A Frugal Pinay Guide to Korean Skincare



From essences to sheet masks, Korean beauty products and trends are taking over the Philippine beauty market. Everyone is talking about the 10-step routine that is popular among the skin-centric women of Seoul. But it’s a total exaggeration. The first thing every Pinay has to learn when they decide to try using any Korean skincare line is that a week on a Korean skin-care regiment does not necessarily mean doing the so-called 10-step process every single day. Young Moojoung, a certified Korean aesthetician explained to Psst.ph that there’s actually a misconception that one is supposed to be doing all 10 steps daily. He explains, “It’s more about the different variety of products that can be used, it all depends on your skin concerns and skin type.” 

Another misconception is that Korean skincare products does not need to be expensive in order to be effective. You just have to look around and find products that suit your skin type without necessarily having to spend as much. That’s where every Pinay’s own “diskarte,” comes in. You have to learn how to scout for the best products from all the many choices in the market today.

A typical Pinay may not be exactly a skincare fanatic as the Koreans, but we are slowly indulging into the popular Korean skin and makup craze. But can we’ll show you that we can afford to try the Korean skincare routine without having to spend as much. Psst.ph helps you how to remain kikay on Korean skincare brands sans burning your pockets. Read on…

So what exactly it is about Korean products that makes it a popular craze among Filipinas? “It’s basically the lifestyle and mind-set behind skin that’s getting more people interested in Korean skin-care rituals,” adds Moojoung. And if you’re one of those intrigued by the lengthy routine, see what we have on our Korean skin-care regimen brands we compiled and recommend from Korean stores Mumuso, 2358 and online shops.

Oil Cleanser

Mumuso Green Tea extract Oil cleanser photo from Tagalog Blogger
Mumuso Green Tea extract Oil cleanser photo from Tagalog Blogger

When applied to dry skin, this oil cleanser removes makeup and any other oil-based product debris like sunscreen and pollution particles. The texture and smell of the product was so soft and pleasant—do not forget that it needed to be rinsed off. Every night during the week, you may remove your daily foundation and mascara combo with this oil.

Foam cleanser

photo from skineclat.files.wordpress.com
photo from skineclat.files.wordpress.com

Use water-based cleanser applied to wet skin and removes impurities like sweat and dirt. After double cleansing (first with oil then with foam), not a hint of grime will be left to hinder your skin’s health.


mumuso exfoliating gel

Exfoliation not only cleans out clogged pores, but it also sloughs off dead skin cells. When you remove this dull layer of cells, brighter skin is revealed. This step is not recommended for daily use. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll only want to exfoliate once a week. If you have a tougher complexion, you can do it more regularly (about three times a week).


image from http://img.alicdn.com
image from http://img.alicdn.com

After you cleanse so many times, your skin is in a fragile state. So you want to really hydrate it. Toner acts as a way to prep the skin, so it’ll absorb the following treatments better. 

Toner was always a skin-care step that most Filipinos would often skip. Well, except maybe those who grew up with their parents using either Olay and Eskinol brands. It was after talking to Moojoung that we really came to appreciate this part of the routine, especially when partaking in such extensive cleansing. Psst.ph recommends 2358’s Soothing Lavender Toner. Use a cotton round to pat the product into your skin because the consistency is very runny.  Even if it feels like you’re just pouring the liquid into your palms, realize that it isn’t just water (which is how it seemed at first glance), and do not waste any of the product that would soak into the cotton.


photo from girlbehindglasses.wordpress.com
photo from girlbehindglasses.wordpress.com

The essence is really the heart of Korean skin care, a step that is credited to their culture. Moojoung claims it’s of the most important parts of the routine. “It’s a treatment product similar to serums, boosters, or ampoules; but it’s more watery in consistency then the rest of those products, so it comes out like a toner.”

Why not just use a toner and a serum in place of this essence step? It seemed obsolete to us. Yes, it was another nice to splash to your face. But although it may feel like the results you were attempting to gain from using an essence could have been achieved with the typical toner-serum combo, the essence does something else.


Serum, Boosters, or Ampoule Treatments

photo from sandundermyfeet blog
photo from sandundermyfeet blog

Moojong explains that this is not a necessary step for everyone. “If you don’t have brown spots or pigmentation, you don’t really need to use [a treatment],” she says.

If redness is a major issue for you, you have to do the serum step. It will leave a smooth later over our skin, similar to how a cream would without any stickiness or grease. It will also give your skin a dewy effect that wouldn’t look wet or sweaty, but radiant enough to look supple and healthy. The serum combined with the moisturizer will keep your skin feeling smooth throughout the day.


Affordable Ekel masks are being sold at Php25 each!
Affordable Ekel masks are being sold at Php25 each!

The purpose of your mask depends on what your skin needs. Moojoung recommends hydrating masks like Nature Republic’s Tomato, Aloe or Rose sheets. If you’re in the mood to indulge, you can try Skinfood Hydro Fitting Snail Mask Sheet.

We recently stumbled upon this Korean brand called Ekel in one of the bazaars we went to. And we could not believe that each face masks are being sold at Php25! Yes, so your Php100 bucks can get you 4 pieces of different facial masks. Such a value for money, right? We had to control ourselves unless we become hoarders of face masks. You can also choose one for brightening that may be packed with vitamin C, one with activated charcoal to prevent blackheads and to tighten the pores, Collagen, for optimum hydration and anti-aging, Pearl Essence for whitening properties and a whole lot more.

This is not an every-night step, you really only need to do it twice a week. In fact, Moojoung explains that you can swap a sheet mask for a serum or essence to cut time off your routine. “The mask contains those treatment products already,” she explains.

Eye Cream

Mumuso Aloe vera gel

Okay, this Mumuso Aloe Vera gel may not exactly be an eye cream. But for Php99 pesos, it is indeed sold at steal price! Yes, Moojoung says you can also use this baby under your dark peeps.

Depending on the eye cream you choose, this could focus on everything from fine lines to dark circles. Basically, if you have any undereye concerns, there’s a cream or gel for it. You can put the gel into the fridge before using them for that cooling effect. 

Be careful when  you’re pulling and tugging at the area (eye area), it causes premature wrinkles,”  warns Moojoung. In due time, along with proper and regular use, you will notice dark circles and puffiness diminish by using this every night.

You can also apply it during the day a couple times, and this product is great to wear under makeup without smearing your concealer.

Face cream

face cream

This step is simply to lock in skin’s moisture. And we’re telling you, next to daily SPF, skin hydration is key for supple, younger-looking skin at all ages. Even if you complete the most basic skin-care routine, moisturizer should be worn day and night. It will do its duty, sealing in all the other skin care while providing hydration. Waking up every morning,  skin won’t feel greasy or sticky. 

You will love Mumuso’s BB cream. This sheen can be left on your skin underneath makeup or barefaced. And it’s so light it mixed well with the SPF.



We’re pretty obsessed about SPF,” says Moojoung. It seems self-explanatory, but we can never stress enough how important sun protection is on a daily basis. Moojoung claims that it’s applying SPF regularly that’s the biggest difference in the Korean regimen.

Western culture’s skin-care routine is more of a chore, but when you’re someone with a Korean-skin mind-set, it’s all about pampering and taking care of yourself. What else can we say? Just follow those items we have scored above (or find some cheaper versions from reputable Korean stores on your own if you can.). But bear in mind that double cleansing is the way to go! 행운을 빕니다! (haeng-un-eul bibnida)

Vance Madrid

Freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, social media manager, events coordinator, scriptwriter, film buff, wanderlust and certified foodie. Zealous for a keyboard and new experiences, I wish to live and learn through my writing.