This review contains PR samples° and affiliate links* Today’s K-beauty review features a lesser-known derma brand – the Dr. Althea moisturisers have been impressing me over the winter, so I felt it was time for you to learn more about the Azulene Intensive Soothing Cream and Resveratrol Intensive Repair Cream!
Korean derma brands are such gems, and so often overlooked by the wider skincare community. Especially smaller brands from Korea may slip through the cracks of those big marketing machines that connect brands with well-known skinfluencers, and so all people can think of when they think “K-beauty” is…well, Cosrx, I guess. And you all know I love Cosrx, deeply, but sometimes I just like to see some variety and some more recognition of newer, smaller and equally great brands from Korea.
One of my ongoing missions as a beauty blogger, podcaster and writer is to highlight brands that maybe aren’t as well-known outside of Korea, and to show the global beauty community that K-beauty (and Asian beauty in general) is more than just cute packaging or the same 5 products from brands that just happen to have the best PR agencies, thus being able to afford some big-name influencer sponsorships.
So, Dr Althea – I had seen this brand on my Instagram feed a few times, but never consistently, so their products kept slipping my mind to be honest. When lovely UK-based Korean beauty shop Kosame* sent over a few of their products to try, two Dr. Althea moisturisers were part of the selection: the Dr Althea Azulene 147HA Intensive Soothing Cream and the Dr Althea Resveratrol 345NA Intensive Repair Cream instantly intrigued me due to the almost “clinical”, sort of old-school apothecary packaging and branding. They both come in aluminium tubes that my mind definitely connect to pharmacy brand style ointments and healing salves. During the past months, and especially when winter was in its coldest phase (so much snow!), I have really fallen in love with these two Dr Althea moisturisers, and one in particular truly captured my heart.
So, because I feel many of you may not know about these two great K-beauty creams and this promising Korean derma brand, let me just introduce you to the brand and its Azulene and Resveratrol moisturisers!
Dr. Althea Korea – Ingredient Transparency Meets Minimalist Brand Aesthetics
The first thing that stands out in terms of the Dr. Althea branding aesthetics is the emphasis on key ingredients and ingredient transparency. Sure, all brands by law have to give a list of ingredients used, but Dr. Althea products have them printed prominently on their packaging. This really caught my eye and made such a positive impression on me, it projects the idea of openness and pride in their formulas.
The name “Dr. Althea” does not, oh how sad, refer to an actual human doctor who founded the brand – Korean brands often like to use the “doctor” label to seem more reputable, I guess, which I always find a bit odd. This reminds me of the hilariously named K-beauty brand “Ärztin”, which literally means “female doctor” in German, while the brand is neither German nor, again, attached to any specific doctor, female or otherwise. Althea is actually the national flower of Korea, a hibiscus flower common in many parts of Asia, so there is a sense of pride for being a part of the Korean beauty industry projected here.
Dr. Althea does have an overall “derma brand” style product presentation, with a strong focus on reliable, soothing, fuss-free formulas that feature mostly plant-based, natural (whatever that very vague term means) ingredients. Dr. Althea products are aimed predominantly towards people with sensitive skin, so they are consciously mild and low irritant, meant to restore stressed out skin to its naturally healthy state.
Dr. Althea Korea Moisturisers Review: Azulene 147HA Intensive Soothing Cream
The Dr. Althea Azulene 147HA Intensive Soothing Cream is meant to be used as a night time moisturiser, and given its rich texture I would say it does work best for your PM routine. This is a great moisturiser choice if you have dry skin, while for my combo skin it is a tad too nourishing, except during winter, where I did enjoy it whenever my skin needed some extra pampering.
Apart from the name-giving guaiazulene – a wonderful calming, redness-soothing ingredient – this also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, Panthenol and anti-inflammatory turmeric root extract.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Dr. Althea Azulene 147HA Intensive Soothing Cream:
“Water, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Vegetable Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Betaine, Algae Extract, Eclipta Prostrata Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Tumeric) Root Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cyclohexasiloxane, C12-16 Alcohols, Panthenol, Polyquaternium-51, Squalane, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerol Stearate, Dimethiconol, Butylene Glycol, Palmitic Acid, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ceramide NP, Phytosqualane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Cellulose Gum, Stearic Acid, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hyaluronic Acid, Guaiazulene(10Ppm), Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Oligopeptide-1, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 61.”
Now, if you don’t do well with essential oils, this may not be a good fit, as there is geranium essential oil in this formula. It is free from alcohol/ethanol, however! The nourishing, emollient and occlusive quality of this cream comes from the added shea butter, squalane, and a number of plant oils, among them argan oil.
My camera wasn’t good at catching it, but this cream does have a very light blue tint from the azulene, which is a natural blue dye usually won from German blue chamomile, hence the name of this healing flower. The cream also faintly smells of the geranium flower oil it contains, a sweet scent that didn’t bother me overall. Even though this is a rich moisturiser, I really appreciate how well it spreads out and absorbs into the skin. The consistency is that of a thicker lotion, not too oily or too cloying, which I often struggle with when it comes to nourishing creams.
I like to use this when my skin feels very dehydrated or even dry, and it always helps to calm down my skin overnight. If you feel that the azulene-containing Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream* isn’t rich or moisturising enough for you (since it is a very light, very silicone-heavy, sleeping cream style formula), then you may enjoy the Dr. Althea Azulene Cream more! It is simple, but deceptively so given its amazing ingredients. This is a great choice for calming, soothing and fuss-free moisturising, and would also suit a unisex/non-gendered/male skincare routine very well, as indeed the entire Dr Althea brand lineup does!
The Dr. Althea 147HA Intensive Soothing Cream is available at Kosame Beauty* for 22£ for the 50ml tube, or at Amazon* for currently 12.99$. If you order at Kosame, make sure to use my coupon code “sugarpeachesloves” to get an extra 10% off your order!
Dr. Althea Korea Moisturisers Review: Resveratrol 345NA Intensive Repair Cream
This is my favourite out of the two Dr. Althea moisturisers, hands down! I’ve never seen such a unique and lovely texture before, and the ingredient list is such a treat. Resveratrol is a well-researched anti aging ingredient, a polyphenol won mostly from grapes that is packed full with antioxidants, known to help combat free radicals and thus slow down the aging process of the skin. French pharmacy brand Caudalie is known for its resveratrol-containing skincare products, but they are also starting to appear in more and more K-beauty products.
The Dr. Althea Resveratrol 345NA Intensive Repair Cream is an anti-aging cream primarily meant for day time use, but I honesty prefer it as a nighttime moisturiser. Apart from its star ingredient resveratrol, this is also enriched with a host of other anti-aging goodies, among them peptides, fig and turmeric extract, plus a skin-soothing trio of centella asiatica, houttuynia cordata and calendula. Furthermore, this cream is packed full of hydrating humectants such as three different types of hyaluronic acid, beta glucan, and glycerin.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Dr. Althea Resveratrol 345NA Intensive Repair Cream:
“Water, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methylpropanediol, 1,2-hexanediol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp Copolymer, Dimethicone/vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Algae Extract, Eclipta Prostrata Leaf Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Flower Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavendar) Flower Extract, Sargassum Fulvellum Extract, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Propolis Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Curcuma Longa (Tumeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Sodium Hyluronate, Niacinamide, Polyquaternium-51, Butylene Glycol, Fructooligosaccharides, Beta-glucan, Adenosine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Oligopeptide-1, Ceramide NP, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Resveratrol(1ppm), PEG-40 Castor Oil.”
Unlike the Dr. Althea Azulene Cream, the Resveratrol Cream doesn’t have a discernible scent – I believe it doesn’t contain any fragrance, though the fragrant flower extracts of lavender and a number of others may still cause sensitivities, so double-check if it’s ok for you.
Now, about the texture: it is so exceptionally pleasant! The Dr. Althea website describes it as an “ointment gel-cream”, which makes it sound somewhat heavy thanks to the “ointment” part. But, it is actually a lovely gel texture that feels super light, yet still has a more compact richness when compared to other gel-style moisturisers I’ve tried. I’ve really never used a moisturiser with a similar texture before, one that isn’t oily or greasy at all, yet still has the feel of a rich cream.
I feel that the Resveratrol Intensive Repair Cream ist just a perfect last step for a nighttime routine focused on hydration and replenishment, since it does such a superb job sealing in all those hydrating layers. The gel-cream seems to just melt into the skin, leaving it all smooth and glowy and happy. I cannot say if this really does have an anti aging effect as such, as I personally rarely see a moisturiser do anything miraculous in terms of stopping or slowing down the signs of ageing. But, it is a fantastic choice for anyone 30+ with combo or even oily skin: it gives deep moisture and skin barrier protection for anyone noticing more dehydration and dryness issues as they age. This is also great if you struggle with a compromised skin barrier, as it is a gentle replenisher. Now, it may not be moisturising enough if you have dry to very dry skin, in which case the Dr. Althea Azulene Cream is probably a better choice.
You can purchase the excellent, unique Dr. Althea Resveratrol 345NA Intensive Repair Cream at Kosame Beauty* for 22£ for the 50ml tube, or at Yesstyle* for currently around 22$. I am not surprised that this moisturiser seems to be sold out at many other shops right now – it really is so special!
Dr. Althea Moisturisers – My Final Thoughts
What a wonderful, underrated brand Dr Althea is! I really loved both of the creams I tried from the brand, though as you can probably tell, the Resveratrol Intensive Repair Cream is a clear favourite – it basically saved my skin this winter, and its unique texture just impressed me so much.
Let me know in the comments: Have you tried any of the Dr. Althea moisturisers or any of their other products yet?
Take care guys, and stay safe!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by a brand or shop – I am not obligated to write this blog article, was not paid for the article, and my opinions are entirely my own.
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