I realize that lately I’ve been reviewing a lot of high-end skincare and beauty products. I’m so incredibly grateful to the brands that have allowed me to review their products, but let’s be completely honest here, if I didn’t get free press samples, there’s NO WAY I’d be able to afford to try so many gorgeous products at a higher price point. And while I’ve found so many brands that I love and that I’d actually consider splurging on repurchasing, I need to tell you now that I don’t think you have to spend a fortune on beauty products to have a decent skincare routine.
In fact, what drew me to KBeauty and Asian skincare in the first place was how you could get high quality products for incredibly reasonable prices. Drugstore prices, even. So today I’ve decided to dedicate this post to Asian beauty products that are very budget-friendly, so you can build a routine that fits what you want to spend. I don’t really think it’s healthy or reasonable for people to be spending rent money on beauty products. While I’m all for treating yourself if you can afford it, I’m even MORE for being responsible with your spending choices.
Oh and also, you don’t have to start with a 10-Step skincare routine. In fact, I really think you should start with far less. Almost everyone can start with a makeup remover/first cleanser, a second cleanser, a toner, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen. I love the toner step and I think it’s amazing for budget routines because the right toner can double as an essence and serum too.
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite budget KBeauty buys. I’ve tried to keep all products under $20, with the exception of one cream. You can easily build a routine for yourself for under $100 using these products. Oh and I’m aware not all of these are Korean products — some are Japanese and Taiwanese — but I’ve put them under the label “KBeauty” just for simplicity and keyword search purposes.
Note: I’ve used affiliate links when they are available, but rest assured that I would recommend these products regardless. The affiliate links generate a tiny commission that helps keep this blog afloat, but you won’t pay a penny more than you would otherwise.
10 Budget KBeauty Best Buys
I’ve listed these in the order you would use them in a skincare routine, but you certainly don’t need so many steps (unless you want them)! Starting with double cleansing, a good toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen would be plenty.
1. Cleansing Balm/Oil Cleanser: Heimish All Clean Balm
I’m more of a cleansing oil girl myself for my first cleanse, but many people love and swear by the Heimish All Clean Balm, an oil-based first cleanser or makeup remover that has become something of a KBeauty classic. I’ve gone through several deluxe samples of this balm and I’ve enjoyed it (although I prefer the convenience of a pump bottle, hence my preference for oils). It gets the makeup off without drying out my skin.
Best thing is, although it looks and feels super luxe, the full 100g size of the Heimish All Clean Balm is usually less than $20 on Amazon Prime =).
2. Foaming Cleanser: Hada Labo Tokyo Hydrating Facial Cleanser
One of my favorite items on my budget KBeauty list is actually NOT a KBeauty product, but rather a facial product by the US Branch of a Japanese company, Hada Labo. This creamy foaming cleanser can be bought for about $8 on Amazon Prime, and it’s a dependably gentle cleanser that feels much more luxurious than its price point would have you believe. This was one of my first Asian beauty products, as detailed in my post about the Three Best Things I’ve Done For My Skin.
Buy it at Amazon Prime here.
3. Physical Scrub: 9wishes Rice Powder Polish
I kept going back and forth between the 9wishes Rice Powder Polish and the Skinfood Rice Mask Wash Off for an affordable exfoliating scrub. Both are very gentle, but I do think the 9wishes is more effective, even though it costs more.
Get the 9wishes scrub for $17 at BBCosmetic here, and get 8% off with my discount code DDVRQ03UP0SG
If you want to save a little money, the Skinfood Rice Mask Wash Off is another lovely gentle scrub option. Get it for $8.25 on Amazon Prime.
4. Acid Exfoliation: Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Toner
I’ve only been using this new AHA toner by Wishtrend for a week, but so far I really like it and I feel totally comfortable recommending it! It’s super gentle, feeling almost like you’re patting water onto your face, yet it’s effective enough that my skin feels noticeably softer and smoother the next morning. Think Pixi Glow Tonic, but gentler — this acid toner is perfect for smoothing your skin and giving you a little more of a glow. I think this is a great beginner acid product because you’re less likely to overdo it with this gentle formula. Do check out my post How To Use Acids In Your Skincare Routine if you’re new to AHAs.
Buy it at Wishtrend currently on sale for $18.70 (Get $5 off your first order with my promo code: 094575202)
5. Hydrating Toner: Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
I really like this gentle hydrating toner, which contains soothing botanical extracts and has an extremely clean ingredient list. I’ve reviewed the Pyunkang Yul Toner here. I personally find this so soothing to my skin when it is sensitized or irritated, and it’s surprisingly affordable for $19.
6. Hydrating Toner: Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
Another favorite toner of mine is Benton’s Aloe BHA Toner, which is reviewed here on the blog. I’ve repurchased it twice, I like it that much! This one is maybe more suitable for acne-prone skin, as the gentle BHA helps keep pores clear, but is still soothing and hydrating. Get it on Amazon Prime for $18.
7. Serum/Essence: Naruko Raw Job’s Tears Essence
This is one of my favorite essences, and I’ve reviewed it here on the blog. From Taiwanese beauty brand, Naruko, the Job’s Tears Essence absorbs super well and is subtly brightening and glow-inducing. It also layers very well with other products and is suitable for all skin types.
I’m usually one to recommend spending a little more on essences and serums as they pack the hardest-hitting ingredients (this essence, for example, contains gluconolactone). With the Naruko Raw Job’s Tears essence, you’re getting the perfect marriage of affordability and effectiveness, as it’s only $18 on Narukoboutique.
8. Cream Ladykin Vampir Dark Repair Cream
I’ve long since finished my jar of the Ladykin Vampir Dark Repair Cream, so I’ll have to use an old photo from my review of the cream. This cream oddly has a reputation for being quite expensive (the full retail price is $40), but I’ve been able to get it consistently for about $25 (I’ve purchased it for a few friends as well as for my mom). It’s absolutely worth it. This cream is incredibly buttery and moisturizing, but not at ALL heavy or greasy. Suitable for all skin types but especially dry ones.
I found it currently on sale at BBCosmetic for $23.77 (and you can get an additional 8% off with my non-affiliate code DDVRQ03UP0SG).
If you want to save a little more, the Goodal Waterest Moisture Barrier Cream gets great reviews and you can get it on Amazon Prime. You can’t beat that price for a good quality cream. I haven’t personally tried it myself but it’s currently on my wishlist!
9. Naruko Magnolia Brightening and Firming Night Gelly EX
Naruko is one of my favorite brands for getting awesome quality for an inexpensive price. The Magnolia Night Gelly is a sleeping mask that you wear overnight and I reviewed it here. It smells heavenly and gives my skin an extra boost for glowy, plump skin in the morning.
Buy it from Narukoboutique for $16.99 (sale price, they go on sale frequently so don’t buy full price).
10. Yadah Oh My Sun Slush
The Yadah Oh My Sun Slush looks pretty fun, but let me assure you, it’s more than just cute! This lovely gel sunscreen feels light and moisturizing on the skin, without feeling greasy or thick. I was pretty sad when I squeezed the last drops out of the tube. I’m glad it’s available for a good price on Amazon! Just be aware that this probably isn’t water-resistant.
Usually less than $20 on Amazon Prime
If you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite budget KBeauty buys, you might also enjoy my 5 Favorite Cheap Sheet Masks!
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I’ll get a small commission if you purchase a product through my link, but you won’t pay a penny more. Affiliate links do not influence my opinion on a product.