review : Althea Bare Essentials Collection

Althea Bare Essentials |
As an Asian beauty enthusiast, I'm no stranger to Althea. I browse their site almost regularly, checking to see what new products they have in store every now and then. Last year they also came out with a hot new product of their own, the Petal Velvet Powder*, which became a favorite of mine almost instantly. And so when I got word earlier this year that they were coming out with their own skincare products, that got me super excited! I'm equally as excited to be talking about it today—the Althea Bare Essentials* skincare line!

Are you someone who wants to get started with Asian skincare, but always found it intimidating and don't know where to start? Or are you someone who has all these skincare products, but no time to deal with doing a multi-step routine in the morning/night? Althea recongized these problems and came up with a solution. With its new skincare line, Althea strips down to the bare essentials of skincare – hence the name. This line only consists of 3 products: a cleanser, a toner, and a moisturizer.

Althea Bare Essentials |
Contour Cleanser
150g/5.29 oz
Althea Bare Essentials |
Contour Cleanser - a rich and refreshing foaming cleanser that contains microcapsules to both cleanse and gently exfoliate away impurities while improving blood circulation for that V-shaped look.

Key ingredients: Ice plant which hydrates and calms redness; Lemon myrtle which is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to strengthen the skin. Full ingredients list + analysis here.

Althea Bare Essentials |
The very first item in the skincare line is the Contour Cleanser. The most basic of all skincare steps. If you're way too tired for anything, the least you can do is wash your face before collapsing into bed, right? This foam cleanser removes dirt and makeup residue without leaving my skin feeling tight. It also has microcapsules for gentle exfoliation. The microcapsules are tiny and dissolve with water, and don't feel abrasive against the skin at all. My favorite thing about it though, is the cooling effect. Feels so good especially in 35° weather!

Another plus point for me is the strong lemon verbena scent. I like scents like these because they're very invigorating. But I'm not sure others would be okay with it. From my experience with skincare, I know that products with strong fragrances have a tendency to cause breakouts or irritation in some people, so that might be a problem. I personally didn't experience any problems with this, but YMMV.

Althea Bare Essentials |
I initially thought the reason why the product was named 'Contour Cleanser' was because they were referring to the contours of the face, lol. It turns out that the reason was because you can use the cleanser to create a rich and creamy lather, which you can use to massage your face while cleansing.

Althea Bare Essentials |
Primer Water
Althea Bare Essentials |
Primer Water - smooth, hydrating and ever so slightly balm-like, this bottle of wonder penetrates into the layers of the skin to plump them up, prepping the skin and making it a smooth canvas for products to come.

Key ingredients: Snow Lotus which smoothens and brightens the skin while evening out its texture; Patented 'dewdrop' formulation which revitalizes the skin and provides immediate, effective moisture. Full ingredients list + analysis here.

Althea Bare Essentials |
The second item in the set is the Primer Water, which is a hydrating toner that's watery, but similar to a serum in texture. It's similar to my favorite Hada Labo lotions, in that regard. It's very hydrating, yet lightweight and non-greasy. Plus it absorbs fairly quickly! It doesn't feel sticky upon application so you can use this for the 3-skin or 7-skin method as well. In the mornings, I use this with a cotton pad to wipe my face, and then apply another layer of the Primer Water using my hands.

One thing to note is that this does have fragrance, as well as alcohol. The scent is a bit strong at first, but disperses quickly. I don't have a problem with alcohol in skincare per se, but I do feel cautious about using a toner with alcohol in it, especially since I use it every day. I've been using this for 3 months now though, with no apparent negative effects. (Please always remember to patch test before using new products!)

Althea Bare Essentials |
Fixer Cream
50g/1.76 oz
Althea Bare Essentials |
Fixer Cream - powerful moisturizing properties are packed into this little jar that provides the skin with hydration for up to 24 hours for a fresh, revitalized complexion.

Key ingredients: Trehalose which is a powerful humectant that retains moisture on the skin; Wild Green Tea which is hydrating, skin soothing and packed with antioxidants; Baobab Tree Extract which is a non-greasy moisturizing agent that helps promote collagen production. (I also found out that this product contains Centella Asiatica, which in 2017 became a hot ingredient in the Korean skincare scene because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties.) Full ingredients list + analysis here.

Althea Bare Essentials |
Last but not least is the Fixer Cream! This is my favorite product in the set! It's a cream, but the texture is slightly gel-like. It's hydrating and moisturizing, but also not at all greasy. For a cream, it actually feels very light on the skin! Upon application, it does feel a bit tacky, but after a few minutes it'll absorb right into the skin. The first night that I used this, I woke up with my skin feeling soft. Not oily at all!

I use the Fixer Cream during both morning and night. At first I was hesitant to try and use this during the day because I have oily skin, but somehow it just works for me! The trick is to apply it on the drier parts of your face like the cheeks and then spread it from there. Pat until it's fully absorbed into the skin before moving onto the next step. I've worn it under makeup and I didn't get super oily or anything!

The only issue I had with this was the packaging, which was SO HARD TO OPEN. I'm not sure if it's because of accumulated pressure during shipping or what, but it took me MINUTES of using SHEER BRUTE FORCE to open it. I still remember my hands getting red from that time, lol. That aside, the product itself is great.

Althea Bare Essentials |
Overall, the Althea Bare Essentials Set is a great skincare line with all the basics covered. You actually only need to add sunscreen to this formula and you're all set! For more seasoned skincare veterans though, this might not be for you. (Unless you're looking to downsize your skincare routine, that is!) Also, for people with very specific skin problems such as dark spots or acne, just using this set won't be enough. This is great for keeping your skin looking healthy and soft, but you'll still need specific serums and treatments to target your skin problems. That said, you can use this as your bare-bones routine, and then just add what you need. I have dark spots, so I added a Vitamin C serum to the mix. I also add a serum or essence depending on what I feel like my skin needs. I like that the Bare Essentials Set works well with all my other products in this way.

My current routine kind of looks like this:
Morning routineEvening routine
  1. Cleanse with water
  2. Wipe face with the Primer Water + cotton pad
  3. Apply Primer Water with my hands
  4. Apply Fixer Cream on my cheeks, then spread the remaining cream on the rest of my face
  5. Apply sunscreen
  1. Remove makeup with micellar water
  2. Cleanse with Contour Cleanser
  3. Apply Vitamin C serum, wait 15 minutes
  4. Wipe face with the Primer Water + cotton pad
  5. Apply Primer Water with my hands
  6. If I'm not super tired, apply essence of choice
  7. Apply and massage Fixer Cream on my whole face
And when I'm too tired/lazy to do all this, I just use the three products (plus sunscreen in the morning!). Personally, as someone who stopped doing proper skincare for a long time, the Bare Essentials line helped me get used to doing a multi-step routine again.

You can get the Althea Bare Essentials Set on Althea. You can choose to buy each item individually, or get them as a set. If you choose the latter, you get a 10% discount (₱1,323 instead of ₱1,470!), plus a free hand mirror! :)

DISCLAIMER: The products in this post were sent to me by Althea for review, but the opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links before you make a purchase means that receives a small commission, which helps to support the blog. Please see my full disclaimer for more information.