Korean cosmetics are known to be skincare-infused makeup and that’s why we love it — but really, another reason has got to be how affordable most of them are! While we usually associate “cheap” with “low quality”, K-Beauty has proved itself to be an exception.
If you’re late to the K-Beauty party or simply would like to expand your collection, here is a full face of makeup recommendations that could get the job done well, or even better than certain high-end brands — with some items going for just $6. We kid you not.
Here are our recommendations, in the order of a typical makeup routine:
Etude House – Double Lasting Foundation ($33.90)
My absolute holy grail for base products. After this was launched, it was highly raved about and even earned itself the reputation as the dupe for Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation. All the hype sparked my curiosity and so, I picked up a bottle to try and let’s just say, I have never looked back since.
Neither thick nor heavy, it feels light and comfortable on my skin yet has a satisfyingly high coverage — just one layer is enough to cover most blemishes! Sometimes I feel like it works better than most concealers do when it comes to concealing, ironically.
I personally do not touch-up my makeup throughout the day so I am exceptionally pleased with this product’s longevity and ability to last throughout the day — yes, even in Singapore’s weather!
It also comes in a wider range of shades, compared to most base products in the K-Beauty market, though there are limited shades in the darker range. Still, they cater for skin undertones as well, which ensures a more ideal match.
the SAEM – Cover Perfection Tip Concealer (5,000KRW, SGD5.80)
Here’s a concealer that actually works better than my foundation, like how it should. It was so raved about on the Internet and I completely understand why — it is one of the SAEM’s bestselling products, after all.
To put it simply, it has higher coverage than most concealers yet feels thinner and more comfortable to wear, when compared to most concealers with a high coverage. Basically, it’s everything you’d want in a concealer. Oh and it is unbelievably cheap too!
SKINFOOD – Peach Cotton Multi Finish Powder (from 6,500KRW, SGD7.50)
If you think of “K-Beauty powders”, Innisfree’s No-Sebum Mineral Powder would come to mind for most people. That powder has been raved about for years now and I do not deny its prowess.
However, I have always found myself leaning towards SKINFOOD’s Peach Cotton Multi Finish Powder. It feels softer (like cotton, yes) and finishes flawlessly — all while keeping sebum in control for most of the day too.
A bonus would be its distinctive peachy scent, especially for those of you who are fond of sweet and fruity scents like myself!
Innisfree – Auto Eyebrow Pencil ($6)
A pencil and spoolie is really all you need to perfect your brows.
What I have to say about this is as straightforward as the product itself:
- product is easy to control, finishes naturally
- has a lot of product, lasts longer than most
- comes in a portable and lightweight stick, easy to bring around
- available in a good range of colours for different hair colours
- the best part: it’s only $6
Let’s just say you’re pretty much good to go with this in your makeup pouch. Next.
Missha – Triple Shadow ($13.90)
From little pots to multi-purpose palettes, there are many eye shadows to choose from in the K-Beauty market. However, this particular product stands out with its novelty, versatility and affordable price.
While most eye shadow pots come in a single shade at about $7-$9, Missha’s Triple Shadow, as its name tells, comes with three complementing shades at only $13.90.
Forget the fancy and expensive eye shadow palettes, each of the three colours work perfectly together or alone — making it sufficient in creating multiple looks for different occasions.
It is also famed for creating an “easy gradient look” — just swipe your finger across the pan and onto your lids in the same direction — perfect for beginners or those of you who would like a faster makeup routine!
CLIO – Waterproof Pen Liner ($24.90)
Tried and tested: this survived depressing movies, heavy downpours and intense work-outs!
I have been using this eyeliner for years and I plan to continue doing so — it’s affordable, easy to apply and it comes in two classic colours: a chic dark brown “Kill Brown” and classic black “Kill Black”. I prefer using brown eyeliner as it looks softer on the eyes though the black one is pretty killer too!
Etude House – Lash Perm Curl-Fix ($20.90)
These have been highly raved about in the world of K-Beauty and could very well be deemed the “best mascara” amongst Korean brands.
It is definitely deserving of its reputation — it curls your lashes naturally (almost as if you are not wearing mascara and were born with these lashes) and the curls even hold up throughout the day!
Unlike fellow mascaras that are known to be incredibly long lasting and waterproof, it is not a hassle to remove this as it comes off pretty quickly, despite its highly impressive longevity. Try it for yourself and you’ll probably find another mascara in your go-to collection.
Too Cool For School – Art Class by Rodin Contour Powder (16,000KRW, SGD18.50)
You would have probably heard of this contour powder if you are an avid K-Beauty junkie yourself. This is one of the few products I’ve been constantly hitting pan for in recent years. Every time I visit a Too Cool For School store overseas, I would clear the shelf and bring home as many of this contour powders as I can!
What I consider this product’s ultimate strength is how versatile it is. It comes with three shades, which is useful when it comes to contouring different parts of your face. You can also switch up the shades for a softer or stronger finish, depending on your look for the day.
Aritaum – Sugarball Cheek Color (8,000KRW, SGD9.20)
As blush is an absolute necessity in my makeup routine, I can certify that Aritaum’s Sugarball blushes are really long-lasting. The colour shows up nicely in photos and stay on my cheeks throughout the day — something I can hardly achieve with most blushes that seem to fade away by lunch.
This collection comes in both powder and cushion form so you can pick whichever you are more comfortable with — both are just as great (and cheap!)
The only downside? The lack of variety in shades, though they do have their pinks, corals and nudes, colours that can definitely go with your everyday look!
Lilybyred – Luv Beam Cheek (11,000KRW, SGD12.70)
This one is for those of you who like experimenting with more cheek colours. This range offers the conventional pinks and corals and even wackier colours like orange, purple, maroon and brown. You can add more colours to your collection, all while going easy on your wallet!
SON & PARK – Highlighter Cube (9,500KRW, SGD11)
The naturally dewy look has been all the rave lately. Besides good skincare, there’s also another way to achieve that look — a good highlighter.
While powder highlighters tend to be more pigmented, the popular dewy look is typically achieved by blending liquid highlighters onto your skin.
SON & PARK’s Highlighter Cube comes in a radiant champagne pink which will give your skin a healthy and natural glow, regardless of your skin’s undertone.
Dubbed the dupe for Benefit’s High Beam, you can expect similar results but at less than half its price!
Peripera – Ink Airy Velvet ($15.90)
My ultimate holy grail of holy grails!
Peripera is widely known for its long-lasting lip tints that stay on longer than most lip products, even those that claim to stain. While its extensive range of lip products (from matte to shiny and glossy) is pretty impressive, my particular favourite has got to be the “Ink Airy Velvet” range.
Living up to its name “Airy Velvet”, it feels light and smooth on my lips — almost like I am not wearing any product!
Don’t be fooled by Peripera’s cute packaging, their tints do come in a wide variety of shades — from girly spring colours, youthful summer colours to vampy and MLBB shades for autumn and winter, there’s certainly a shade for everyone.
Comfort, longevity and a wide range of shades available, can it get any better?
Yes, it can! I dare say these are not only the best lip products I own, they are also (one of) the cheapest. (Tip: purchase them online and I guarantee you will not have to spend more than $15 for each tint!)