24 days of Korean Skincare – Miin Beauty Advent Calendar

*Disclaimer* This product was gifted to me by a distributor but not directly by the brand. I have not been asked or paid to write this review and all opinions are my own.

Beauty advent calendars have taken us by storm over the past few years! They give you some additional treats than a little chocolate each day and are such an exciting way to lead up to Christmas! This year I knew I wanted one, I just wasn’t sure what to get! I have tonnes of make-up products and then when I saw the Miin advent calendar I knew I’d found the perfect thing to try! The only tough part is not opening it beforehand, but that’s where this review comes in…

Welcome to Seoul – This year Miin have curated some exclusive skincare products from one of the worlds most renowned countries for Skincare. Their cherry blossom pink box boasts 24 drawers filled with some of Korea’s best kept secrets in skincare.

“Every K-Beauty lover or Korean skincare enthusiast dreams of shopping in Seoul and finding the absolute perfect products. This year, your dream will finally come true! Thanks to our 2020 Advent Calendar, you’ll feel like you’re walking through the neon-lit streets of Seoul, finding amazing products that will make your skin glow every single day.” – Miin website

Now for those of you who want to keep their advent calendar a complete surprise I would stop reading now! Frankly I don’t think I can give this box an honest review with its £90 price tag without delving deeper into the products. I guess the short version is if you’re interested in discovering Korean Skincare, don’t mind a few tester products thrown in with full-size as well as products containing animal by-products then go for it, the packaging is beautiful, completely reusable and it’s a great way to discover some new brands, however if you’re flagged by any of the keywords above I’d continue reading for more information.

What’s in the box?

1 – orange sherbert cleanser 2– pirem moisture cleansing foam 3 – blithe patting splash mist 4 – the skin lounge face mask 5– benton fermentation essence 6 – urang yellow glow oil serum 7– village factory eye cream 8 – Rose mary scalp pack 9– urang cerimide cream 10 – hand mask 11– g9 skin milk whipping foam 12 – spf 13-rose toner 14-pirem 12 ingredient cream 15– mizon eye cream 16– urang natural cleansing oil 17 – body oil cream village factory 18– urang blue brightning oil 19– snail cream 20– benton cleansing foam 21– konjac sponge 22-benton snail serum 23-neck mask 24 – shangpree capsules

So where do I even start? Face & eye creams, body treatments and masks galore. Serums, toners, cleansers and even hair products thrown in, there really is everything you need to take your skincare game from zero to hero! There are multiple products from the same brands and the same products from different brands, all of them are some of Koreas most renowned Skincare brands so it really is a great way to discover things that work for you.

An absolute standout from my first impression is the Konjac sponge – I LOVE Konjac sponges and honestly was SO EXCITED to open a drawer and see this! It’s a great way to naturally cleanse regardless of whether you add a cleanser to it or not. It is made of all natural Konjac plant fibers and I have been using these for years after seeing a Korean beauty Youtuber rave about them in 2015. I know this works, and I know not many people know about them or have tried them and even though this may not seem like the most exciting gift in the box I know this works and it works well, so this gives me confidence in the products in this calendar.

  • Variety of products and a great way to discover new brands , multiple of some products allows you to discover ranges but theres not too many so you still feel like you’re getting variety
  • Ranges of products really give you chance to discover what brand works for you. This is purely a skincare box and marketed as that, so if you open your 4th cleanser and think ‘oh another cleanser’ don’t. Think theres 4 chances for you to see which works for you. The max of one product is 4 anyway and I do believe there is enough variety here.
  • So let’s get the first obvious thing out of the way, a lot of these products boast being vegan and cruelty free. There are 3 snail creams which – as much as I have heard about the miracles of this product – it is controversial for someone who only buys cruelty free products. As this was gifted to me without me knowing its contents I was unaware of this and won’t personally be using these three products, I am not a fan of waste though, I will be donating these to my mother and letting her use them and then showing her alternatives for future. I personally would rather not waste them and educate people in future than let it go to waste.
  • I don’t know any other advent calendars that do actual testers rather than mini sizes. I’m going to be honest there are about 4-5 products that are so small they’re disappointing in size. Maybe they’re expensive products where a little goes a long way, however the yellow Ulang glow serum I did test and a drop from the pipette did not spread very far. Frankly even if they are expensive products so they give you testers to reel you in I don’t think they’re playing to the right audience with this.

The price

Realistically this should be about £60 in my opinion, the retail value of the contents is advertised at £164 and being sold in the reusable box for £90. I buy A LOT of beauty boxes and even splurged on a second advent calendar this year and usually I will spend about £30-40 for contents of £150-£200+ So just in terms of cost I believe you should get double what you pay. Looking at the sample products (not even mini versions) is quite dissappointing but when you do get a full sized product it’s so exciting. I think some of this may be down to import fees and UK regulations of bringing in Skincare products to the UK from Korea so I do take that into consideration. I think if you’re a K-beauty fanatic, want to test out one of the best skincare counties hidden secrets and don’t want to dedicate to just one brand before you know then this is a good buy, I do just think it’s overpriced though.

The products

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, i’m impressed with the variety in this box, it markets itself as purely skincare and you get the authentic Korean vibe of skincare with delicate products that are not overpowering in acids, perfumes and more. I’ve mentioned that some of the sizes of the products are smaller than i’d prefer but overall I’m really excited to try some brand new products that I’ve not had chance to try before. Obviously the snail creams take 3 items out of this box for me which is a shame, but it’s easy to see why they’re included in the first place, hopefully with laws changing in Asia about animal testing on cosmetics they may look towards finding synthetic versions of these kinds of products for future however for now it’s hard to argue with their perception of it as it’s so widely accepted in their culture, even if it’s something I personally disagree with.

The packaging

I am honestly in love with this packaging, everything about it screams delicate, blossoming skincare. The simplicity in the illustrations is beautiful and the Korean accents feel incredibly authentic. It is completely reusable and not specifically ‘Christmassy’ so can be used at all times of the year. I will be using it as a makeup storage way after Christmas 2020. My other beauty advent calendar is a flipbook made of flimsy cardboard and filled with plastic. Sure you get the excitement of opening doors and peeling back the foil in that authentic advent tradition but it’s completely disposable. I really can’t say enough good things about how this box is curated and designed.

So there it is, my first impression of the Miin Welcome to Seoul Skincare advent calendar! Ill be opening my beauty advent calendars daily over on my instagram @ohsoviki so make sure you head over there for more in-depth openings of each product. In the meantime let me know in the comment section if you have a special advent calendar this year?

Spa day at home – Lockdown edition

The perfect Sunday? During Lockdown? You don’t think it exists?

Well i’m here to tell you different. You don’t need public spas, expensive treatments or professional beauticians to get that spa feeling at home. Relax, unwind and take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally all in the comfort of your own home.

Everything you could ever need!

After a long day of workouts, organising and prepping for the week I decided to make sure I had everything I was going to need for tonight. From skincare, to entertainment and even fresh bedding and pyjamas. The ultimate relaxing night. I set the tone with candles and salt lamps throughout I also sprayed Energising room mist throughout from my ‘Time to take 15’ kit and picked an ambient chilled cow playlist on Spotify.

Cleanse time

I’m really not a bath person. I don’t think anything can replace a Jacuzzi and sauna at home, but I thought i’d give it a go as I had a Lush Butterbear bathbomb so filled my bathroom with candles, music and bubbles.

I had two treatments scheduled first – hair and face.

Hask hair mask / #6 anti-ageing gold facemask / DermaV10 Sea Algae foot pack

HASK Hair Mask – Used after a normal wash, this hair mask stays on for 10 minutes. It’s a charcoal base but doesn’t seem drying, it’s incredibly thick, too heavy for ends so I tried to keep my ends up on my scalp as that’s the area I need to concentrate on most. I expected a normal conditioned feeling but it leaves hair surprisingly super soft and for something that doesn’t boast an overpowering fragrances it smells so fresh and clean, there’s definitely more than 1 use in packet which is a nice surprise as it recommends 1-2 times per week use.

#6 Gold Facemask – Now when the poundshop released their anti-ageing #6 range for just £1 per item everybody scoffed! Frankly I have no idea about the long term benefits of this range and won’t be replacing my everyday products with it but overall their products aren’t bad at all! I have used their eye-cream a lot and decided to branch out to a few other products and this mask has not disappointed at all! I have never had such a thick mask, in fact it starts setting as soon as its on, to the point where it’s tough to even spread as it is so thick. Vegan, cruelty free and just £1 it leaves your skin feeling super soft and you do get that luxurious ‘golden’ glow and a feel of using a high end product. ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover has NEVER been more correct’

Time to exfoliate! There’s nothing worse than getting out of a bath and feeling the residue on you! I opted to shower off after and use a set of exfoliating gloves and body polish. It’s a really good cleanse to get everything off and it’s the perfect precursor to optimal fake tan application!

UNWIND

Salt lamps, candles and fairylights galore!

Afterwards, I sprayed more room mist (I either got used to it or it dispersed too quickly) and used my aroma diffuser with tea-tree to subtly keep adding to the room. There’s something really relaxing about the soft glow of colour and mist.

After my deep exfoliation my skin felt clean and fresh. But I could tell it needed to replenish its nourishment. So I used the energise body moisturiser and focused on massaging it into my skin rather than just rubbing some in quickly. Massaging promotes blood circulation and pushes the cream deeper into the skin to get it to work better and have lasting effects. Admittedly something far more relaxing when someone else is giving you this treatment but works just as well yourself.

Foot masks have been gaining popularity recently. I have to admit I was a foot mask virgin before this and had no idea what to expect. This vegan and cruelty free mask by DermaV10 was a mere £1, perfect if I didn’t enjoy it or was on a budget. At first I will admit it was not easy to understand, they had some illustrations rather than text on directions and it was confusing but I got there eventually. I’m not a fan of them being single use but oh my god its a treat – I would love to see a more eco-friendly version of these and if you know any please let me know! I purposely didn’t pick a peeling one as my feet are soft and I am on them a lot so opted for a moisturising Aloe vera one. It was cold and felt like sticking your feet in jelly at first but I loved it once I got used to it! I didn’t want to take it off!

Manicure time!

My friend bobby managed to snag me a few beauty goodies from a shoot recently, we have a tradition of buying bubble tea everytime we have a night shift and I always pick his flavours and he says I know him so well, he picked this colour for me and said ‘I wonder how well I know you’ It’s a deep coral in the shade Birthday Babe Diamonds from Nails inc and he clearly knows me so well! This is totally my colour and I love that one layer is enough and lasts a long time. I would love to use this on long false nails with a glitter gradient of gold!

Facial

Eyes are one of the first places to show signs of ageing and in my opinion it’s never too early to start paying attention to that area! In fact there are times i’m too tired, drunk or lazy to fully do my skincare regime but no matter what circumstance I always make time to at least cleanse and put on an eye serum and moisturiser. I started out with Nip and Fab Dragon’s fix eye serum, You want to work serums in first before eye creams as creams are heavier and create a barrier so serums won’t absorb as well. Next I grabbed my current eye moisturiser and used Opatra’s dermi-eye to rub it in, the gentle vibrations make blood flow to the area, it works the moisturiser deeper into the skin and overall makes your product go further, a great handy device for only £24.99

I used The Ordinary Niacinamide which evens skin texture and helps with clogged pores followed by The Ordinary Retinol. I just found out that as The Ordinary Retinol uses a pipette and pipettes oxygenate Retinol giving it a lesser shelf-life and far less efficiency so if you have any recommendations for a Retinol I can move to let me know! Finally I used Revolutions ‘stressed’ night time moisturiser. My skin isn’t stressed at the moment but I wanted a lightweight moisturiser as I’d used a lot of products tonight and this one is perfect.

The add-ons

I didn’t want anything heavy to eat or drink, I was tempted for a nice glass of rosé but opted for water over wine and a pineapple and blueberry snackpack for a thorough detox. All accompanied by Holidate on Netflix and then His Dark Materials on BBC. Holidate is a feel-good comedy that’s a Christmas movie without being a Christmas movie, I thoroughly recommend! His Dark Materials kept me at bay for the entire first season as I remember wanting to walk out of the film version at the cinema, hands down one of the worst films I’ve ever seen but I finally decided to give the series a go and it’s amazing!

Time to drift off

Girl, wash your face – Rachel Hollis.

Turn off all electronics. Read a book and get a well rested night. You may struggle if you’re used to falling asleep staring at your phone, fall asleep with instrumentals or podcasts instead and no blue lights, your body will thank you in the morning! I have started reading ‘girl wash your face’ by Rachel Hollis. I find that in Summer I read fiction and in Winter I read motivational books, like last years staple was ‘The subtle art of not giving a f**k’.

I used my Happy Place sleep balm and pillow mist and was recommended sleepy moisturiser from Lush, with subtle Lavender scents all of the reviews say it’s genuinely tough to stay awake after it and is thoroughly relaxing. I grabbed my eye mask and dozed off listening to Potterless – A comical first reaction to Harry Potter from the view of a 25 year old podcaster.

And there you have it! My perfect way to have a lockdown spa night! I will definitely be making more time for this type of night in my life, don’t get me wrong I cannot wait for a relaxing spa day with my mum once this all blows over, but taking time for you, paying attention to your body and minds needs should be far more regular.

Do you have spa nights at home?

What is your favourite part of your routine?

Let me know in the comments below.

Time to take 15 – Cruelty free & vegan Christmas gift review

Fearne Cottons very recognisable ‘happy place’ brand is all about the ultimate relaxation at home and for your day-to-day life. Each year she releases a select line for some wonderful Christmas present ideas and also a nice treat for yourself.

This year she has released a ‘time to take 15’ gift set which features 2 key products from her three ranges and 2 ‘items’ all neatly packaged in a beautiful reusable tin with her signature artwork.

The first thing I noted when opening it is the overwhelming scent. For me it’s a bit too much and would give me a headache – like the way a brand new car air freshener does if you don’t let it breathe first – but I think that’s down to it being tightly packaged, at least it shows the products have a high concentration to them! It’s beautifully presented overall though and even though you know what you’re getting inside there’s still a childish element of surprise digging through the packaging to find your treats!

Time to take 15 initial impressions and Christmas giftability

Packaging Love this! It really stands out on the shelf and is incredibly brand conscious. You can tell what you’re buying into just by looking at the presentation and design.

There is an emphasis on eco-friendly packaging, a good percentage is made from recycled materials but it is not clear if they, in turn, can be recycled, glass bottles would be better and frankly for the £45 rrp you wouldn’t expect it to raise costs. Potentially the plastic packaging inside is to keep it safer in transit.

Contents and products Really varied and a great way to trial new things I wouldn’t usually have like pillow mist and a dry body oil. Products are definitely high quality and the silk eye mask feels so luxurious. I was personally worried the calm bar was bath salts as not everyone has a bath and as much as everyone thinks baths are calming they just aren’t for me. I think the bar is a lot more universally friendly.

The product descriptions are incredibly vague and don’t really showcase the power of the products, luckily I know how to get the best use of them but a little leaflet inside with a bit more of a description for anyone who would like it wouldn’t go amiss.

The Lifestyle This bundle’s best seller is that it really does try to make self care easy, it’s marketed on a 15 minute ‘take 15’ which puts you first. There’s so many products in here to round off your whole day in a relaxing way, so many people light candles and put on a moisturiser before bed and that’s a quick, daily relax, but there’s so much more to it than that, and your body deserves this time off.

All products from this brand are Cruelty free and Vegan so there’s no nasties and you know you can truly take 15 with no worries.

CALM SLEEP ENERGISE

The Ranges…

Calm – Jasmine and Vanilla scents in a body oil and cleansing bar. These are the least powerful fragrances in the set which truly allows you to relax and calm down without getting distracted. The cleansing bar is a great way to introduce a zero-waste cleanser into your routine and a dry body oil sounds like a juxtaposition so wouldn’t be something i’d ever pick up just off the shelf, one of the reasons I love these bundles as it lets you trial new products.

Sleep – Lavendar and Chamomile scents in a multi-balm and pillow mist. Lavendar is everyones go-to product to induce sleep. Personally it is not a favourite fragrance of mine but it undoubtably does make you drift off which is the entire purpose of this range. It is not an overpowering scent so lulls you to sleep and is a good inbetween for someone like me who doesn’t like Lavendar but wants the benefits of it. The pillow mist definitely needs to be used from a distance and a little goes a long way, personally I won’t be using it on the pillow I put my face on as I’m very picky with what touches my face but putting it on the pillow next to me may have the same benefits. The multi-balm is genious and everyone needs one of these in their handbag or bedside table.

Energise – Lemon and Bergamot scents in a body butter and room mist. These are some of my favourite scents, I love citrus and I know I pick up anything with bergamot listed for my mum! These however smell quite like Christmas spices. It’s definitely not what I expected from the range. I do love the scent but it really dates them and I would only use them this season rather than into summer. If I were to get this as a gift I’d use the body butter straight away and the room mist would last so long it would probably see me into next Christmas as I’d choose something more fresh over summer, the life on the product would allow this though so theres no worries there!

Overall I’m so impressed with this! I would love it for myself and could see it being incredibly giftable this season, I know my mum would love it!

Have you tried the Fearne Cotton Happy Place Range?

What would you pick up first from this kit?

Keep an eye out for more Christmas gift posts on their way including my most anticipated post of the year – my local gift guide to support independent creators!

THE FACTS – Fearne Cottons range is available online and in-store. I purchased this at Boots RRP is £45 currently on offer for £22. Boots also offer student discount which would bring this to £19.80. 6 beauty products, 2 useful products and a lovely packaging that you can reuse for under £20, that’s a steal in my book!