All of the gloss, none of the sticker shock

All of the gloss, none of the sticker shock

Ohlolly K-Beauty Journey: Katie Reading All of the gloss, none of the sticker shock 7 minutes Next Review: Heimish All Clean Balm

Your guide to K-beauty on a budget

As an editor for Ohlolly, and a true K-beauty convert, I spend a fair amount of time touting the wonders of Korean skincare. The innovative products. The unique ingredients. The advanced formulas. You see what I mean. With all this boasting, I field a lot of questions from people who are interested in starting their own Korean skincare routine. But the number one factor that has them on the fence? The cost. Yep, I understand.

When I first started diving into the global phenomena of K-beauty, I read numerous skin success stories, but with a hefty price tag, like this article from the Huffington Post who quotes her new beauty routine at $662 every three months. I’ll do the math for you. That’s $2648 a year. Of course you could easily spend that much money, or more, on any kind of skincare routine, but the good news is that a $500 down payment isn’t necessary to begin building your own Korean skincare routine and see positive changes in your skin.

So let’s get specific, how much cash are we talking? Well, unfortunately there is no set price, since one of the main perks of  Korean skincare is its customizability for your skin’s unique needs. BUT, I promise it’s less than you think, if you follow a few simple tips below. Plus, I’ll share some Ohlolly favorites all under 20 bucks.

Tip-toe, don’t dive

Korean skincare is infamous for its 10 plus, multi-step routines. And even if you’re ready to jump all in, if you’re a Korean skincare newbie, I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, add a couple key products to your existing routine. This not only helps your wallet, but also your skin. It takes time for your skin to adjust to new ingredients. If you add seven new steps all at once and you have a reaction, it will be almost impossible to determine which product is the culprit. Plus, if you’re like me, switching from a simple two-step routine to multiple steps is overwhelming. And you’re likely to quit before seeing results.

So start slow.

If you’re brand new to Korean beauty, I always recommend adding an oil cleanser. Double-cleansing is a main pillar of Korean skincare. Oil cleansers are super gentle and work for every skin type, even oily! Use an oil cleanser as the first step in the evening to take off all oil-based impurities like makeup and sunscreen.

“My life has been changed by double cleansing starting with this baby.”

Our best-seller Heimish All Clean Balm / $18

Another Korean skincare staple? Sheet masks. These inexpensive, yet oh so effective masks are soaked with beneficial ingredients to leave your skin feeling moisturized and revitalized in mere 15 minutes.

“I love this mask; it calms, clears and put my skin into prime condition…”

Some snail goodness, Cosrx Holy Moly Snail Mask / $3

Still lazy about sunscreen? No more excuses! K-beauty is all about prevention and the number one way to prevent signs of aging is sun protection. And because Korean skincare is so serious about their sunscreen, you can expect advanced formulas at amazing prices.

“I don't think I'm ever going back to another sunblock after this.”

Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream with SPF 50 protection and long-lasting hydration. / $15

Do your research

An easy way to waste money is to buy your products based on packaging. Don’t get me wrong, we adore well-designed packaging at Ohlolly. But just because it’s cute, doesn’t mean it’s good, and just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. So before you start loading up your shopping cart, spend some time really getting to know your skin. If you’re prone to breakouts, when do you breakout? And where? Are you oily on part of your face and dry on the other? What causes your redness? Heat? Stress? When it comes to your skin, knowledge is power.

A main reason K-beauty has built such a loyal following is because there are products to aid every specific skin concern. There is no blanket Korean skincare routine and this is where all those steps come into play. To begin, target a main skin concern you want to address, like controlling excess oil or fighting wrinkles. 

1. Amp-up the moisture

If you’re dealing with dry skin, add a couple ultra-hydrating steps, like a moisturizing toner to use immediately after cleansing and an sleeping mask to add extra hydration throughout the night.

“This essence toner is my favorite product ever!! It instantly makes my skin feel like it just soaked up a glass of water."

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner / $19

“Love, love, LOVE this mask... By morning, I can tell that it really seeped into my skin and hydrated my face.”

Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight  Mask / $16
If your skin tends to be dry and dehydrated, try the Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask / $16

2. Fight signs of aging

If aging skin is your main concern, trying adding a brightening essence to keep skin looking youthful and eye masks to keep crow’s feet at bay.

“My skin loves this brightening essence! I have seen an improvement in texture and softness using this less than a month!”

Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence / $24

“Works every time. Visible difference!”

Pettifee Black Pearl & Gold Hydrogel Eye Patch / $12

"Start early when it comes to anti-aging skincare regimen. Also, invest a little more here and your skin will thank you later."

Huxley Anti-Gravity Cream for firm texture and a youthful glow. / $48

3. Control oil and acne

With oily or acne-prone skin, there is a temptation to over-scrub and avoid moisturizing products. Instead, try a gentle, but effective cleanser and a BHA-infused moisturizer.

“Powerful cleanser that won't leave skin feeling tight and dry. I noticed how bright and super clean my skin felt after first use. At $12 it's a real steal.

Pyunkang Yul Cleansing Foam / $12

“Control excess oil production without stripping.”

Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pads takes care of it all. / $19
If your skin tends to be dry and dehydrated, try the One Step Moisture Up Pads / $19

Not just for treating blackheads. Your overall complexion will benefit from this moisturizing cream.

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Cream / $20

Join the club

When you shop with us, you get perks. It’s called Ohlolly rewards and it’s an easy way to save some mulah. Join Ohlolly rewards and automatically earn 100 welcome points then continue to earn points for shopping and sharing the Ohlolly love. Redeem 250 points to get $5 off your next order or 400 points to get $10 off.

Also, when you sign up for an Ohlolly account, you’ll be the first to know about sales and free shipping days. I promise we won’t overwhelm your inbox. We send about three emails a month. (Psst: we also hosts giveaways on IG). Basically, we wanna be friends. That’s why we’re always here to answer any skincare questions and offer specialized advice at

Because of the astounding number of K-beauty products and brands on market, prices have no choice but to be competitive, which is good news for you and your paycheck. And at Ohlolly, making Korean skincare accessible and affordable is our priority. We’re always on the hunt for the latest and greatest of K-beauty to bring to you at the best price.

Ready to get started? Get 10% off your first order with code OHLOLLYLOVE.

Written by Kait / Editor @