How to build your Korean Beauty Routine on a budget

So today we are going to address the elephant in the room. Is Korean beauty expensive? And can you actually start the whole Korean skincare journey when you just have a tight budget? Students, youngsters and our fellow beauty lovers in general don’t always have the big bucks ready to splurge. Even as a store owner I am basically a Korean Beauty lover first. Everything we select for our store is curated by me or my team with a very specific audience in mind. Because I know exactly what it is like to be running from part-time job to part-time job and just be happy to splurge on some clothes from time to time. We know the students, shopaholics, kbeauty addicts and all of you in and out. But today, let’s focus on you, because you want to start with Korean beauty without spending a fortune and I’m going to tell you how.

Down with the basics

Even though we are not going to buy the whole 10 step skincare routine at once we are heavily inspired by it for this post. The 10 step skincare routine is just a guideline but is created with the thought of improving your skin behind it. So it’s good to know these basics. Spending too much money happens when we don’t even know what to buy so ‘we just buy it all’. This way you end up with a lot of products you might not even need or even disliking the product because of something silly. By something silly I mean: buying a moisturizing gel when you actually prefer a thick consistency. Or buying an essence when you don’t really know how to use it or incorporate it. So please while you are on a reading spree already, continue reading with our Korean Beauty for Beginners 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine and you will be far ahead on the Kbeauty road!

So what do I actually need?

We want to improve and protect our skin while sticking to the budget so we are getting down to the basics here. If you have seen my Korean 10 step skincare routine post before I put a lot of emphasis on certain steps, so this won’t come as a surprise to you. My magical Kbeauty mantra is:

  • Cleanse
  • Moisturize
  • Protect

Cleansing is essential especially for those of us who wear makeup. If you wear makeup, double cleansing is unavoidable. Most skincare issues I see with starter routines actually come from improper cleansing. We need that oil cleanser to remove our makeup and a gel or a foam based cleanser to clean our skin.

Moisturizing is skipped way too often especially by oily skintypes. Dehydrating your skin will actually make your skin produce more oil to make up for the lack of moisture. Dry skintypes who skip moisturizing will quickly have to face with early signs of aging, irritation and flaky skin. Not very pleasant..

Last but not least is protecting. A sunscreen might not be the most exciting kbeauty product but in my opinion it’s one of the most, if not the most essential. Protecting your skin from UVA rays and UVB rays with a good sunscreen will actually save you some big bucks later on in life. You can probably imagine anti-aging serums being way more expensive compared to a sunscreen.

Multi-use products

If you are on a really tight budget, like with the first routine I created below, the key is multi-use products. Well known game changers are Korean toners and essences as they can be used in so many different ways. A popular technique which came around in 2017 is the 7-skin-method where you apply a gentle toner 7 times to build up moisture. This way you remove excess, sebum, hydrate your skin and improve the blood circulation at the same time. After the 7 skin method you can skip the essence and serums and go straight to your moisturizer. Another great way is using your essence as a toner or a moisturizer instead. This is perfect for oily skintypes who love lightweight consistencies on their skin. You don’t always have to go by the book my friends.

Setting a budget & sticking to it

You can easily set up a budget for yourself now that you know what you need to buy. If you still need to save up, think how much you can save up every month and really keep that amount separate. Don’t splurge on things you don’t need while saving such as a new sleeping pack while you have 3 sleeping packs sitting on your vanity. This way you will actually reach your saving goal quicker and you can buy all the items you originally wanted.

Example routines

To prove to you that it’s possible to create a successful routine at a budget I actually created three routines at three different price points. Do I sound like Buzzfeed’s Worth It show now? Anyway, these can be used as a base to create your own routine at your own budget so take a look at them below.

Korean Beauty routine below $50 

For this routine we selected more moisturizing products so this is a perfect routine for dry skintypes. So did we nail the budget? We spend a total of €40,99 for this routine which roughly converts to $48! So yes, first routine succeeded and we even have $2 left. So let’s celebrate and purchase a sheetmask for $2! Onto the next routine!

Korean Beauty routine below $65 / €55

This is looking pretty much like a solid routine for acne prone / oily skintypes. For this routine we spend €52,99 which roughly is around 62$. So yes, there’s room for a sheetmask here too! If you are a daily makeup wearer I would suggest a second cleanser to go from a great routine to a perfect routine. A great suggestion which fits perfectly with the other products in this routine is the Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam. If you add the second cleanser you would come to a total of €62,- which is still a pretty good deal for your skin.


Korean skincare routine below $100 / €85

The final routine comes to a total of €84,- which is around $98. This routine is a perfect routine for all skintypes, including normal and sensitive skin. In my eyes this is the perfect routine for any beginner to Korean Beauty and similar to one of my previous personal routines.

Final thoughts

The last routine is the perfect resemblance of a great skincare routine and what you would spend for such a routine. I hope this introduction and these examples will help you create your own skincare routine at your own budget. Just make sure to take your time creating your routine. Read the product details, read the reviews, ask us questions and make use of the huge online Korean beauty community. There are so many people who love Korean beauty in the world so share your thoughts and routines with them and it might even inspire someone else. Be creative, you don’t have to follow any of the above routines to a T. Just discover what works best for your skin condition.

Lots of love,



One thought on “How to build your Korean Beauty Routine on a budget

  1. says:

    Hi Mika, check brands such as Benton and Pyunkang Yul or Pure Heals. They generally work only with natural ingredients and are pretty affordable too! For example you can try: Pure Heals Propolis Cleansing Milk, Pyungkang Yul Mist Toner and as a moisturizer the Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel (if you prefer something lightweight) or the Pyunkang Yul Nutrition Cream (if you prefer a thicker cream). Hope that helps!

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