As a Korean, you’re often asked whether you spend half your income on skincare products. How else do you maintain K-drama glass skin sans K-drama boyfriend (think tall, brooding CEO’s son)? The truth is that in Korea, proper skincare has always been a necessity, not a luxury, and the pricing reflects this mentality. Of course, you can also indulge in creams that cost an arm and a leg, but take it from a Seoulite who lives for glass skin—whether you’re looking for a bargain or a bank-buster, not all products are created equal. On that note, we’ve rounded up the best K-beauty buys for every budget.


Cleansers are the very basic of skincare, so it’s important to get one that works for you. And sometimes, that could mean paying a bit more just because your skin asks for it.


Toner may be one of the “basic three” steps of a skincare regime, but you can choose to skip this if you think your skin doesn’t need this step. That said, toners have evolved from the alcohol-packed astringents to exfoliating and moisturising ones. Depending on your skin condition, you might need to alternate between different types of toners.


Anyone who tells you that you don’t need moisturiser is lying—even the oiliest of skins need moisturisers, not to add on more oil, but to keep the oil-water balance in check. If you have oily skin, opt for hydrating moisturisers or oil-free formulae.

Text: Kelly Im