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Is Korean Skincare Better Than American?

Jason Park
Published by: Chung-Ae
Last updated:

I have spent over $10.000 in the last couple of months to see the differences between Korean and American skincare.

In this article you’ll find out which products are better, how much you’ll save and if it’s worth it to buy Korean skincare.

Let’s get started.

Which Korean Skincare Products I Bought

When buying Korean skincare products it’s important to know your skin type. You don’t want to waste money on products that won’t even work.

So BEFORE starting, it’s important to find out your skin type.

The most common skin types are: dry, normal, combination, and oily.

  • Dry skin lacks oil to keep the balance between water and oil levels in the skin. Dry skin needs products that are rich with moisture. Also, it’s important to not over scrub since your skin doesn’t produce enough sebum
  • Normal skin has no problems or complaints. It doesn’t feel dry,
  • Combination skin is oily on some spots and dry or normal on others.
  • Oily skin has problems with an overproduction of sebum. It’s important that the products you use are suitable for your skin type otherwise it causes breakouts.

Products I bought and tested

The products listed above were tested over a period of two weeks. I used them every day morning and night.

Which Korean Skincare Products Worked?

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is the best cleanser I’ve used so far since it makes my skin very clean but doesn’t strip it off moisture. It’s also very soft on the skin which is important.

Have dry skin? This is a MUST-HAVE! Especially if you’ve been dealing with dry skin for a very long time.

For me, this is a life-changer, no doubt! After I tested hundreds of products. None of the other ones came close to this.

SOME BY MI – AHA, BHA, PHA 30 Days Miracle Acne Clear Body Cleanser is the best body cleanser I’ve ever used since it makes my skin feel very clean and soft. This combined with the fact that it doesn’t dry out my skin is great!

If you haven’t tried this yet, you’re really missing out.

Which Korean Skincare Products Didn’t Work?

I didn’t like the iUNIK Centella Calming Gel Cream since it didn’t do anything for my skin. I didn’t feel that it made any difference.

Maybe it works for you because everyone has a different skin type.

Which American Skincare Products I Bought

When buying American skincare products it’s important to know that you’re probably paying the premium for the brand. Not necessarily for quality.

The quality may be there but since it’s often not made in the U.S. then it’s unlikely to be cheaper than in Korea.

Products I bought and tested

  • Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich
  • Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream
  • SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

Which American Skincare Products Worked?

None of the products listed above worked for me.

I didn’t like the Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich since it was too heavy for my skin.

At first, it show some results but it wasn’t a significant difference. After a couple of days, the results went away and my skin started looking worse than before.

The Versed dew point moisturizing gel-cream didn’t work either since my skin is already oily and this product made the situation worse.

The only product that ACTUALLY worked was the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Since I had moderate hyperpigmentation due to a medication that I was taking, it significantly reduced the dark spots within a week.

The Differences Between Korean and American Skincare

The main differences between Korean and American skincare are the ingredients, the formulations, and the marketing.

Korean ingredients: For the most part, Korean skincare ingredients are inspired by traditional medicine such as oriental herbs and plants.

While American skincare products may use a lot of the same ingredients, they are often isolated or highly processed.

Price Differences

The price differences are quite big if you look at Korean Skincare vs American Skincare. For the same products in America, you’ll be paying about $120, while the similar product in Korea only costs you about $60.

It may be worth it when the ingredients are not available in America, but not so much when the ingredients are just as beneficial in your home country.


As for the ingredients, the main difference is that Korean skincare products are less “upgraded” than American skincare products.

If you have oily skin, you can find foundations in America that come with many oil-control ingredients, setting powders made to keep oils at bay, and primers that mattify your skin.

Skin Type

You probably already know this but Koreans often have different beauty standards from Westerners. Korean women want a porcelain-like complexion while Americans often value a sun-kissed look.

This is why Koreans will use bronzers and contouring products, while many American women prefer to stay away from these products.

Import Fees

When importing skincare products from Korea, you’ll have to pay the usual custom tax and import fees. These fees can add up to nearly $30 for a single shipment so it’s probably only worth it when buying multiple items at once.

I’ve paid over $50 for shipping to the U.S. and it was worth it. However, Korean skincare should be bought in bulk every 3 to 6 months.

Don’t do it monthly because it will get VERY expensive. And trust me…

I’ve spent over $10,000 on Korean skincare. It’s not necessary to waste money on shipping.

The Final Verdict: Korean vs American Skincare

In short, Korean skincare products are cheaper and more natural.

So, which is better? As you can see, the differences between Korean and American skincare products become very clear. The reason why Korean skincare items are so popular overseas is that Korean skincare products give great results at a much lower price than their counterparts in other parts of the world.

On the other hand, American skincare products are often engineered to suit Western beauty standards.


If you want to use natural ingredients and pay less, go for Korean skincare. However, if you need a product that suits your skin type and other needs, then we suggest trying American skincare products.

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    About The Author

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    Hi, I'm Chung-Ae. I love Korean skincare products and Kpop! My favorite Korean beauty brands are Innisfree and Etude House because they offer a lot of affordable products with good quality ingredients.

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