Althea Korea Bare Essentials Line Review

June 5, 2018

Hi guys, welcome back to my blog! Today I'll be sharing all about Althea Korea's newly launched Bare Essentials skincare line!

Now some of you may be thinking, "But Eros, isn't this review biased?". I just wanted to put a disclaimer out there and say, hey, I am affiliated with Althea but I'm also a beauty blogger and I value my integrity. Even for sponsored/paid reviews I give my honest thoughts, so this post isn't any different 😊. Kinda like how Eunice from Wishtrend talks about ByWishtrend/Klairs products and how Jeffree Star talks about products from his own line, I will still be giving you guys my honest thoughts and opinions on these products (if anything I'll be even more detailed since I know exactly what these products contain + what they are haha). I initially wanted to share about this on the day of the launch, but one thing led to another and I got super delayed. Whoops.

Anyhoo without further ado, let's get on with the post!

Korean skincare is, of course, entwined with the famous 10-step skincare routine. I did a blog post + video talking in detail about it here in 2016, and the concept is still very popular among K-beauty enthusiasts.

What makes the 10-step skincare routine attractive to a lot of people is the ability to customize. You can switch out or add products that work better for your skin and your skin problems, but whatever complicated skincare routine you have, it will always boil down to 3 essentials: cleanser, toner and moisturizer.

Any skincare routine is not complete without these 3 basics. You cannot not cleanse, tone and moisturize your face, that's just basic beauty know-how. Even back in my post and video from 2016, I recommended starting with the basic 3 skincare steps and adding only whatever you need. Nowadays, my average skincare routine comprises of only 4-5 skincare products, namely cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer & sunblock. When I need some extra TLC, I add on some steps.

A lot of skincare brands aside from Althea like Krave and Huxley have released skincare ranges that are simple and very few steps, and the reason behind this is that we should give our skin only what it needs. Reset your skin with a trio + add on any special care you may need.

What is Bare Essentials?

Althea's Bare Essentials line is, literally, the most basic of the basic. It is a 3-step skincare routine which is suitable for all skin types and can be used as your base-line, meaning you can add products into the routine depending on your concerns. You might be thinking: why go back to basics? Well, that's because sometimes, it's better to focus on what your skin needs instead of what you want. Complicated skincare steps may work, but sometimes our skin can feel suffocated and the tons of products you use can block your pores and make your skin tired and stressed. Also, you have to admit, skincare results do not show up immediately. We (especially beauty bloggers haha) tend to use a lot of products like serums, creams, and masks at the same time, hoping that the more we apply, the better our skin will get (which at most times, is not true).

The main slogan of the Bare Essentials line is Your Skin Completes Makeup, and the thought behind this is that, the better your skin, the better your makeup will apply. This also works in a way that if your skin is great, you will have to apply less complexion makeup like foundation and concealers which in the long run, do irritate and age our skin. Even Michelle Phan says so.

Bare Essentials has 3 main points:

1. 3-Step
Minimum effort with maximum effect, these three products will deliver comfort to your skin and give it that natural glow.

2. Micro
Similar to skin structure, these products' micro-cells harmonizes with the skin and does not cause any irritation.

3. Value
The Bare Essentials line aims to bring top quality products with a reasonable price tag.

Althea Korea Bare Essentials Contour Cleanser Review

The Contour Cleanser is a foam cleanser with micro-foam bubble shots that promise to cleanse the skin and create a defined, slim face shape. It does not come with a box but comes plastic wrapped and sealed.

It's suitable for all skin types and is available in a 150g tube for only RM23. I think the price to size ratio is pretty affordable, and it's slightly cheaper than other Korean cleansers (which usually cost around RM25-30).

The packaging is very simple, and to be honest when I first saw it I felt like it had a Japanese vibe! (Very similar to Muji hahaha). I feel like its a good representation of "basic" and I like how it looks like it's just there for one reason and one reason only: to clean your face, no-nonsense included.

The main ingredients of this cleanser are Lemon Verbena Leaf (containing Vitamin C & E) and Ice Plant extracts. Ice Plants are found in South Africa and are known to be great at storing great quantities of water & provide the skin with a cooling & refreshing effect.

Also, the official site states that continuous use of the product is supposed to stimulate the blood circulation on your face, leading to a slimmer, more V-shaped face. After a while, I haven't seen any slimming (lol) and I don't think it can give you a dramatic V-shape anyways. It may help slightly with depuffing your face in the morning (I've read some bloggers say that it does), but since I personally don't really have any swelling/puffiness in the morning to begin with, I can't attest to that.

In terms of ingredients, it's pretty clean on CosDNA, but it does contain some fragrance because of the Lemon Verbena Leaf. I personally don't mind scents (I actually really like lemony scents as I've mentioned in my previous reviews), but if you're someone who is sensitive to scents, do keep in mind that although the lemony scent is subtle, it's there.

Unlathered, the product comes in a cream form. I've mentioned several times here on my blog that I do not like cleansers with beads because they may cause micro-scarring (I stopped using cleansers with beads around 2014). This cleanser has something called "micro-bubble shots", and at first they may seem like beads but they're actually not.

The micro-bubble shots are actually designed to burst on your skin as you lather the cleanser. It does give a bit of exfoliation, but the main purpose of it is to soothe and cool the skin with the ice plant extracts inside the shots. If you have sensitive skin or if you don't like the sensation of the micro-bubble shots, I recommend lathering the cleanser on your hands instead of your face and cleansing your face with the already lathered product instead like I do. So far I haven't broken out using that method, and according to Itsapplesworld (who uses the cleanser to mildly exfoliate daily), she hasn't broken out as well.

Also, if you want to get the cleanser to foam like how it looks like in my pics above, you can get it to foam by using a soap foam maker or a face cleansing brush. Personally, I don't foam it up like that because ain't nobody got the time (haha), and I usually only use the method I mentioned above. Just thought it'd look more aesthetic foamed up for the pics.

To be honest, my overall verdict of this cleanser is that it is very basic. Out of all 3 products from this range, it probably ranks the lowest for me because it's just...cleansing. It does what it says it'll do: clean and remove dirt. I recommend this for anyone looking for a basic cleanser to start their skincare routine/collection with.

Althea Korea Bare Essentials Primer Water Review

The Primer Water is multi-functional product can be used as a toner, essence & mask to achieve layers upon layers of hydration. It's supposed to be an all-in-one product that combines all the effects and functions of a toner/essence/lotion together to you only need to use one product.

It's suitable for all skin types and comes in a 200ml bottle for RM43. I really like how the packaging turned out becaus it looks sleek and almost like an expensive frosted-glass bottle of water. For an all-in-one product, it's pretty affordable as well!

When I first heard "Primer Water", I immediately thought of Son & Park's Beauty Water. It kind of has the same concept as the Primer Water but it's way more expensive and has a thinner consistency. I don't think I've mentioned it online before but I'm actually not a fan of the Son & Park Beauty Water. I think it's very...useless and too overpriced. I get better toning from my toners and my other essences provide more hydration & prep, so when I first tried this product I was a bit apprehensive.

This product contains Snow Lotus, and Snow Lotuses are actually one of the rarest and most precious herbs in the world as its found only in remote areas of Asia. It was the favorite herb of the most beautiful women of the Chinese Imperial Court for centuries because of its beauty-enhancing benefits. It's known to smoothen & brighten the skin while evening out its texture to enhance its natural smoothness & radiance.

This product also incorporates a patented Dewdrop technology and these dewdrops deliver the active ingredient into the skin, refining it and leaving the skin with a watery finish. It's hard to see at first but if you look closely, you'll see the dewdrops in the texture of the product itself. (With the help of a good DSLR camera and some lighting, you can actually see it in the pic below!)

Except for the fragrance, this products' ingredients all have an EWG rating of 3 or lower. It also contains Centella Asiatica extract (my fave ingredient for my acne skin) to help promote wound healing, Butene Glycol (a highly moisturizing ingredient) as well as Chamomile flower extract (good for sensitive & dry skin).

This product has a silky-soft texture, and it's actually like a mix of Pyunkangyul's Essence Toner and The Face Shop's Therapy First Serum. I use it with a cotton pad as a normal toner, but I also pat in a few drops for extra hydration. I really like how my face feels after using this product. Sometimes thick toners don't really remove the dead skin cells on my face and I have to scrub extra hard, but this one does the job pretty well. As for an essence, I love how hydrated and plump my face feels after patting it in. One tip I have for you guys (especially if you live in Asia like me) is to keep your Primer Water in the fridge. The product is cooling enough as it is, but when you cool it in the fridge it's just heaven! 

As with the law of Korean skincare layering (thinnest to thickest), I was first concerned on whether or not my serums would penetrate my skin because of what the consistency of the water looked like from the bottle. From the outside, it looks really thick and goopy, so I was afraid that my thin serums would have a hard time seeping through my skin. Once the Primer Water is fully absorbed, however, it turns very water and almost dewy, and I've found that my serums have no problem being absorbed afterward. That means that it's the main claim of priming the skin for other products is a check!

It does leave the skin unbelievably smooth and soft, but I would still use a real primer (or at least a moisturizer) before applying my base makeup. I'm just a very oily person and I depend on my primers to keep my face from being wiped off by my sweat. Speaking of oil, it does not leave a super oily/shiny finish, but rather a watery/dewy glow.

Overall this is my fave among all 3 products from this line. It's amazing because you can literally skip so many steps just by using it. When I use it to tone + pat in a few drops, I usually find myself just moving onto moisturizer and skipping my essences/lotions & serums. It's a really versatile product that I would recommend to E V E R Y B O D Y. If you're lazy, just use this and you're fine. You feel hot? Pop this in the fridge and cool yourself down. No money to buy an essence or a serum? Baby, Primer Water's got you! 10/10 would buy 10 more bottles!

Althea Korea Bare Essentials Fixer Cream Review

Finally, tthe third product from the Bare Essentials line is the Fixer Cream. It's a moisturizer that promises 24 hours of hydration, and although it comes with a seal cap & a box, there is no spatula included (huhuhu but I have 10 spatulas so it's fine~).

You get 50g of cream for RM50, and I think that the price is still pretty reasonable. At first I thought that the packaging was just plastic, but the tub is actually made of frosted glass! The lid is aluminum and it looks really chic/expensive.

This product has 3 key ingredients: Trehalose, Wild Green Tea, and Baobab Tree Extract. Trehalose is a great moisturizing ingredient because it's actually found in cacti and is the reason why cacti can store so much water. Wild Green Tea is hydrating and full of anti-oxidants, while Baobab Tree Extract moisturizes and helps promote collagen production.

Except for the fragrance, the other ingredients in this cream all have an EWG rating of 3 or lower. A few standout ingredients are Centella Asiatica (good for healing skin), Butene Glycol + Sodium Hyaluronate (great moisturizers & good for dry skin) as well as Camellia Sinensis leaf extract (good for oily skin).

Since the name has the word "cream" in it, I was initially scared because as someone with oily skin, I don't like thick creams because I find them too heavy and stuffy. I was so happy when I first tried it out because the cream actually has more of a gel-cream type of texture, making it perfect for all skin types. The gel texture absorbs pretty well on my skin (it doesn't feel like it's just sitting on top) and the slight creamy-ness really moisturizes.

I apply it like any other moisturizer and I find that it's great for both morning and night. It leaves a dewy finish, but it's easily controllable depending on the amount you use. In the daytime, I think it's a great moisturizer. I don't feel suffocated nor do I feel like I need extra moisture. It's perfect for my oily skin and I find that it works great in both the heat (non stick) and in office air-con environment.

It promises 24 hours of hydration, and I think I'm on board with that. I personally haven't gone with only this product on my face for 24 hours (because I go to the gym almost every night and not washing my face after working out would be weird haha). I've always felt very moisturized when I wear it though, and according to my friend Syd, she used it the most when she went to Melbourne recently and it really helped with the cold weather over there.

Overall I think this product is a great cream that does what it does it'll do. It reminds me of Half Moon Eyes' Milky Jelly Moisture Cream except that it's more gel-ish and is more comfortable. If you're older or if you're looking for a sleeping mask, you may need something heavier, but I've tried layering this cream on at night and found that it was good enough for my (21 year old) oily skin. If you're looking for a great cream that is good for both day & night + feels comfortable, smells great and is affordable, I would recommend this cream!

In conclusion, this range does what it was made to do: cleanse, tone and moisturize. I'd even say that it does a great job of doing it. If you ask me why you should give the line a chance, I'd tell you because it's affordable and I enjoyed the sort of skin detox I experienced while using these products and only a few serums. I don't feel lazy using them because the routine isn't long & tiresome, plus my skin was pretty clear and moisturized. It didn't break me out too, so it's confirmed okay for people who are acne-prone like me.

The breakout star from this line for me would be the Primer Water. It really is super nice and for the price, I think it's a really good steal. It does what it says it'll do and so much more, so if I was only going to recommend one product from this line, it would be the Primer Water.

Aaaaand that's it for this review! If you guys would like to view these products on Althea's website for more info, click on the links below!

Contour Cleanser • RM23
Primer Water • RM43
Fixer Cream • RM50

(10% OFF + a limited edition mirror) • RM104.4

If you haven't already made an Althea account, you can register via this link to get RM20 off your first order!

A huge thanks to my brother Euri for helping me take the pics always! Remember to follow him on Instagram at @eyemonstahyuri or his photography account at @emajor7 ðŸ’œ

And that's it for this post! I hope you guys found this post interesting and helpful. I may or may not be doing a giveaway soon, so to stay in the loop, follow me on Instagram at @fishmeatdie! 😉

As always thank you for reading and I'll see you guys in the next post!


  1. I've only discovered your blog in the past week and spent so much time reading everything you have posted. You've honestly inspired me so much to improve on my own blog and photography for it.

    I've used Althea's petal powder before and absolutely loved it and ended up using it all up far too quickly, so I'm highly interested in trying their Bare Essentials line. The affordability is amazing and I'm looking for more basic skincare for my morning routine as I don't often have time to get round to layering loads of serums and products. So I feel after reading this I'm definitely going to pick them up!


    1. Omg i just saw this comment! T.T Thank you so much for the nice comments <3 I hope you managed to try out the bare essentials products!

  2. Finally, you made a review na. Been waiting for this. I will surely buy this set but I’m on a no buy because I have lots of skincare to finish. But come this July, for Althea’s Bday, I will buy this set. Excited for the Primer Water. Thanks for this post Pixie Eros.

    1. Sorry for the late reply! I hope you managed to try the bare essentials like out + liked it too! <3


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