If you've been following the craze, you would know that Althea has finally, FINALLY opened its doors to Malaysia. It's been a little hush hush, but I was honoured to be involved in the beta testing process whereby I got to order stuff before the site officially launched. No RM1 deals or 1-for-1 promotions, but still impressively affordable!
Before we get into the excitement of unboxing my gorgeous beauty box, let's talk a bit about the Althea experience. I have no clue if you guys have ever tried ordering beauty products from Korea, but it's almost impossible if you don't actually know Korean. Why would you order them directly when a lot of the brands are now available here? Simply because the markup here is absolutely nuts.
Unfortunately, prior to Althea's appearance on the scene, even picking your products was a feat all its own. Putting aside the shipping information, etc. all being in Korean, even the product descriptions are. This makes it the most frustrating experience ever. Short of teaching my Korean students solely about skincare so they can tell me what products work for me, there was simply no way of getting to the good stuff, so for the longest time I basically pulled back from exploring too much Korean skincare and makeup.
[Althea: Filling a huge hole in the market!]
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that their opening was met with nothing but pleasure and anticipation on all fronts. Truly, between the fact that its in English, the shipping is beyond reasonable, and that they have the cheapest prices around, they simply can't be beat!
Couple that with their 4 core principle promises:
[Althea's Core Principles]
Unlike the horrifying service you get in Malaysia where attempting to return a product that doesn't suit you is met with both disdain and something akin to abuse, Althea believes in serving its customers above and beyond what is necessary. With assurances of authenticity, lowest pricing, free shipping (with RM150 spent; RM100 for the promotion period), and a 30-day money back guarantee, how can you not already love them? Couple that with their ever-expanding range of some of the most sought after Korean skincare and beauty products, and I'm already hooked.
Of course, these are all just promises until it's put to the test. I stuck with a RM150 budget to ensure I could experiment with these procedures and ensure my parcel actually arrived intact. You just know we have all received packages which are completely bent out of shape, with broken products in them. It's a truly heartbreaking experience.
Just how did it all fare then?
[The First of Many to Come]
It went far better than I expected. I truly didn't expect the process of receiving it to be as enjoyable as it was. It was quite frankly akin to receiving a beauty box, except that you just know you're going to love EVERYTHING in it because you chose it.
It was very quick too! I placed my order at 3 a.m. on the 24th of June, and I received my package on the 2nd of July. That's just a over a week, which is impressive considering that their site states that it will take between 10 to 15 days to arrive. It must be said that I placed my order before it was open to the public, so that could have been the reason why it arrived so quickly, but my experience has been seamless and extremely pleasant thus far. We shall test out the shipping times with my next order (probably 10 a.m. Saturday morning when the new RM1 product hits the site!).
[Bright Pink Sturdy Plastic]
I truly love the bright pink packaging my Althea box came in. it was just so attuned to the nature of beauty lovers. More importantly, when I opened it up, the entire box was encased in bubble wrap as well, for the added layer of protection.
[Bubble Wrap is a Must]
This means that the gorgeous lilac box within was completely undented!
[In Perfect Condition]
The box itself is of a sturdy lilac cardboard and I'll actually be hanging on to it to store my various knick-knacks (not to be confused by Nick-Nack, my other possession).
The contrast between the outside and inside of the box is lovely as well. The bright pink within matches the packaging it comes in.
At the very top was my invoice, sealed by the adorable little Althea sticker (yes, I'm becoming a bit of a fangirl of this site!).
Now, on to my actual order!
[Pore Packs Packaged Together]
The bottom of the box is lined with bubble wrap, as well as crepe paper to securely contain bulkier items which may be fragile (which my serum was).
[Bulkier Items Underneath]
Shall we take a closer look at my goodies?
I ordered 2 pore packs from different brands with a similar concept. I've never seen 3-step pore systems before, and I was very intrigued since blackheads are the bane of my existence. These were packaged together in the bubble wrap.
[3-Step Pore Kits]
First up was one by Holika Holika:
[Holika Holika's Pig-nose clear black head 3-step kit (RM 7)]
While the ingredients on the back are in Korean, Althea's site has a complete translation of everything you need to know about the product. I believe the term "pig-nose" refers to your blackheads as there is no sign of anything porcine in the ingredients list! So, yes, this would be halal for those of you concerned about it.
Here's the ingredients list:
Nature Republic had a similar product and I decided it would be worth a shot to see which was better.
[Nature Republic's Nose Pack Sheet (RM 7)]
This is really interesting because it is meant to clear both white AND blackheads! I'm really excited about both of these and I'll do full reviews on these soon so that you can add them to your cart when you place your order with Althea.
Next up is a product I've heard REALLY good things about, and I simply couldn't resist!
[Innisfree's Green Tea Seed Serum (RM 67)]
As far as serums go, this is ridiculously affordable and I've already started using it. I'll review it once I've gotten a better feel for how it functions. I've been truly dying to try Innisfree products, and I'm beyond ecstatic that there's quite an extensive range of their stuff on Althea. In fact, this product is actually priced at around RM115, so you're getting it at close to half price on the site. Seriously, this is winning all round!
Finally, a product that's been raved about by celebrities in Korea:
[Piolang's 24K Gold Wrapping Mask (RM 69)]
For years, the 24k gold skincare ideology has been making its rounds and I do recall using a range of 24k gold products by Shanaz Hussein years ago that did a good job. This is definitely worth a shot judging by the reviews its gotten. It's originally priced at RM267.60, and it's a limited product on Althea to pop it into your cart NOW! I'll be reviewing this too, so stay tuned to see if its worth the hype.
Overall, I am beyond ecstatic with the entire Althea experience; and yes, it is an experience all its own. I feel like a whole new world of products has opened up to me, and you know it's all tried and tested. Even as I'm writing this, and I've spent 24 hours staring at and mulling over the products I bought, I feel so happy because it was a really good shopping experience, and the deals are unbeatable.
I'll be ordering off Althea again within this week, so look out for another haul.