Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sephora Favorites - Soko To Tokyo Customizable Skin Care Set - Review!

Okay. I'm so far behind with my blog posts that the product I'm about to tell you guys about is not even available any more. Well, technically, the products themselves are still available in full size, but the special kit they came in, along with some of the sample sizes, are not. I had an internal debate about whether or not I should still post about it and (obviously) I decided it was still worth it: you can purchase the products individually and Sephora seems to come out with a similar type of customizable skin kit every year, so it would be a good comparison if they do release another one.
This is the Soko To Tokyo Customizable Skin Care Kit and I was very, very excited when Nouveau Cheap posted that it had become available online. Sephora has released at least one other Sephora Favorites kit with the 'Soko To Tokyo' name, but that one was one customizable. There was a little bit of drama when Sephora listed it, then took it down right away, but they put it back up about eight days later and I made sure to grab one as soon as possible. Since this  is a customizable kit, there were initially thirteen products to mix and match and, with customizable kits like this, the best products 'sell out' fast. For $25, you get five products of your choice out of the thirteen. Each product is listed as having a $20 value; you add five to your cart, then add the kit itself for $25, which gives you a $100 'credit', bringing your total to $25 for everything. It's very convoluted, but if it works, it works. You could still purchase the kit even after some products sold out, but there were less options to choose from (I think Sephora took it down when there were less than five products available since the discount wouldn't work anymore).
I have no idea if this was ever released in stores or not (it could have been; Sephora has come out with customizable kits you can purchase in store, though I've mostly seen them at the JCP Sephoras), but I wanted to get mine before the samples I wanted sold out, so I purchased it online. I also finally caved in and got the $10 Flash Shipping since I didn't want to have to add anything else to bring my total to the $50+ free shipping threshold (and now I get free shipping on anything, including the $10 worth of sale nail polish that I just purchased...). When Nouveau Cheap posted about the 'restock', she listed the values of each of the samples. I couldn't find the post when I was ordering, so I got the samples that I wanted to try the most with no regard for values; I do regret getting some samples I did over other, more valuable ones, but overall I'm content with what I got.
Since this was an online order, I got some extra goodies. Sephora has some really interesting foil packets every now and then; I'm especially intrigued by the Dior lip samples. They even come with a little brush!
For my free deluxe sample, I went with the Aethiopika Hydrate and Twist Butter. I've never heard of Aethiopika, so that right there is a good enough reason for me to try something, but I'm also always looking for solutions for my curly hair. Even though my hair is fine, it's super dry and as long as I'm careful, I can use heavier products like this without weighing it down too much. You can also use this product as a body butter, so if it doesn't work out for my hair, I can always use it on my skin. Neat.
I also spent some points (500 to be exact) an a Skin Inc. My Daily Dose Get Glowin' samper kit. Unfortunately, one of the vials shattered during shipping and I really didn't want to open the box to see if I could salvage the other two since there were glass shards everywhere. I e-mailed Sephora Customer Service about it and, since they sadly couldn't send me another set, they refunded my 500 points, which I appreciate.
It was also my birth month, so I got my birthday freebie! I went with the Marc Jacobs set (you could have also gotten a Fresh set, but I'm not a big fan of how Fresh products smell). Since I'm not a VIB Rouge this year, I got the regular set (I think Rouges get one more sample; they did last year, at least). I like the color of the lipstick (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), though I wish instead of an eye liner we got a matching lip liner.
On to the actual kit...finally! When Nouveau Cheap released the list of all the samples, the one I need I had to get was the Caolion Where Is Pore? Premium Hot & Cold Pore Pack Duo. I have a lot of issues with visible pores, especially on my cheeks, right under my eyes and, while my acne isn't bad, it's fairly constant. You can use these masks separately, or you can use them in tandem, starting with the Blackhead pack, followed by the Pore pack. You get one packet of the Blackhead mask and two packets of the Pore pack, which corresponds to the full size (you get both masks in one jar, and the Blackhead mask part is smaller than the Pore mask part). If I like this mask set, I might consider buying the full size (though I have so many other masks laying around that I'll probably try to go through those first before buying more). According to Nouveau Cheap, the value of this sample is about $7.76.
I was also really interested in trying the SK-II R.N.A. POWER Radical New Age cream since I like the SK-II line but find that it's a little out of my price range. I should have paid attention to the sample sizes, however, since this little guy is teeny.
I should have put something in this picture to compare the sample jar to; it's about the size of a quarter and less than an inch high. I'm still interested in trying this product, but I don't know if I have more than a couple days worth of product in this jar, which is no where near enough time to know if a skincare product is working or not. It's my own fault since Sephora did list the size of the sample (and Nouveau Cheap did a price breakdown), but I'm a little disappointed in this product. The value of this sample is about $6.81.
The next sample I picked is the Erborian Ginseng Milk Smoothing Effect Milky Face Lotion. I liked the other Erborian skin care product I've tried, the Yuza Double Lotion, so I wanted to try this one, too! It's a very thin lotion; it's thicker than a serum (not by much, though), but a lot thinner than a normal face cream so it absorbs super quick and doesn't feel heavy. I makes my skin feel really smooth and velvety right after application, but since I haven't used it long, I don't know what the long term benefits are like. It is scented, and it can be a little strong, so if you have sensitive skin, this might be irritating. The scent is floral with a hint of rose; it's nice, but it can get to me if it doesn't fade right away, which it seems to (I just really hate how roses smell). This sample with worth about $6.09.
I've come to find that I am a big fan of the brand Too Cool For School (particularly their skin care, but I've like the cosmetic products I've tried as well), so I had to get this Egg Mousse Pack Facial Mask sample! I like the Egg Cream sheet masks from Too Cool For School, and since this is basically the same thing in mousse form, I figured I'd like it, too. Plus, I've never used a foam/mousse mask before, so I'm curious to see if it works better than a sheet or clay mask. The only thing I don't like (at least right now; I have yet to try it) is that this is the least travel-friendly face mask possible; the bottle is bulkier than a sheet mask and it's a pressurized container so it could burst if exposed to heat or is punctured, unlike a clay mask. This sample is half the size of the full size and is worth about $10.
I don't know what I was thinking when I picked this sample. I had my other four and I needed one more and I was trying to maximize my usage value (versus product value) so I wanted to pick something I did not already own and that I was sure to use. I have so many sheet masks that the last thing I need right now is another one, though I know I will get around to using it sooner or later. I'm also not a fan of the brand When; not because I think it's bad, but because I don't know anything about it and it's not one of my go-to mask brands. This is the When Snow Magic brightening sheet mask and it's supposed to help with dull skin and dark spots/discoloration. I have some acne scarring that, while significantly faded, is still noticeable, so I like to try brightening products (as long as they aren't 'whitening', which can be damaging. There's a fine line, and it involves some ingredients that I try to avoid). This is the full sized product and it retails for $7.

Overall, I got five deluxe/full size products that I picked out of a selection of thirteen (like I said, I bought mine right when they were 'restocked', so all the products were still available) for a total value of about $37.66. Which isn't all that good, really, especially since this kit was $25. Normally, you get a lot more value with Sephora Favorites kits, though you don't get to pick the products. I like these customizable kits since you're more likely to get use out of the products because you picked them out yourself, but more often than not, the products that you want/are most valuable sell out quickly and you're left with some options that aren't always your first choice (which then defeats the whole purpose of being able to customize in the first place). I think these kits are worth it, especially if you get to pick from the full selection of products, but be careful with sizes/prices if you're trying to maximize value.

Thanks for reading! <3

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