HOW DO I CHOOSE? Picking the right moisturizer

One thing I have talked about in the past on this blog is how getting into Asian beauty (or really, any kind of beauty) can be extremely overwhelming. Yes, Korean beauty is very popular right now, but it’s also a slippery slope to finding yourself at home with 20 products you bought that you have no idea what to do with.

We all know what happens when we get overwhelmed: We shut down and do nothing because we aren’t designed to deal with so many choices. Similarly, when we get super excited about something new, we can enter a similar kind of overload, also known as…


While Asian beauty may seem specifically designed to make you poor, I promise you it doesn’t have to be that way at all. In fact, I’m going to show you how to make a savvy choice on choosing a moisturizer right now that will ensure that your wallet is as happy as your skin is.

In the pic up top, you’ll see the five moisturizers I currently have on hand. Two are full sizes (The CeraVe AM and the Mizon Starfish Cream), while the others are sample sizes. I’ll do a breakdown of what the cost of this picture is so you also know what it cost me to try five different products.

  1. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, 12 Ounce – $15.26 @ Amazon
  2. MIZON_ Returning Starfish Cream 60ml  – $41.50 @ Amazon
  3. Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream – Came in 3b Beauty Box, normally $9 @ Ulta
  4. Bio-RTX Mentor Cream – Free sample from Club Clio, normally $41.50 @ Gowoonsesang
  5. Time Revolution Immortal Youth Cream Sample pack of 10 – $3.84 @ eBay, normally $65 @ MisshaUS


What’s the point of explaining what I spent? Well, as you can see, I have a literal wardrobe of moisturizer options here, each with different features and ingredients. I can patch these accordingly and see how my face likes them. And in fact, if I hadn’t been sold on the Mizon Starfish cream for some time now (which, btw, used to be cheaper, but since being discontinued the price has shot up), this total spend could have been even less. For less than the cost of one Chanel moisturizer, I now have five to work with — some that would perform circles around epensive drugstore brands, may I add.

So how did I know to choose these? Well, Starfish Cream was one of my first forays into Asian beauty, and I fell in love hard early, so that one was just a good guess. CeraVe had sold me when I saw their attention to low pH in their cleansers, so I decided to give the moisturizer a try as they had already earned my trust (and it was super affordable). Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream was a sample from 3b that I just so happened to love. With the Immortal Youth cream, I had tried a sample of the serum which I loved (I now use the full size) and decided to track down samples of the cream to see if it was as nice as the serum (and it is). And the Bio-RTX Mentor Cream is brand new, so I haven’t started testing it yet.

So how do you choose YOUR cream from the legions that are out there to try? Follow one of my golden rules for Asian beauty:

Never buy anything full-size before you sample! (unless you have no choice)

If you’re curious about a product, odds are it comes in a sample size as Korean beauty is mad about giving out samples. They would drown you in samples if they could. This is very much to your advantage! A few good resources to try a product you are curious about include TesterKorea, which sells tons of sample sizes, and eBay (read your seller feedback to make sure they aren’t peddling fakes).


Ask fellow AB fans about the product. If you want to know more about that pretty cream with the really appealing packaging, head over to Reddit/AsianBeauty and ask questions. People are super helpful … and you might just get lucky enough to find someone who is willing to share what their experience was like with said product.

And one more option…

See if anyone is trading the thing you want to try! Reddit/AsianBeautyExchange is not only full of sellers letting go of stuff that didn’t work for them, it’s also got plenty of people requesting products they want to try as well. Throw up a request and see if anyone can help you out. Also, trades there tend to happen cheaply, so you’ll save some dollars rather than taking the plunge and dropping it all on the full size!

Another nice thing about trying things in sample sizes is that you’ll find yourself with options that you can customize based on the weather, your skin condition, etc. So when it’s extremely cold, I switch to the Missha Immortal Youth cream because its the richest of the lot. On a warm day, I go for CeraVe AM because its the thinnest, but still plenty effective. Just like your closet, it’s good to have a “wardrobe” of options since your skin has differing needs.

My final advice: Be CURIOUS. Try lots of things. Patch test so your skin doesn’t freak out if it hates the product (I learned my lesson after the horrible case of the Su:m37 Rose Cleansing Stick Breakout Catastrophe of 2015). And do your best not to go “I’LL TAKE IT ALL!” Really, you don’t have to do that. Just because everyone else seems haul-crazy, it doesn’t mean you have to be!

Happy beauty travels, my dears! ❤

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links]


One Comment Add yours

  1. mollyadaly says:

    Definitely going to use TesterKorea!!! Thank you. ❤


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