This is the annual New Year mystery boxes modeled after the fukubukuro tradition from the online retailer Beautylish. The purchasing options have changed since my previous post on this topic. In 2017, they introduced the XL bags which are $165 (shipping included) for $350+ of products. The price of the regular bags are the same $82 (including shipping) for $150+ of products, however they’ve added two complexion choices: Fair-Medium and Dark-Deep. Customers have been asking for this change for years since products like bronzers, contour powders, blushes, and even lipstick shades can be unflattering depending on the skin tone. Beautylish does not put foundations or concealers in the bags, so if properly executed it could increase the likelihood of getting usable products.
How do you get one?
The 2018 Lucky Bags are no longer available but the 2019 notification list can be found here.
On December 23rd, Beautylish sent an email explaining that customers who spent $1,000+ in 2017 would get priority access on December 26th 9am PST. Everyone else who signed up for early access would get the sale page link on that same day at 11am PST and everyone else could order at 3pm PST.
What actually happened was that early access began at 10:00 am instead of 11:00 am. I clicked my email link at 10:04 and saw that no XL bags were available, so I think those bags sold out during the priority access time slot.
I remembered that in my earliest experiences with Beautylish I had a beauty rep, so I decided to reach out to them and was informed that the XL bags would be restocked in limited quantities at the original early access start time (11 PST). The restock sold out just as quickly, so huge thanks to the Beautylish customer service team! I would not have been able to get the XL bag otherwise.
Regular bags were delivered to those closest to Beautylish (San Francisco) on January 11th so there were already posts popping up on IG, Twitter, and Youtube but none of the XL bags shipped until the next day. My package was delayed due to weather conditions and arrived January 19th.
What did you get?
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Mask – $12, if priced individually.
I’ve looked at hundreds of photos of unboxed lucky bags via #luckybag2018 and #beautylishluckybag2018 on Instagram and 90% of the regular and XL bags I saw contained 1 of 2 possible Sulwhasoo masks.
Wayne Goss #19 Precision Blending Brush – $23.
This brush has been on my wishlist for months! Funny thing is that now that I have it, I realized I’ve had an identical brush all along: the Hakuhodo J146.
Oribe Travel Essentials Collection– $98 ($124 if each item was purchased individually).
This set contains the travel size Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, travel sized Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner, the Rollerball Perfume, and the full size Balmessence Lip Treatment. The balm was another thing I wanted to try but not for full price, especially since I’ve learned how to make them myself. In fact, the texture is very similar to the first one I ever made. Mine contains yellow beeswax so it’s the slightly yellow one on the left and the Oribe balm is on the right.
I’ve had the chance to test the balm over the past 24 hours and I can say it has a hard wax-like texture that takes a little warming up with the finger to become usable. It feels like a lightweight and less greasy version of Vaseline. It doesn’t have much of a smell, which is fine by me. It creates a thin moisturizing barrier that I can feel when I touch my lips but I wouldn’t call it tacky/sticky. It helped soothe my dry lips but it has an average wear time. I wouldn’t spend $35 on it when my less expensive jar of Nuxe Reve de Miel works better. I intend to try the shampoo and conditioner at a later date and I’ll give the dry shampoo and perfume to a friend. For anyone who wants to try a set like this but not spend $100, just know that there’s an Oribe Gold Lust Set from Birchbox that’s $55 and contains the same size shampoo, conditioner, and lip balm. It doesn’t have the perfume or dry shampoo but it does have the Gold Lust Transformative Masque instead. *The links in this blog post are not affiliate links and not sponsored.
Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray – $29.
I haven’t tried this yet but I’m looking forward to comparing it to the Urban Decay All Nighter. Since Skindinavia produces both products, I’d love to see for myself if there’s a noticeable difference between the two.
Jouer Skinny Dip Lip Topper – St. Tropez $16.
This looks really pretty in the tube but I’m not going to swatch it. I’ll be giving it to a friend. I like shiny lips but not shimmer/glitter on myself.
Bioderma Cleanser – $6.90.
I’m keeping it in the bubble wrap because I’ll be giving it to a friend as well. I love bioderma, and they sent me the version that I can actually use, but I already have the full size.
Natasha Denona 28 Pan Eyeshadow Palette – Purple Blue $239.
This was the last item I pulled out of my box and I was ecstatic! I had an NP 5 Pan Palette in the past but I gave it up (which I regretted shortly after) because I barely used it. I’m so happy to have ND eyeshadows again! I’d forgotten how smooth the metallic shades were and the color selection of this palette is amazing! For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with different formulas/color combinations for making my own pressed eyeshadows. The purples and blues in this palette are exactly what I’ve been trying to create for myself because so few palettes have the colors I want!
Creating my own eyeshadows has given me a bigger appreciation for the work that goes into a palette like this. Purples truly are a pain to get right, so seeing completed purples that work this well is #goals!
I’ll do a swatch post in a few months (I’m being realistic with my posting schedule, haha) and an updated review, but swatching these reminded me how much the metallics are above reproach but some of the pearls and mattes are problematic.
Actual Retail Value – $423.90
Actual Savings – $258.90
Practical Savings (price of items I like minus what I paid) – $161
Even without the monetary aspect, I feel like my bag was a winner! I technically didn’t get anything that I already own. As far as I know, none of the items in my bag have been heavily discounted at other retailers, unlike the ABH, Becca, Kevyn Aucoin, By Terry products that were among the most common items in the boxes. I didn’t get anything complexion based, which was a fear of mine, and I also didn’t get products from controversial brands. That seems pretty lucky to me!
I did notice several changes between this year and past boxes. There were more skincare products this time. There were also more duplicates. About 10% of the boxes I saw didn’t come with an eyeshadow palette, which was quite shocking to see since so many of us expected that to be a guarantee. There were quite a number of items from last year that popped up again this year. Every XL bag last year had one of the ND 28 palettes so most customers were expecting a different large eyeshadow palette as the “big ticket item.”
With the deep-dark boxes, I was shocked to see so many Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks. Yes, it was in a flattering orange color and JS did apologize for his past racist remarks, but that doesn’t mean everyone has forgiven him and to have so many JS products in the deep-dark regular boxes was hugely disappointing to quite a few people. I was also surprised to see the By Terry Sun Designer Palettes and Charlotte Tilbury Face in a Look palettes which are advertised as being able to work for a wide range of skin tones but come now… how do you sculpt with a powder that’s lighter than your skin tone or smoke with a shade that is practically invisible?
Whether a bag is “good” or “bad” is subjective, but I saw a deep-dark bag that had a natasha denona body glow in medium. It’s the equivalent of giving someone with chronically dry lips a very drying ultra matte liquid lipstick. Anyone can literally put any makeup product on but it doesn’t mean it will look good.
I still think Beautylish’s lucky bags are by far the best mystery boxes on the US market (XL bags only ship to the US but regular bags are open internationally). However, I think I’ll continue the pattern of purchasing a bag every other year. 2020, here I come!
Thanks for reading.
– Lili ❤