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Blog beauty tips


It’s always nice to have some tried-and-true skincare products that you always come back to. It’s not so nice if those products are burning a hole in your wallet, despite how much you may love them. If you’re like most people, you’re always on the lookout for a good bargain. It may be time to look into some great k-beauty equivalents.

K-beauty brands are constantly innovating to meet new demands, so it’s entirely possible to find quality dupes for some of your favourite brands, at a fraction of the cost. Who knows? You might find something you like even better.

Here are some well-loved products and their just-as-good k-beauty equivalents!

SKII Facial Treatment Essence vs. Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence

What It Is: An essence is a product used after cleansing and toning, and before a cream. It’s full of concentrated ingredients that work at hydrating and conditioning your skin.

How They’re Similar: If products could be twins, these two cult favourites would be it. Not only are the names and packaging remarkably similar, but they feature the same star ingredient: fermented yeast extracts. SKII’s patented fermented ingredient is a galactomyces ferment filtrate. It’s full of nutrients, is easily absorbed into the skin, and aids with even tone and texture, as well as hydration. Missha’s essence uses other fermented yeast extracts, saccharomyces ferment filtrate, and bifida ferment lysate. Similarly, it encourages cell turnover, and therefore helps the skin look and feel even and smooth. 

How They’re Different: Missha’s formula has the benefit of including a lot of other good stuff, such as niacinamide (brightening, anti-aging), and other conditioning ingredients like adenosine. At a price point several times lower than its luxury cousin, that’s a lot of bang for your buck! 

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum vs. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule 

What It Is: Serums and ampoules are concentrated products used to help with specific issues, like fine lines, or dark spots. A little usually goes a long way!

How They’re Similar: Estee Lauder’s most famous serum and Missha’s popular Time Revolution Ampoule both share the same first two ingredients: water, and bifida ferment lysate. Bifida ferment lysate is a commonly used yeast obtained through fermentation, and is credited with having anti-aging, hydrating, and soothing properties. Besides bifida, both also rely on the hard-hitting moisture retaining benefits of sodium hyaluronate, as well as vitamin A derivatives (retinol and retinyl palmitate, respectively) to help smooth out fine lines and boost the skin’s elasticity.

How They’re Different: Missha’s ampoule boasts a whole lot of botanical ingredients full of antioxidants and vitamins, plus other ferment filtrates as well, such as saccharomyces ferment filtrate, soybean ferment extract, and mistletoe ferment extract.

Cellex-C Advanced-C Serum vs. By Wishtrend Vitamin C Serum

What It Is: Vitamin C serums are some of the best products for treating sun damage and hyperpigmentation.

How They’re Similar: Ascorbic acid is one of the main ingredients in most vitamin C serums, so it isn’t surprising that it’s present in both the Cellex-C and by Wishtrend products. Both products have some added antioxidant goodness: by Wishtrend’s top ingredient is hippophae rhamnoides water (or sea buckthorn water), while Cellex-C uses grape skin and seed extracts.

How They’re Different: The by Wishtrend serum also packs a hydrating punch with sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, and allantoin.

Dior Hydra Life Jelly Sleeping Mask vs. Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

What It Is: You guessed it - sleeping masks are the last product you put on before going to sleep at night. They often provide deep hydration and anti-aging benefits, and also keep your other products from evaporating, amplifying their benefits. Wake up with soft, plump skin!

How They’re Similar:
Dior’s jelly mask has long been beloved for its light, fresh texture. It uses hydrating ingredients such as mallow, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate to help skin hold and lock in moisture, resulting in a rested, youthful-looking complexion. Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate are also used in Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask.

How They’re Different: The Laneige mask is light and absorbs quickly, and is meant to be used over your usual moisturizing cream to give it a boost and keep the good stuff in. In addition to a host of hydrating ingredients, it also contains botanical extracts with antioxidant properties - apricot and evening primrose. It comes in at about half the cost of the Dior, making it a steal!

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm vs. ENATURE Moringa Cleansing Balm

What It Is: Balm cleansers are used as a first step in your double-cleanse. Unlike an oil cleanser, it has a balmy, soft-yet-solid texture that is easily scooped and massaged into your skin.

How They’re Similar: If you’re a faithful user of cleansing balms and the Emma Hardie Moringa Balm has been an essential in your routine, you’ll probably also have a lot of reasons to be a fan of the ENATURE Moringa Balm. Both cleanse skin and melt away makeup without leaving skin dry and tight, and both are chock full of botanical extracts. Moringa, which is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and has antibacterial properties (making it perfect for a cleanser) is the star ingredient in both balms.

How They’re Different: The Emma Hardie balm compliments moringa with a lot of citrus oils: orange, bitter orange, and mandarin. It also needs to be washed off with a cleansing cloth, as opposed to rinsed off with water. ENATURE’s balm is an award-winning balm that uses many floral extracts and oils such as birch tree sap, iris extract, and evening primrose oil to smooth skin and infuse it with vitamins as you wash. ENATURE is also a vegan brand with a sound commitment to the environment - an added bonus we can all be happy about!

Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion vs. Paula’s Choice Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant vs. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

What It Is: AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs are all types of acids that are used in chemical exfoliating products (as opposed to physical scrubs). They dissolve dead skin and help remove dirt and debris that dulls skin.

How They’re Similar: The Biologique Recherche Lotion is like the mythical unicorn of skincare products. Not only is it beloved by many, but it is also notoriously difficult to get your hands on. It also makes you smell like you’ve been pickled, but it works! It features lactic acid and salicylic acid, which buff off dead skin and unclog pores, reducing their size and appearance.

If you like a good chemical exfoliating product, it’s also possible you’ve come across Paula’s Choice’s BHA Liquid, which also uses salicylic acid to exfoliate. The COSRX liquid is extremely popular in k-beauty circles, and uses a natural exfoliant (willow bark water) as well as betaine salicylate.

How They’re Different: The Biologique Recherche Lotion is meant to be basic, without any “extra” ingredients besides what is necessary to exfoliate. The Paula’s Choice Liquid does have the addition of green tea leaf extract, an antioxidant and calming ingredient. COSRX added a couple of tried-and-true ingredients: niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate. These make the COSRX a true multitasker, brightening, hydrating, and exfoliating, all in one product (and at a fraction of the cost!)

Makeup Forever HD Powder vs. Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder vs. Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder

What It Is: A good loose or pressed powder not only reduces shine, but it also helps to set makeup, fade imperfections, and even skin tone.

How They’re Similar: Makeup Forever’s powder is a popular silica-based loose powder with a matte finish. When applied, it diffuses light, blurring blemishes and uneven skin and making your makeup look picture perfect. The Nars powder has similar benefits but in pressed form, and features some great hydrating and conditioning ingredients as well, like glycerin and vitamin E. Both clock in at about the same cost. Innisfree is a Korean brand that has long been a promoter of natural skincare. Their No Sebum Powder uses minerals from the pristine island of Jeju, and evens the look and texture of skin.

How They’re Different: The Innisfree powder is not just meant to help with the appearance of your skin, but helps balance oil production and absorb excess sebum, ensuring you stay shine free. Innisfree products are all generally reasonably priced, and is an amazing deal, meaning you can always have it on hand!