All the products here are actually from two Althea boxes way back in February, so #latepost, but I just really wanted to share my thoughts on some of the items I bought and my experience with Althea Philippines.
Althea is an e-commerce brand that sells Korean makeup, skincare, and beauty tools, very much like Beauty MNL or Sephora Philippines (formerly Luxola). They’ve recently expanded here in the Philippines after they proved to be successful in Singapore and Malaysia. Althea Philippines is fairly new since they only launched last February, but they’ve been featured a lot in the local beauty scene.
The prices of the products they carry are very competitive, definitely cheaper than the Korean products sold in physical stores here. It’s almost like you’re buying with Korea prices since almost all their products are discounted all the time. And they often have full-size freebies you can just add to your cart when you checkout. It’s really hard not to buy anything from Althea whenever I check their website. LOL.
Since I first ordered from them in February, the list of brands that they carry have grown longer and longer. They have products from the more popular brands like Innisfree, The SAEM, IOPE, Mamonde, 3 Concept Eyes, CLIO, HERA, Dr. Jart+, and Sulwhasoo to name a few. And also some of the lesser-known brands that have been gaining popularity like SkinMiso; DEAR, KLAIRS; Elizavecca; and Aromatica, among others.
Here are the items from my first two orders:
Ordering from Althea Philippines is always incredibly easy. I’ve ordered from them three times already, and I’ve never experienced a hiccup.
Some of the reasons why I love ordering from Althea Philippines:
- They have a lot of payment options. You can pay via credit card, PayPal, Dragonpay (OTC, ATM, and online banking), or Althea rewards points that you earn from purchasing certain products or inviting friends to sign up.
- Orders don’t go through Customs (who charge obscene amounts, tbh). They go straight to my house (when I qualify for free shipping for orders Php1,500+) or to my office.
- I only had to wait a week or two each time I placed an order. It takes them around 5 business days to process each order then it’s shipped out immediately. I track my orders through my Althea account.
- They usually throw in one or two samples or freebies in each box, so yay. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like free things.
- Every single item I’ve ordered is the real deal. I’ve never returned anything to them, but if you must, they do have a 30-day return policy.
Since it’s August now, I had ample time to test and use all the products, starting with the…
Iope Air Cushion XP (Cover) in #23
Cushions are everywhere in Korea. Almost all Korean brands already have their own cushion or their own version of it, but Iope is known for being the technology’s trailblazer, the very first one to introduce the cushion that revolutionised the Korean beauty market.
A cushion looks like a compact, but instead of having a pan of product, it has a sponge soaked in liquid foundation. A flip cover separates the cushion from a pad you also get to apply the foundation, yknow, to keep things as sanitary as they can get. You dip the pad into the cushion and pat the product on your face or body. When you’ve gotten most of the product from one side of the cushion, you can just open the compact and flip the sponge to get the product from the bottom side. Most cushions also come with refills.
When I went to Korea last year, I got to try a cushion for the first time because my mom bought one from Laneige (at Aritaum). I found the technology interesting since I had only used makeup sponges, makeup brushes, or my fingers to apply foundation. The pad and the patting motion I had to do to apply the product really helped pack the product on my face smoothly. This helped even out application and decreased the likelihood of streaks, especially around the nose and undereye areas. Other people think cushions are a bit unsanitary, but I think we just all have to wash our beauty tools as often as possible to keep things clean.
The Iope Air Cushion has two types: the normal type and the cover one. I bought the latter because I always want more coverage to conceal spots and blemishes.
- Convenient. Easy to use.
- It definitely offers coverage.
- I love the pad or the puff that comes with it.
- The packaging felt very durable.
- The smell. It has such a strong makeup smell. The first time I used this, I was dizzy the whole day because the smell was just so overpowering. It gradually went away after I used the cushion a couple more times, but it was still there. If you’re not a fan of makeup products with strong odours, I wouldn’t recommend this one.
- The colour or the shade. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Korean base makeup is not made for morenas. Koreans, like the Japanese and the Chinese, are our whiter Asian neighbours. And of course, Korean beauty brands will cater to their primary market since they’re the biggest consumer group. This means that Korea’s natural beige is not based on a universal neutral shade that covers the natural beige of Indian or Filipino or Malaysian or Indonesian skin tones. Most Korean beauty brands only carry two or four shades (#13, #21, #23, and #27), five if you’re lucky, unlike Western brands that create dozens of foundation shades to suit a wider market. The IOPE Air Cushion XP in shade #23 looks like it’ll work out on my medium morena skin tone, but it didn’t. I don’t have photos or swatches, but my face looked so white when I used this cushion. It was so unnatural. I gave this cushion to my mom because her skin tone is lighter than mine, and it works better for her. Ma, if you’re reading this, do you like it? Your thoughts? Haha.
The SAEM Eco Soul Kiss Button Lips Matte (Bitter Chocolate)
The SAEM is a brand that’s pretty well-known in Korea, but not as popular worldwide as Etude House or Nature Republic, I suppose. But it’s getting there, it’s getting there. G-Dragon used to be one of their endorsers for red lipstick (yah), and one of the guys from SHINee, too. Or all the guys from SHINee, I’m not sure.
I really like their Healing Tea Garden Tea Tree Cleansing Water. It’s an excellent Bioderma substitute.
But anyhoo, this is a story about a lipstick. I don’t know what the Eco Soul line is about, but I’m now the proud owner of a Kiss Button Lips matte lipstick. To dispense the lipstick, I have to push a button on the bottom of the lipstick. That’s actually the reason why I bought this, because of the button. I found it so nifty and neat and just…buttons. Buttons, you guys.
I got the darkest shade called Bitter Chocolate. It’s a vampy, chocolate red colour that I LOVE wearing when the weather’s a little gloomy. This is one of the lipsticks I reach out for the most these days since it’s August and raining and next week it’ll be Christmas season (in the Philippines at least, LOL).
They sell it as a matte lipstick, and it is to some extent. It doesn’t dry completely. Some of the product still transfers and rubs off when I eat, but it’s okay. It’s still pretty long-lasting, and the fun part is I get to click and click and click when I reapply. Teehee.
Tony Moly Backstage Gel Liner (Black)
I rarely, rarely, rarely use eyeliner because my eyelids are so oily, but I wanted one, so…here we are. What’s ironic is eyeliner is the very first makeup product that I ever used, but I’m so bad at applying it. Of course I went through that punk-goth-Avril Lavigne phase when I younger, so I was lining my waterline (and just my waterline) with black eyeliner. It’s as ugly as it sounds.
But since then, I like to think that my taste in eye makeup has become more simple and classy. Now I prefer using dark eyeshadow to line my eyes for a smoky, softer look. I still want to practice my liner skills, though, which is why I bought the Tony Moly Backstage Gel Liner.
It’s one of Tony Moly’s bestsellers. I liked it because it came with a brush that’s part of the cap. I thought that was cool.
The formula is creamy. It’s not hard to work with, even if you’re a beginner. Other people don’t like the built-in brush, but I think it’s okay. It’s pretty soft, and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m tugging the skin over my eyes. I can see why this eyeliner is well-liked by many. I haven’t worn it out yet because I’m scared it’ll slide off and make me look like a racoon, but I’ll definitely keep practicing my wing skills and keep you posted if it’s a good product for people with oily eyelids.
Innisfree Green Tea Mint Fresh Shampoo
I bought shampoo. LOL.
If you didn’t know, Innisfree also sells shampoo, candles, essential oils, and other things aside from makeup and skincare.
It just sounded so refreshing, and it is. It definitely has a cooling effect, which is great for summertime. Smells very minty. If your scalp is super dry like mine, this might help alleviate the itchiness and redness a little bit. It’s still best to pair this with a conditioner. Oh, and it’s also silicone-free.
Would I repurchase it again? Sure, but maybe not anytime soon. I really miss using all-organic hair care products from local brands like Zenutrients, so I’ll stick to those for now.
CP-1 Scalp Soothing Injection
While I still have your attention on my scalp (lovely topic), I also bought the CP-1 Scalp Soothing Injection, which is basically a cooling, soothing, and moisturising gel. I live far away from the city where I work, so I rarely have any time to properly get ready in the morning. Unless I want to wake up at 4:00 am. NO.
I wash my hair everyday then I jump into the car to head to work. Of course inside the car it’s very cold and my scalp doesn’t like that dry environment. My scalp usually flakes along my hairline, so I rub moisturiser on it. I bought the CP-1 Scalp Soothing Injection for that purpose, and because it was cheap. Only Php80.
I loved using this during the summer because it made my skin feel really cool. If you get dry spots anywhere in your scalp, this little guy will help you out. I highly recommend it. I would definitely repurchase this again.
Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel
And last but not the least, my fave. The aloe vera gel from Nature Republic is the shit.
And we’ve reached the end! I hope this has been an informative little nugget on online shopping and Korean beauty products for you. Have you ordered from Althea Philippines yet? How was your experience with them?