Where I Buy My Korean Beauty Products
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
I get asked all the time “So where do you get this stuff?” and “Where can I buy some?”. There’s not a single answer, because it all depends on what I’m getting, how much of it, and my budget at the time. I will do my best to try and organize my madness into a coherent list (no promises).
One of my piles (can you spot my husband's 3 items?):
Here are my favorite purchasing options. Please note, with the global pandemic, some shipping options have gone up in price and there may be shipping delays. The sites listed below are all in business and shipping as of December 17, 2020, but the usual 2 week delivery time may be longer now.
Pros: you can find just about anything there, and shipping is usually “free” (or included in the price). You also get eBay/Paypal protection in case something does go wrong. Can use eBay gift cards as payment.
Cons: could be overwhelming with the amount of sellers, and products take about 2 weeks to arrive (but eBay always quotes much longer).
eBay is my top choice when I shop, but I stick to a few trusted sellers who I know will not send fake products. Always make sure the item is shipping directly from Korea (not China) and the seller has plenty of good ratings. Here are the shops I usually stick to (click on the names to be taken to their store pages):
Pros: amazon prime! I'm all for instant gratification. At least if you live in the US. Should something go wrong, Amazon is great at customer service. Also, can use amazon gift cards as payment.
Cons: potential for fake products
I have never received a fake product from Amazon. Read seller reviews (not just product reviews) and if something seems too good to be true - it probably is.
Pros: unique brands that can be harder to find at other shops (Klairs, I'm From, Rovectin, By Wishtrend). Shipping is typically fast and can even be free (depending on what promotions are being offered). Every product has ingredients and instructions in English. Wishtrend values cruelty free products.
Cons: selection limited to their proprietary brands. Depending on your country, you may have to pay customs/taxes (not in the USA, however).
Pros: free USA shipping on all non-subscription orders of $25 or more, large selection of masks, all ingredients are typically listed.
Cons: individual products can be pricier than what eBay or other Korea-based stores charge.
Facetory has a couple of cool subscription mask boxes, I like their 7 mask option - you get 7 higher end masks (biocellulose, hydrogel, etc).
They also have a store with sheet masks and skincare. So if I want to try something higher-end without waiting for two weeks, I go here.
Pros: huge selection, free or discounted shipping (depending on your country), promotions and store credits based on purchases.
Cons: if there's an order issue, you will need to solve it via email with customer service (vs an easier resolution with eBay, for example).
Jolse is a very well known kbeauty retailer that is famous for its generous free samples with any order.
Pros: big selection, free shipping with a certain order size, global delivery, promotions and sales. Their website is much easier to navigate than eBay storefronts.
Cons: same as with Jolse - if you have an issue, you would need to deal with the store directly.
Stylevana is a large and well-known kbeauty store. They have a good reputation and authentic products. The selection varies from that of Jolse and other stores, but of course there are some overlaps.
Pros: huge selection of kbeauty, jbeauty and other items such as clothing and stationary. Global delivery, free shipping with order minimums, sales and specials. My readers get an extra 5% off with reward code KBHOBBIT (must have an account / be signed in to YesStyle, enter under "reward code").
Cons: if the item is out of stock when you order (that would be indicated on the site), the whole shipment will not be sent until all items are in stock. You may wait 3 weeks for things to ship. YesStyle does alert buyers when something in their cart is out of stock.
YesStyle is one of the best portals for kbeauty, especially for international shoppers.
Pros: a large selection of kbeauty, often brands not available elsewhere. Global delivery, free shipping with order minimums, sales and specials.
Cons: same as with Jolse and other online shops - in case of an issue, you will be working directly with them. I haven't had problems, however.
9. TJ Maxx (brick-and-mortar)
Pros: big discounts, interesting lesser known brands, the ability to see/touch products in person.
Cons: hit and miss selection, sometimes products are toward the end of their shelf life or feature old packaging design that the brand has changed.
I think of TJ Maxx as a treasure hunt of sorts. You never know what you will get. And the selections vary crazy by city and state.
Places I avoid
I don’t typically shop on official brand websites (here in the US, the products have such high markups it’s pretty insane. One brand, for example, used to have an international site that had good promotions, but then with the opening of a store in NYC, they created a US-specific site that is much more expensive and has fewer/worse promos than the international site. The international site is no longer accessible from the US. I also avoid department stores and brick-and-mortar beauty stores because the pricing is very, very inflated. Products that I can get direct from Korea (shipping and all) for $10 are often $20-30 there, and the selection is slim. If budget is not a concern for you, it’s definitely nice to get the instant gratification of taking the product home and to be able to see/smell/touch the items before purchasing.
I hope this little guide (by no means all-inclusive) was of help to you! If you have specific questions or want to talk to like-minded individuals, please join us in our Facebook group.
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