A first look at Althea Korea, my new k-beauty destination
Korean beauty retailers are a dime a dozen, so I’m imagining some of you rolling your eyes, groaning, and probably thinking “uh, thanks but no thanks”, and to that I say “don’t be so quick to judge folks!“. Seriously, I had my initial doubts about Althea Korea, but after shopping there, I was very pleased with my overall experience.
That’s not to say I haven’t had good experiences with other retailers, but several things about Althea Korea really stood out for me and why I’ve boldly stated that it’s my new k-beauty destination:
- Super fast free shipping from Korea. Fast, free, and from Korea usually don’t appear together, so I was very impressed when I received my order in less than 2 weeks! And no, I didn’t have to order $200 worth of stuff – free shipping is available worldwide for orders $50+!
- Plenty of awesome deals. You can get $10 off your first order, and another $10 to use towards your next order with code WELCOME, or you can use my referral link and get 20% off your first order! Plus each week you’ll see extra discounts for specific products and brands, and that’s on top of their already low prices!
- Competitive prices. It’s one area Althea Korea prides themselves in, and from what I’ve seen their prices are definitely on the lower end, if not the lowest when you add the additional discounts.
- Carries some less common brands. In addition to most of the common brands (that everyone and their momma carries now, so nothing special there), they also carry brands like Klairs, Huxley, Pyunkang Yul, and Leegeehaam just to name a few. They’re adding new products and brands each week, so it’s exciting to see what else they’ll carry next!
- They cover return shipping (up to $10). Most Korea-based retailers don’t allow returns, and those that do definitely won’t cover your return shipping cost, so this was definitely a pleasant surprise.
Between price, product offering, and shipping cost + speed, Althea Korea hits the perfect sweet spot. But enough talk, let’s take a look to see what I hauled!
- Petitfee Gold & EGF Eye Spot Patch
- Lebanon Aqua Hydrating Essee Mask
- MOKSHA Dear mask honey – LOVE this one, the brightening + hydrating effects were still noticeable the next morning
- Make P:rem Comfort me Air Mask – smelled funny and no longer available
- APIEU Gold Silk Blanket Mask – horrible fit, made me look like C3PO but my skin loved it
- APIEU Silver Silk Blanket Mask – same as above, except in silver
- the SAEM Cover Perfection Tip Concealer (2.0 Rich Beige) – works just as well as my favorite Klairs concealer, but it’s too dark for my skin tone :(
- Nakeup Face Glam Fixer Mist – definitely not a fine mist, but seems to do a decent job of setting makeup while imparting a dewy glow
- Etude House Bling Bling Eyestick (09 Gold Tail Star) – perfect for highlighting the inner corners
- Pony Effect Stay Put Eye Stick (Deep Focus & Used To) – really great eyeshadow when you’re in a rush
All my products came well packed in a pretty pink box, which is more than I can say for other retailers (I’m looking at you Cult Beauty).
So up to now I’ve been singing Althea Korea praises, but let’s be honest, it definitely has its faults:
- A good number of their products are listed as out of stock, which can be frustrating to see. Personally I’d rather retailers just hide the product in that case.
- While they carry a good number of brands, the number of product offerings for each brand can be limited, especially for some of the less common brands.
- While they’re constantly adding new brands, I’ve noticed brands disappearing as well. For example, Make P:rem is no longer available on their site and I regret not buying the in-shower mask when I had the chance :(
- Their website can be slow at times, and when I say slow I mean sloooowwww. I’m guessing it’s because their server is based in Korea and I’m in the US. At least their shipping is fast!
None of these are deal breakers, more like minor annoyance, but I wanted to bring them to your attention in case you decide to shop there. As I said before, overall I’m really happy with my first purchasing experience from Althea Korea, even in spite of these minor issues. So if you’re looking to make your next k-beauty haul, I highly recommend checking them out!
I know Althea has been available in several Asian countries before coming to the US, so let me know if you’ve shopped there before and what your favorite products are! Have a great weekend everyone, and happy Easter to all that celebrate the holiday!