Swap your luxe, high-end skincare products for these K-beauty dupes that combines quality with affordable prices!
Korean brands have been introducing inexpensive alternatives (also known as "dupes") to pricey, high-end skincare products available on the market. Oftentimes, these Korean products feature the same ingredients, benefits, and even formulations, at a fraction of the price! Take a look below to see some of the best K-beauty dupes that help you save money while keeping your skin healthy:
1. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid ($25) / Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($37)
Pore problems? A BHA exfoliant is great for unclogging pores and minimising blackheads and breakouts. The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid contains 4% betaine salicylate, a gentler version of salicylic acid, as well as willow bark water, a naturally occuring BHA. Not only is it cheaper than Paula’s Choice, extra ingredients like panthenol and sodium hyaluronate also makes COSRX a gentler, less drying alternative.
2. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Borabit Ampoule ($55) / Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum ($150)
The Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Borabit Ampoule is a “do-it-all” anti-aging serum. It contains Bifida Ferment Lysate, a star ingredient that has been proven to improve skin elasticity and reduce signs of aging. This ingredient has also been featured in many other high-end skincare products, including the cult-classic Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. But what makes Missha a better dupe? It is loaded with antioxidants, retinol, and niacinamide, making it more effective at protecting and bringing elasticity back to the skin. And it’s almost a third of the price, which is always a bonus.
3. TIAM My Signature C Source ($23) / Cellex C Advanced C-Serum ($199)
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful ingredient known to reduce hyperpigmentation. The Advanced C-Serum by Cellex C is pretty much everyone’s first love in this regard, even by many red carpet A-listers. However, the hefty price tag will make a non-millionaire cry—we’re talking $199 for a tiny, teensy bottle! That’s why we love Tiam’s My Signature C Source (originally known as O.S.T C20 Original Pure Vitamin C Serum), a K-beauty bestseller which works brilliantly in fading hyperpigmentation and brightening dull skin with just a few uses.
4. Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence ($55) / SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($210)
The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is famed for its signature ingredient, pitera. Pitera is a naturally derived bi-product of yeast fermentation, from which its rich amino acid complex forms. For the frugal skincare junkies out there, the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence is made with over 90% fermented yeast extract from the Himalayan Purple Barley that is similar to the more expensive SK-II product to moisturise, clarify and improve skin elasticity while providing excellent hydration and skin renewal.
5. COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch ($6 for 24 paches) / Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots ($10 for 24 patches)
The COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch has become an absolute favorite in the K-Beauty world because of its effectiveness in absorbing surface toxins from whiteheads, and eliminating the most stubborn pimples. The hydrocolloid patch acts like a bandage that covers the infected area and protects it from further infection or irritation. It’s just as good—if not better than its more expensive PTR counterpart—and you get the same amount of patches for almost half the price!
6. COSRX Propolis Light Ampule ($30) / LeeJiHam Vita Propolis Ampoule ($46)
This last one is a little bit of a curved ball, because it's a dupe for another famous Korean beauty product! For any K-beauty lovers out there, you'll have heard of LJH, or LeeJiHam, and their ground-breaking Vita Propolis Ampoule. Propolis is great for revitalising the skin, evening out skin tone and texture, and improving dullness. However, LJH’s ampoule is far from the only formula that allows your skin to reap the benefits of propolis. I particularly enjoy COSRX's Propolis Light Ampule, which stands out due to its minimal ingredients. It has a similarly moist and hydrating texture, and leaves your skin all nice and glowy. All things considered, we’d pick this HG over the OG any day.