nomakenolife is a monthly subscription box of Japanese cosmetics and beauty products. Here are the basics:
They have one-, three-, six-, and 12-month subscriptions costing $29.99, $29.00, $28.33, and $27.50 per month respectively. At current exchange rates this is £24.71, £23.89, 23.34, and £22.66. Shipping is free.
This box is the second in the series (#1 came out in February), and the theme is Sakura. Sakura is the Japanese term for cherry blossom, and it is also the national flower of Japan. Being springtime the cherry blossoms (and other blossoms for that matter!) are coming out, so this is the perfect time for this theme. As you may expect, several of this month’s items are cherry-blossom scented.
The box arrived in excellent shape. For once I was in when it was delivered, so no trek to the sorting office. It’s very sturdy and showed no signs of damage, despite its travel distance. There is a customs label which shows the contents, but as I don’t like to know what’s inside I box I took it off without looking! Weird, I know.
It was pretty heavy, which isn’t surprising given that beauty products generally have a heft!
The first thing on the top was a menu booklet. While I didn’t look at it right away (I like to be surprised, remember?), when I did I found it to be excellent. It’s nice quality paper, gives the theme on the first page, and then contains pictures and details about all the items in the box. This is pretty useful, because although some of the items had English on them as well, a couple were entirely in Japanese, and it’s always useful to know what exactly you’re getting and how to use it!
A couple of example pages there. Nicely designed and useful information about each product.
After the booklet was take out, this is what I saw.
What looked like a big kiss coming towards me on the top of the pile! There was just a glimpse of some blue straw padding at the bottom, which is a nice touch. But an intriguing assortment of bottles and packets.
These are ‘lip packs’ from Choosy, which is I guess the equivalent of a face pack but for your lips only. They smell nice, though these aren’t cherry blossom. When I’ve used a face pack I’ve always avoided putting it on my mouth, so I guess it makes sense to have something else for that part of your face! It’s a nice idea, especially coming out of the winter months when lips have really taken a battering from cold wind and bad weather. While you’d expect it to be a sachet of cream, it’s actually a sheet with a huge mouth-shape gel thing which you apply to your mouth. Looks kind of crazy but I guess it makes sense.
And as an aside, there’s a little pictograph on the back showing you can use these on your nipples as well. OK, I guess you’d need two, and it’s an interesting idea, but as my breastfeeding days are fortunately behind me I have no need of specially moisturized nipples, so I think I’ll stick to using these on my face.
These are (left) Kose Softymo Mineral Wash with Scrub, and (right) Gensen Labo Hydrating Sea Kelp Toner. Neither are scented, which is a good thing. The toner is also alcohol free.
The face wash is lightly foaming, and you only need the tiniest amount to get a decent amount of lather. I actually didn’t feel any scrubbing action, but perhaps you’re not meant to. It’s recommended for daily use, and I can’t see this being a problem, there’s no feeling of having scrubbed your face raw that one gets from some facial scrubs out there!
I’m never quite convinced by toners because I have rather dry and sensitive skin and I have usually felt toners have been too harsh, even supposedly alcohol-free ones. Anyway I was pleasantly surprised by this one. First of all it is a thicker consistency than the usual water-like toners. It went on smoothly, and my face didn’t feel at all tight afterwards. I used it after the facewash, and though the two are not from the same company they worked together well. A little while after applying the toner I still used some of my usual moisturizer (which is actually rosehip oil) but that was out of habit, not because my face felt like it had been dried out by the toner. And rosehip oil is a ‘dry oil’ anyway.
This cute little set is a pair of mini bottles of hand soap and hand cream from Sakura Harenohi. They are cherry blossom-scented, and lovely to use. As it happens my mother appropriated these as she pointed out that her handbag tube of hand cream had run out and the soap was useful for travelling. Sigh. Anyway, they smelled lovely!
Another travel pack, this time moisturizing shampoo and conditioner from Ichikami. They smell delicious, though I haven’t tried them yet. However we are going to Paris for a few days next month, so I will be taking them along so I can drift along the boulevards wafting the scent of cherry blossom in my wake.
Incidentally, this brand is apparently quite high-end in Japan.
Finally, Wayumeguri Sakua Bath Salts, containing moisturizing mineral oils and salts. As my husband was out of town I decided to grab the opportunity to spend half the evening in the tub. I love baths, and this smelled amazing. There was a very slight foam on the top, though it was by no means a bubblebath. My skin did feel nice when I finally got out (about two hours later, I’m one of these people who just keeps adding hot water), and I was slightly disappointed my husband wasn’t there to appreciate me smelling like an entire cherry orchard. But anyway, this was my favourite thing, probably because it gave me a gorgeous bath. I’m just sad it was a single-serve, because I’d totally use this on a regular basis.
So there you have it!
Here are my thoughts.
First of all, the value. I’ve given the subscription prices at the top, and while I’m not going to search for every single item’s price, I can make a few guesstimates. Also, some of these items are extremely difficult to locate in the UK, so that can really mess with the price as opposed to the value. But from looking at a few prices for the various bits and bobs, and factoring in the difficulty of finding some of this stuff, I’m going to say you get more than enough bang for your buck.
I really like everything in the box. The box is very solid, the design is attractive and classy, and because Japanese product packaging is often rather brightly coloured I think the decision to make a plain monochromatic box is very sensible. It sets off the contents nicely, and the light blue packing straw is a lovely touch.
The one thing that slightly surprised me was that all the products were face and body-related. By this I mean they are all for taking care of your body rather than adorning it. I had sort of expected they would include at least one makeup-related item, because the box is described as ‘cosmetics’. I had a little sneaky look at their first box, and that contained makeup.
However, please don’t take this as a negative, because it’s not. First of all, I’m fussy about makeup and I don’t use that much anyway. I do like beauty products of exactly the type that were in this box, and the quality is all excellent. I have used and will use everything in it (except the hand care set, because my mother will use it instead), and it’s very interesting to discover new products like this, especially from a country that takes its skincare very seriously. I also think that makeup is far more subjective than skincare (except if you’ve got such specific needs that you can only use one brand or type, in which case why would you use this kind of subscription anyway?) whereas with skincare products it’s likely you’ll be able to use and enjoy pretty much everything.
All in all I loved this box. The products are gorgeous and useful. The variety and range of items was excellent and I was introduced to the concept of a lip/nipple (lipple?) pack, a product of which I was completely unaware! The value is great, the travel-size items are always useful to have, especially as I hate hotel shampoo (unless it’s a really fancy hotel with branded products), and the facewash and toner will last for ages. I just wish I had more of the bath salts.
I’m very impressed, lovely lovely stuff!