Beginner Friendly: Simple K-Beauty Starter Kits for 4 Skin Types

I meant this to be one megapost, but as it grew longer and longer and the delay was getting longer and longer, I realized it was better for me to break this up into a small series of posts, and get this show on the road!  This post is meant to be a follow-up/expansion post on Fanserviced-b's fantastic post Easy Starter K-Beauty Skincare Routine for $100 on Amazon-- and in fact the podcasters at The Snailcast have been chatting lately about the struggle to simplify what is, at it's heart, capable of infinite complexity.  Actually, that's why we like it!

K-Beauty is like cooking; there's so many ingredients (products) and ways to use them to suit your taste.  Sometimes that can get a little frustrating for people like us who are trying to help, because answering "how do I cook" doesn't really have a simple answer, right?

Cooking can be simple, or it can be complex, and K-Beauty is the same.  It can be either, like these two examples:

Basic Korean Skincare Routine & Complex Routine
Left: simple. Right: eeeeek!  Both are examples of the daily routines I post on Instagram.
The problem with answering "what should I buy?" and it's variants such as: "I bought this list of products, what do you think?" and "Here's my cart of items, are they good?" and "What do you recommend for acne/aging/hyperpigmentation?" is that we quite simply can't.  As in, legally can't.

On the other hand, learning does require a progression from "simple to complex."  How to make it simple?  Tracy's post outlined a simple, fun, and inexpensive routine for normal, non-sensitive, non-troubled skin, and kept things wonderfully simple and beginner-friendly.  So what's the next step, without getting too complex?   As we were discussing all this last weekend, I realized that I had made similar "K-Beauty Starter Kit" recommendations to friends and family members, including care packages with a simple starter routine.

Aha!  Lightbulb flash!  Could I share these starter kit boxes with people, since it's not specific advice?  Why not?

I still can't make recommendations for you.  (No, seriously, I can't.  No blogger can.)  But, if you'd like to see what I would personally select and put into a "routine in a box" for my personal friends and family members who are interested in this skincare obsession of mine but can't be bothered with all the research and customization and ordering things from Korea.  I can hear my mother now: "This is too fussy, I'd rather just mix up simple things in my kitchen." NO, mom!  Not unless you actually have a background in science when you're DIYing skincare like Chel of Holysnails, please just ... let me send you some stuff.  In a box.  You don't even have to do any work, just use them in the order I put on the letter, ok?

Then I realized ... if I can pick things to put in a box for my mother and others, and in fact have already done so, why can't I share them with my readers?  After all, I am not recommending that people buy these products to treat a skin condition, I'm just sharing what would go in my care package for that person, based on their general skin type, needs, and most importantly, are simple.  All of the kits will have 5 items or less!

In this series:

All starter kits will feature 5 items or less, what they're for, and how to use them.  All lovingly selected with thought and care, because when I make kits for my friends and family, it's a box o' love.  Obviously not everything works for everyone, patch testing is necessary, etc etc.  These are just my personal picks.

Once these posts are live, I will link them here.  Done!

Not all skin types will be represented here, and replying to requests would cross the line into recommendations, so please do not ask me to build a routine for your personal skin concerns. (Reminder: I legally can't.)  If you'd like me to do more of these curation care package posts in the future for a different skin type, shoot me a message on Facebook or Twitter with the general skin type, but please do not get too detailed into your personal skin type as I'm not a medical professional and cannot give personalized advice.  This is me trying to be a K-Beauty dealer trying to get my family and friends hooked on the good stuff, like snails and hanbang.  Huehuehue.

All of the items will be from Amazon, to make it even more accessible, and also because that's where I tend to send aforementioned friends and family if they're looking for something specific and they don't have the patience to wait for a package from overseas.  There's no way that I'd send them in out there without specifics, because there's a lot of stuff on there and they'll get lost.

Korean beauty on Amazon
Don't panic, mom, I've got this.
In last weekend's post From Beginner to Expert Mode: Where I Buy K-Beauty & Asian Cosmetics, I sort of hurriedly identified Amazon and eBay as 'Domestic e-Markets' being an intermediate step between the expensive-yet-easy offerings of Domestic shops and the cheap-but-challenging option of international retailers.  I didn't do any sort of deep dive into them, however, because that post was already quite long enough!

Amazon, with its stricter counterfeit stance, is a good option for people who are down for some comparison shopping (vs the pre-curated and more expensive options of Domestic shops)  but aren't ready to jump into International seller waters yet.  I buy from Amazon regularly (I think anyone in a country where a version of Prime is offered does, I imagine) so I wanted to do a follow up with some of the products I have purchased, or have recommended Amazon as source to purchase specific items, or items I would purchase if I was preparing a care package.

The first kit will be live this weekend; I plan to have all 4 ready and posted within the next few weeks.

Have you ever made a K-Beauty Starter Kit for a friend?  Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

Have something you'd like to share with me in general?  Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @snowwhiteandtheasianpear because I'd love to see it!

All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. Well I must say there are very few items avail at prime here, some even with some nice mark up so I wouldn't recommend Amazon here. I think in Europe it's a lot "harder" to get your stuff, we dont really have local online Shops and specially because some nice options from Korea for some harder to get things are not worth for bigger orders, because they will prob end up at customs which is some extra hassle and €€ on top... I'm jelly of my US friends who have such a high free value level for parcles :((

    1. As a Canadian who grew up with a non-US postal system, I have to say that Prime and the overall cheapness of US postage is a gift that never stops giving, it's amazing.

      However, the post immediately predating this one (From Beginner to Expert Mode: Where I Buy K-Beauty & Asian Cosmetics, link is above) is focused on a blend of international and domestic shops, with emphasis on international retailers :)

    2. I am in the UK, and I just started buying Korean products from eBay sellers with good feedback ratings as eBay offers a MUCH greater range than Amazon. Many of these sellers offer free or very cheap shipping, so instead of placing one big order I just place a number of single orders and this cuts out the customs wait period & charges. So far the orders have taken about 10 days to reach the UK.

      Also, some of the well known K-beauty companies such as Jolse also sell on eBay, if you feel safer sticking to the more well known companies.

      You can also buy samples of all sIzes on eBay, which is great if you want to try before you buy full size or you are a variety junkie like me!

  2. Ooh I can't wait to see Kit #2 and see if anything would be good for my dry skin!

    1. Haha, I suspect that none of it will be news to you, as these are 100% focused on beginners who have no idea what a cleansing oil is and aren't sure how to use a sheet mask! ;)

  3. Wonderful idea! Can't wait!

  4. I think this is a great idea and is something that could really help guide someone on their start of K-Beauty! It's a scary thing to not know where to start when there are so many products out there and they all look so good. I don't want someone to hold my hand, I just want someone who has more experience then I do to help me, that's all I've ever wanted and that is exactly what you are now doing with this so thank you so much!!!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, I hope that you like them! I'd caution that not everything will work for everyone, but I'm hoping that the examples I show get people thinking about simple routines and what products might fit in those spots. :)

  5. What a great idea. Looking forward to all of it.

  6. This is fantastic! I'm the most excited for the second kit since I'm trying to do exactly this for my sister and get her started in taking care of her skin. Ahhhh I'm always happy when I visit this site :)

  7. HI Cat,

    i can't wait to see kit 3 and 5 =) are you able to recommend any k bloggers who are over 30? i'm on the wrong side of 30 with dehydrated acne prone skin, it would great to read beauty blogs of people in a similar age group facing similar issue.

    thank you for keeping up with this blog. your reviews are very helpful and opened a whole new world of products.

    Go Hyun-jung's tip of washing against the grain works far better with an oil cleanser than a foam cleanser. I started off her method with my foam cleanser and didn't feel any difference. Added an oil cleanser to my routine and wow, her method made a big difference! Little bits of grit came off my face ( shock! ) with the oil. What a nifty little tip!

    ps i still can't believe i used history of whoo white cleansing foam for 2 whole years without thinking of trying sulwhasoo. sulwhasoo scent is bliss. it calms me down and just makes me happy!

    1. Yes! In fact, almost all the bloggers listed in my "Recommended Reading" tab are over 30; the only one under 30 is adoredee.

      Cleansing against the grain gives such great oil cleansing results, I love it. So simple, yet so effective. And I loooove that Sulwhasoo cleanser so much, it's spoiled me on other cleansers. :D

  8. I'm super excited for this. I love start routines like this because I feel like since it's so toned down, it makes building a routine easier. It's so easy to just jump into AB that this sort of thing, and having multiple bloggers doing them, gives quite a few small things to start with. I think it's harder to put together a small routine than it is a bigger routine.

  9. Hey! This is awesome. A friend told me about this because I'm paying over $200 in natural products from an esthetician as well as extractions every few months. I was wondering if you had suggestions for dry,acne prone skin? It's a weird combo I know! I'm just worried the recommendations for the oily acne prone skin would dry me out even more. Thanks! Great posts!

  10. I have always had a combination and super sensitive skin. I used to stick with usually all skin type products. Ever since I got into K-beauty routine I started breaking out while PMSing. I figured that it's happening because of the oil breakout that time of the month. So I started shifting towards products for oily skin, especially that time of that month, I realized it's actually helping. And now am confused if I actually have an oily skin lol.

  11. Hello! Love love love your blog and so happy I found it. I'm a Canadian currently living in Korea. Naturally my interest in skincare was peaked when I arrived here considering it is everywhere and very different than a good ol' Shoppers Drug Mart! Then the internet happened and I've officially fallen down the rabbit hole and in love with learning about all this. My only conundrum is, obviously one of this first steps in taking intentional action towards your skin is knowing the ingredients of what you're putting on it. But as to be expected, everything is in Korean! How have you dealt with translating etc? Also, since I'm actually logistically here, (in the mecca!) and things are quite accessible for me, any tips on things that I should take advantage of while here?