I haven’t shopped at all these stores personally. However, I have done extensive research into the experiences other bloggers have had with them.
Please keep in mind that you can never be 100% certain when making purchases online. Using a service like Paypal is a good way to make sure the law is on your side. Also, make sure to check on the tax laws in your state, since you may owe taxes on your online purchases, so it’s best to have this information in hand when you file taxes.
eBay can get a bit of a bad wrap for being dodgy. However, if you’re using Paypal and buying from sellers with stellar ratings, you can get some great deals. If you’re like me and often buy items one by one (as opposed to hauls), eBay tends to be a good option, because lots of sellers offer free shipping. I can’t always afford to pay flat-rate.
As far as I know, most of these sellers ship worldwide. Also, they’re in no particular order.
F2plus1 is an eBay store I first heard of from Muse and have been using ever since. More often than not, F2plus1 has the lowest prices on eBay for the product I’m looking for. They stock a number of brands, including Etude House, Holika Holika, Lioele, Missha, Natural Republic, etc and often offer free shipping. Items are packed carefully and samples are often included. Shipping time is s0-so, around two weeks + or so to Australia. This is my favourite eBay shop for buying Korean cosmetics.
Zinopark is another fairly reliable eBay seller with good ratings across the board. The brand range is slightly less than provided by F2plus one, but they’ve got a great range of Skin Food and Etude House products. Shipping used to be around $2 (they’re willing to combine shipping), but now it seems to be around $5.50 to Australia. Samples are often included and the products I received were genuine. Shipping time was pretty slow for both my orders, like over 25 days.
IamLove-Shop is another eBay seller I’ve dealt with a few times before. They have a good range of products and stock some more unusual brands, such as Yadah, as well as all your usual favourites. Postage on most items appears to be free. Their prices are hit and miss. They have some good deals, but their price for Missha Perfect Cover (20mls) is like $4 more than the F2plus1 price, for example. I don’t actually remember anything about shipping time, which means it was probably about average. They also include samples, in my experience.
This is the official Etude House eBay. There are both pluses and minuses here. One, you’re directly supporting the company. You also know that the products you’re getting are 100% genuine and will be packed with care. Postage is free. However, the prices aren’t very competitive or anything close to the price you can get in the brick-and-mortar stores.
If you’re not too keen on eBay, there are plenty of other websites that sell Korean beauty products. I swear, so many have popped up over the past few years. As far as I know, all of these ship worldwide and offer Paypal support.
Jolse is actually the IamLoveShop’s non eBay site, so you’re like to get the same level of trustworthiness. I ordered an Etude House lip tint from Jolse recently and it came today, packed in bubble wrap with three of four samples (pretty good for just one product). Free shipping took about 14 days, though they do offer tracked shipping for $2. The range is decent and the website is pleasant to navigate. They also have a fashion section, for those interested in that type of thing. Prices are quite low. I also like that they often seem to have promotional events going on.
I am pretty sure I have ordered from Cosmetic-Love in the past (edit: I used their eBay store, actually), but I can’t remember 100%. However, they have a good enough track record in the blogosphere for me to recommend them. They have a professional looking site with regular promotions and offer free shipping or cheap tracked shipping. They’re also quite generous with samples and have a page detailing free gifts. According to reviews I’ve seen recently (sorry, can’t remember who ), Cosmetic-Love also packages orders carefully and has good shipping time. Also, interesting, for $7, they offer 12 different BB cream samples. That could be good if you’re looking to try new BB creams. Prices are decent.
This is another company I’ve shopped with on eBay, but not directly on their website. The website is easy to navigate and makes users aware of current sales. The prices are better than I remember, putting them about on par with Jolse. They stock quite a lot of brands, including Too Cool for School. Some items are eligible for free shipping, but not all of them. I have heard that they’re quite busy and sometimes take quite a long time to respond to email queries. I’m also not 100% sure whether they send samples. Please let me know in a comment, if you’ve shopped there.
BeautyNetKorea is F2Plus1′s non-ebay site, so I have quite high hopes for it. I believe it’s quite new. As with the eBay site, they offer free shipping and every order comes with a sample. The website is a little bit busy, for lack of a better word, but it’s not too difficult to navigate. There are quite a few different brands offered, from the usual (Etude House, Holika Holika) to newer brands, like Y.E.T (Yes, Enjoy Time). They have a points system, member discounts and a visible contact number on the home page, which is always a good sign. I’m looking forward to placing an order with them.
I haven’t had any direct experience with W2Beauty, but they do come recommended by the community. They offer free shipping (as you can tell, this is something I value) and stock quite a number of brands, including Benton. Their prices vary. Some products aren’t marked up too much, but their BB cream prices are sort of steep. An awesome thing about W2Beauty, though, is that you can write mini reviews on products you’ve purchased from them in exchange for points off your next order. Also, they give samples.
I’ve heard from pretty good things about Wishtrend from my blogger friends, such as Donah, but I haven’t placed an order there myself yet. Interestingly, they don’t stock Missha, but have a whole lot of brands I’ve never heard of, which always makes for some fun window shopping. They also have a cool thing called a ‘Wish box‘, which is a bunch of products you can get together for a discounted price, usually based on a monthly theme. Their prices aren’t the cheapest out there, but I think the brands they stock might be more mid-range than low-range. Some products qualify for free shipping, I believe. Otherwise, it’s free if you spend $70 or more.
This is another fairly popular option. The reason I haven’t tried it myself is the shipping. If you’re outside of their fixed shipping range, you have to prepay for shipping. For Australia, America, UK etc, you’ll pay a $20 upfront shipping charge for standard shipping, then they’ll either refund you the excess or charge you extra, depending on what the cost ends up being. I like to know absolute costs upfront. If you’re okay, with that, you might quite like Korea Depart. To be fair, they also do a good job at explaining the process.
They have a nicely laid out site, that also sells clothing and Korean snacks. They stock one of the widest ranges of brands, too. I’m not sure if they include samples. Like some of the other websites, they have a point system for members. As far as I can see, ignoring shipping costs, they have quite good prices, too.
When’s the best time to buy Korean cosmetics online?
To get the best discounts, you should try to take advantage of holiday sales.
- Most Korean sites have huge Christmas and New Year sales
- Don’t forget to also look out for Chuseok discounts. Chuseok is a huge Korean Autumn harvest festival. In 2014, it falls on September 8th.
- Follow the Facebook pages of your favourite online stores to stay abreast of sales and discount coupons.
And that’s it…
There are quite a few more shops I could mention, such as Gmarket, Sasa, etc, but I think I’ll save those for another day. I hope this post helps out anyone looking for the best places to buy Korean cosmetics online. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. And, if you’ve got any extra information on the sites I’ve mentioned, I’d love to hear from you too.
Beauty Junkie asks: Where do you buy your Korean cosmetics from?