The PinkSeoul Experience

Beauty decisions can be much like academia.

Our starting point is the same: the eye-catching, infatuating topic of interest. You know. For some in the beauty world, it is the latest gold-suspended-in-jelly sleeping pack or the vermillion lip stain that promises to hydrate, plump, and remain crisply on your lips for 8+ hours. For scholars, it is a gripping new discovery – but usually it is a new take on the same wheel, since at this point everything has been done before – that sparks a faded discourse anew, or a society-wide trend that manifests itself in at least a few conference titles that season.

Both are built upon research paths (although in beauty, the best finds can be the unexpected ones!) that, hopefully, culminate in a presentation of sorts; the first wear of a new shadow, or the first read of a new paper in front of an audience. This then necessitates a review and restart of the cycle. What worked? What did I love about this? What would I change next time? What did others have to say about it?

It is from this strange, academy-based perspective that I have become a more engaged beauty consumer, who roughly divides her interests (research & aesthetic) between the US and South Korea with some degree of blending in outside influences. My own life story is quite global, as is my ethnic make-up, so I believe that beneath the surface of everything is ultimately a one-of-a-kind formula.

Along this philosophy, and after a few years of unremarkable beauty purchases, I decided to invest in a subscription box. Something that would suit my graduate student reality, empower me to learn more about skincare and wellness, not inundate my makeup drawer with too many new products (dare I say this!), and finally, bring a degree of joy and anticipation to my life in a way that my old consumer pattern could not. Thus, after reviewing a number of candidates, I settled upon a subscription with PinkSeoul. Here is why:

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My first PinkSeoul K-Beauty Subscription Box. The first box of 2017 was released in late January and serves as the January-February box. Celebrating the Year of the Rooster right here. Photos by Jackie Sakura.

First, to break down my research process a bit more, I will tell you more about what was already living in my makeup drawer at home (background: 22-year-old hapa girl, full-time student). At the beginning of 2017, when I returned from two weeks of road-tripping in South Korea with my boyfriend and touring with fellow grad students for a week in Japan, I possessed two liquid foundations in different shades (?), a jumble of well-worn powder blushes, a liquid eyeliner, one lip-liner in a dark shade, some pots of lip balm, a disproportionate amount of mascara,  a few tubes of sleeping mask formulas, and a handful of dark-hued nail polishes. Not where I wanted to be. To add to the urgency, my boyfriend’s mother scolded me about my lack of proper skincare.

Certainly, this is more product than many women in the world have access to. To be a part of a layer of society that can invest our own discretionary income (whether aesthetically or not) is a tremendous privilege. For me, though, I realized that I could live better by reducing my makeup clutter, reinvesting in my skin, and limiting my future purchases by buying into a set number of custom-selected products on a fixed basis. I am not an expert – so I needed expert recommendations. Beyond this desire, I wanted to try more beauty products that are made in South Korea that I cannot easily access in San Francisco, as well as cater to my youthful/combination skin type with variety and, frankly, fun! Thus, I settled upon PinkSeoul’s bi-monthly K-Beauty Subscription Box. 4-6 full-size items with a mix of sample-size products and always one beauty gadget are all a plus (and my fondness for the City of Seoul didn’t hurt either).

That brings me to my experience of anticipating and receiving this box. I appreciate the subscription box model for its community-building factor: all subscribers are discovering and enjoying many of the same products at the same time. We are each unique, and experience these products differently, yet simultaneously. So, when I finally opened my ‘Combination Skin’ box, I was pleased to find a welcome-to-2017 and some literature on the Korean beauty tradition. “Hello Beautiful!”

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PinkSeoul January/February 2017 Box
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Front: January/February 2017 Box (Combination)
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Back: January/February 2017 Box (Combination)
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A refreshing mix of items in the PinkSeoul January/February 2017 Box

In this box, I received five full-size items, three mask sheets (2 fruit flavors!), a mini emulsion, and an eyelash curler. It was lovelier than I could have predicted – really everything I wanted and more.

I have divided a review of the items in this box into multiple posts. Hope these are helpful. And no matter where you are on your own beauty journey, I hope you always find more joy in the next discovery.

xo Jackie Sakura

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