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K-Beauty Corner: #AltheaTurns2 Birthday Haul

Althea Korea is my obsession.

It is undoubtedly my ultimate online destination for everything Korean beauty and skin care! I’ve discovered so many holy grail products from this black hole! All products are new, authentic, and delivered from Korea so prices are extra competitive (much cheaper!). Your package arrives straight to your doorstep so no worrying about customs – super fuss-free. They feature road shop brands like Etude House, The Face Shop, Banila Co. and innovative, trendy brands like CosRX, Heimish, and Dear, Klairs. PSA: They’re going all-out this July for their 2nd birthday!

Althea is having an exciting Birthday Sale and on top of that, the 20 Days of Beauty Giveaway. For every purchase you make, you’ll receive the Limited Edition Birthday Box, which includes the DIY Birthday Kit and Sample Pack. Post your customized Birthday Box creations on Instagram, and you might just win an entire year’s worth of shopping in Althea, major shopping credits (up to P10,000), and even a flight to Korea for 2!

What’s in My Birthday Box?

I went a little crazy over the skin care. I finally repurchased my favorite Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser in Purity (P1,040) since the Heimish All Clean Balm doesn’t remove my make-up as effectively. I recently emptied the Son&Park Beauty Water so I’m incorporating the Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner (P880) in my skin care routine – so far, so good! I’m trying out the Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Cream in Fresh Watery (P530) as my moisturizer for extra hydration because my skin’s been so dry lately. And, I finally have the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (P560) again, and it feels like I’m meeting an old friend!

For make-up purchases, I picked up the Etude House Double Lasting Foundation in Sand (P870) and Secret Key Tattoo Cover Cushion [Pink Edition] (P650) for bases and the Missha B.B Boomer (P450) to, hopefully, prolong my base wear time. Everybody knows I’ve been raving about the long-lasting Peripera Ink Velvet Lip Tint in Celeb Deep Rose (P370) that I just had to purchase 3 more colors!

I can’t wait to test out all these products. Let me know if you want a full review on any of them! Happy, happy birthday, Althea! 🎉

Disclaimer: I was given credits by Althea Korea to purchase these products.

Read more on Althea’s blog for more information.


Unboxing: Althea Korea Anti-Pollution Box

Althea Korea’s Anti-Pollution Box (P1,450 – originally worth P5,020)

Living in Manila takes a toll on me, especially as a regular commuter. An environment so hostile to skin needs its recuperation at the end of the day that’s why I was ecstatic – an understatement – when the wonderful Althea pixies mailed me their Anti-Pollution Box to try!

I subscribe to the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine I rave about endlessly, and choosing the right products for my skin type is easier with a beauty platform like Althea. It’s my go-to for everything skin care because of the unbelievably low prices – with regular sales and discounts! – and the array of homegrown brands to choose from.

The monthly Althea Beauty Boxes are great for those who want to discover new products – both for skin care and make-up – without breaking the bank. You just might find your true love within these boxes!

Make-up Remover

Cleansing Water

Calmia Rooibosh No Wash Cleansing Water (Solo, P260)

I changed my nightly skin care routine and added the Calmia Rooibosh No Wash Cleansing Water to remove my eye make-up before a thorough double cleanse. It makes the next steps easier, and it doesn’t tug on my eyes – the most sensitive part of the face and the most susceptible to aging. Make-up comes right off without stinging my eyes; it’s super gentle!

It’s marketed as a no-wash product for incredibly lazy (hands up!) nights when you just want to go straight to bed. Of course, I still recommend a good cleansing balm/oil and a water-based cleanser (see next 2 items) to effectively remove pollutants you carried from your commute home. This is also extra helpful for moments when you’ve done a make-up boo-boo and want to fix it without ruining an entire look.

Cleansing Balm

Hope Girl Jamong Cleansing Balm (Solo, P910)

The Hope Girl Jamong Cleansing Balm competes with my love for the holy grail status Banila Co. Clean It Zero. I find that it’s the easiest and fastest way to wash off make-up without wasting any product. It works better than the Holika Holika Pig Clear Make-up Zero which leaves my face greasy.

The sherbet-type cleanser is mild yet powerful – plus that packaging is extra cute! When I go all out with a full face for an event, I do this step twice and find all traces of my make-up gone. It’s such a miracle worker!

Cleanser

Water-Based Cleanser 

Missha Deep Cleansing Foam 

This is easily my favorite from the bunch! I’m disappointed since it’s not yet available (solo) in Althea! Let me update this entry when it is. This smells so nostalgic – just like a regular Pond’s Facial Wash. It’s thick in consistency and removes remaining impurities while retaining moisture.

Toner

Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener (Solo, P440)

I’ve had this item in my Althea bag for months, and every time I find the courage to purchase it, it’s sold out! Surely, good things come to those who wait. I personally prefer a more viscous consistency when it comes to toners – almost like an essence but not quite – but the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener is hydrating and delivers results! It cleanses and tightens pores, controls sebum, and balances skin’s pH levels – everything a toner needs to do and more! Instead of just using the product with a cotton pad, I also add an extra layer with my hand and pat it on my face for double the moisture.

Mask

Skinfood Bitter Green Clay Soothing Mask

For a special pamper day, I love doing a face mask once a week. I leave the Skinfood Bitter Green Clay Soothing Mask on my face for around 15-20 minutes until I feel a tightening and rinse it with warm water. It leaves my skin clean, smooth, and ready for my beauty sleep.

I don’t recommend this to people with sensitive skin or anyone suffering from breakouts because there are solid particles that can scratch your face. This is best applied with a small spatula rather than your fingers.

Moisturizer

ONSAEMEEIN Perfect Moisture Cream (Solo, P340)

The ONSAEMEEIN Perfect Moisture Cream applies wet but immediately absorbs into skin. This type of consistency is extra hydrating so it’s good for dry skin! The Trehalose extract is the star of the show, preventing aging and improving wrinkles through time.

Sunscreen

It’s My Daily Sun Cream SPF45+ PA+++ (Solo, P240)

I’ve been more diligent when applying sunscreen – even when I’m just inside an office the entire day. This isn’t for everyone because it’s thick and can feel greasy when not blended well. Personally, I don’t mind because it leaves my skin really moisturized and prepped for a full face of make-up. It doesn’t smell like chemicals, which more generic sunscreens do. This is also pretty cheap considering sunscreens in the market start at around P400+.

Thank you for the love, Althea!

More on the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine on my next entry about The Little Book of Skin Care by Soko Glam founder, Charlotte Cho.

Don’t forget to use my (P350) discount code on your first purchase. 💗

Disclaimer: The Anti-Pollution Box is actually sold out – upon publishing this entry – so I provided links for the individual products in case you want to purchase them.


Unboxing: Banila Co.

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Banila Co. is a prominent Korean beauty and skin care brand which interested me upon hearing rave reviews about the cult favorite cleansing balm, Clean It Zero. Many claim it’s the best make-up remover in the market. FYI, one is sold every 4.8 seconds. I’m done buying cheap foaming washes and facial cleansers that just don’t do the job for me.

The brand is available online through Beauty MNL, Althea Korea, and Zalora but I purchased the products from their (Philippine) website since they grant you 10% off on your first purchase – with free shipping for orders over P1000. On top of that, you get to be part of a rewards program wherein you can accumulate points and use it as discount later on. (Click here for 2500 points instantly!)

Aside from the balm, I purchased the So Strobing Stick – I take highlighting very seriously – and a travel-sized Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser that came with the set. I expected much from the products, and they did not disappoint!

Clean It Zero Cleansing Set (P1,250)

One way I take care of my skin – along with my tedious routine I won’t trade for the world – is to make sure to rid of all my make-up. A facial wash and toner combo is not enough! There is still so much make-up left after such a basic routine. (This may be one of the reasons you’re breaking out.)

The set includes the supersize Clean It Zero and a travel size Clean it Zero Foam Cleanser. I chose the classic version of the balm because I use a lot of make-up on a daily basis. It’s also available in Purity, Radiance, Resveratrol, which cater to specific skin types and concerns.

Scoop an ample amount using the tiny plastic spatula (included in the set) onto your hand. Massage it onto your face until all your make-up – stubborn mascara and liquid lipsticks included – melts. Wash it with water or wipe it off with a tissue; I prefer the first option. For those trying it for the first time, a warning, it will leave your eye sight blurry. It’s a temporary state that goes away when product is washed off but it’s still uncomfortable (and alarming on the first try). To avoid discomfort, I close my eyes when removing eye make-up. This is the only thing I dislike about it.

After a month of incorporating it to my regimen, I’m convinced that this is the best make-up remover around. I tried testing it by wiping my face with an immaculate white towel after the entire process, and it stays white! It is definitely more expensive than what I usually buy but I no longer have to worry about clogged pores caused by residue. My face is so much cleaner! Plus, it doesn’t strip your skin off moisture. It also lasts months because of how little is needed to take off make-up.

I use the Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser after the entire shebang. It’s a good basic facial wash suitable for all skin types because of how gentle it is. It can be regarded as the second step of the double-cleanse (part of the Korean 10-Step Routine).

So Strobing Stick (P865)

I first got attracted to the So Strobing Stick because of the hologram pink packaging. It also reminded me of my holy grail highlighter, Benefit’s Watt’s Up!, which gives the most beautiful golden glow. Upon swatching and application, this is more similar to my favorite drugstore highlighter, Essence’s Soo Glow. It has a really creamy consistency – the creamiest I’ve tried thus far. This gives a subtle glow, which shows pretty well on my morena skin but I believe this would also look amazing on women with fair skin. It makes my skin look healthy and awake! It’s also available on pen form, So Strobing Pen (P865).

All in all, I really loved the products, most especially the Clean It Zero. I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last haul from the brand. *winks*

*You may also buy the items separately: Clean It Zero (100ml, P875), Clean It Zero Supersize (180ml, P1,250), Clean It Zero Foam Cleanser (150ml, P575).

I discovered Adrian Tomine last year. I have Shortcomings, Summer Blonde, and Sleepwalk in my collection. I love his illustrations but his “realistic” portrayal of love doesn’t appeal to me. His works depress me, IMHO. If that’s your type of thing, you can purchase his graphic novels online at Book Depository.


Unboxing: Althea Korea (Innisfree)

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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!

Jumbo No Sebum Mineral Powder, Limited Edition (P570)

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).

Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (P560)

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!

Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam (P450)

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?