Here is their box. I have to say I love their branding; it’s simple but striking. Aside from a minor dent on the edge it’s sturdy enough to survive the usual rigors of international shipping.
And let’s open it up.
On top is their excellent magazine menu, and underneath I can see some interesting-looking things, not least that round green thing.
Their menu insert is really very nice, with their classy monochrome branding.
Inside they give you a list, with pictures and descriptions, of all the items in the box. This is an absolute essential as all products are from Japan, made for the Japanese market, so generally only have Japanese writing on them! And aside from saying ‘konnichiwa’, my Japanese is nonexistent.
I usually like to unpack a box before looking at the menu, but in this case I always read the menu at the same time, otherwise I would simply be looking at a bunch of interesting but incomprehensible tubes and bottles.
The first thing I pulled out of the box is this Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip Face Wash. When I first heard nmnl was including a Shiseido item in this month’s box I was very excited. My mother is a longtime devotee of Shiseido, and I am pretty familiar with the brand in the UK. So I was slightly surprised to see this, which looks nothing like the Shiseido branding I have seen. However after a bit of Googling, I discovered that Shiseido is a huge brand group with many different lines, many of which are only available in Japan and other Asian countries. This line, Senka, is one of these.
This is a lovely foaming cleanser. It is gentle to use, and has a very mild and pleasing fragrance. As I like to wash my face in the shower this kind of cleanser is perfect for me, and my skin feels good after use, not dry or tight.
The round green thing! It’s actually a Melon All-In-One Gel, can function as a toner, moisturizer, essence, and makeup base. This item actually had a minor mishap, as the lid was not properly set in the pot so it leaked into its packaging bubble. All was not lost, as there was still plenty enough left for me to try out properly. I was expecting that it would have the kind of melon scent you associate with Midori liqueur, but it smells like actual melon, a rather delicious soft fruity scent. It goes on nicely, and while being a gel it seems like it might be a rather sticky substance, it sinks in very fast and smoothly.
While there was a bit of a packaging fail in practical terms, due to the little lid not being on properly, the packaging itself looks awesome. I now have a little melon sitting on my skincare shelf!
Now this I like the look of (after checking the menu to find out what it actually was!). Derizum Moisture Veil Skin Cream. I often struggle with moisturizer because my skin is rather dry and sensitive and I find that moisturizer often sits on top of my skin, making it feel greasy and sometimes break out. So I was really hoping for a moisturizer in this month’s box, because I was keen to try something different.
This was absolutely tip top. It is described as being ideal for sensitive and dry skin (win!) and includes rather a dazzling array of ingredients, such as 15 amino acids, 8 ceramides, and other goodies. This elaborate formulation clearly does the job. Using the recommended pearl-size amount (a much nicer image than the usual pea-size description) I used it after washing my face this morning. I was incredibly impressed with how quickly it absorbed, yet my skin felt soft and hydrated. Superb.
By the way, there is a picture of a baby on the package because they describe the effects as getting ‘poreless baby-like skin’. Now, I’ve had a baby, and their skin is magically smooth. I know damn well that nothing is going to make my skin feel like that again. However I can say that my skin certainly does feel lovely after using this cream, so I’ve no complaints.
More baby pictures! Though I’m slightly confused as to why they’re blonde and blue-eyed. Anyway, this is the Dotfree Deep Clay Mask. The idea of this face pack is to unclog your pores. Now, I don’t like to think too closely about clogged pores (though I’m fortunate that mine are generally not overly clogged) but I welcome any product that will help keep my skin clear. The packaging describes it as ‘peeling clay’, but it’s not actually one of those masks that dry and then peel off in one go like that scene in American Psycho. It dries and you just rinse it off after five minutes.
The ingredients (3 different clays, charcoal, aha fruit acid, 3 different collagens) sounded quite hardcore, so I was slightly concerned it would be a little harsh. However it was surprisingly gentle, and my skin didn’t have that unpleasant tight feeling that sometimes results from drying masks. I don’t really have any particular problems with spots or acne, though my face is certainly sensitive, but I think this mask would probably be good for ‘problem’ skin, not least because of the pore-cleansing action.
Last up, Menturm Lip Dress Pearl Beige. This is a tinted lip balm, which helpfully contains SPF 12 protection. I love lip balms and have them everywhere, including in the car. I like how this one feels, it’s lovely and moisturizing, but I’m not crazy about the colour. First of all, there’s something unattractive about the word ‘beige’; I’ve never found it to have any kind of positive connotations. Second, it just doesn’t really suit my skin tone. As we head toward summer a pinkish tint would have been lovely. This pearl shimmer is nice, but ultimately I find this one looks kind of blah on me. It’s shame, because it goes on well, SPF is great, and the principle of tinted lip balm is great for me because I don’t really like wearing lipstick (I chew my lips a lot, bad habit I know) and I can reapply it as much as I like. Oh well.
So there they all are!
Once again, I really like this box very much. It has introduced me to some really excellent products that I would have never found otherwise. There is a good range of items, and I like that this box covers all your daily skincare needs.
It’s a shame that one product leaked, but I should say that I contacted nomakenolife and they offered to send a replacement with next month’s box. Great customer service right there.
I’m seriously keen on the moisturizer (I have no idea what I’ll do when I run out!), and the face mask is a great accompaniment to a bath. I’m very glad to have found another foaming cleanser that doesn’t dry my skin. The lip balm is pleasant enough, and while I didn’t like the colour I understand this is entirely subjective. There will be many women who would suit this perfectly.
Their packaging is excellent. A good strong box, lovely stylish design, and in the bottom of the box is some turquoise shred which is both attractive and practical. The aesthetic perfectly compliments the style of Japanese product style.
The included magazine menu is informative, and again beautifully designed. The whole thing looks classy and elegant.
As to value, I’m not going to do an individual breakdown of each item price because the only thing I could find on any UK store was the facewash. This was on Amazon at £7.87, and shipped from Japan. So every other product (unless you want to explore eBay and risk god-knows-what knockoffs) is only available in Japan and Asia. Even assuming a fiver for each other item, plus the lip balm, you’re going to come in at the same value as the box price. There’s no way these things would be priced that low, not least because a good moisturizer with the ingredients they include is absolutely not cheap. So I have no doubt that this is excellent value for a terrific collection of skincare products.
It totally lives up to its theme of Skincare Essentials. Lovely!