The best Korean beauty products for $15 or less

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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

Korean beauty

 

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).

Price: $12.75

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Problem: Acne
Solution: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch

Korean beauty

 

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: $11.23 for a 24-pack

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Problem: Tired after travel
Solution: Holika Holika Baby Pet Mask Sheet

Korean beauty

 

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: $9.98 for 4

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Problem: Skin feels tight after washing
Solution: Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Korean beauty

 

 

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.

Price: $9.20


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Problem: Fine lines
Solution: Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule

 

Korean beauty

 

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: $13.89 (regularly $22)

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Problem: Skin looks dull
Solution: Skinfood Black Sugar Mask

Korean beauty

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!)

Price: $9.49


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Problem: Puffy eyes, dark circles
Solution: The Saem Iceland Hydrating Eye Stick

Korean beauty Amazon

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)

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Problem: Redness
Solution: Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel

kbeauty Amazon

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: $9.60

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Looking for more skincare tips? Here’s what you need to know about doing a multi-step skincare routine and the best sheet masks to add into it. You may also enjoy our primers on choosing the best cleansertonersunscreen and more.

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Colette Bennett

Colette Bennett

Colette Bennett is a writer/editor who specializes in web culture, skincare, and all things geek. Her work has appeared on CNN, HLN, Engadget, Kotaku, Colourlovers, and Continue Magazine. She also writes horror and sci-fi fiction for Corona Books and is at work on her second novel.