(Please keep in mind that this blog is not longer kept so these may be out of date.)
I know that the k-beauty world is fascinating and tempting. I mean, I’m almost foaming at the mouth when I discover a new exfoliating cleanser with amazing reviews. But it’s so incredibly frustrating when you see a product that you’re dying to try and just can’t figure out where to get it. Or the place you’ve found is so sketchy it could sell caricatures.
For many people outside of Asia, attaining Asian beauty products that are authentic and don’t break the bank can be as daunting as that time you decided you had plenty of time to study for finals… and didn’t.
So I’ve compiled a list to tell you all about reputable places that you can find many Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, and/or Chinese products. Of course, most of them will be on the internet because there are very few brick and mortar stores where you can find them. If you live in NYC or LA, then you probably have a few store locations to choose from so, if you like, you can just Google the brand’s name and then your city.
Another thing to consider is that, while the ability to waltz right into your local store and snag that lip liner you’ve been eyeing can be oh-so satisfying, ordering online from Asia usually takes a couple of weeks (or even a month and a half sometimes). Trust me, it’s worth it! Plus, if it’s coming from Korea, there’s a better chance that what you’re getting is the real deal.
*Disclaimer: I have used some of these sites, but not all of them. I did my research to see which sites had the best reviews and experiences, but not all experiences are the same. I would still recommend doing a little research before placing an order. Also, I have no affiliation with these sites/companies, but if you use my Memebox coupon, I do receive a bonus as a previous customer.
(Click the names to be directed to their websites. 😉 )
Peach and Lily: This is a site founded by Alicia Yoon and they curate products from Korea and bring them to the States. They are chock full of popular items, but they also deliver on new and innovative products. They are definitely one of the most trustworthy sites. I know for a fact that they ship to the US and I gathered this tidbit from their FAQ section: We ship internationally to the following list of countries: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.
SokoGlam: This is a site that was founded by Charlotte Cho. They also curate items from Korea and bring them to the States. They have a great selection and, I think, a few more products than Peach and Lily does. They also ship to the US and these countries: Canada, UK, Australia, India, New Zealand, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
Memebox: This site was a fairly recent discovery for me. I’ve ordered twice from them and both times I was happy with the quality, shipping, and service. They have individual items (but a fairly small selection) or you can try out a box. The boxes are usually themed and may or may not be a surprise box (you don’t know what’s in it except for some hints). Plus they often have sales and coupons that help bring the cost down! If you’d like to get 20% off of your first purchase of $25 or more, you can use my coupon code. The downside is that they only ship to the US.
Beauteque: This is similar to Memebox, but not exactly the same. They do offer single products, but also subscription boxes. One of their more popular boxes is their Mask Maven which is a monthly box filled with different masks. They have good reviews and ship to the US, Canada, and Europe, but say they are looking into expanding their shipping options.
Amazon: Amazon can be tricky sometimes. Most products aren’t supplied by Amazon themselves, but a third party. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of people can be apprehensive about ordering from some stranger on the internet–and for good reason. There are counterfeits of Korean cosmetics that find their way onto the internet. I will say that I have yet to receive a fake product from a seller on Amazon. I also favor this website because they are great about any troubles I may have as a buyer.
Ebay: Ebay can be a terrifyingly happy place. It can be your wonderland… or a nightmare. I’ve bought a surprising amount of products from sellers on Ebay and have only encountered a couple of possible fakes (admittedly this was my fault for taking a chance on a seller with a too-good-to-be-true price and bad ratings). So, to help you out, here’s a list of tried-and-true sellers on Ebay. I’ve bought at least two items from each seller and they’ve all been great with price, shipping, quality, and communication:
Do NOT buy from:
I had two different orders from this seller and never received anything. Thankfully Ebay was awesome and I got my refunds quickly. As of writing this, they have a 93.2% rating, which is much lower than when I ordered from them. If you specifically don’t buy from someone, they are it.
TesterKorea: While I haven’t ordered anything from here myself, this is a site that keeps popping up everywhere I browse. They get good reviews. It seems the majority of the “bad” reviews were based off of when they were changing their site and had a gigantic sale at the beginning of this year (slow shipping, products out of stock, etc). Either way, all of the reviews that I read ended with them enjoying their products and being pleased with the quality. Plus, it seems they even ship to places I haven’t even heard of! Here’s their shipping details for reference.
Beautynet Korea: This website is actually the Ebay seller f2plus1’s non-Ebay site. I’ve actually ordered from here and absolutely love them. They offer free shipping internationally (I couldn’t find specific countries), but you can add a couple of bucks in if you want a tracking number or want it to your door fast. They also have a large selection of brands and products. The prices are quite reasonable and they offer a points system if you sign up for their (free!) account.
Jolse: I’ve seen this website pop up all over the k-beauty online community. It seems to be popular and recommended by many people. There’s free economy shipping to most countries and it seems like they offer a points/rewards option as well. I’ve bought from them on Ebay and Amazon (not their actual site, though) and have had great experiences each time.
Korean Kosmetics (KoKo): For those of you in Europe, this is a company based in London that now ships to many countries in Europe (see this page for specifics). They carry a ton of great brands so you’ll probably be able to find what you’re looking for. When I researched, I came across quite a number of good reviews, so they may be worth a try.
The Silk Rose: This is another UK based website that delivers Korean and Japanese products to the UK. The reviews I found are good and they offer free shipping at a certain price point.
Missha (US): Missha developed an official website for US customers (no shipping internationally) so you can buy products directly from them. They have a ton of products available and it looks like they offer coupon codes pretty frequently.
Innisfree Global: This is Innisfree’s official global site and they ship to quite a few countries. The downside is that they don’t seem to stock their newest releases, but they still offer a large selection.
Etude House: Etude House also has an official English website so you can guarantee the authenticity of their products. They have sales quite frequently and shipping discounts as well. Add worldwide shipping to that and you can find some pretty good deals.
Urban Outfitters: This place is another “standard” retailer that is going Asian. The selection is obviously very limited, but they carry some popular products. Some items are only available online though and the prices are pretty inflated, so bear that in mind.
Target: Yes, I know. Your heart is fluttering. Target, one of the happiest places in the US, is now starting to sell certain k-beauty brands like Laneige and Mizon. Some (or most) seem to only be available online, so watch out for that.
Bonus… Dowaja: Dowaja.com is a super new website, but I thought it was worth a mention as they have a really unique idea. According to one of my readers (thanks fii!), this is a “shopping service” which sounds extremely convenient. They are based in Seoul, South Korea. You send an invoice to them of what you want (they have an inventory for you to choose from, but you can name almost anything that ships domestically to South Korea). They then price everything for you, you approve, then pay by Paypal. Then they gather everything and ship them to you! There’s no reviews as of yet because, as I said, they seem to be very new, but the concept is great. I also have no idea how pricing and shipping costs would hold up against buying from anywhere else, but again, its worth a look.
Whew! That was a lot, but I hope you were able to find something useful. I know that getting into k-beauty can be daunting and once you’re finally ready to try something, you’re stuck trying to figure out how to get your hands on it. Trust me, you’ll find your “usual” places and it won’t be so much work in the long run. 😉
If you’re already stocking up on Asian beauty items, where do you buy your goods? Share below!
*Featured image courtesy of youqueen.com.
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