Savvy Shopping for Skincare

It’s very much the same as shopping in stores like ULTA, Sephora, Priceline here in Australia. There literally is WAY TOO MUCH to choose from and you really don’t know what it is that is best for YOUR skin. I’m not too sure if some of these rules apply for the Western market, but I wanted to share with you my tips and tricks to shopping for skincare and cosmetics, (particularly Kbeauty) to get the best bang for your buck this year.

Here in Perth in particular, this is especially important as our state is slowly but steadily becoming more and more expensive to live in, and our wages are cutting it real close. With the mining boom slowly coming to and end, more and more people are financially struggling, and we as a state are all suffering because of it. So, for all you Perth beauties, as well as you guys over state/around the world who want to try and save a few bucks here and there, continue on reading and see if any of my little tips can help you in your beauty journey.


There is absolutely NO problem at all asking a shop assistant for some help here or there, but the honest truth is, they are trying to suck you out of all your money. I work not only in retail, but as a beauty consultant, and the truth is, I too have to abide by these “laws” in order to make some sort of wage. The lesson is, even though we are helping you to the best of our abilities, we have to make money somehow, and YOU as the consumer, are our target to do so.

Whenever you go shopping, try and find out about as many products as possible before venturing out into the real world. This will help you in so many ways to save money, so that you aren’t influenced by a shop owner, to say, in spending money where not needed. If you know exactly what the shops sell, then you reduce the need to look around, and the need to have to ask for certain things. If you know what each product does and how they work, then you’re also sitting with the upper hand, so that you have the ability to walk in and out without distractions, or being able to price match to find you the cheapest retailer.


As with above, when you know what sort of things you are looking for, then you can essentially save yourself some money. As a retail assistant, what annoys me quite a bit, is when a shopper doesn’t know what they want. They come in asking for help (which I’m perfectly happy doing) but they tell me they don’t even know what they’re looking for. WIthout any information, I’m struggling to even offer anything because I don’t know whether they need skincare or makeup to even begin with. Enough with my story, going back to you guys, don’t come in unknowledgeable. At the VERY LEAST know what you need to buy. Don’t have any skincare at all? Then go shopping for a face wash and a moisturizer. Want to try out some makeup? Then get a foundation, eyeliner or an eyebrow pencil.

You already have everything you need but some of the products aren’t quite cutting it for your own liking. I’m not saying just to suck it up and use it all until it’s empty. Well, actually, in this instance I am cause I’m trying to help you save money, but I mean, you don’t have to limit yourself. There is no right or wrong when it comes to allocating time and money to go shopping, just know exactly what you’re shopping for and sticking by that so you’re not spending money on unnecessary things. Make a list if you have to. Shop like a man doing groceries. Specific and to the list.


You know those crazy people that have about 10 bottles of shampoo in their cupboards, 4 boxes of washing powder set up in the powder room and 7 bottles of dishwashing liquid in the kitchen? They are smart shoppers. These kinds of people seem very extra when in the shopping centers, but they’re clearly thinking of the future ahead of themselves. Why so? They obviously waited for a sale, and then bought in bulk. Now, when it comes to skincare, or makeup, you have to be very careful as they DO expire so your judgement is needed here when buying in bulk. How fast do you go through a BB cushion, or how much toner are you going to go through in 3 months? Ask yourself these questions to determine how much product you’ll end up expending until the next big sale occurs. That way you’ll end up buying your essentials for cheaper and also have enough to last you the next sales period.

Keep in mind, the expiry on the package that has a “x”M and an open jar logo on it, is the expiry AFTER opening for the first time, so shelve life after usage is what is displayed on the bottle or package. For example, 12M means that the product will last for 12 months before expiring after opening. Unopened bottles generally have a longer shelf life so you’re fine as long as you don’t tamper with the protective seals or lids, or anything like that. On each product, you’ll often see a date written with “제조” next to it. This shows the manufacturing date, or in other words, the day the product was created. I never use anything that is two or three years later than manufacturing date, so for example, an essence was created in 2014, I won’t use that essence in 2017 or something like that. Keeping this is mind will help you to buy in bulk, if this is the path you want to take.

Different sales means different opportunities and money saving for you. There are the traditional 20% off or 40% off sales for Korean skincare and makeup items all the time, but one you probably haven’t seen before (or if you have, not very often) is the 1+1 sale. With these kinds of sales, you essentially buy the product you need, and get the next one free or for a fraction of the price. You can essentially get products for UP TO 50% off with these kinds of sales, and is an opportunity you do not want to miss. Your best bet is to look for the 1+1 sale where if you buy a toner, you get the matching lotion for free. They’re my favorite as you get a complete basic skincare set for the price of one product.

Some brands automatically have 1+1 without it being a sale. For example, the Sulwhasoo Overnight Sleeping Mask tends to come in a package with 2 bottles per box, for the price of only 1 mask. Throw in a sales discount on it and you’re increasing the 50% gap to, let’s say a 70% discount for you. Remember, shop smart and save.


Sheet masks have so much essence in the sheets and left over in the package. Whenever I buy sheet masks, I buy a particular brand in bulk and use only that mask brand for up until I’ve used them all up. The reason is, because the same sheet masks will have the same essence in them. Where am I getting at with this? Well, if the sheet masks I buy are too saturated, I get myself a spare bottle and squeeze off the excess essence from the mask and voila, I have a sheet mask AND now I have an essence. The extra bits that are left in the package also go into that bottle. Remember, number one rule for saving money is not to waste anything. Since sheet mask essences usually are on the thicker side and way more concentrated, you actually use a little bit of essence each and every time using this method, saving you from buying a separate essence at the store. Don’t forget to label the bottles so you know which sheet mask essence is in which, and you don’t end up mixing them together.

Did you know that with the left over essence, if at any time you want to indulge in a sheet mask, but have al this excess essence left over, then simply take a condensed sheet, or some cotton pads, leave to absorb the essence and you have yourself a DIY mask that works essentially, the same way.

You can also replace sheet masks altogether with cotton pads or a condensed sheet soaked in hydrating toner. They work exactly the same way, and you’re getting a mask that’ll penetrate the skin, and you won’t need an essence either. Extra points for toners being on the affordable end compared to serums which generally sell for a higher price.


Now of course this isn’t the best idea, but it still is an idea. To save money, make friends with the sales clerk and that way you might be able to get discounts. Not every store will do this, and of course, nobody in their right minds will admit to it, but it does happen occasionally and at the end of the day, you’re saving money right?

I have a few friends that work in retail as well, selling a whole range of things and whenever I need something, I get them to purchase it for me. Since they have their personal discount at their shop, they can purchase the products with their company discount and I get the product, pay back the friend who got it for me, and that way the friend doesn’t lose out on money and I get to save money for other things.

Don’t get these words twisted though please. I’m not about to tell you all to go run along and befriend every single shop clerk there is so that you can get discounts where ever you go. Shop assistants are STILL people as well, and I’m certain that if you’re making friends with them only on a business level, then you’re not going to get anywhere. I’m saying that there are times where you can actually become friends with people and they end up working in retail, and well, you get the perks as well. You know?


Let’s say that you have no friends do splurge off of. You still have the opportunity for samples and why not? Spending money in a beauty shop should be rewarded cause we all know that makeup and skincare ain’t cheap. But which samples are worth grabbing, and which samples should be traded in for something a little extra?

Looking at the pricing for skincare, it’s save to say that cleansing samples are by far the most unnecessary. Simply being, everyone who does skincare has a cleanser. Be it a bad or a good, a cleanser is a MUST HAVE and always in our bathrooms.

Here is a little graphical thingie that you can follow to see which costs the most and I’ll go from there:

From cheapest to most expensive
foam/oil cleanse → sunblock → toner → lotion → essence → serum → eye cream → cream

***there are different factors to consider as well, such as brands, the retailer themselves, but this is a general range comparison of price categorization. Example, you can get a serum from It’s Skin for a lot cheaper than the basic cleanser, and the Cle De Peau serum is more expensive than the cream AND eye cream combined. Sometimes gel creams are preferred to heavy creams, which can retail for 75% of the cost of a cleanser as well.

Depending on what you have at home, or the budget you have towards skincare, then you’ll know which samples to go for. A little tip I have for you when it comes to samples, is to try and get your hands on a jarred or bottled sample, rather than a sachet sample. The ones with the lids are the way to go, as they last a LOT longer than the “one time only” use sachets that end up getting a little messy, and wasted. If all your store has to offer are sachet samples, then ask for a direct sample from one of their testers. Most beauty outlets have some 5mL containers in their storage for those with sensitive skin who need to go home and do their trials, so you can ask for a direct sample of a specific item if you can, and if the sales clerk allows it.

From my personal experience, I have not bought an eye cream, or a face cream in over a year now, because I’m going through sample after sample. Why waste the money when I have all I need in presents? Let me tell you right now that a 5mL sample of eye cream can EASILY see you to 3 months, stretching it out to 6 months even. Why spend a fortune on a 20mL eye cream, when a 5mL sample you get for free will last you for that long?

If you are deeply out of luck and you can’t get samples for the life of you, then at least you can skip essence by using the sheet mask tip, and telling the sales people to suck a big one. One last thing for this tip, is to grab samples of products that you find a bit out of budget for. Let’s say your budget only allows for a basic skincare routine, consisting of a wash, a toner and a lotion. Your sample, provided that your lotion offers decent hydrating care, should be an eye cream. Let’s say your lotion doesn’t offer as much hydration as you’d like. Then opt for a moisture cream sample that is a little bit rich in texture, which then can double up as an eye cream, and be a second layer of moisture for your skin that the lotion was not able to offer at all.


is to steal the products.

I’m joking, don’t steal. Stealing is a crime.

No for real, if you have parents who use skincare, or friends even, why not leech off of them for a bit? That way you save money 100%. They don’t but you do, and if media has taught you anything in your life, it is to only care about yourself only~~~

But, actually, that’s still stealing on a technicality. Hmm… Disregard this tip. Yeah, that’s probably for the best.

That concludes a few of my smart ways to save with Korean Beauty shopping. Do you have any other tips that I might have missed out, and want to share? Let everyone know, by commenting your ideas down below, or through my SNS. Are you using any of these tips yourself, or are planning to use any of these? I wanna see your ways to be KBeauty savvy this year! Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you find my content enjoyable or helpful in anyway, share with your friends and family, and click on the little star icon to show your support for this post if you liked it.

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