[Review] Althea Total Brightening Box

5:46 PM

Hands down, Althea is my favorite online shop to get my #Kbeauty fix. If you still haven't received the memo, I basically turned my skin care routine around and switched to purely Korean products (and my skin is totally loving it!).

If you're new to K-Beauty and you're clueless on what to get, you can check Althea's list of specially curated boxes which house full sized products at a fraction of the total value. Talk about a way to dip your fingers to the K-Beauty world without spending a fortune.

Speaking of beauty boxes, Althea recently sent me their Althea Box #19 Total Brightening which contains 7-full size products that promise to make the skin beaming in no time, to review. I've used the products for a week now and I'll tell you my honest-to-goodness two cents after the jump!

But first, what are these Althea boxes? Well, every month, Althea releases 2 types of beauty boxes. Here's a quick description of the types of beauty boxes that Althea offers. 

  • Althea Boxes are based on specific themes, giving customers and fans a chance to get their hands on a mix of loved and new favorites. Release frequency: twice a month.
  • Trend Boxes, on the other hand, will be packed with hot products (either a new brand or new products from an existing brand) based on some of Korea’s biggest beauty trendsReleased frequency: once a month.

Now let us go back to the products inside this Total Brightening Box (which retailed for only Php1,360 but with a total retail value of almost Php3,000).

1. Lebaton Pearl Whitening Essence Mask (retails for Php37)

Description: "Infused with Pearl extract that brightens up dull skin for a clear, radiant look. Made with soft and elastic 100% natural cotton sheet that effectively delivers active ingredients to the skin without irritation."

My say: I used this before hitting the bed after a really long day and this mask felt incredibly refreshing on the skin. It was very cooling that I almost dozed off while I had it on because it was very relaxing. I also liked that the sheet mask was very soft and really saturated with pearl essence. It left my skin feeling really hydrated and bouncy. It's quite sticky though but I liked the extra moisture.

2. Chica-Y-Chico Skin Texture Toner (200ml) (retails for Php750)

Description: "A mild first treatment toner that hydrates rough skin and give more elasticity with sliding water complex so that the skin looks even and moist. It removes excess sebum and waste deep inside the skin and clears up dry flaky dead skin cells without irritation. Formulated with Niacinamide and Adenocine for skin whitening."

My say: For starters, I'm not a big fan of the opaque packaging because I don't like guessing how much product is still left inside. For liquid products, I just like them to be presented in a straight up clear bottle. But that's just my personal preference.

The consistency is very liquidy. Compared to other hydrating toners that I've tried in the past, this one runs so much watery. The upside to that is that this sinks into the skin in no time. No need to continuously pat this onto the skin for absorption. It does not leave the skin feeling sticky in any way. 

There are toners that are so hydrating that you can even skip applying your moisturizer. Well, this one is clearly not part of that squad. But don't fret because despite being not the most hydrating toner in K-Beautyland, I find that this still made my skin soft to touch after every use. 

Also, if you are sensitive to scents, this doesn't smell a thing. I also have sensitive skin and this one did not break me out. 

3. Real Skin One Shot Ample in White Jade (10g) (retails for Php530)

Description: "A highly concentrated brightening cream that is infused with Glutathione."

My say: No doubt, this is my favorite product from this box! Seriously, how cool is the syringe packaging! Quite gimmicky but still a winner in my books. Call me a bias because I'm an Operating Room Nurse. But really, that packaging just won me over. I adore how the product is very easy to dispense with (and hygienic too!).

I read that it is advised to apply this on your problems areas (dark spots) 2-3 times a day, but I just put this all over my face just like a regular day cream. This has a very light weight consistency (almost water-based) which is easily absorbed into the skin. My skin feels silky smooth and really soft every time I use this. It doesn't feel heavy or uncomfortable. I've used this under make up to and it held beautifully. It smells fantastic too!

4. Milky Dress Wrinkle and Whitening Eye Cream (15ml) (retails for Php210)

Description: "A gel-type eye cream that improves dull and dark skin under the eyes by moisturizing and keeping the elasticity of the skin without irritation."

My say: For the price of this eye cream, this is such a steal. I recently finished my Laura Mercier Tone Perfecting Eye Gel (which retails for US$60) and this somewhat reminds me of that at a fraction of its price.

 Its lightweight gel-consistency enables it to penetrate the under eye area in an instant. It has a mild cooling effect that refreshes the skin while reducing the puffiness around the area. It gives ample hydration to the under eye area and behaves well (read: no creasing) when applied under a concealer. However, I don't have really bad eye bags (thank God!) so I couldn't attest its effectiveness to reduce/lighten dark circles.

Over all, its thinner texture makes this a great daytime eye cream in my opinion. But for night time, I still prefer eye creams with so much body and thickness to them even it takes forever to be absorbed by the skin. Perhaps because I'm already in my mid 30's or maybe because that's just how I roll. (wink)

5. Skinfood Pore Fit Pure Skin Primer (10g)

Description: "A solid balm-type multi primer that can be used before or after make up. It fills the pores, keeps the skin smooth and enables make up to be applied flawlessly on the skin"

My say: To begin with, I'm not a fan of the packaging. I like my primers in squeeze-type tubes because I find that more hygienic; - no double dipping of (dirty) fingers or sponges. This is also meant to be used even after make up for touch ups, but because of how it's packaged (in a compact), once you tap your sponge and then press it back to reapply, you end up transferring make up and staining the balm which in the long run can lead to break outs because of the gathered bacteria between the sponge and the balm. To make this work for me, I used a spatula to scoop out the amount I need to cover my entire face. Quite cumbersome if you ask me.

It also has a very silicone-y feel to it if you know what I mean. It made my skin really silky smooth which allowed my foundation to glide flawlessly but it didn't help extend the longevity of my make up. When used alone, it really helped mattify the face and if you pack it on, it really makes the pores look less prominent. I even layered it up and it did not ball up. 

But over all, this is not just my cup of tea. It's not the most convenient primer to use and it did not even last all day. It smells incredibly nice though. 

6. A'Pieu Air Fit Cushion Bboyan with SPF50 PA+++ in Apricot (retails for Php720)

Description: "Maintains brightened skin all day with the cushion that naturally tones up the dull, uneven skin tone."

My say: For starters, despite the packaging doesn't have a nice weight to it, I still find the over all look of the cushion case sleek and classy in its own way. The puff inside is thinner though and feels quite flimsy compared to other brands that I've used before (e.g. IOPE and Laneige).

The shade Apricot is very peachy and it claims to add luminosity and radiance to the skin instantly. Well, it did make my skin luminous but overly dewy for my taste. Just even after half an hour, my skin looked incredibly greasy. The consistency is not overly thick but it still felt sticky and uncomfortable on the skin. It has very little coverage too. In person, the color oxidized badly as well.

When I used it for the first time, I didn't set it. Despite looking like a walking disco ball, I endured it. I noticed that after a few hours, it started breaking apart and adhering to my dry spots. Then for the second time, I set it with my Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder. It helped control the shine longer, but it caked badly afterwards too.

In action!

 (bare face)

(with A'Pieu Air Fit Cushion in Apricot)

(with the rest of my make up on. no setting powder was applied here)

Completely washing it off with just a regular cleanser was also a struggle. For this product, it is imperative to double cleanse. I used my Banila Co. Cleansing Balm first and then I followed up with my Innisfree Green Tea Facial Cleanser and that power duo washed away every fragment of this cushion down the drain.

But what I hate the most about this cushion is how heavily fragranced it is. And mind you, the scent does not go away. I can still smell it before washing my face (which was after 4-5 hours of putting it on). Funny how the item that you're most excited about turned out to be the most disappointing of them all. Truly, life is unfair.

7. The Saem Saemmul Single Blusher in GD01 Gold Volume Light (Highlighter) 

Description: "Shimmer gold highlighter to fix your make up and light up your best features with natural-shine finish."

My say: This is a golden-champagne highlighter that looks absolutely divine against my warm skin tone. The formula is just in between; - not buttery smooth but not chunky as well. It is highly pigmented so make sure to go easy with your brush. 

However, I find that this takes a little bit more effort to blend out compared to my other powder highlighters. To help this blend out better, I apply a dash of translucent powder first on top of my cheeks before putting this on and I find that it does the trick. Once you get it right, it can look natural to highly reflective depending on how much you pack it on. It has zero fall out which is always a good thing for a highlighter and has decent staying power too. 

Aside from using this to highlight, I also like using this as a blush topper to give my matte and satin blushes that extra oomph. To apply this, I use a generic fan brush or my Zoeva 105 Luxe Highlight brush.

One downside though is that it has a borderline granny floral (rose?) scent to it. But the scent fades away quickly once applied. But if you're nosy about scents, just a heads up.


In action!

Over all, I still find Althea boxes awesome because if you do the math, you get more bang for your buck. Each box can hold anywhere from 6 - 12 full-size products depending on the theme and value. The best part? Buy only if you like it! There's no commitment to subscribing for a monthly, quarterly or yearly payment to get these beauty boxes. #NoStringsAttached. 

This is also a great way to discover new products (that you have never thought existed) that would blow your mind. Exhibit A: Me and the Real Skin One Shot Ample! 

But the downside is these beauty boxes are limited in quantity (while stocks last) and are on a first come first serve basis. The Total Brightening Box is unfortunately out-of-stock now.

How about you? Have you purchased any Althea beauty box recently? Tell me all about it below!

Kiss Kiss,
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