Saturday, February 21, 2015

Memebox Benton Value Set Review

**FYI - Memebox no longer ships to Canada.  I'll leave these reviews for posterity but any links or recommendations are sadly no longer for us :( Many of the products can be found elsewhere - check out my post on where else to shop for k-beauty products!

Here it is:  my very last Memebox post.  I picked up this Benton Value Set for $50 - definitely one of my pricier purchases but I had some Memepoints to offset that cost and was very impressed with how awesome their Snail Bee Essence has been for my skin.  I wanted to try more of their products and knew this would be one of my last Memepurchases so I splurged with Christmas money.

Here is everything in all their packaging - a totally full box which I would expect for that price tag!


And here is everything out of the packaging.  This is basically the whole Snail Bee line which is particularly good for troubled skin (although may cause problems for anyone with a bee venom allergy - spot test first!) as it will help to heal acne, fade acne scars, brighten skin tone and maintain hydration.  For those who are trepidatious about putting snails or bees on their faces, I find that these products have a light scent and don't remind me of these ingredients in scent or texture.  Further, snail mucin (slime) helps with cell regeneration and maintains moisture while bee venom offers anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties! If a skincare product can really do all that for me, I'm okay with bugs and slime!


If I were using all of these products (which I am currently not. . . more on that later), the order in which I am listing these items is the order in which I would use them.  I am basing the value on how much it would cost me to pick these up, in US funds, from a reputable Korean site (beautynetkorea.com) which does ship to Canada (unlike Memebox at the moment) and which offers free shipping.  They may be available for more or less elsewhere but I believe these to be fair values.

Honest Cleansing Foam (Value $12.43, on sale for $11.19)
Benton calls this cleanser "honest" so we can feel assured that this is just what it says - honest, with the finest ingredients and processing.  I haven't started to use this yet as I have a lot of cleansers on the go, including a foaming one.  The one drawback I can already see with this foam is that, despite its claims not to strip moisture, it does have a high ph (at 8.5) and many beauty bloggers have been discussing the importance of a lower ph in cleansers to maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier.  They recommend a ph of 4-6 so as not to strip / dry the skin (more on that here, if you're interested).  Personally, I don't find that my cleansers overly dry my skin - especially not now that I've been taking better care of it - so I will try this once I use something up and we'll see how it goes.

Snail Bee High Content Skin (Value $15.19, on sale for $13.68)
This product is a toner even though it doesn't have that word in the name of it (confusing!).  It is, as most toners, spread over the skin after cleansing.  Most Korean toners are not as drying as the ones we are used to here in the west, rather offering moisture as well as other benefits (like the snails and the bees in this one).  I have not started using this product yet as there is currently a bit of controversy over it.  Some other purchasers discovered floating bits of something inside of their bottles and are concerned about the product.  While Memebox has offered refunds for this product, others have reached out to Benton to find out exactly what is going on and whether or not this is safe to use.  Benton has, to their credit, responded quickly and is doing testing (probably not in small part because of the issues they had last year with a bad batch of essence - google it if you like; it's been discussed thoroughly elsewhere).  My bottle doesn't have any large particles in it but if I squint, I might see some smaller ones (or I might just think I do) so I'm holding off until I hear the results of the testing and/or until any of the small particles get larger.  I'll post an update when there's more info.

Update:  Benton got back to a few of the ladies from MUT with the results of their testing and this product is safe to use.  They even sent along the lab test results to support their statements, not that I can really understand them :) Hooray!

Snail Bee High Content Essence ($34.27 for two bottles, on sale for $23.99)
This is the product that made me interested in this line.  As an essence, this is thicker than the toner but more jelly-like than a cream.  The "high content" comes from the fact that this is 90% snail slime - it is used in place of water.  That much snail with all the goodness that comes from that ingredient, plus the bee venom, makes this an HG (holy grail) product for many (myself included).  This is great stuff and I am happy to have a backup.

Snail Bee High Content Lotion (Value $15.19, on sale for $13.68)
A lotion is a lighter version of a cream, used over essence for moisture plus whatever the active ingredients bring to the table.  I currently have a lotion that I love (the Tosowoong Tea Tree one that came in my Tea Tree Memebox - it helps to control excess oils! Awesome!) but will try this when that one is finished.

Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream (Value $14.43, on sale for $12.99)
A cream is usually the last step of your routine (unless you add a sleeping mask over top at night) and is heavier than a lotion.  This is a steam cream which means it was manufactured at a higher temperature.  The claim is that this helps to combine the ingredients more effectively which means they can be more effective on your skin.  Many bloggers are hailing this as an HG product as well.  I haven't tried it yet as I have an open cream that I want to use up first but I am excited to give it a shot!

and, a few times a week, Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack, 5 included in the box (Value $10.25 for 5 masks, on sale for $9.23)
I don't use masks every day but love to use a nice sheet mask a few times a week.  Those of you who have read my blog in the past know that I find them extra relaxing in the bubble bath, especially since I can't have wine for the next few months :) These masks are ones that I would reach for if my skin is feeling a little troubled.  They are not as moist as many and do not have a particularly discernible smell (good or bad) so they are not my faves.  The snails and bees, however, do wonders at preventing a major breakout when I haven't been as diligent with my skincare.

Overall Value:
The retail value of this set is about $84.63 but, if I purchased all of this today from BNK, I could get it for about the same price including an extra bottle of the essence.  If I end up having to do without the toner, that would obviously reduce the value and the amount of money Memebox would refund me is likely less than the retail value of that product.  Regardless, I am happy with the value.  What I am less happy with is the fact that this is the second potential issue with a Benton product in a year.  It is possible that some of us are a little more wary and cautious when it comes to this brand given the history, but it is also a concern that there could be a genuine issue like this.  I am thus far impressed with the reaction of the company but I will be happier once they live up to their promises and release their test results (and happier still if there is a logical and not scary explanation for the particles!).  I really like the Benton products I have tried thus far and hope that I can continue to support the company and use their products.

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