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Bag of Love ~ July Edition 2013 Asia’s Beloved Gems

Bag of Love’s July Edition was bursting to the brim with Asian beauty and skincare products and saw darling Mini MiMi go all cutesy in Japanese school-girl chic.

MiMi goes all kawaii school-girl chic in this month's bag

MiMi goes all kawaii school-girl chic in this month’s bag

 July’s delightful collection of samples was so plentiful that Mimi couldn’t even fit it all into a monthly Bag of Love cosmetic carrier and had to ship the extra bounty in their separate boxes as an attachment to the main bag.

Wait there's more! Only part of July's loot.

Wait there’s more! Only part of July’s loot.

The July bag was only my second Bag of Love but it was as fun and full of value as the June Edition. I adore receiving skincare and hair products and this month’s samples didn’t disappoint me in their variety or sizes. Unlike many other subscribers, I’m not a big fan of makeup samples as I am usually not blessed by the colour gods when it comes to the luck of the draw.

I find that skin care items are a lot easier to sample as they are not shade-specific.

The low-down on the July Bag.

The low-down on the July Bag.

As part of my quarterly subscription to Bag of Love, I also scored a mini tube of Dr. Murad Sunscreen and two sachets of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Avocado Hand Therapy. I’ve been really wanting to try something from the Dr. Murad brand but have been missing out on all the beauty boxes that were including it. This is my chance and in the land of Eternal Sunshine a sunscreen product will make sense although I have been unbelievably lazy in that respect. My usual idea of sunscreen is to stay indoors and deny the existence of UV.

The free gifts from Bag of Love for my quarterly subscription.

The free gifts from Bag of Love for my quarterly subscription. Finally, a date with Dr. Murad.

Bag of Love was one of the last beauty subscription services to the market here with a debut only in April of this year but it’s quickly garnering a loyal and enthusiastic fan base among local beauty addicts.

I just love Bag of Love’s personable style ala Mi Mi, their choice samples, their generous inclusions of  (full-sized or deluxe-sized) products and their distinctive take on the beauty box. Mi Mi is such a grassroots-type of business woman and really works her heart out to bring something special to her supporters. You can feel the passion in her very heart-felt Facebook posts as is with the direction she is leading her little beauty company. This is one lovely lady who is putting her own unique stamp on the beauty box genre.

Lined up for the August edition, Bag of Love has let leak that it is including a reading book as one of the samples. This is something so innovative and completely unexpected from a beauty box company that it may even be a world first.

I’m a huge bookworm and it seems that many other beauty product-loving bookworms exist out there too because MiMi’s book initiative has been greeted with a storm of applause from her subscriber community on Facebook.

Bag of Love certainly has its pulse on the market and this bold inclusion deserves a huge star. I love this idea!

Further to this, Mi Mi’s passion extends beyond her own business – from August onwards, RM1 from every monthly subscription will go toward a special Bag of Love Charity Fund so that she and her subscribers can bring some cheer to a nominated individual or group cause.  I believe this is also a beauty subscription first and I applaud Bag of Love’s commendable initiative to give back to the community.

Amazing job, Mi Mi! Bag of Love is just getting better and better.

The bag was a pink & lacy number this month.

The bag was a pink & lacy number this month.

I doubt I will ever get over how much I love the darling little bag/ purse that stores each month’s goodies. These little bags of love cheer me up to no end and they’re so practical for keeping odds and ends. This month’s bag was a little pink cloth and lace number. Not my favourite as last month’s design was just too good but a cutesy little darling all the same.

I also die for the sneak peeks each month. It’s like getting to watch a trailer of the next episode of my favorite TV show which in my case is The Walking Dead. What can I say, watching rotting zombies makes me feel so much better about my own skin and beauty issues so yeah, the zombie genre rocks.

In this month’s bag I was over the moon to find a BB Cream sample by Freshel (by Kanebo) in exactly the type I love – Pore Cover.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE BB CREAM! Even more than ice cream which is saying something because I LOVE ice cream too.

Once you discover BB Cream there is no turning back. A good BB Cream can make those skin nasties magically disappear. Apply and glow forth!

Once you discover BB Cream there is no turning back. A good BB Cream can make those skin nasties magically disappear. Apply and glow forth!

I’m a classic kinda girl and what I can’t reveal to the world I like to hide, hide, hide so BB Creams are one of my all-time favourite beauty items for doing this.

Beauty Arsenal #1. Good skin (real or faked) is the best canvas because to quote Francois Nars, Founder of NARS, “If the skin looks beautiful, everything else will look great. Skin is the most important part of makeup” and I can’t argue with this logic.

BB Cream (sometimes known as Blemish or Brightening Balm) is pure ‘ magic in a tube’ and the perfect base primer for lazy beauty people. It is one of those rare multi-purpose beauty items that has changed the world by what it can do to skin. Psst! A good BB cream can really make people think your skin is better than it is. It is the Master of Illusion.

BB Creams are truly heaven-sent for lazy beauty addicts. Its unique pore covering, blemish concealing, brightening properties makes it a handy must-have in any girl’s purse. In Asia we have a mad love of BB and many girls won’t leave home without it.

A good BB should conceal lightly without caking and drying your face and blend those pores right into oblivion, even out dull patches and make you glow in just the right way even if you are pretty amateur (which I am) at applying makeup.

Personally, my favourite brand is by Dr. G but I am open to other brands and we’re all being spoilt for choice with the variety available. I’ll review my favourite BB Cream in a future post so stay tuned.

Seriously, I have no qualms about my polygamous relationships to skin and makeup. In my desire to track down the best in beauty I’ll often multi-date products just because it’s fun and I have a short attention span. Some girls use the one lipstick to the very end, come rain or shine. One shade til death do they part. I, on the other hand, will have around 10-15 running tubes which I rotate and use depending on mood. I have commitment issues to makeup and skin care which is why beauty boxes are so addictive to me. I can speed date.

Anyway, I digress…less of me and more of Bag Of Love July…which is what we’re all here for.

THEFACESHOP's Chia Seed Trial Kit.

THEFACESHOP’s Chia Seed Trial Kit.

Full Trial Set of the Etude House Moistfull Aloe Skincare Kit

Full Trial Set of the Etude House Moistfull Aloe Skincare Kit

The above pictures show the two sample kits from THEFACESHOP and Etude House. They are each deluxe-sized trial sets generously given to July subscribers. Each set is comprised of multiple products in multi-step program of skin care. Both brands are from Korea.

That’s the thing about Bag of Love, rather than split up these sample sets which is what I’ve seen some overseas beauty subscriptions do to save and share products among their subscriber base, Bag of Love amazingly gave each subscriber this month the complete deluxe trial sets from both Etude House and The Face Shop.

Interestingly, I have not received many samples in sachet-sizes from Bag of Love unless they are extra goodies or freebies. Like I said, Bag of Love has been very generous with the sizes of their samples. I appreciate this generosity because it can be difficult to test the full efficacy of products with the very minimal amounts that come in sachets.

Personally, I’m realistic and for the nominal subscription price, I really do not expect full-sized products in beauty boxes but it is always a delight when a beauty box service goes above and beyond to include one and this month’s edition surprised us all with a full bottle of Polka Dot nail varnish.

My wallflower.

My wallflower.

The bad on this was that my particular sample was a dark and uninspiring brown (see how the colour gods vex me?!). I know someone had to get it but I’m a little sad it was me 😦

I love a lot of sparkle on my nails but my polish was sadly both unglittered and a tragically dark poo-colour; the wallflower of the 50-shade collection. Oh well, it might serve well in the tool box as furniture paint. I often use my solid white polish to conceal chips and dents on my white cabinetry. Trying to think outside the box is very refreshing and turning my fail into a win is the best way to thumb disappointment in the face. The other thing I intended to do was try my hand at some nail art and paint some bears but bears on nails are not the easiest motif for an artistically-challenged Shop Girl. To that end, I may have to scratch that intention and stick to the furniture idea.

A snazzy little cleanser despite its humble appearance.

A snazzy little cleanser despite its humble appearance.

Next, we have the Ju Ju Aquamoist Foam Facial Cleanser who turns out to be the little darkhorse in the July bag. Quiet, unassuming and with all the instructions only in Japanese, I did not expect this little guy to be the hidden gem in the bunch. It turns out that this is a stellar cleanser that left my skin squeaky clean and moist at the same time. I have very sensitive skin that reacts very quickly to cleansers but this was fine and performed well beyond expectation. This product was great for my oily/ dry combo skin and the moisturising qualities even reduced flakiness.

With the full-sized version retailing at only RM36.90 this is a solid cleanser that won’t break the bank. The sample in this month’s subscription was deluxe-sized tube and will last me a while yet. Yet another generous inclusion by Bag of Love and MiMi was right – a real Asian Gem.

Now, I’ve read that the L’ Oreal Liss Ultime Smoothing Shampoo has been receiving rave reviews from users who have picked up the sample bottle in various other beauty subscriptions and magazine GWP promotions. This is a sample that’s been around the block and back, hence the volume of online feedback when you Google.

L'Oreal Liss Ultime Shampoo

L’Oreal Liss Ultime Shampoo

I’m inclined to rock the opinion boat on this sample because I’m quite sure that it doesn’t compare to the shampoo sample in last month’s Bag of Love. The Clairol Radiance shampoo in June’s bag is really one of the better shampoos I’ve come across and the L’ Oreal Liss Ultime doesn’t come close in terms of smoothing properties. I know because after a good lather of it last night I am quite the fuzz ball today. I deliberately skipped the conditioner when I used each of these shampoos to test their qualities in the absence of other variables.

Clairol’s Radiance wins hands down for its ability to tame my wild tresses.

Before I conclude, can I also mention again how much I love the Mini MiMi character?

Please, please, Bag of Love – make her into an adorable plush.

Bag of Love

All subscription prices include Free Shipping & Handling to Peninsular Malaysia. Add RM6 for East Malaysian orders.

A monthly subscription is RM39.90.

A quarterly subscription is RM119.70 (3mths + Free Gift)

An annual subscription is RM478.80 (12mths + 1mth Free)

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