Okay this post has been a very very long time in the making, but it’s a lot of fun so hopefully worth the wait.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know that I am obsessed with Korean beauty products. They come in adorable packaging and have ingredients that sound like they belong in a witch’s cauldron (bee venom or snail mucus anyone?) and they solve problems I didn’t even know I had (like angry scalp!).
You can imagine my excitement when the awesome folks over at Althea offered me a $100 gift card to go on a shopping spree and try out their products.
Who is Althea you ask?
They are a beauty retailer that offers authentic products shipped straight from Korea, including a wide variety of Korean beauty items including skincare, makeup, hair products and more. They also offer limited edition themed boxes for individual purchase. They have free shipping to the US on purchases over $50, but international shipping costs will vary.
After I managed to calm myself down, I made a spreadsheet (as one does before a shopping spree) and tried to figure out the things I’d love to try and the things I thought you guys would be interested in seeing.
One of the great things about Kbeauty and Althea is that there are tons of great products at really affordable price points. Koreans have very intense skincare routines with lots of products involved so it makes sense that they want a wide variety of affordable options. I also found the Althea site to be a lot of fun to navigate with separate sections for items that are new or trendy.
My order arrived quickly and in lovely packaging. Now onto my choices!
The Black Liquid Liner
Blingsome – Tinted Brush Liner
(Retail Price: $5.75)
Description: “With 0.01 mm brush, draw from thick to detailed eye lines. With deep and rich black color, make vivid eye lines! Film coating that prevents from erasing and smudges! Doesn’t erase from running water but tepid water can clean all!”
Verdict: Smudged on me
Black liquid liner is a staple Kbeauty product and a must have for most beauty mavens. As someone with hooded eyes I’m always looking for smudge-proof liners. The pros on this are that it is a rich deep black shade and goes on incredibly easily. Unfortunately for me it smudged a lot. I tried it first without eye primer and that was a disaster. I tried it later with a primer and it faired much better, but it didn’t hold up to an entire day of wear. I have oily hooded lids, so this might work out just fine for someone with less smudging issues. The color saturation and the brush were wonderful and at only $5.75, it’s worth taking a chance on.
The Eye Shadow Palette
Etude House – Play Color Eyes Cherry Blossom
(Retail Price: $21.40)
Description: “Romantic Pink Color Shades A shadow palette delivering various makeup looks with romantic and lovely point colors and natural shade colors. Soft & Silky Texture Highly adhesive soft texture delivers vivid color and helps pearls last all day without cracking or settling into fine lines. Purpose: The 10-color eye shadow palette colors your eyes with pink color resembling cherry blossoms dancing in spring.”
Verdict: Leans warm but quite pretty
An eye shadow palette like “cherry blossoms dancing in spring”? Sold! These shadows went on easily and had a nice color saturation. I found the colors leaned warm so a lot of them ended up turning more orange on me, but the shades were still wearable. I think this palette would be a great fit for folks with neutral or warm undertones. The packaging was lovely and I appreciate that it is plastic rather than cardboard, as the plastic holds up much better to wear.
The Cushion Compact
Beauty People – ABSOLUTE LOFTY GIRL CUSHION FOUNDATION in Cover Beige
(Retail Price: $23.00)
Description: “Spherical Powder for Perfect Coverage! Micro cover powder seamlessly hides acne and hyperpigmentation for clearer complexion. Propolis extract increases lasting power and adherence, for perfect fit to skin. Special 3 layered sealing system for Cushion foundation container. Automatically seals to prevent air inflow and evaporation of contents. Brightening, Anti-Wrinkle, UV Protection.”
Verdict: Only the coolest packaging ever
Cushion Compacts are a trend from Kbeauty that crossed over to the US in recent years so I knew I had to include one on the list. Once I saw the packaging on the Absolute Lofty Girl Cushion Foundation I had to have it. It is the coolest looking compact ever and I’m already trying to figure out what I can use it for once I finish the foundation in it. As a really pale, cool/pink undertoned redhead, I was concerned everything would be too warm or yellow for me. I opted for the “cover beige” which looked more light and pink. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. I figured it probably wouldn’t work and I’d have to mix it with something else to wear it. Shockingly it blended right into my skin tone. I wore it without any problems. It’s a light coverage, goes on smoothly and didn’t look strange on me at all. Definitely a win!
The Hair Product
Piolang – Raspberry Hair Vinegar
(Retail Price: $7.00)
Description: “Acid balanced for hair and scalp. Raspberry Vinegar 25,000mg!”
I haven’t had a chance to try out too many Korean hair products so I wanted to add one to the list. I always hear folks raving about using Apple Cider Vinegar as a hair rinse, so I figured I’d try out this specially formulated raspberry hair vinegar. Since moving to my new house, my hair has sort of freaked out at our water situation (low water pressure & hard water) so it’s difficult for me to gauge how effective hair products are for me at the moment. I can say this has a really nice smell and the packaging makes it easy to apply. It seemed to give my hair a bit more softness and shine, but I’ll need to keep using it and see how it works over time. If you dig vinegar hair treatments, definitely consider this so you can smell like berries instead of like pasta salad.
Aritaum Poyan Lip & Eye Remover
(Retail Price: $8.00)
Description: “Slathering oil onto your face at the end of a long day may sound counterintuitive, but let us tell you, it’s one of the best cleaning methods around! Aritaum’s Poyan Lip & Eye Remover is a fantastic contender for K-Beauty’s double cleansing method and removes all traces of makeup while prepping the skin for a foam cleanser. This hydrating remover is made with gentle ingredients too, so it won’t irritate your delicate eyes while you’re gently rubbing that mascara away.”
I haven’t had a chance to use this one yet so I can’t give you a verdict, but oil cleansers are my go to for makeup removal and they are a staple in Korean beauty. If you haven’t tried one, I highly recommend them. They remove even the most hardcore makeup without much fuss. Definitely give an oil cleanser a try.
Skinfood Fresh Fruit Lip & Cheek Trio in Plum
(Retail Price: $7.25)
Description: “They say all good things come in threes right? We’ll do one better: Skinfood’s Fresh Fruit Lip & Cheek Trio kit comes in three colours that have double the use! Choose from an array of colours which offer rich pigmentation in a creamy formula that’s easy to blend out and leaves a dewy finish on the cheeks or lips. Great for traveling, this convenient little kit comes with a metal casing that protects the products from annoying dent marks, making this perfect to throw into your bag or purse. Did we mention that we also love the subtle fruity fragrance this trio has? Yum!”
I wanted to choose a multi-tasking product and since I adore cream blushes I thought I’d try one of these skin food trios. The plum shades really appealed to me and I have to say this is my fave item from my haul. The colors are easy to blend and look incredibly natural on me – both as cheek and lip shades. Normally when you get a multi-tasking makeup product it’s good at one thing and not so great at the other, but this looks works well for both uses. If you’re doing some shopping on Althea, I recommend trying one of these out. At only $7.25 it’s a great buy.
The Snail Product
Pure Smile Snail Scalp Hair Care – Shampoo + Treatment
(Retail Price: $10.75)
Description: “Unclog and remove impurities on hair. Treat scalp for healthy, silk-smooth hair.”
I have some really weird fascination with products that have snail products in them so I needed to include one in my haul. My hair and scalp have been in atrocious shape so I thought I’d give this product set a try. It has a pleasant scent and the texture is a touch slimy but it rinses out easily. At first it made my hair feel a bit coarser, but after using it again it softened up. I felt like it also didn’t create as much buildup in my hair as other shampoos and conditioners. I’ll need to keep using it to see if it makes a difference over time.
The Pore Product
Nella – Pore Jelly Pop Blackhead Remover
(Retail Price: $13.50)
Description: “The blackhead eraser that removes all blackheads! Use the Blackhead Remover Jelly Brush to achieve silky smooth skin!”
Korean beauty advertisers really really talk about your pores a lot, and they have a ton of products to help you clean them out and make them disappear so I wanted to include some kind of funky pore product in this haul. Cue the “blackhead remover jellybrush”. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to use this one yet, but the brush has a really cool texture and at the very least will be fun to use.
The Eye Primer
ABBAMART – 4 Ur Eyes Brightner & Primer
(Retail Price: $9.50)
Description: “Long lasting eye makeup with brightened eye parts.”
Verdict: Good for the price
As I’ve mentioned I have a huge problem with eye makeup migrating all over my face. Even the most “waterproof” of formulas will smudge if I don’t use a primer, so I figured I’d add one to my haul. This one intrigued me because it included a brightener. I tried products with and without this primer in order to gauge how well it worked. It definitely worked better than using no primer at all, but I don’t find it to be quite as effective as some of the higher end brands I’ve tried. The brightener isn’t bad, but I find that the applicator puts out too much product and then it’s difficult to blend, but if you use the right amount it blends in quite nicely. Overall, for less than $10 this is a good buy.
The Lip Tint
Etude House – Dear Darling Water Gel Tint in Dracula Red
(Retail Price: $3.90)
Description: “Be Etude House’s darling with their Dear Darling Water Gel Tint! Thanks to this pigmented, moisturizing formula, your lips will be left with a tint that lasts all day without drying them out. Infused with pomegranate and soapberry extracts, this product helps to nourish the lips too for a fresh, kiss-ready pout. Pucker up!”
A lip tint in a Kbeauty haul was a must. Unfortunately they didn’t really have swatches of the red shades, but for a less than $4 I could engage in a bit of whimsy, so I opted for “Dracula Red.” The tint has a huge color payoff and as you wear it, it does fade and ends up as a more understated red. This was a fun addition to my haul.
While I’m familiar with Memebox, Althea’s site was completely new to me and I really enjoyed getting to explore it and try new products. I spent just slightly over my $100 spree, adding $9.15 from my own pocket to cover this haul. I received a ton of products for that price and none of them irritated my skin and I found all of them to be of excellent quality. Part of what I think makes the Kbeauty craze so popular is that they offer a ton of quality items in lower pricepoints. I feel like their drugstore priced makeup is just leaps and bounds ahead of what we have here in the US. They also have unique ingredients and adorable packaging that adds a bit more fun to the usual beauty shopping. The shipping was fast and everything was packed nicely. I wouldn’t hesitate to order from them again and if you’re interested in trying out some Korean beauty products, I’d definitely recommend them as a source.
Have you or would you ever try Korean Beauty Products?
Why or why not?
Althea where Beauty meets Korea. Althea is a beauty retailer that offers authentic beauty products shipped straight from Korea to the US including skincare, makeup, hair products and more. They also offer limited edition themed boxes for individual purchase.
Shipping: Free Shipping from Korea to the US on purchases over $50
(International Shipping Costs will vary.)