Unfortunately as of October 5, 2015 Dowaja is no longer open for business.
My first ever subscription box unboxing.
And it should be, because it took a bit of effort to get my hands on this subscription.
Why? Because it’s Glossybox from Korea.
The team behind Dowaja shopping service was responsible for getting the September edition of Korean Glossybox to me, and they did a stellar job. When I first heard about Dowaja, which is an English speaking buying and forwarding service based in Korea, I immediately saw it as an opportunity to get my hands on a Korean beauty subscription box.
After reading about other people’s experiences with Dowaja, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. To be honest, my first impressions were not exactly all that positive.
The popular kids on the block (or the blog) were getting replies to their emails and their deliveries in record time. And me? Well… Let’s just say I was a very unhappy camper at first. But I am very pleased to say that after my initial dissatisfaction, Dowaja fixed what needed fixing and my experience with them turned out to be as awesome as everyone said it would be. I can’t recommend them enough.
(And no, this is not an affiliate link, I just think they are doing a fabulous job).
They ordered the box for me, they checked the contents of the box when it arrived at their office, they notified me that one item was an aerosol can and therefore impossible to ship to me by air.
They suggested options on how to solve this problem. They offered deluxe samples as a replacement for the pressurized product. They read my mind and picked the best deluxe samples ever.
I've used the peeling gel before and it's da bomb! Dowaja clearly used their psychic powers to pick this set for me.
They offered me different shipping options, they securely packaged my Glossybox and mailed it out in record time. And it finally arrived yesterday.
And oh yeah, did I mention that Dowaja does it all in English?
Yes folks, in English.
Dowaja also provided me with a link to the contents of the box, but I chose not to look at it. I wanted to be surprised. However, I did stumble upon an unboxing somewhere deep in the bowels of them innertubes by total accident. But that only made me even more curious, because people, crocodile oil.
This is what was in the box (minus that one pressurized item, which was a shampoo), a nicely curated mix of western and Korean products.
Clearly, some careful thought went into the selection. It wasn’t the slapdash, "stick any odd cheap crap in there" subscription box that I so often see on western blogs.
Because you can specify your skin type when you sign up for the box, it looks like what I got was the dry skin version. Of course the item that I was curious about the most was Codilus. Because, crocodile oil, folks, crocodile oil.
Apparently, snails, donkey milk and sea horse farts based skincare is for amateurs. Crocodile is where it’s at now. And apparently crocodile oil skincare is a real thing, too. I vaguely remember something about croc oil way back when, when I was in South Africa. But it was firmly in the witchdoctor kind of remedies category.
And though unlike sea horses and starfish, croc oil skincare actually has a very fancy pedigree (all the way from the pharaohs apparently), the opinions on whether it works or not are divided.
In this Ph.D. thesis (by the way, so poorly written that it reads like a 5th grader's science homework assignment), the author claims that croc oil is indeed nothing else than ineffective folk medicine - scroll down to page 108 for the conclusions chapter.
These folks however, from University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, with fancy degrees already under their belts, claim otherwise - that crocodile oil is good for the skin.
Crocodile oil has been used by traditional practitioners world-wide to treat microbial infections and inflammatory conditions. However, the scientific rationale behind its use is not completely understood. This study provides an updated fatty acid profile and novel scientific evidence of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of crocodile oil, obtained from the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), justifying its use by traditional healers.
These guys from Xiamen University in China also say that their results show that croc oil does have skin healing properties. This is also the same study that Codilus references on their home page - link here.
Ugh, my head is about to explode.
And by the way, did you know that snake oil is also a real thing? Apparently.
I'm wondering when a brave Korean skincare company decides to release a snake oil cream. This should be interesting...
Anyway, back to the September edition of Korea's Glossybox.
As it's customary with subscription boxes, we have a set of info cards:
Yes, you're seeing it right. That's Kamill hand cream in there, all the way from Germany.
Refinery 29 claims that Kamill hand cream is really popular in Korea. Hmmm... curious that the Refinery's story comes out that same month as this box containing Kamill.
By the way, Ziaja, a Polish brand that Poles are always so fond of claiming how popular and exclusive it is in Korea, didn't make the list. Let's see if it will show up in any of my upcoming boxes.
So, in all I got 4 products:
- Suiskin Enzyme Powder Wash (CMS Lab) 100ml
- Codilus Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ 60ml
- Dr.G Bio-RTx™ Mentor Cream 5 for dry skin 20ml
- Kamill Hand and Nagelcreme Q10 20ml
The cost was around US$15 (or $16, don't remember exactly, but it was very affordable) plus Dowaja's 10% service charge plus about 5 bucks air shipping (no tracking number).
All in all, I am quite satisfied with the contents.
I am familiar with Dr.G Bio-RTx™ Mentor Cream 5 and while it's a perfectly serviceable product, my dry skin prefers other options. It feels very plastic and at least for me, it did not provide my skin with enough moisture, even for day use. At night time I need industrial strength moisture, so this cream was strictly for day use. And despite its "for dry skin" tagline, it's definitely meant for skin that is less dry than mine.
Update: This cream broke me out.
Dr.G Bio-RTx™ Mentor Cream 5 ingredients along with the analysis are here - link.
Suiskin Enzyme Powder Wash is new to me, though I've heard of the brand.
Suiskin website is here and here is the intro to the brand as presented by Hope in a Blog.
The powder is actually very finely granulated:
It dissolves completely, but I wasn't able to get it to foam, no matter how hard I tried.
Getting an accurate pH reading was tough. I wasn't able to do it.
All I could determine was that the powder is indeed in a low-pH cleanser category.
Suiskin Enzyme Powder Wash ingredients:
As you can see, it contains Papain, so people sensitive to papaya extracts should not use it.
By the way, the ingredients for this wash on cosDNA website do not match up with the label. I'm going to trust the label.
And finally, the product I was really curious about it.
Codilus Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ Crocodile Oil and Water Drop
As a sunblock fanatic, I was excited to see a new (to me) sunblock in the box. As a very picky sunblock fanatic, I was disappointed to see a sunblock I knew nothing about.
All the info on the box and the brand's website is in Korean. I asked Joan from nonsonoquitter to help me decipher what was going on.
She determined that the croc used is of the Australian variety, and that this sunblock doesn't seem to be waterproof.
I'm really funny when it comes to animal ingredients in my skincare. I refuse to use snail slime, because I sympathize with the poor snails that are forced to produce to meet the global slime demands.
I am reluctant to use horse oil skincare, because c'mon, horses!
Emu oil? Hell no!!!
But crocodiles? No such reservations.
Crocodile oil? I'm all yours.
Heck, give me proper hunting gear and I'll go get me my croc oil myself.
And with that in mind I unsealed the tube and patch tested on my arm. Yeah, crocodile oil is similar in composition to human skin and shouldn't cause any allergic reactions, but better to be safe than sorry.
The first thing that hit me was the smell. Of alcohol. This was definitely Biore UV Aqua sunscreen level of ethanol.
Then, the texture.
They weren't kidding when they said oil and water drop.
This is exactly what it was.
Again, I see certain similarities to Biore sunscreens.
Codilus Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ seemed very oily at first. Seemed, because at the same time, it wasn't.
Just like Biore, it absorbed to lovely nothing leaving zero stickiness, zero white cast, and zero filmy residue.
But unlike Biore, it was deliciously moisturizing.
It was lighter than Anessa (Shiseido) and Allie (Kanebo) sunscreens. It reminded me of Astablanc (Kose) daily protector. It felt like a moisturizing cream masquerading as sunscreen.
Today it was sunny, so I bravely slathered it onto my face. Despite the high alcohol content, it gave me no adverse reaction. For research purposes, I topped it off with foundation and it worked great under makeup.
Honestly, this looks to be a very decent sunscreen suitable for dry skin (if you don't mind the fact that it contains ethanol).
Through brute force, and with the help of several different websites (including All of Cosmetics, HwaHae app, the amazing ingredient data with names in both Korean and English courtesy of Sidmool, and this list) I translated the ingredients and entered them into cosDNA.
Codilus Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ ingredients and analysis are here - link to CosDNA.
Because apparently CosDNA doesn't have crocodile oil in its database, despite it having a valid INCI name, the oil dropped to the bottom of the list.
On the package it's listed right after xanthan gum, for what it's worth.
I'm kinda curious about that Codilus Saleoleum Balm (which is already available on ebay and Gmarket) now. And the mysterious Codilus Magma Cream which won an award at the K-Beauty Expo last month - link here, but can't be found anywhere on line.
And that's it for my first Korean Glossybox.
Looking forward to the October edition!