I am finally a believer.
There, I said it. I am a believer in Korean beauty and skincare.
My past skincare routine was (almost) non-existent. I survived the Johnson’s Baby Soap (for my body and face *gasp*) treatment until graduating from university. Mind you, college – fuelled by caffeine while running on 3-6 hours of sleep – is anything but conducive for good skin. On my senior year, I broke out severely, and I had nothing but my Ever Bilena concealer stick to cover my unrelenting acne and dark circles. I neglected my skin until somewhere in my 20s, I discovered that there’s no point in hoarding so much make-up if my canvas isn’t well taken care of.
Being introduced to the Korean 10-Step Skincare Routine by Soko Glam and Into the Gloss – even trying to memorize it like a creed – completely changed my understanding of beauty. Rachel Nguyen of That’s Chic made a really fun video about this seemingly mad (I mean, who has time for that?) regime. I follow a number of Western beauty gurus on YouTube who are big on bronzing, tanning, and the whole shebang, which I find to suit my look better. I disagree with a lot of Asian beauty standards and practices – porcelain skin, dewy complexion, ombre lips, etc. – until I found something worth emulating: crazy good skincare.
Read: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Korean Skincare via Man Repeller
I’m entering this uncharted realm which is incredibly exciting. (I want to shout to the world that I get it, I finally get the hype!) Upon recommendations from my amazing readers, I found myself navigating towards Althea Korea which sells unbelievably cheap beauty and skincare products – directly from Korea. The discounts are ridiculous! I especially love how detailed the description is on each product – packaging, skin type, size, purpose, and usage – talk about good information design! Althea also delivers straight to your doorstep with free shipping (for orders P999 or more the entire month of October) after a week (!) of purchasing, and they offer 30-day returns.
Upon further research on b/vlogs – and after two hours eagerly scrolling through the website – I picked products from the popular brand Innisfree. They’re pretty affordable too! I’ve been using the products religiously, and I can feel a complete difference in my skin. Here are my individual reviews of each!
This, by far, is the best loose powder I’ve tried. (I have yet to purchase the Laura Mercier Translucent Powder to, maybe, change my mind.) Don’t let the white powder fool you, it actually warms up my complexion – this has voodoo or something. You can apply it for a number of times, and it still won’t look heavy or cakey. It leaves skin feeling silky smooth.
I’m not one to use a powder puff or a compact sponge when applying loose powders since I prefer using a powder or stippling brush, but I don’t mind at all with this one. It spreads out the product evenly, and it targets parts which are hard to reach. I keep touching my face in the middle of the day to see if I’ve already gone oily on my T-Zone since other powders (Nichido Final Powder and Bourjois Loose Powder) do that but by some miracle, I am completely matte. (Disclaimer: Please know I’m inside an air-conditioned office all day, but I do commute.)
Unfortunately, they no longer carry the limited jumbo edition (15g) but the smaller version (5g, P260) is still available on Althea; it’s just currently sold out. I mean, that’s how good it is! Wait for them to restock – as if your life depended on it. Both are travel-friendly, which I love. On the other hand, if you prefer pressed powders, you can try the Sebum Mineral Pact (P480).
The Jeju Volcanic line is perfect for anyone who wants to minimize pores and remove blackheads. The award-winning Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is targeted towards combination skin. The original Jeju Volcanic Clay Mask (P520) is best for those with smaller pores and more sensitive skin. It refreshes the skin, removes sebum, and exfoliates dead skin cells.
After removing my make-up and using my toner, I apply it then remove it with lukewarm water after 10 minutes – with a recommended usage of 1-2 times a week. It doesn’t dry up to the point that it gets uncomfortable unlike my experience with other masks. It has a cooling effect which I really enjoy. It unclogs my pores, softens the skin, and rids it of impurities. I’ve seen such an improvement in my skin; it really stays true to its claims!
There was a time when I was completely clueless about skincare – I still, sort of, kinda am. I had the cult favorite, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and I used it twice a day, every day of the week. My poor face was so rough that I never wanted to use facial scrubs again – until I discovered the Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam. It’s so much gentler than others but still does an incredible job of removing dirt. It’s targeted towards combination skin unlike the Jeju Volcanic Pore Foam which is better for oily skin. I use it twice a week, and it leaves my skin clean and moisturized.
Volcanic Black Head Out Balm (P280)
I had greater expectations for the Volcanic Black Head Out Balm but it’s just okay. From the entire haul, I’m least impressed by this. Before using the Clay Mask and the Pore Scrub Foam, I apply this on my nose to loosen my black heads. It doesn’t give instant results, maybe the Jeju Volcanic Nose Pack and Jeju Volcanic Blackhead 3-Step Program are better for said endeavor.
I’m honestly so happy with my entire Althea Korea experience. I’m eyeing so many goodies for my next haul including the Innisfree Tinted Dual Brow, No-Sebum Blur Primer, Green Tea Pure Cleansing Foam, Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner, and Soybean Energy Essence.
If you’re convinced to shop all things Althea, on top of the P150 discount and P150 rebate on your first purchase, click this link for an extra P50. Also, amazing life hack, try Shopback to get a percentage back from your online shopping (including Althea Korea, Zalora, Sephora Philippines, and Lazada). You’re welcome!
What’s on your Althea Korea to-buy list? Anything you’ve tried from Innisfree you want to recommend?