[ disclosure: products received complementary for an unboxing blog post ]
Several weeks ago, I was contacted by a new K-Beauty online shop called Althea. I follow them on Instagram but they never shipped globally until now, which is very timely, as I wrote about how Memebox USA is going to only sell their own in-house brands starting in May (click here to read) and I had been very envious of the BOXES that Althea offered to their original markets in Asian countries. You know ~ they type of Boxes that Memebox used to do but gave up for some reason. Right now, the boxes are very limited for the USA site, but I hope they do more, as I have been looking for those Memebox-type of boxes for a long time. Althea generously offered me the option to pick out some items on their website and to share my experience with my readers.
Althea offers a huge variety of products and brands at really reasonable prices, ranging from Swanicoco, Innisfree, belif, Dr Jart+,Sulwhasoo, IOPE, The Saem, among others. They do not have full lines of products within the brands, but it is a nice start ~ perhaps they are looking to see what sells before committing to more products from that brand. When you first go to their site, you will be directed to the “Country Tunnel” page, where you select either Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, US or the “Rest of the World” and they do ship to 235 countries. Newly registered customers will received $20.00 off their first purchase and they do have a reward system, where you earn points to use as “cash” when you shop with them. They have free shipping for orders $50.00 USD or more and they offer both regular shipping and EMS. Shipping times: EMS is 3-7 working days whereas regular shipping for USA is 10-15 working days and Registered Airmail (rest of the world) 10-35 days. Althea also have a 30 day unconditional refund policy and while you have to pay for the initial postage fee upfront, Althea will reimburse you up to $10.00 of your return shipping cost.
Their website is a bit slow ~ I am not sure if it is because they are still trying to handle more customers now that they have opened up their store globally or just a bad user interface design. At any rate, make sure you have a nice cold drink and have some patience while their server searches and loads the information for you. I haven’t used their mobile app yet, but from what I heard, that is slow as well. My registration took about 10 minutes to complete ~ and I do hope Althea plans to fix their slow slow website soon. I placed my order on March 14th, it was shipped on March 19th and I received it on April 1st. The second order I placed, with my own money, was on March 27th, shipped out on April 4th and I received it on April 15th. So it takes about 15 business days to get my items with standard shipping to the USA. Both packages were in big pink boxes that were bubble wrapped and placed inside a plastic mailing bag. It was very secure and waterproof!
What I Got
Any haul I do is going to include sheet masks!
I chose some really cool looking masks from A’Pieu ~ these are limited editions for 2017 and feature chickens! 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, so it seems appropriate to have an eggy mask. The design on these are adorable ~ rooster, hen and chick, plus racks, earthworms, shafts of wheat and corn. Plus it is so SHINY. These are foil masks and they were $1.50 apiece.
Cocorico Silver Silk Blanket Mask (Skin Brightening & Pore Care) This mask is also a three layers, filled with rich essence, and it has beautiful honeycomb silver hologram foil ~ unlike the only foil I used before, this is does not make me feel all sweaty when I am wearing it, as it has “cells” so that your skin can “breath”. This is one of the most coolest masks too ~ it is so science fiction and I feel like a robot warlord!! This has 5000ppm albumen extract to help refine your pores and brighten your skin ~ this is a brightening and pore refining mask, and it does contain niacinamide, licorice and mulberry, which all help brighten your skin tone. It also has 1000 ppm of hydrolyzed silk and 1000 ppb silver. When I remove the mask fro the package, there is so much of this watery essence, that it spills all over the place! But I still have a ton left in the package, so I will apply it over the mask and on my neck. The essence really didn’t have a scent to it and the mask IS WOW.
The fit is really decent and it drapes nicely. I think the only part that I had issues with was the chin and that was because the piece that tucked under my chin kept flapping down. This mask sheet has some weight to it, but it feels wonderful on. The honeycomb pattern allows my skin to breath and not get all sweaty and trapped like the last foil mask I used. Again, look at that holographic silver foil ~ it is so pretty! Too bad I have chronic RBF 😂😂😂 After 50 minutes, I removed the mask and saw an immediate brightening effect on my skin. My skin was a little tacky from the essence, but after 5-8 minutes, the essence did dry down and my skin felt soft and smooth, and looked so bright! Two thumbs up
Description: Description: Three layered mask filled with essence provides rich nutrition to your skin. Hologram foil prevents the evaporation of the formula, retaining all the nutrients on skin for a long time. Albumen extract refines pores and brightens skin tone, creating smooth and bright complexion. Goat milk extract and paeonia albiflora root extract creates translucent complexion with natural glow
Ingredients: purified water, butylene glycol, glycerin, egg yolk extract, royal jelly extract, nelumbo nucifera callus culture extract, ethylhexlyglycerin, niacinamide, albumen extract (5000ppm), goat milk extract, saussurea involucrate extract, swiftlet nest extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, sophora angustifolia root extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, morus alba bark extract, sesamum indicum (black sesame) seed extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, hydrolyzed silk (1000ppm), silve (1000ppb), tremella fuciformis (mushroom) extract, sodium hyaluronate, C12-14 parath-12, carbomer, cellulose gum, arginine, 1,2-hexandiol, caprylyl glycol, illicum verum (anise) fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA, fragrance cosDNA analysis
Cocorico Gold Silk Blanket Mask (Skin Revitalizing) This is the other silk blanket mask from A’Pieu, focusing on nutrition and moisturizing. Alas, both of these limited edition masks are sold out at Althea. I had posted them on my IG feed when I received them a few weeks back and I think I caused a chain reaction!!
Description: Egg yolk extract deeply nourishes the skin and improves the appearance of fine lines, for supple and youthful skin. Cameillia Japonica seed oil and Royal Jelly extract visibly firms skin and adds glow to your face for a radiant complexion.
Ingredients: purified water, butylene glycol, glycerin, egg yolk extract (5000ppm) , royal jelly extract, nelumbo nucifera callus culture extract, sodium hyaluronate, ethylhexlyglycerin, hydrolyzed silk (1000ppm), gold (1000ppb), adenoisine, camellia japonica seed oil, silkworm cocoon extract, tremella fuciformis (mushroom) extract, C12-14 pareth-12, carbomer, arginine, cellulose gum, 1,2-hexandiol, caprylyl glycol, illicium verum (anise) fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA, fragrance cosDNA analysis
Acwell Traditional Grain Syrup Masks I never saw these masks before ~ these are from Acwell and this is part of their Traditional Grain Syrup Series. Acwell combines glutinous rice with malts, which will ferment in vats for a long time to produce glutinous rice syrup. While the the rice is fermented, they add the specific ingredient for the mask ~ bellflower, mugwort or ginger. I picked up all 3 varieties at $2.25 each.
Bellflower ~ Moisturizing I did try this mask the other day. These masks are made with tencel and are a light tan color with a thick amber colored jelly. You should gently squeeze the mask package before opening to help distribute the jelly. This has a really sweet scent to it and for some reason, it reminds me of caramelized bananas! The fit is excellent on my big face and as I was wearing it, this mask was very cooling. Very cooling ~ it could be too cold for some people, but I really enjoyed it. After 40 minutes, I removed the mask and my face felt so hydrated and cool, my skin looked brighter and my pores were smaller. I know this is just the moisturizing mask, but those were all of the benefits I experienced when I wore it. I haven’t been a huge fan of Acwell products in the past, but this mask is fantastic!
Ingredients: water, glycerin, polysorbate 80, ascophyllum nodosum extract, epilobium angustifolium flower/leaf/stem extract, portulaca oleracea extract, butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, lonicera jopanica (honeysuckle) flower extract, zanthoxylum piperitum fruit extract, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) fruit extract, xanthan gum, barley sprout extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, saccharomyces/viscum album (mistletoe) ferment extract, lactobacillus/soybean ferment extract, saccharomyces/imperata cylindrica root ferment extract, aspergillus/rice ferment extract, acer saccarum (sugar maple) extract, dimethicone, tocopheryl acetate, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, t-butyl alcohol, platycodon grandiflorum root extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, pyridoxine HCI, maltodextrin, sodium starch octenylsuccinate, silica, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, dextrin, disodium EDTA, sodium hyaluronate, lactic acid, phenoxyethanol, fragrance cosDNA analysis
Ginger ~ Firming
Ingredients: water, glycerin, polysorbate 80, ascophyllum nodosum extract, epilobium angustifolium flower/leaf/stem extract, portulaca oleracea extract, butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, lonicera jopanica (honeysuckle) flower extract,zanthoxylum piperitum fruit extract, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) fruit extract, xanthan gum, barley sprout extract, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract, saccharomyces/viscum album (mistletoe) ferment extract, lactobacillus/soybean ferment extract, saccharomyces/imperata cylindrica root ferment extract, aspergillus/rice ferment extract, acer saccarum (sugar maple) extract, dimethicone, tocopheryl acetate, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, calcium pantothenate, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, t-butyl alcohol, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, pyridoxine HCI, maltodextrin, sodium starch octenylsuccinate, silica, disodium EDTA, sodium hyaluronate, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, dextrin, lactic acid, phenoxyethanol, fragrance cosDNA analysis
image source from althea
Mugwort ~ Brightening
Ingredients: water, glycerin, niacinamide, polysorbate 80, ascophyllum nodosum extract, epilobium angustifolium flower/leaf/stem extract, portulaca oleracea extract, butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, lonicera jopanica (honeysuckle) flower extract, zanthoxylum piperitum fruit extract, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) fruit extract, xanthan gum, barley sprout extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, saccharomyces/viscum album (mistletoe) ferment extract, lactobacillus/soybean ferment extract, saccharomyces/imperata cylindrica root ferment extract, aspergillus/rice ferment extract, acer saccarum (sugar maple) extract, dimethicone, tocopheryl acetate, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, calcium pantothenate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, pyridoxine HCI, maltodextrin, sodium starch octenylsuccinate, silica, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, t-butyl alcohol, artemisia capillaris leaf extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, dextrin, disodium EDTA, sodium hyaluronate, lactic acid, CI 42090, CI 19140, phenoxyethanol, fragrance cosDNA analysis
image source from althea
Dr Althea Sun Cushion & Primer SPF 50+ PA+++ I am SO excited about this one! If you watched my stories a few weeks back, I was really jazzed to find out that this is a sunscreen in a cushion compact. Even if I hated the sunscreen, I could reuse this for other sunscreens! The design on this compact is adorable with all the fun in the sun type of activities and symbols~ palm tree, sun, camera, beach umbrella, flip flops, sunglasses…. This didn’t show a shade color at Althea (btw, no relation to Dr Althea brand) but on the box it did state “Natural Ivory”, which scared me a bit. I am not ivory!! Don’t fear, I think all skin types can use this one ~ when I press my finger into the cushion, it comes back with a pearlized shimmer white shade and when I initially do one pat on my skin with the puff, it has that shimmer white shade ~ which no one is that shade! However, if you pat it out, it will become colorless. I actually like applying this as the last step over my makeup, using it as a sunscreen highlighter on my cheekbones. This has a fresh scent to it and I think it is a lavender herbal scent. I love that I can pat this out on my over my makeup and not really disrupt my makeup. This is also a primer, but I have not used it as such, but it is supposed to help with smoothing out your pores. I like that it is not sticky on my skin and it isn’t heavy. 15 g RV $16.75
Ingredients: water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, zinc oxide, cyclopentasiloxane, propandiol, ethylhexyl salicylate, isoamyl p-methoxycinnamate, cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, niacinamide, SD alcohol 40-B, bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, bemotrizinol, tinosorb S. cyclomethicone, polymethyl metacrylate, titanium dioxide, sodium cloride, lauryl PEG-9 poly dimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, silica, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, sorbitan sesquioleate, 1,2-hexandiol, bees wax, disteardimonium hectorite, triethoxycaprylylsilane, caprylyl glycol, squalane, tocoperyl acetate, butylene glycol, caprylhydroxamic acid, propylene carbonate, geranium oil, adensine, menthol, dimethicone, disodium EDTA, rosemary extract, illicium verum (anise) fruit extract, lavender extract, green tea water, saussurea involucrata extract, rosemary leaf water, lilium candidum flower extract, butyl avocadate, sodium hyaluronate, gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen) leaf oil, peppermint extract cosDNA analysis
image source from althea
Belif The True Tincture of Chamomile I own the wash off mask pack and I love it. I have been wanting to try this product since it was released earlier this year, but never could justify adding it into my routine. Now I have it! This is made with 86% chamomile water, which is a soothing ingredient. It also has calendula and beta glucan, along with fermented soy, for a moisturizing and repairing first essence. Althea carries several Belif products and when I did another haul with my own money, I did purchase a couple of Belif toners too. There isn’t a great savings on this product as it costs the same as if I purchased it at Sephora. Made without parabens, sulfates or phthalates. RV $46.00
Description: A hydrating essence formulated with belif’s Chamomile Tincture™ extract drawn from organic chamomile flowers to boost the skin’s vitality levels for a healthy-looking glow and balanced complexion. This essence revitalizes dull skin by supporting the skin’s blood flow and circulation with 93 percent organic Chamomile Tincture extract developed by using belif’s patented tincture technique, which purifies toxins from herbs without destroying any active ingredients. It also improves and soothes the skin’s texture and complexion—allowing for a smooth, even finish before makeup application.
- Chamomile Tincture™ Extract: Soothes skin and boosts the skin’s vitality levels for a fresh and radiant complexion.
- α-bisabolol Oxide A: Brings vitality back to stressed, uneven skin by reducing skin irritation, supporting natural blood circulation and balancing skin tone.
- Napiers Original Formula: Features moisturizing, antioxidant, skin calming, anti-trouble, and anti aging properties to keep skin healthy.
- Chamomile: Revitalizes withering plants nearby to its healthy state.
Ingredients: Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (86%), 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Beta-Glucan, Panthenol, Glycereth-26, Centella Asiatica Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Nepeta Cataria Extract*, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract*, Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract*, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract*, Saccharomyces/Imperata Cylindrica Root Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Alcohol, Water, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Polydatin, Niacinamide, Trisodium EDTA, PEG-8, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Alanyl Glutamine, PEG-150, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Fragrance+, Citral, Cintronnellol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool cosDNA analysis *Napiers original formula. +Fragrances of natural origin.
I also chose a couple of items from Mamonde, which is a brand from Amore Pacific. I have tried a few items in the past with this brand, but they were masks or makeup. This is my first experience with them with skincare outside of masks. I went with their First Energy line which are products that are great for combo to oily skin and are made with fermented honeysuckles. These contain 81.31% fermented honeysuckle flowers (vinegar) and it has been fermented for a year and contains the antioxidant polyphenol. This will give the product more anti-aging properties, improve elasticity and is an anti-wrinkle and a functional brightening product. The orange-yellow ombré bottles are so nice ~ they are a heavy duty plastic with embossed honeysuckle flowers and the caps are a pearlized off-white with a curved lid. So pretty!
Mamonde First Energy Essence This is a water type booster and it good for oily to combo skin. RV $24.00
Ingredients: Lonicera Japonica (honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Niacinamide, Lactobacillus Ferment, Adenosine, Glycerth-26, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Citric Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xantan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Ethylhexlglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance cosDNA analysis
Mamonde First Energy Serum This is more of an emulsion than a First Treatment Serum and it helps nourish your skin. I will save this for the cooler months. RV $24.00
Ingredients: Lonicera Japonica (honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Butylene Glycol, Cycolpentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Dipropylene Glycol, Alcohol, Diethoxyethly Succinate, Glycereth-26, Dimethiconol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Water, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Polysorbate 20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Acylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Carrageenan (Red Seaweed), Phenyl Trimethicone, Adenosine, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance cosDNA analysis
I think that Althea is off to a great start with their online shop! I know that they reached out to several K-Beauty bloggers and I think they did a fine job selecting them ~ these are bloggers that have been into K-Beauty for several years and have tried a lot of different products. I am very pleased with my selections ~ limited edition masks (sad that they are already sold out), interesting fermented grain masks, a really cool and innovative cushion with sunscreen, a very popular K-beauty brand here in the Western world and finally, an established but very little known outside of Asian countries brand. Most of the items I chose had fermented ingredients in them, which tells you that I am really loving my yeasty, vinegary friends!
The email communication from Althea is top notch ~ from placing my order, to shipment and to when it was delivered, I always knew where my package was. I also felt that they went above and beyond packing the items ~ it already came in a box, but they make sure that it was even more secure with bubble wrap and waterproofed it with the thick plastic mailer. The shipping times are standard ~ 2 to 3 weeks is what I expect from S. Korea.
I do have a couple of suggestions to help improve their service. The first is that they need to upgrade their servers, as the slowness of their website is really bad. That does need to improve if they really wish to handle massive orders. The other issue is keeping things in stock! Make P:rem was a brand they had but no longer, as it all sold out! I am sure these things will be ironed out ~ as I stated initially here, they might be trying to find what brands and products appeal to the customers before keeping them fully in stock
Have you shopped yet with Althea? What do you think of them?