Quiescent and nearby molecular dense cores are ideal targets to study the initial conditions for the formation of relatively isolated low mass stars. Despite of the progress in the knowledge of the star formation sequence for low-mass stars, little is known about their initial stages. In our study, we aim at improving our understanding of the formation, survival, and evolution of low-mass dense cores. In a twofold approach, we firstly observationally studied a set of very young starless dense cores in the magnetized Pipe nebula. We found most of them to have extremely low densities, to be gravitationally unbound, but likely in hydrostatic equilibrium. We found an unexpected, very rich chemistry. The chemical properties are well differentiated as a function of the core density, suggesting an evolutionary sequence. Secondly, we fitted a set of models of magnetized collapsing clouds to the more evolved Class 0 source NGC1333 IRAS4A. Our results showed that the standard ideal-MHD star formation theory is compatible with the source data and, tracing the models history back, that the initial conditions assumed are compatible with the properties derived for the Pipe nebula starless dense cores.