real changes in the darkness of my acne scars from this product.)

Overall Review: For me personally, it works well on my acne-prone skin because it doesn’t clog my pores or cause any additional acne despite its highly pigmented color. The color itself is a perfect match for my skin, too, as it contains a slightly pink undertone rather than yellow. It is moisturizing and I have no issues with shine because I always have my pressed powder on hand to combat this problem. I also love that it’s moisturizing because normally with higher coverage products I experience dry patches, but with this product, I don’t. Since this is my first tension pact, I currently have nothing else to compare it to, but it is definitely a lovely product that is worth trying out. 4/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Geum Sul First Essence Booster

Packaging: It comes in a sturdy, pink glass bottle (100ml) with a cap that pulls off to reveal an airless pump to dispense the product. As with all of Missha’s MISA Geum Sul products, it features a pretty design on the cap that shimmers in the light. But the packaging for this product seems to differ depending on where you get it; on Missha’s official US website, the bottle is golden to clear at the bottom, whereas on Jolse, it is pink to clear and it also goes by the name “Gold Snow Giyun (Raise Luster) Essence.” I cross-checked ingredients just to be sure these products were the same thing (and they are).

Price: Its retail price is $50 USD from Missha US and $50 CAD from Missha CA, but I got it for the cheaper price of ~$35 USD from Jolse. Looking at the photo of the bottle turned upside down, you can see that one month’s usage hasn’t gotten me very far through the product, so I expect that it must last about three months’ worth. It is a lovely product, but it would hurt my wallet too much to buy it at retail price. Still, as a product that was heavily inspired by the expensive Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX, perhaps $50 isn’t so bad.

Consistency: It feels like a watery serum that spreads and absorbs easily; a little goes a long way. It feels very hydrating and moist upon application. I use three pumps for my entire face, but could easily use less if I wanted (I just love loading this stuff on my face!).

Scent: It smells similarly to Missha’s MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Finisher – medicinal/herbal, but this product seems to have an additional “earthy” scent that I just can’t seem to pinpoint. The scent is somewhat strong upon application, but it does dissipate soon after it has absorbed.

Ingredients: Analyzing the ingredients on CosDNA and even Skincarisma didn’t seem to reflect the actual order of ingredients, so here is the full thing here:

Saccharomyces/Panax Ginseng Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Betaine, Panax Ginseng Root Water, Arginine, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Glycereth-26, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-2M, Caprylyl Glycol, Alcohol, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Bacillus/Apricot Seed/Artemisia Annua Extract/Phaseolus Angularis Seed/Soybean Seed/Wheat Bran/Xanthium Strumarium Fruit Extract Ferment Extract, Sucrose Distearate, Benzophenone-5, Cellulose Gum, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Gold, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Extract, Velvet Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Mineral Salts, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Leaf Extract, Atractyloides Lancea Root Extract, Saposhnikovia Divaricata Root Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Actaea Heracleifolia Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Honey Extract, Acanthopanax Sessiliflorum Bark Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed Extract, Ardisia Crispa Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Callus Culture Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Prunus Mume Flower Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Atractyloides Japonica Rhizome Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Extract, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Cyclopentasiloxane, C30-45 Alkyldimethylsilyl Polypropylsilsesquioxane

Source: Missha US

This product has a number of interesting and novel ingredients, such as:

  • Fermented Ginseng Water – Strengthens skin’s barrier
  • “Chenjijeongwoldan” Extract – Vitalizes
  • “Cheonjong” Wild Ginseng Extract – Firms
  • Reishi Mushroom fermented with Gold Extract – Nourishes
  • Pure Gold 5,000㎍ – Purifies
  • “Yuyak Boham” Liquid – Smooths
  • “Cheongemcho” Extract – Vitalizes
  • Spiceberry Extract – Protects

A 2014 study revealed that

recent findings suggest that ginseng and its constituents might be potential candidates for novel skin whitening agents.

This is of particular interest to those of who suffer from hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, especially when we consider that ginseng shows up as many as four times in this product, with the first three being at the very top of the ingredient list. It also functions as a potent anti-inflammatory component, which is beneficial to those of us who deal with acne (!) by reducing redness and severity.

Yet another study in 2016 revealed that

the anti-inflammatory property of G. lucidum [reishi mushroom]… may be a potential treatment option for the management of skin diseases with cutaneous sarcoidosis and inflammation in the future.

As for the interesting “pure gold” ingredient (which can be seen in many of my photos above), I could only find one study in 2015 that suggested it may address skin aging. Whether it actually does something or not in this product is debatable, but it does make the product look very elegant – that much is true.

People whose skin is sensitive to alcohol may not react well to this product, unfortunately. Alcohol shows up twice, with the first type (denat. – one of the harsher kinds) is the fourth ingredient. While this does make the product absorb better, no doubt, I personally wish there was less of it.

Other notable ingredients include:

  • Niacinamide – Brightening
  • Adenosine – Anti-aging
  • Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract – Brightening
  • Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract – Anti-inflammatory

Overall Review: Despite my wanting to steer clear of products with higher alcohol contents, I can’t help but love this product. Looking at my face photos above, it is clear that even within a short span of time, it has done my skin nothing but good. (Side note: That breakout in the first photo was caused by having McDonald’s – WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?! Ah well, at least I can be assured my products are actually working…) On a day where my skin is drier, I simply mitigate the alcohol-drying issue by using more of my hydrating toners. I have used this product for a month as of now and I can only see the quality of my skin improving more and more with each use. 5/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Cho Gong Jin (Miniature Set)

Before I begin my review, I just want to mention that photographing these products was hopelessly impossible. They have this shine to them that would cause blind spots if taken in the direct sunlight, and if I took them in a darker setting, then some of them just came out too dark! You can probably tell from the photos above that there are variants of red. That contributed to my difficulties, too, so I had to do a lot of photoshopping to try and capture the actual colors of each product.

Another noteworthy mention is that this highly anticipated review was written for my mother as she absolutely loves this set. (Hi, mommie!! I hope you enjoy the thorough review!)

* * *


  1. Toner: It comes in a red plastic bottle (30ml) with a twist-off gold cap.
  2. Essence: It comes in a much smaller red plastic bottle (7ml) with a gold cap that pulls off to reveal an air pump to dispense the product.
  3. Emulsion: It comes in a red plastic bottle (30ml) with a twist-off gold cap.
  4. Cream: It comes in a small, red plastic jar (10ml) with a twist-off gold cap.

Price: The value of this miniature set is $40 USD, and it cannot be bought on any of the Missha websites because it is a VIP freebie gift. However, the average prices for the full-sized products are as follows:

  1. Toner: $43 USD (Missha US) | $42 CAD (Missha CA)
  2. Essence: $45 USD (Missha US) | $47 CAD (Missha CA)
  3. Emulsion: $46 USD (Missha US) | $47 CAD (Missha CA)
  4. Cream: $46 USD (Missha US) | $45 CAD (Missha CA)

The prices may vary on other websites, such as Jolse, Cosmetic-Love, and w2beauty.


  1. Toner: As you can probably tell from the photo, the consistency of this toner is quite watery. It sinks in quickly and a little seems to go a long way. The finish is not sticky.
  2. Essence: The consistency of the essence is semi-thick. I tend to use three pumps for my whole face. The finish is a little sticky, but my face feels well hydrated.
  3. Emulsion: Due to the nature of the bottle and the consistency of the emulsion, it’s difficult as hell to get this stuff out! I have to use a q-tip for ease of access. That being said, it is easy to actually spread on your face once you get it there, and the finish feels quite nice and smooth. In my case with combo skin, I do find that this emulsion feels a bit rich and prefer to use it in the PM rather than in the AM.
  4. Cream: I use a spatula to get to this product, but you could just as easily use your finger because the jar is wide, thankfully. This cream feels very thick and rich, but even with my skin, I am in love with it! Of course, I do only use it in the PM as well, but I realized that this cream effectively seals in the moisture from all of the products I used beforehand, and it does not simply dissipate from my skin come morning like some creams and sleeping pacts tend to do. I love this as a night cream. The finish felt velvety-smooth.

Scent: All four of these products smell exactly the same: herbal and medicinal. The scent is on the stronger side and does linger a bit, but I enjoy it. If you are the kind of person that is sensitive to stronger fragrances, this may not be the product line for you.

Ingredients: All four products contain the star ingredients as shown in the helpful picture below.

Image Source: Missha US

In addition, these products are also advertised as containing the following helpful ingredients:

  • Black Ginseng and Rehmannia Root – Intensive skin nourishing benefit
  • Ginseng Glycan – Protects hypersensitive skin
  • Phellinus Linteus – Firms skin
  • Nelumbo Nucifera – Removes impurities

When I took a look at the ingredient lists for each product, one thing I noticed was that alcohol was present in the toner (6th ingredient), essence (5th ingredient), and emulsion (16th ingredient), but not in the cream. This did not surprise me because as I used these products for a month, I already knew that the toner and essence in particular would be products better suited for spring/summer due to their somewhat drying nature. I experienced mild peeling from the toner and essence; when I used the emulsion or cream alone, the peeling issue resolved.

All four products contain niacinamide which can be found in the beginning of each of the ingredient lists. Using these products consistently helped fade some of my acne scars and I’m not surprised due to the high niacinamide content!

One thing that did disappoint me a little was that the ginseng included in all four products were listed near the bottom of each ingredient list. Some of the most effective anti-aging creams contain ginseng in much higher concentrations and are always found at the top of their ingredient lists. (I’m thinking of you, expensive Sulwhasoo-branded products!) But this doesn’t mean that the MISA Cho Gong Jin line is totally ineffective in light of its anti-aging features; it just means that people using them should expect results after more prolonged and consistent use – not immediate, like most would hope for.

Still, the ingredient lists are quite impressive and contain a lot of nice extracts for your skin. I think they’re well worth trying.

Overall Review: The MISA Cho Gong Jin line was formulated for those with more mature skin (+40) so these products are meant to feel richer (and they definitely do) than Missha’s others, though I do believe anybody of any age might benefit from some of these. As mentioned earlier, I loved the cream despite its heavier nature and despite the fact that my skin is the combo type. I think these products work really well together, but would probably best suit drier types of skin as long as they go light with the toner and essence. I can’t speak for the anti-aging claim unfortunately, but I can definitely say that these products have helped fade some of my acne scars and made my skin feel nourished. 4/5.