Recently, biofuels and nutraceuticals produced from microalgae have emerged as major interests, resulting in intensive research of the microalgal biorefinery process. In this paper, recent developments in cell-wall disruption and extraction methods are reviewed, focusing on lipid and astaxanthin production from the biotechnologically important microalgae Chlorella and Haematococcus, respectively. As a common, critical bottleneck for recovery of intracellular components such as lipid and astaxanthin from these microalgae, the composition and structure of rigid, thick cell-walls were analyzed. Various chemical, physical, physico-chemical, and biological methods applied for cell-wall breakage and lipid/astaxanthin extraction from Chlorella and Haematococcus are discussed in detail and compared based on efficiency, energy consumption, type and dosage of solvent, biomass concentration and status (wet/dried), toxicity, scalability, and synergistic combinations. This report could serve as a useful guide to the implementation of practical downstream processes for recovery of valuable products from microalgae including Chlorella and Haematococcus.