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If you’ve followed me for a while, you might have noticed that I don’t review subscriptions boxes very often – it’s really just because I have a lot of products so find it hard to review. However, one box that has had my attention for literally years is the nomakenolife (or NMNL) box – they launched back in 2016 with a focus on super cute Korean and Japanese beauty products.
I was in particular interested in Japanese products- I adore J-Beauty but find it really hard to purchase overseas, and even harder to actually find out what I’m buying as there’s very little English information online. Because of this, I find it very helpful to have them selected and sourced for me to try out. The team from NMNL is actually Tokyo based too, so they’ve got their thumb on the latest trends and best selling products.
They also have special perks for subscribers – you gain points for every consecutive month that you’re signed up and can exchange them for exclusive items, get discounts or even shop on JapanHaul – and there’s some really cute stuff.
What’s in the box?
The one that I’m reviewing today is their January 2021 box, which was themed as Top of the Charts – the focus is on cult favourite products, as well as those thank were top ranked in Japan on @cosme (one of Asia’s most influential beauty communities). @cosme is actually really influential in Japan, to the extant that products ranked on their website actually use that as a marketing point in stores – so it’s legit.
Every box contains 8-9 different products ranging from makeup, skincare or accessories. This particular box contains four Japanese and four Korean products, including:
- Microfibre Hair Drying Glove
- Extreme Damage Repair Hair Mask (Mise En Scene)
- Moisture Bomb Hand Cream (Fascy)
- Collagen Impact Essential Mask Ex (Mediheal)
- No Sebum Mineral Powder (Innisfree)
- Eyeshadow Palette (UR GLAM)
- Lip Oil (UR GLAM)
- Hair Clip (BT21 – Big Hit x Line Friends)
I think that there’s a good variety and also awareness of the shade selection – the products curated are generally suitable for all skin types too, so no one would be left out. And now, let’s get into the individual products!
Microfiber Hair Drying Glove
This is quite literally a microfibre glove that’s intended to help dry hair, reduce blow-drying time and in turn also keep hair healthier. It comes in four different colours (ivory – which is mine – and also blue, grey and pink) and is made of a very soft, absorbent material. The glove is fairly large, so it’s easy to slip on, and can be used almost like a towel.
It definitely delivers on the product claims – I usually use this to scrunch through my hair and it makes hair drying a lot more convenient. I wouldn’t consider it an ‘essential’ as you can technically just use a regular towel, but the microfibre material does absorb faster. Definitely a good product to kick off a subscription box considering that it can be used by the entire family.
Extreme Damage Repair Hair Mask (Mise En Scene)
Continuing on with hair care, this hair mask is great for anyone who wants healthy, silkier hair. This is from Mise En Scene, which is the top haircare brand in Korea – I actually used to use their hair dye as well and have also seen their products totally raved about all over Instagram.
This is a three step treatment to treat extremely damaged hair (especially after perming or colouring) and, according to the product description, uses natural oils, heat and steam to infuse your hair with rich, hydrating ingredients – including shea butter, jojoba seed oil and coconut oil.
I’ve just had my hair done so the condition is actually much better than it was before. Since my hair is coloured, some treatments can affect it, so I’ll likely save this for another week or two first! In general, I’ve had good experiences with Mise En Scene and they definitely belong in this Top of the Charts theme!
Moisture Bomb Hand Cream (Fascy)
Since we are currently using so much soap and hand sanitiser, it’s really important to keep your skin moisturised. Hand cream has become a new handbag staple (though it was arguably popular in the past, it’s now tenfolds moreso) and I love that NMNL have included a new one to try out.
This is from a Korean brand called Fascy and has sold over 10 million worldwide. It contains both shea butter and aloe vera to soothe and brighten dry skin, as well as having deep moisturising power and a really cute illustrative design.
For this box, there is a random selection from five different variants – Strawberry, Violet, Grapefruit, Peach and Milk. I have Peach, which has a sweet, lovely candy scent. It also leaves hands softly moisturised with no greasy or sticky finish so it’s great to use on the go.
Collagen Impact Essential Mask Ex (Mediheal)
Continuing on with skincare, they have also included the Mediheal Essential Mask – this is a cult favourite Korean product that is actually super popular all over Asia. It was actually voted #1 on @cosme for two years running and I actually remember seeing tourists bulk buy this in Korea too.
The Mediheal brand is actually most well known for their sheet masks and their brand vision is to bring professional skincare to the home. It was developed by a group of dermatologists too – so it makes sense why these are so popular. They are definitely the top of the top and deserve their spot in this box!
There are five different kinds of masks that you may receive in this box:
- Collagen Impact: Marine collagen for moisture and skin elasticity
- Placenta Revital: Placenta extract to keep skin resilient, healthy, and radiant
- Teatree Healing Solution: Teatree Oil to soothe dry skin and clear clogged pores
- V Life: Pomegranate and Trehalose to lift the V-line
- Vita Lightbeam: Vitamin C and Oryzanol for a brighter, shinier complexion
No Sebum Mineral Powder (Innisfree)
Moving onto make up, this Innisfree powder is a cult favourite product that pretty much everyone in the k-beauty community has used before. It’s one of the brand’s signature products and for good reason. This setting powder si super soft and finely milled, containing natural minerals and mint from Jeju Island.
The powder is white but applies translucent, so actually has multiple uses – it’s most commonly used to set and mattify skin, but can also be used as dry shampoo or a might antiperspirant!
This powder comes in both pressed or loose form, but the loose powder version is the most popular. I always have multiple tubs of these in my back up collection (and have actually gotten a few friends onto the product too) so am super happy to see this included in here.
Eyeshadow Palette (UR GLAM)
Lovers of eye makeup (like me!) would be super excited to see that there’s an eye palette included in this box. This is by a Japanese brand called UR GLAM and was voted as the best multi-palette by @cosme at the beginning of 2020 – resulting in it totally selling out! This is a neutral nine-pan palette that contains a combination of mattes, sequin, metallic and shimmer shades in pretty shades of warm browns and beiges.
I’m happy that they are featuring Japanese cosmetics because I’ve always wanted to try out more but – again – find it so hard to know what to get and where from. UR GLAM is new to me, but I’m keen!
Similar to most Korean eyeshadows as well, the pigmentation isn’t as strong as I’m used to but fans of Asian cosmetics would like this. Breaking down the different formulas:
- Matte: Blends out smoothly but takes quite a bit of work to build up the depth
- Sequin (Matte with micro glitter): Pigmentation is a bit stronger than the mattes. These also seem to be a bit softer pressed with more kick back in the pan.
- Metallics: Super smooth and rich in pigment. This is definitely my favourite formula here.
- Shimmers: Sheer, very pretty and glittery. It’s smooth and buttery, best applied with a finger.
Out of the four, I think the metallics are the best though the shimmers are also very pretty – this is expected because Japanese make up trends tend to use more of these formulas vs mattes. In general, I like that they included a more neutral-type palette as this would work so many different undertones and makeup preferences – though is probably best catered for lighter skin tones, as most Asian makeup unfortunately is.
Lip Oil (UR GLAM)
NMNL actually included a second product from UR GLAM as well – their lip oil. Japanese make up is well known for glossy, shiny lips and this is a great formula that gives that effect whilst still being moisturising. This oil claims to be “between a balm and a gloss,” containing a light pop of colour and a lasting shine – with absolutely no stickiness.
This lip oil comes in a crazy 12 shades (Nude pink, coral pink, clear pink, raspberry pink, pink brown, clear purple, clear yellow, deep blue, turquoise blue, gold, and silver) so there’s a random one in each box. It comes in a simple, square tube design which is fairly small and easy to carry around in your bag. The light, translucent shades also mean that this would suit absolutely anyone.
The colour I have is Deep Blue, which is a bit intimidating at first but isn’t too bad once applied! The colour is mostly translucent, so just gives a shiny, glossy finish. You can wear it alone or easily apply this over any other lip colour.
Hair Clip (B21 – Big Hit x Line Friends)
And finally, they also included an accessory product! These BT21 hair clips are a collaboration between Big Hit and Line Friends, which each box containing one of seven characters: Tata, Koya, RJ, Shooky, Mang, Chimmy, or Cooky.
Now, honestly speaking, I have never made it a secret that I’m not a fan of BTS at all – in fact, i’m quite the opposite. For that reason, this clip is my least favourite item from this box so I will be passing it onto a friend who actually likes the group.
However, I am a fan of hair clips and they’ve really come back into fashion lately. I would have preferred a more generic style of clip, either from the regular Line Friends collection or something from a Japanese/Korean mainstream brand.
And that’s what I got in the January nomakenolife subscription box! All in all, I’m pretty happy with most of the items and I think they’ve done a great job in curating for a wide audience. Everything is so cute and they’ve included a lot of very reputable and in demand brands too!
If you’re keen to check them out, and get yourself a hit of cutesy goodness every month, pop on over to their website! I’ve been seeing some advertisements for the upcoming boxes too and… oh boy, I want them.