Korean beauty products have been increasingly popular worldwide for their innovative formulas, appealing packaging, effectiveness and consistent new product launches. It’s no secret that the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, raises the demand for K-beauty products significantly. More often than not, product placement in a K-drama can cause the product to go out of stock.
If you’re new to the K-beauty world, figuring out where to start can feel a little overwhelming. What are the most popular brands? Where can I buy them? Some of the most popular brands in Korea such as IOPE, Hera, Mamonde, etc are not readily available in Singapore.
Nonetheless, fret not! In the era of online shopping, you can practically buy all the K-beauty products online at reasonable prices. Yup, that’s true. Some of the products are priced even higher in Korea and Singapore. So, most of the time, I still prefer to shop online. Unfortunately, there isn’t one place that is the best place to shop. It depends on the product, the brand, your shipping location, as well as shopping habits.
In general, all the shopping websites where you can purchase K-beauty products can be divided into FIVE main categories:
- The brand’s global website (e.g. EtudeHouse.com, Innisfreeworld.com)
- Korean departmental store’s global website (e.g. global.lotte.com)
- Online market places (e.g. eBay.com.sg, Qoo10)
- Korean local websites through buying services (e.g. Avecko.com)
- Independent online stores (which I will share in this post)
Before I start more in-depth on category #5, I’m not affiliated with any of these stores. The stores with a red asterisk (*) sign denotes stores that I’ve made purchases before.
As an introduction, these online stores are independent websites run by people who sell various brands of Korean beauty products. Their stores are based in Korea unless otherwise specified.
1. ALTHEA *
Website: http://sg.althea.kr/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/altheasg
ALTHEA is my favourite among all. They have a local office in Singapore. ALTHEA stocks many of popular Korean brands, particularly from the Amore Pacific family of brands, such as HERA, Laneige, Etude House, Innisfree, Mamonde, etc. It also stocks popular brands such as IOPE, Nature Republic, Banila Co and Missha.
I checked the prices of two products that I’m currently using and they’re much cheaper at ALTHEA: 1) Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX 60ml is sold at S$85.00 (Sg retail price: S$115.00), and 2) IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning is sold at S$54.90 (Korea retail price: KRW60,000 which is ~S$73.00).
- Good variety of popular Korean skincare brands and products at reasonable prices
- S$20 welcome gift for new members who sign-up for their newsletter
- Free shipping on orders above S$50 (you can easily hit this)
- Occasional free giveaways
- 30 days unconditional refund
- Safe delivery guaranteed
- Doesn’t stock a huge range of products for each brand
- Lack of premium brands such as Sulwhasoo (only one product available), The History of Whoo, SU:M37˚, etc.
2. RoseRoseShop *
Website: http://www.roseroseshop.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoseRoseShop-545329085493840/
Oh, this is my favourite store too – because it has heaps of brands and heaps of products from each brand. The website is easy to navigate with a clean design and well-categorised product range.
- Huge product range with more than 100 K-Beauty brands. Heaps of brands and heaps of products from each brand
- A lot of samples available for sale – good for new product testing
- Wholesale option available – good savings if you’re buying in bulk
- Weight-based shipping, you need to combine a few items to reduce shipping cost – might be difficult to estimate the shipping cost too
- Price in USD only
3. Rinishop *
Website: http://en.myrinishop.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myrinishop/
I get to know Rinishop from Qoo10 and have since made several purchases from this store. Deliveries are prompt and I received free samples for every purchase too.
- Offers over 20 K-Beauty brands with main focus on mid-range brands
- Heaps of products from each brand
- Free samples with every purchase
- Free shipping for certain purchase amount
- Price in USD only
Website: http://www.q-depot.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/qdepot
- Offers over 30 K-Beauty brands including premium brands such as Sulwhasoo, SU:M37˚ and The History of Whoo
- Free economy shipping for purchase over US$49
- Online customer service is available, if you need assistance
Website: http://www.wishtrend.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WISHglobal/
- Lots of cult skincare brands that are not easily available at other stores such as Klairs and COSRX
- Free worldwide shipping for purchase over US$69
- Price in USD only
6. Cosmetic Love
Website: http://cosmetic-love.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CosmeticLoves
- Offers over 60 K-Beauty brands including premium brands such as Sulwhasoo, SU:M37˚ and The History of Whoo
- Heaps of products from each brand, with samples too.
- Also sell beauty tools and accessories
- Free shipping on all orders via Korea Post Economy Shipping Service with no minimum purchase
Website: http://ibuybeauti.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ibuybeauti
Website: http://jolse.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jolseshop
9. Shop at Korea
10. Tester Korea
Website: http://testerkorea.com/ | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/testerkoreacom
You may have noticed that “Price in USD only” is listed as a con. If you’re not living in countries with the available currencies, you’ll need to pay an amount that has been converted twice. First from KRW into USD, and second from USD to your currency. Therefore, the actual cost is likely to be higher than what you originally thought – although not very significant.
Phew! I’ve finally completed this long list. There are many more online stores out there. As I’ve mentioned, there isn’t one place that is the best place to shop. There are pros and cons for every stores, and the product prices vary too. Do compare around before making your purchases.
If you’ve any other good places to shop online, please share with me too. Happy K-shopping! 🙂