Althea's Bare Essentials 3-step skincare review on acne prone combination to dry skin

1 May 2018

Hi kawans! A couple weeks back I received a box of products from Althea but I've yet to share what is in it with you guys. I know it's a little late but the wait is finally over!! I've been testing these products for a few weeks and I'm now ready to share my thoughts on Althea's first ever skincare line - Bare Essentials. 

In case you've never heard of it, Althea Korea started out as an online e-commerce store selling authentic Korean beauty products including brands like Laneige, 3CE, Peri pera etc. Last year they surprised everyone with their first ever beauty product - the Petal Velvet Powder, and just last month they've released the Bare Essentials skincare line. After all, before you hop into makeup, skincare always comes first!

After being blown away by Althea's Petal Velvet Powder, I guess you can say I have pretty high expectations for their Bare Essentials skincare line. This line consists of 3 products namely Bare Essentials' Contour Cleanser, Primer Water, and Fixer Cream. In hopes of promoting minimalism, these products are formulated to match the benefits of the infamous 10-step Korean Skincare routine while targeting 3 essential skincare needs - cleanse, tone, and moisturize at the same time minimizing the whole skincare routine to just 3 simple steps.

Full disclosure here, I have combination-dry skin with acne concerns(especially on the side of my face/cheeks & chin area) so I'll be addressing my review based on these areas as well. If you share similar skin concerns, make sure to keep on reading until the end to find out whether or not if this range is suitable for you! As this is probably the first time I'm reviewing a full range of skincare products in one posting, let me explain my current skincare routine along with how I've 'tested' these products as well.

[Current Skincare Routine]
My skincare routine usually goes like this: cleanser, toner, facial sheet mask (less than 5 times a month/every day if my skin feels horrible LOL), serum(twice a week), moisturizer, then sleeping mask. I don't have a fixed skincare routine but these are generally my all time needs.

[How I 'tested' Althea's Bare Essentials line]

Whenever I try a range of new products, I would feel the need to test the products individually first. Same goes for Althea's Bare Essentials, I've tested the products individually first before switching my entire skincare routine to just these three products together.(in case any of these products don't work for me, I'd know which didn't) Meaning I would first switch my usual cleanser to the Bare Essentials' Contour Cleanser while maintaining the rest of my usual skincare products. Two-three days later repeat this for the Primer Water and Fixer Cream.

After testing how the products feel/work individually with my usual products, the final step was to cut everything out and embrace the minimalism with Bare Essentials. Now that we're clear with my skin condition/usual skincare routine, it's time to ACTUALLY get into the review.

[Review Starts Here!!! Cleanse > Tone > Moisturize!]

Step 1: Cleanse with Bare Essentials Contour Cleanser 150g/5.29 oz - RM23

The first step would be to wash your face with Bare Essentials Contour Cleanser. This is a foam cleanser containing key ingredients like Ice plant and Lemon Verbena Leaf. The Ice plant ingredient is meant to hydrate and calm the redness on your skin while the Lemon Verbena Leaf has a strong detox effect. It is said to help soften and smoothen skin, calm and reduce acne, also to ease puffiness, and swelling.

As the name 'Contour Cleanser' suggests, the cleanser is said to remove impurities while improving blood circulation for a V-Shape face!

Now let's talk a little about the packaging. If you're into 'minimalist aesthetics' basically the 'Muji style', this has to be your cup of tea. I personally find myself liking both simple packaging and fancy luxurious ones but since we're promoting minimalism, this packaging definitely fits the bill for basic and clean.

You will only need this much product or less for each wash. When it comes to foam/milk cleansers, a little goes a long way. As for the scent, I'm not sure how to describe how the fragrance smells like, it is a little strong for my liking but I don't hate it either. I guess you could say I feel pretty neutral towards the scent of this cleanser?

The Contour Cleanser also contains Micro Capsules. These Micro capsules would pop and dissolve when in contact with water making it a better and more environmental-friendly gentle exfoliator for our skin. 

Told you a little goes a long way

Trying to achieve that V-Shape face because every time my bestie sees me she'll tell me my face got rounder HAHAHA

Overall thoughts Althea's Bare Essentials Contour Cleanser:

This being a foam cleanser does feel a little drying for me on my 'dry skin days'. Since I have combination-dry skin, this will not be an everyday cleanser for me but most likely I would use this only once or twice a week since I like how the micro capsules exfoliates my face. On the positive side, this cleanser did not give me any breakouts. While it did not give me any breakouts I do not think it has improved my acne either. I would say though, in terms of foam cleansers, this is by far the least drying one I've ever used.

For the "contour" part of this, I've been using this cleanser for 2 weeks(?) consecutively and I don't see any difference in my face shape but I guess this might seem more effective/obvious if you have puffy face moments in the morning? My face is just round from all the food I've been consuming so I guess a V-shape face for me is gonna take a little bit more effort to achieve than just washing my face! As for the price, I'll say it's a fair price to pay considering the part where it's not as drying as most foam cleansers out in the market.

In conclusion, I would rate this contour cleanser a 7/10. Price is affordable and it is a least drying foam cleanser. Would not recommend to those with dry skin but for people with normal-oily skin, go for it!

Step 2: Tone with Bare Essentials Primer Water 200ml - RM43

The next step is to tone your face using their Primer Water. This is said to work as a toner and a primer at the same time. Their Primer Water is formulated using patented dewdrop technology which is suppose to revitalize your skin and provide immediate and effective moisture. It also claims to improve suppleness by gently filling the gaps between pores and the skin(primer effect here?). This product also contains an ingredient called Snow Lotus which is said to have brightening energy, fixing dark spots on the skin, along with anti-aging properties.

I like how they've kinda debossed the Althea logo onto the lid. Admit it, a debossed logo is always 10x classier than a printed on one.

The way the bottle is designed really allows you to control how much product you want to dispense. If you tilt the bottle without squeezing, the product would come out drop by drop, when you squeeze it then it'll just...flow out quicker? (Is that even the proper way to describe this haha)

The consistency of this product is really interesting. It's nothing like any toning water I've ever seen but at the same time it's not like any gel primer either?? I'd say the consistency is somewhere in between water and gel, kinda reminded me of the 'almost-gel like' hand sanitizers as well.

Overall thoughts on Althea's Bare Essentials Primer Water:

First things first, I absolutely LOVE the scent of this Primer Water. It smells very light and refreshing, kinda reminds me of green tea products too! As for how it feels on my skin, I'm really liking it as well! I could tell that this Primer Water really does hydrate and leave a softer touch to my skin. Despite having a thicker consistency, my skin was able to absorb the product pretty quickly.

By the way, in terms of application, possibly because of it's consistency, rather than using a cotton pad like my current toner, I prefer to just pour a small amount of this Primer Water on my palm then applying it straight onto my face. This way it'll last me longer and I get to spend less money on toners!

Moving on, let's talk about how well this 'Primer water' works as a primer. My preference for face primers are exactly what Benefit's Porefessional could achieve, a matte, smooth, and minimized pores canvas. Althea's Bare Essentials Primer Water acts more like a hydrating primer instead. This is because it leaves a very soft sheen on my face, doesn't seem to minimize the appearance of my pores, nor does it turn my face matte. It DOES however hydrate my skin and smoothen it slightly at the same time!

Initially when I heard that this is a toner + primer, I was worried if it would clog my pores and cause me to breakout but none of that happened. I got no new breakouts from using it and it has even made my skin feel nicer to touch!

Last but not least, because of how affordable this is and because it has dual functionality (toner + primer), I'd rate this a solid 8.5/10 great product! 100% on my repurchase list!!

Step 3: Moisturize with Bare Essentials Fixer Cream 50g/1.76oz - RM50

The final step to Althea's Bare Essentials 3-step minimalist skincare routine would be moisturize! This is their Fixer Cream, in other words it's also the 'moisturizer' in the Bare Essentials range. Sometimes I wonder why can't Korean products just use straightforward terms like moisturizer T.T? Anyways, this Fixer Cream claims to keep your skin hydrated for up to 24 hours! It contains ingredients like Trehalose, Baobab Tree, and Wild Green Tea. 

Trehalose is used to help retain moisture in the skin, Baobab Tree is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C which promotes collagen formation. This helps to achieve a glowing skin and prevent wrinkles too! Another key ingredient, wild green tea too is rich in antioxidants, has anti-aging properties and is said to treat oily skin as well!

Okay so fun fact: I couldn't open the lid for this fixer cream no matter what. My mom and sister couldn't either so thankfully Yhang came over the next day and opened it for me ahaha! In this case I guess I would say I love the packaging design but it was just so hard to open T.T

After using this for 2 weeks straight, there's still this much product left.

This is all you need or even less. Don't take any more than this unless you plan to cover your neck as well.

It's a rich and heavy moisturizer so I recommend to use only a small amount. If you are used to lightweight gel moisturizers, you would either have to take some time to get used to this or you might just not like this product at all. It has a pleasant calming lavender scent to it which I really like. One thing I didn't like is that it leaves a slightly sticky and oily feeling on my skin. Although it's bearable, I'd like it better if it just dries to nothing. 

Overall thoughts on Bare Essentials Fixer Cream:

After using this for two weeks consecutively, I personally still prefer a lighter moisturizer. Because of it's consistency and formula I really advice to use only a TINY amount. I noticed that if I applied too much, my face would feel super oily. If I use only a tiny bit, the oily feeling would still be there but a much tolerable one. It's a heavy moisturizer so now I only apply a small amount of it at night before going to bed. Practice this and the next morning you would wake up with a healthy glow. 

In terms of acne, I did wake up with a fresh pimple if I applied too much of it. Which is also part of why I advice to use only a tiny amount. When applying the small and right amount, I won't get any new acne :) TRICK HERE IS....less is crucial! It's really hard to explain how the human skin works, a product could work and not work for you depending on the amount you apply haih. 

Lastly, I'm rating this a 5/10 because I didn't like how heavy it felt and how if I apply too much by accident, my face turns very oily and I'd wake up with a pimple.(don't worry, just 1 new pop up that's all) Price is really affordable and considering how small of an amount I have to use each time, it will take me forever to finish using this. Love the calming lavender scent. Overall it's a decent product but would personally only recommend this to those with very dry skin without acne concerns!

[Final thoughts on Althea's Bare Essentials Skincare line]

I think Bare Essentials has delivered a few of what it has promised. Not only is their packaging embracing the beauty of simplicity, it is pretty thoughtful for easily confused consumers too! Behind the products, it actually tells you which product to use first saving people like me all the googling trouble. Speaking about packaging, the frosted glass look actually elevates the classiness of these products compared to cheap glossy plastic looking ones. Really appreciate that! 

Next would be the price, the Bare Essentials series is really affordable and I do think you really get what you pay for, if not even more. I would recommend the cleanser only to people with normal/oily skin, for combination-dry skin like mine, I would advise against this. Even though you could alternate it with a gel cleanser, I personally would just avoid foam cleansers. If you really like the milky feeling, try a milk cleanser and alternate it with a gel cleanser instead. For the Primer water, 100% recommend to all skin types as a toner or hydrating primer!! As for the Bare Essentials Fixer Cream, I would only recommend this to people with dry skin. Even though I have combination-dry skin, I'll probably pass on this just because I prefer something lighter. Both cleanser and Primer Water are very acne prone skin friendly but the Fixer Cream on the other hand might give you a pimple or two if you apply too much of it. (at least that's from my personal experience la)

Last but not least, despite this being a 3-step skincare routine, I think in the future when I continue using these products while alternating the cleanser, I would still add a step 4 to it which is my Laneige water sleeping mask and occasional facial sheet masks haha! Also for my acne prone skin kakis do take note that while most of this range is suitable for us, you'd still have to include your usual acne care treatments like tea tree oil etc! I may have acne but I try my best to just drink more water and keep my stress management better now haha. Occasionally I'd use a tea tree mask though!

Thank you so much for reading until the end, if you've decide to skip until the end, just read my 'final thoughts' ba. By the way, Althea is currently having a promotion!! For those interested to try the entire Bare Essentials skincare series, if you purchase the entire set, you will be entitled to a 10% off discount and you will also be receiving a free beauty mirror! (while stocks last so hurry up!)

That is all for today's review, I hope this review helps my fellow combi-dry skin + acne prone skin kawans. If you've tried these products out, let me know whether or not if you like em! Until then and see you guys on my next post! 

Get these products on HERE now!

Althea's Bare Essentials are sent to me to review but all opinions stated above are 100% unbiased! 


  1. I am loving all bits and pieces of your thoughts...I would actually recommend using the fixer cream for morning only instead of at night...because i too have oil beads popping at my chin area in the morning if I used it at night. Besides that, I am on the same page as you with the primer water, but I am rating that 10/10...hahhaha it has made my foundation and other makeup products stick onto my face for a much longer period.

    1. Thank you Yana! I find it a little too thick for me if I use it during the day but maybe you can try reducing the amount you are using and see it'll be better? Even during the night because the moisturizer is so rich I use only a tiny bit haha! I think this tub will last me forever! Wa nice! Sometimes when I'm using my matte primer I would mix another luminous primer so it wont be so drying but since this toner is on the hydrating side I can stop buying my luminous primer and just use this + my matte primer instead! xD


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