guide to buying k-beautyA lot of people have been asking me where I buy my K-beauty products since I am very reliant on purchasing online since I live in North America sadly.  I remember when I first started getting slightly into Korean cosmetics, ebay was my only friend.  Now my knowledge on where to buy K-beauty has broaden, so I thought it is finally time to share the knowledge.  In this post, I will show you all the sites I keep my eye on, purchase my products and also tips and tricks on how to get the most bang for your buck.  So let’s get started! (ノ≧∀≦)ノ

First off, if you are looking into buying products, make sure to know what the Korean retail prices are.  To check, go on the brand’s official Korean website.  If you use google chrome, you can actually set it so that your browser will translate the while Korean website into English or any other languages you understand so don’t be intimidated.  Another tip, since you have to buy online, always look up reviews and swatches to get a better idea of what shade you need.  Of course you can google in English the product you are looking for and most of the time, there are reviews on that certain product.  If you are looking for swatches for newly released items, searching in Naver (Korean blogging platform) will be your best bet.  Just copy and paste the names in Korean and paste it into the Naver search bar.

2000px-EBay_logo.svgeBay is one of the places I go to first when I am just looking to buy one or two items.  Shops on eBay is great since items usually have “free shipping” (meaning the shipping is already calculated into the item price) and most of the time have prices closest to Korean retail prices.  I would recommend using eBay if you are buying one or two things but not more then three items unless you can find super cheap prices with shipping. If you are buying a lot of products, I’d suggest you check out the other options I have for you down below.

Also when shopping on eBay, make sure the seller is located in Korea.  Do not be tricked into buying a product that is priced significantly cheaper then the retail price and the seller is in another country other then Korea.  Your chances of purchasing fakes are a lot higher so don’t even risk it.  

Here is a list of sellers that I either have experiences with, or are sellers that are trusted:
Rinishop
Roseroseshop
Beautynetkorea
Rubyruby76
Tosowoong
cosmeticmarket2012
Freya-net1996
Ideaseller_kr
Cosmetic-loves

I have scored some awesome prices through auctions, so don’t be shy to bid if you have patience.

gmarket-logo-english

Gmarket is pretty much a Korean version of ebay, a online store that is a collection of sellers selling their products.  Not only do they have a cosmetic section, they also have clothing, handbags, home decor, anything and everything you can think of.  In the cosmetics department, you can find unique sets, amazing deals and every brand under the sun, it is there.  I personally haven’t used Gmarket since I find it slightly confusing to use and I’m unsure of the high shipping fees for international buyers.  You could use Gmarket in conjunction to a buying service if you find really amazing deals you can’t pass.

k-beauty guideOf course there are online stores that sells a collection of Korean cosmetics.  Some stores sell just the most popular items, some carry more indie and hard to find brands.  Here are the ones I shop around on the most and had the most extensive collections.  All of these stores ship international.

Jolse:
One of my absolute favourite stores ever.  They always update their site super quick and have some of the newest items up a couple of days after the Korean release.  They also have reasonable prices and also has international shipping.  Can’t get better then that!

Rini Shop
Rinishop if you haven’t noticed, has a ebay store and is also one of my trusted sellers on ebay.  Their site has the same concept where each items will have the shipping charges included.  Again, that can be a good or a bad thing depending on how many items you are buying.  I find that they have the latest releases and also have good prices close to retail price.  Definitely would recommend their store.

Koreadepart
Koreadepart is another really big name when it comes to purchasing K-beauty.  I find their prices are very close to Korean retail price, sometimes even have a slight discount.  The one thing that stops me from purchasing from the site is their weird shipping policy.  You’d have to pretty much put a down payment for the shipping in advance, they weight it and then give you back the rest of the money if there is any leftover.  This turns me off since I’m a really skeptical person and this just makes me question if they are cheating me out of my money or not.  Many have ordered from the site and had no problem so it should be fine, but that is definitely one thing stopping me from purchasing.

Testerkorea
Testerkorea is one of my go to places to purchase K-beauty because they have Korean retail prices, sometimes with slight discount and you can also request for them to add items for you on the site.  Sometimes they do mark up the items you request, but if it is a big brand and would sell well, there’s a discount from time to time.  Shipping charges are average but I’d recommend using testerkorea if you are buying a lot since the shipping is charged by weight.

Roseroseshop
Roseroseshope is also another store that also has a popular ebay store, but their own site has items that are decently new.  They do add new released items but not as quick as sites such as Rinishop or testerkorea.  I’d say it takes about 2 to 3 weeks of Korean release days for them to add it onto theri site.  Roseroseshop offers very competitive prices and you can buy in bulk as well, but sadly their shipping charges just kill it for me.

Beautynetkorea
Beautynetkorea (again also has a ebay store) offers free shipping worldwide and has a good collection of popular brands along with hard to get brands as well.  Their prices are very competitive, espically with the fact that there is free shipping, definitely an it places to buy.  You can also buy samples and in bulk as well!  Their shipping also is quite fast considering it comes all the way from Korea.  Overall another place I’d highly recommend.

Ibuybeauti
I have not purchased from this site but I have seen them everywhere since they sponsor a lot of bloggers.  From the looks of it, their products have either a slight mark up or a pretty steep mark up.  They offer free worldwide shipping with orders over $50. Not a site I would recommend if you are on a budget or want to shop smart.  Of course, take my suggestions with a grain of salt and if you find sometime you like with the right price, go right ahead.

Yesstyle
Yesstyle has been around for a long long time.  I honestly wasn’t going to add them to the list since their prices are ridiculous in my opinion but I still added it here.  They have cosmetic items from both Korea and Japan but their mark up are just too ridiculous for me to handle.  They do offer free shipping with orders over $45, so if you find anything that is on “sale”, it might be worth it.  But again, from the looks of their “sale items”, the things on sale is just the retail price hence why I told you in the beginning to make sure to know the retail price to shop smart.  Definitely not a place I’d recommend to buy your cosmetics.specialty storesThere are also stores I’d like to call “specialty stores” which is another beast.  These stores offer beauty boxes, curated items and such.  Most of these sites only ship within USA and one ships in Canada.

Memebox
Of course I had to mention Memebox.  Memebox is a site that offers curated K-beauty boxes along with their house brand cosmetics and other popular cosmetic and skincare items all the way from Korea.  Sadly they changed their company to a USA only company so they only ship within USA.  They have a good point system but I think one of the things that sets them apart from the rest of their ridiculously amazing return policy.  You have 101 days from the day your purchased your items, and if it doesn’t work out, you can return it for a full refund.  What online store does that!!! No one.. that’s who.  I highly recommend them and they have fast shipping as well.

Beautibi:
I think Beautibi might be one of my most favourite curated sites ever.  The lady behind it named Jen, amazing human being. She truly curated the products, brought us brands that are super indie and she makes sure they are truly amazing before even adding it to the site.  One of my most favourite brands from the store is Thank you farmer and their emulsion.  DAMN I love that emulsion.  On top of that, they have super fast shipping and they also have Facebook notifications on shipping status so it will send you a message every step of the way so you’ll know exactly where your packaging is.

Wishtrend
Wishtrend is also another beast of their own.  They offer very hard to get brands such as Klairs, Delight 18, 23 year old just to name a few.  They don’t carry popular brands like Etude House or Innisfree so this is definitely a go to place to check out if you are tired of the popular brands and want to try more indie brands.  They also have coupons every month.  On top of that, they also have curated beauty boxes called Wishbox.  I’m currently eyeing the Wishbox 47 that consists of All Klairs skincare products for $62.  I WANT!!

SokoGlam
Sokoglam is a online store that is quite new to the market.  Charlotte Cho (the founder) is a licensed esthetician curates items, try them out herself and only add items that she thinks is worth while.  I’m can’t speak on behalf of that motto but she does have a good mix of well known, roadshop brands such as Banila co and Tony moly, and also indie brands like Neogen and Son and Park.  Of course expect to pay premium prices on her site and she offers free US shipping with orders over $50.

Peach and Lily
Peach and lily reminds me of Sokoglam, but a Saks fifth avenue stop shop for K-beauty.  Their mark up is around 10-20% and they also have a good mix of roadshop brands and smaller brands.  Make sure to do your homework before spending some cash at this place.  The prices scare me away haha.

Bisou beauty Bar
With the Canadian currency compared to USD being so low, Bisou beauty bar is now a place I would shop at since it is Canadian based (I think they are located in Vancouver as well).  They are the only Canadian online K-beauty store that offers Cosrx products along with some other selected brands.  Sadly they don’t have a big collection of products but they have become a place I keep my eye on since the currency exchange is so bad.  They also offer free shipping with orders over $65 and also free samples with every order.

Takegoodcare
Although Takegoodcare is the new kid on the block with a small selection at the moment, they have absolutely great customer service and reasonably priced products.  On top of that, for my Canadian readers, they operate right out of Toronto and the prices are all in CDN!  No need to convert whoo whoo! They also have fast shipping too.  Check out the side bar for a 15% off coupon code~

UntitledAnother way to buy your K-beauty products is through a buying service.  I’m impatient a lot of the times when I see new product launches in Korea and hasn’t been added onto online stores, I turn to buying services.  What buying services is is a service where you pay a company 10-15% commission to do your shopping in Korea (or any other countries) and have them ship it to you. I have tried two buying services, Avecko and Dowaja.  Sadly Dowaja is out of business and have since suspended their site, leaving us the three options down below.

The reason I would use a buying service is if there is an amazing sale on the Korean sites (a lot of times there is a bogo sales, 30-50% off sales) or items that are hard to get or I’m just impatient and want the new collections.

Avecko
Avecko is the only buying service I have used so far.  My experiences with them is neutral and their response time is slightly slow in my opinion. They take about two days to respond but they order my items quite fast and process the items to ship to my house fast as well.  I just wish they would respond faster since I usually order through them because there is a time sensitive sale that ends in four days.

Shop and Box
Shop and Box is another site that offers buying services but the unique thing about them is that they are a site that offers services all around the world.  This is a great one stop shop for those that are looking to buy from different countries.  I haven’t used this myself but I might be trying it out soon and also stay tuned because I might be able to get you guys a discount down the road if you guys want to try it out yourself.  They charge 10-15% commission but I think this site has a more personal approach to them.  Once you pick your country, they link you to a “boxer” (personal shopper) according to your needs and from there, you will connect with them and they will talk to you one on one.  After you have ordered, they will keep you posted by sending you pictures of the items just to confirm it is the items you want and then from there, ship it to you.  I’d be happy to pay up with service like that!  Dayum!

*Update: If you follow me in Instagram, you’ll have seen this already. I recently bought couple items through shop and box.  All my items came to $69, awesome, good prices since I picked stuff that was on sale and was a good deal.  Boxer handling fee 15%= $10, cool I can live with that.  Shipping option, pretty much only DHL and for my 1.2 kg total weight, shipping was $38!!  WHAT.  Okay fine, but then the parcel comes and I get charged an extra $31.  So in total I paid $70 for shipping and customs?  Hell no.  No thank you.  I can’t recommend then :S.  There are plenty other buying services out there.  If you are rich, go ahead but I’m not going through this again.  Lesson learned.*

Korean Buddy
This is another buying service that I haven’t tried and was actually suggested to me by a nice lady on instagram.  They offer the same services with 10% commission charge if you provide them the URL for them to purchase it for you, 20% charge if they need to find the URL or have to be purchased in person and minimum commission fee is $9 USD.

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That is it for my guide to buying K-beauty.  Hopefully this will help you guys out on buying K-beauty products and also became a little smarter with your money to get the best bang for your buck.

Let me know in the comments down below if you have tried any of the services or shopped at any of the stores I have mentioned up above.  If I have missed anything, let me know and I will update the list.

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it on your favourite social media pages.  Also don’t forget to follow me on my social media platforms to see what I’m doing and what I’m getting in the mail :D.  Mail time is always fun time for me.
( •ω• )

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Written by Christina

    12 Comments

  1. Gema February 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm Reply

    You forgot W2Beauty, they are nice and have a good customer service, shipping is fast too, the only thing i don’t like is that most of the cosmetics are a lot more expensive compared to other shops. I have tried IBBI, they have a very good customer service, shipping was just normal and prices are not too expensive.
    I recently ordered from Viewtycos and their customer service is awful, my package has been lost for 2 weeks now in Korea and they just don’t answer. The phone number they have on their site doesn’t exist ( i ask a korean friend to call them) but their prices are the cheapest ones i have found and shipping charges are less comapred to Rose Rose Shop.

    • Christina February 13, 2016 at 12:44 am Reply

      Ahhh, I’m not too familiar with W2beauty but I have seen them around. Thank you for the reminder.

      I hate it when I have to deal with a crappy company!! I hope you paid with Paypal, try opening up a case to get your money back. Hell no will I everrrr go to that site so thanks for the heads up.

  2. Angela February 12, 2016 at 1:24 am Reply

    Love how this guide is so detailed! There is also Momomango and Chuusi.ca for Cosrx products 🙂 Laalaa.ca also has quite a selection for Kbeauty if you are living in North America!

    • Christina February 13, 2016 at 12:45 am Reply

      Glad you found it helpful :). I haven’t heard of those two places but I have seen Chuusi on instagram from time to time. I will check those places up!

  3. Fiona March 22, 2016 at 10:51 am Reply

    What was your experience with Avecko and their shipping prices? I took a peek and I thought it was very high (but not DHL-high, sorry to hear about that experience!) I’m also surprised you didn’t mention Jolse! I had a very good experience with them, and shipping was what I consider fast (ordered on a Friday night, received 3 Fridays later).

    • Christina March 23, 2016 at 3:40 am Reply

      Hello!

      My experienced with Avecko can be found here in this post:
      http://www.christinahello.com/korean-cosmetic-haul-feat-avecko-and-how-to-use/

      The shipping actually I think is normal korea post pricing. The one downside to Avecko is that they take 3-4 days to message you back. If, let’s say you wanted to buy a item that is on sale (like me most of the time) and only runs for 4 days, Avecko might not be your best option. Let me suggest you try using boyahshopkr. I only recently found out about them but I really like her so far. I haven’t ordered yet because I don’t have a solid list, but from her customer service, superb. She has a $5 minimum service charge (quite standard, so pretty much just buy at least $50 and you’ll get your money’s worth), 9% commission and whatever shipping option you want. But I think the cherry on top with her service is that you can message her through Instagram Direct message and she messages you back right away!! Pretty sweet right? I really suggest going with her instead of Avecko :). Hope that helps!

      Also here is the like to boyah! If you do end up ordering, let her know that Christina sent you <3
      http://www.boyahshop.com/

      • Fiona March 23, 2016 at 6:20 am Reply

        Awesome! Thanks for the Avecko link and boyah referral! If I use the service, I’ll let her know you sent me! I’m trying NOT to put together a list in order to avoid spending monies 🙁 but it’s good to have options, for sure! I’m feeling a bit tempted by the new Missha x Brown essence. Did you ever do a review on that product? I think I searched but I’m not sure I found anything. The reality is I have a ton of stuff to go through, but then I also love bears >_<! Whyyy Korea, why must you make such cute things!

        • Christina March 23, 2016 at 4:48 pm Reply

          No worries! I’d say just make a list and wait until things go on sale. That is the only time I’d ever buy anything through a buying service. At the moment, there is really good deals on codeglokolor x moomin.
          You can also use this website for reference for the current k-beauty deals (which is what I have been doing lately):
          https://new.powderroom.co.kr/promotions

          And do you mean the Missha x Line friends essence that was just released? I haven’t tried it myself but I think I’ve heard it being a dupe for SKII’s essence. I’d say maybe buy some samples first before you commit to buying the full sized bottle. Don’t get tempted by the cute packaging!
          You can find samples from ebay (just make sure the seller is from Korea):
          http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=missha+time+revolution+essence&_sop=15

          Haha Korea always has cute things coming out! RESIST AND USE LOGIC. This is coming from the girl that’s like OH CUTE CUSHION, click and pay LOL.

          Hope that helps~

  4. Grace September 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm Reply

    Jolse is one that I used to use a lot, and still occasionally do 🙂 Jolse & TesterKorea are my main favs out of all the online stores I’ve tried before

    • Christina September 15, 2016 at 3:01 pm Reply

      Jolse is also one of my favourites and testerkorea used to be a good one but I use Boyahshop a lot now 😛

  5. Annie October 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm Reply

    So being Canadian its been a bit of a nightmare with ordering my K-beauty products. So far I’ve tried Sokoglam, Ebay and testerkorea. My recent Sokoglam purchases had the added $48 with the exchange rate plus $12 shipping which wouldnt be so bad however DHL is the shipping company and not only does every package that ACTUALLY SHOWS UP come with serious added fees. They want the money in cash at your door. DHL doesnt have debit?? So if u don’t have ‘surprise cash’ on hand or if u are not home for the random drop off of said package, it becomes your responsibility to drive to DHL’s closet depot station to pick up your items in person. For me the closet location is in Cambridge, ON which is like 35 minutes away. I think u have one week to pick up the package or it is shipped back to the seller. Crazy. So between that and Sokoglam’s high markup…its just not worth it for me. So happy to look in to some of these other options. Thank you :0

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