I first became addicted to Korean beauty—or K-beauty, as it’s often referred to—when a friend introduced me to a handful of stores in New York’s Chinatown neighborhood that almost exclusively Korean products. I was obsessed with the thrill of $1.99 sheet masks that promised to fix every type of ailment, and found the cute, kitschy packaging hard to resist. If you shop at Urban Outfitters, you’ve probably seen one of my all-time favorite brands, Tony Moly (which has recently expanded with its own stores in New York) that’s known for selling face mists shaped like bunnies and skin care packaged as pieces of fruit.
If you haven’t had a chance to play with K-beauty products yet, I suggest you check out Beauteque, an e-tailer that offers two different kinds of subscription services, both of which include individual products from top brands, including Tony Moly, Etude House, Holika Holika, and Nature Republic. Think of it as the Korean version of Birchbox but with makeup and skin care you’ve probably never tried (if you’re an adventurous beauty lover, that’s a beautiful thing).
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of beauty subscription services. I don’t love the idea of paying a set amount of money to get things in the mail that I’ve seen elsewhere or don’t really see myself using, but I’m all about discovering new products and brands in the beauty world–especially if they aren’t sold at Sephora or CVS. Which is why I think what Beauteque is doing is pretty genius: The world needs easier ways to discover under-the-radar products at prices women can afford.
The first subscription option—dubbed the BB Bag—offers six to eight full-sized products ranging from hair and skin care to makeup and beauty tools. It costs $24 per month, which is hard to beat considering select products included can run you upwards of $12 each, plus the box guarantees you’ll receive products valued between $65 and $85. In my delivery, I received a rose-gold eyeshadow stick, the aforementioned bunny face mist, a floral lip scrub, a pair of tweezers, a pore toner, and two snail creams—a hallmark of Korean skin care that’s actual snail slime laced with good stuff like hyaluronic acid, enzymes, antimicrobials, and copper peptides (and yes, they’re packaged in tiny plastic snail cases!).
But the second subscription option is by far my favorite: the Mask Maven, which comes with nine to 11 various masks in every kind of formulation you could ever imagine. There are foot masks, sheet masks, eye masks, peel-off masks, hand masks, the works. At $15 a month, it’s a no-brainer for mask aficionados, who enjoy using one every night. I’m still in the process of trying out every mask, but so far the juicy green tea sheet mask and the marine mud and seaweed mask are two of my favorites. If you’re interested in testing out the service, head to Beauteque now. Rather shop individual products? Check out a few of my absolute favorites, above.