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The best Korean beauty products for $15 or less
Learn why K-beauty has cult status with these cheap goodies.
You may have noticed Korean beauty products appearing everywhere from Sephora to CVS these days. If you’ve never tried it, now is a great time to start – and the barrier to entry is super low in terms of cost.
K-beauty is formulated with sensitive skin in mind. It may be that, in addition to its focus on layering products for moisture, that keeps people coming back both in and outside of South Korea.
If you want to try it out, you can start cheap. That’s another one of the draws of Korean beauty: affordability. The products on this list won’t cost more than $15 and have been tested by yours truly.
The best Korean beauty products for every skin issue
Problem: Dry skin
Solution: Mizon Snail Recovery Gel
Snail secretions are the primary gospel of the Korean beauty world. If it freaks you out to consider putting snail slime on your face, imagine having glowing, happy, clear skin. That might get you over it (and into the valley of Korean skincare).
Buy on Amazon
Solution: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch
Wake up with a breakout, but have a date in a few days? Pop one of these little hydrocolloid patches on it and watch as it sucks out all the gunk and accelerates the healing process. It also keeps the pimple safe from dirt and further irritation as it heals. Basically, Korean beauty magic.
Price: $11.99 for a 24-pack
Problem: Tired after travel
Solution: Holika Holika Baby Pet Mask Sheet
It’s a fact that the weird air inside an airplane dries your skin out, not to mention long flights are exhausting. Fix that with a sheet mask, which replenishes moisture while delivering anti-aging ingredients to the skin. If animal faces aren’t your style, check out our guide to the 20 best sheet masks you can buy.
Price: $9.99 for 4
Problem: Skin feels tight after washing
Solution: Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Many people believe tight-feeling skin means it’s extra clean. What it actually means is that that pH level of your skin is way off healthy levels, making it painfully dry. Fix that with a low pH cleanser, which will ensure that your skin’s moisture levels stay happy and help reduce breakouts as well.
Problem: Fine lines
Solution: Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule
In America, we are taught to slap on cream and expect it to magically age us backward. Koreans believe in layering products as an investment in our skin, which will lead to results over time. One of the important layers is the ampoule, which is an extra layer of moisture that is thinner than a cream but thicker than a toner. Adding one into your routine will produce results. And yes, it’s snails again. Told you.
Price: $14.08 (regularly $22)
Buy on Amazon
Problem: Skin looks dull
Solution: Skinfood Black Sugar Mask
Exfoliating the skin once a week is a necessity if you want to reveal its healthiest glow. Skinfood’s Black Sugar Mask quickly became a cult product in the K-beauty movement for its rich texture, lovely scent, and large granules, which do a perfect job of sloughing off dead skin. Bonus: You can use it on other parts of the body too (great to care for your feet during winter!)
Problem: Puffy eyes, dark circles
Solution: The Saem Iceland Hydrating Eye Stick
If you already use an eye cream but find your eyes distressingly puffy as the day goes on, you might want to try a hydrating stick like this one from The Saem. It will also reduce the appearance of dark circles and has a cooling effect. Plus, it’s enjoyable to pull a little polar bear out of your makeup bag.
Price: $8.99 (regularly $12.99)
Solution: Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel
As you may already know, the aloe vera plant has terrific healing properties. That makes it an ideal candidate for a soothing gel. Holika Holika’s comes in a large container and is great on everything from sunburn to post-gym redness. You can also use it a moisturizer for face and body since its 99% fermented aloe vera leaf juice.
Price on Amazon: $7.50
MORE BAZAAR DEALS:
- How to do the Korean Beauty 10-step skincare routine
- These are the 5 best sheet masks for oily skin
- 10 Korean skincare brands that are worth your money
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Colette Bennett is a writer and editor who specializes in geek culture, beauty products, and Amazon deals. Her work has appeared on CNN, HLN, Engadget, Kotaku, Colourlovers, and Continue Magazine. She's also given talks on working in news for CNN's Leadership Unplugged program. Bennett also runs popular Korean beauty blog Chok Chok Beauty and regularly slathers her face in snail slime.