My Favorite Korean Skincare Bargains for K-Beauty Newbies

I may be biased, but aren’t Korean women some of the most beautiful in the world?  I’m convinced one of the reasons for this is because of their obsession with skincare.  The standard of beauty in Korea is a clean, fresh and natural look – LESS IS MORE!  And you can’t have this look without great skin.  This contrasts with other countries where makeup rather than skincare is the focus.

K-Beauty focuses on skincare rather than makeup.

With a busy career and lack of interest in investing much money or time on my skin, I always maintained a very basic routine of soap and water at night and moisturizer with SPF in the morning. When I hit my mid 40s, yikes, I realized I had a situation!  My skin was starting to look blotchy and dull, and tiny wrinkles were developing that I knew would evolve to permanent and unwelcome fixtures on my face.  It was time for immediate action.

Problem – I knew Korea has great skincare products so I decided it was my best bet, but there are so many to choose from.  How do I know what products to purchase and where to purchase it, without investing much time or money?

Enter Costco.  Yes, Costco!

A couple of years ago I was strolling the Costco aisles during a visit to LA and I came upon Korea skincare products.  WHAAAAT?  I had never seen any K-Beauty products in the Chicagoland Costcos near my home.  I’m an attorney so I immediately conducted some thorough due diligence.

I learned that Costco was ramping up its stock of K-Beauty products. I scanned beauty product articles online, checked reviews, watched beauty influencer videos and called friends and family in Korea for feedback.  Yup, this was great stuff at unbelievable prices. 

I flew back to Chicago with 20 full size products for only $200.  These items would have cost me approximately $700 dollars elsewhere.  Not only did my neglected skin love me for it, but so did my friends who were gifted these K-Beauty treasures!

Costco has since become my go-to for Korean skincare for two reasons. First, they do a great job of curating K-Beauty products.  I’ve researched everything I’ve purchased and they not only have great reviews, but also consist of “clean” brands with natural ingredients that are good for skin. Second, the prices are unbeatable, especially when there’s a sale.

Because many Costco warehouses don’t carry K-Beauty products, I purchase through Costco.com. Products sell out quickly so if you see something you like, snap it up! However, they frequently introduce new products, so check the site regularly. I enter the search term “Korean Skincare” for the latest and greatest. 

Below are some of my purchases so far.  Some products work better for me than others, but I’m happy with everything and will be going back for more!


Case Full of Seoul:

Case Full of Seoul, 10 Piece Set: Costco $99 (on sale) vs. Walmart $189, Amazon $199. Approximately $350 if each product is purchased separately.  My go-to skincare regimen every day. Contains full sizes of every skincare product I need and more!


The Most Essentials Box:

Costco $45 (on sale) vs. Ebay $103. I love this set.  It presents as very clean and natural, and very feminine without being frilly. All of the packaging is elegant and thoughtfully re-usable. These full size products remind me of the purity and simplicity of the Ivory soap I used as a kid, but very luxurious! The face roller is a bit small and squeaky though. 


Blithe Pressed Serum 2 Piece Set:

Costco $17.  I couldn’t find anyone selling this same set, but buying the serums separately is $60 on Amazon. I love the cool feel and light, gel-like texture of the Crystal Iceland serum.


J. One Red Jelly Pack:

Costco $23 vs. $39 Walmart.  This is the BEST primer I have ever tried. It also doubles as an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle serum! It’s a bit sticky when first applied, which takes some getting used to.


Blithe Patting Splash Mask Green Tea:

Costco $10 vs. Amazon $30. One quick splash and my face feels soft and moisturized for hours. It’s recommended for oily skin, but it still feels great on my dry skin.


Huiri Kim is a full time pragmatist, currently working as an attorney based in Chicago. She is also a part time idealist, devising ways to see and save the world, then eventually retire in a warmly decorated tiny home.

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9 thoughts on “My Favorite Korean Skincare Bargains for K-Beauty Newbies

  • May 13, 2020 at 9:14 pm
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    Costco has everything! I appreciate Huiri providing the Amazon cost comparisons too!

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    • May 20, 2020 at 1:01 am
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      I love this article and can’t wait to run to Costco!!!! Who knew??? Thank you, Huiri!!!

      Reply
  • May 13, 2020 at 9:13 pm
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    Costco has everything! I appreciate the Huiri also providing the Amazon price comparisons so we can see the savings.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2020 at 4:29 pm
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    I am a 58 year old Korean American male. My wife buys all these beauty products and makes me use them. I must say, my face has no wrinkles, and I look like I am 40 years old (according to my basketball buddies).

    Reply
    • May 13, 2020 at 4:41 pm
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      ?? maybe Huiri can recommend some men’s lipsticks too and then you will really look like the kpop oppas.

      Reply
  • May 13, 2020 at 3:01 pm
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    Love it!! Gonna order some now!

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    • May 13, 2020 at 4:15 pm
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      Great advice! Can’t wait to try it!

      Reply
  • May 13, 2020 at 2:54 pm
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    brb—grabbing my mask and running to Costco right now!! Thank you for sharing and pls give us more of your pragmatic tips!! ????‍♀️

    Reply

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