20/04/2024

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13 places to buy Korean skincare for the best prices

13 places to buy Korean skincare for the best prices

My skincare routine has been seeing a shift back to K-beauty lately, made possible by the incredible variety of products they have, how accessible they are, and their relatively more affordable prices.

However, not all Korean beauty retailers are made equal. Some offer low prices year round, others have fantastic sales during holidays, and some are just plain expensive, charging a markup for convenience (I’m looking at you Sephora!).

So in this post I’ll be taking a closer look and comparing 14 different K-beauty websites so you can get the best value for your hard earned money

Criteria for each retailer

  • Costs of Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, and LANEIGE Water Bank BlueHA Cream as benchmarks for average product prices.
  • Frequency and quality of sales
  • Shipping destinations and cost
  • Product selection and number of brands carried
  • Customer service

Average cost of products
$17.44 for the snail essence, $40.51 for Laneige, and $22.90 for the vitamin drop. Full prices are average but many items are permantly discounted.

Frequency & quality of sales
Very few and minor sales, but you can earn points to apply to future purchases. They also have a clearance section with discounts up to 90%.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships worldwide! Cost is based on shipping method selected and location. Add another 1-7 business days for them to procure the items for you.

Product Selection
500+ brands of all price ranges, the best selection out of all the retailers listed here. If you don’t see a product you want you can also request it and they’ll add it to their site within a few days.

Customer Service
Available via their customer support portal. 2.4 rating on Trust Pilot.

Definitely the best selection of beauty products of all the retailers, whenever I can’t find something I know I’ll find it here. Yes we all hate paying for shipping, but I didn’t think the cost was that unreasonable and if you place a large enough order you’re still getting a better deal overall.

Average cost of products
None of the 3 products were listed, but comparing prices of other items to Korean-based retailers Bemused is on the average side.

Frequency & quality of sales
Up to 75% off during Black Friday but many of their products are already discounted at 20% off or higher.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 50 countries and offers free standard shipping $75+ or free expedited shipping $200+. Processing time is 2-3 business days.

Product Selection
15 lesser known but excellent Korean skincare brands that are hard to find on other retailers.

Customer Service
Available via email or phone. No Trust Pilot rating. 

A direct-from-Korea retailers. I haven’t shopped here but I know they’re loved by a lot of my friends in the EU. A great option if you’re a fan of any of the carried brands.

Kbeauty shopping guide: where to buy Korean skincare to get the best prices

Average cost of products
$21 for the snail essence, $24.27 for the vitamin drop, and Laneige is not available. Full prices are around average.

Frequency & quality of sales
Regular sales for around 20-25% off. You can also earn points by writing reviews to apply to future purchases.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 185+ countries with the relatively low free shipping minimum. Also offers expedited shipping at an extra price!

Product Selection
120 affordable K-beauty brands, including their own in-house brands Idealove and Radiant Seoul. Won’t carry the latest products from each brand but will have the popular ones.

Customer Service
Available via email chat. 2.6 rating on Trust Pilot.

They’re not exclusively K-beauty but they have the best free shipping deals out of all the retailers here. Plus they also carry Western beauty brands and an incredible selection of wellness products. I haven’t had any issues with their products or delivery, but they did close my account for no reason once.

Average cost of products
$18.75 for the snail essence, Laneige and the vitamin drop are not available. Full prices are below average and majority of the products permanently discounted!

Frequency & quality of sales
Regular clearance sales where select items are heavily discounted. Their sales aren’t as impressive but that’s non-issue since their prices are low already.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 75+ countries with the free shipping minimum varying from $40 to $150 depending on shipping method and location.

Product Selection
300+ brands. May not carry newer releases or more obscure Korean skincare brands.

Customer Service
Available via email or their a customer support portal. 3.8 rating on Trust Pilot.

An OG K-beauty retailer known for their low prices. If you’re looking for mainstream Korean beauty products and can’t wait for a sale (but don’t mind waiting for shipping), you’ll get great prices here. I’ve shopped here a few times and I appreciate how generous they are with samples!

Average cost of products
$15.56 for the snail essence, $21.29 for the vitamin drop, and $38.89 for the Laneige. Full prices are below average and majority of the products have an additional discount!

Frequency & quality of sales
Rotating sales for different brands, but prices in general are already slashed so low the sales don’t really make a huge difference.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships worldwide and costs depends on location and method selected. Free shipping is available for select countries but with really high thresholds from $100+.

Product Selection
400+ brands, featuring the latest products from each brand. Also includes lesser known brands that aren’t found on other retailers. In addition to beauty products they also sell snacks and stationery goods.

Customer Service
Available via email, phone, or their a customer support portal. 3.4 rating on Trust Pilot.

Similar to Rose Rose Shop, you get great selection and low prices but at the expensive of expensive and possibly slow shipping. However they sell more than just beauty products here, so if you also want to purchase Korean snacks, paper goods, or even K-pop merchandise, this is a great one-stop-shop.

Average cost of products
$25 for snail essence, Laneige and vitamin drops aren’t available. Full price is above average.

Frequency & quality of sales
Sales during the holidays. $5 off $50 your first order and earn points with each order.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships worldwide but free shipping only available in the US for orders $50+. Processing time is 1 business day.

Product Selection
40+ Korean skincare brands, but they only feature select best sellers from each brand.

Customer Service
Available via email. No reviews on Trust Pilot. 

A more boutique retailer with more mainstream brands. I don’t have any personal experience with them but I know those who’ve used them rave about their customer service!

Average cost of products
$23 for the snail essence, $52 for Laneige, and the vitamin drop is not available. Full prices are high but majority of the products are discounted.

Frequency & quality of sales
You can get 5% off with affiliate codes (mine is JENNY123) and products are regularly discounted (10-30% or BOGO) year round. Sales are frequent as are 40% single item coupons. You can also earn points to apply to future purchases.

Shipping destination & costs
Free shipping WORLDWIDE for orders $60+! Delivery times vary by location and can be up to 60 days due to the pandemic. US shipping takes a week and is via DHL!

Product Selection
400+ Korean skincare and makeup brands, and they also carry select Korean supplements and K-POP albums. The products are based on what’s popular in Korea, so you’ll get classics as well as up-and-coming brands.

Customer Service
Available via a customer support portal, response time is around 1 business day (my experience). 4.3 rating on Trust Pilot.

My new favorite place to buy Korean skincare online because of their incredible BOGO deals and that they carry all the trending products. After all they are the largest beauty retailer in Korea! I’ve noticed that the it products are usually priced extremely well, so definitely check them out if you like trying the latest and greatest! Here are my top picks on what to buy on Olive Young.

Average cost of products
None of the 3 products are listed here, but comparing other items to US sites the pricing is consistent.

Frequency & quality of sales
Decent sales during the holidays and 15% off your first order. 

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 33 countries but free shipping is only available in the US for orders $50+. Processing time is 1 business day. 

Product Selection
Just 17 carefully curated brands, and they only feature the best sellers from each brand.

Customer Service
Available via email. Offers free skincare consultation service. 3 rating on Trust Pilot.

A decent retailer if you’re a fan of the brands they carry and are in the US, otherwise you can find similar Korean skincare products on Olive Young, Jolse, or Stylevana.

Kbeauty shopping guide: where to buy Korean skincare to get the best prices

Average cost of products
$14.87 for the snail essence, $19.38 for the vitamin drop, and the Laneige isn’t available . Full prices are below average and most of their products have an additional discount!

Frequency & quality of sales
Weekly rotating brand sales up and regular 10% off coupons, it’s best to sign up for their newsletter if you want to stay up to date.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships worldwide. Cost is based on shipping method selected and location. Add another 1-5 business days for processing.

Product Selection
200+ of the most popular Korean beauty brands, but the selection per brand varies. Usually will carry the most popular products from each brand.

Customer Service
Available via email and phone, but their email response rate is really slow. 4.2 rating on Trust Pilot.

Similar to Jolse, but swap out the free shipping for the even cheaper prices. They used to be one of my go-to retailer way back in the days but I prefer others now for the better selection and faster shipping. However if you’re looking for the lowest price RoseRoseShop is still a great option.

Average cost of products
$25 for snail essence and $23 for vitamin drops, Laneige isn’t available. Full prices are above average.

Frequency & quality of sales
Good sales during the holidays, and you can get 15% off your first order.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 45+ countries but free shipping is only available in the US for orders $35+. Certain countries will have duties included in the total cost.

Product Selection
90 brands but some are Western brands. Includes most of the popular mid-range to affordable brands as well as their own Then I Met You, but are also missing obvious ones like Laneige.

Customer Service
Via email and social media, response time is 1-2 business days. Offers free consultation service. 2.7 on Trust Pilot.

I find that most of the US retailers aren’t priced as competitively but you get much faster shipping time if you’re local. If you want a mix of well curated Western and Korean skincare products and don’t mind the higher price, Soko Glam is a great option.

Average cost of products
$20 for the snail essence, Laneige and the vitamin drop are not available. Full prices are average but majority of the skincare products are permanently discounted!

Frequency & quality of sales
Regular clearance sales up to 90% off select products. Otherwise no major sales since the permanent sale prices are already so low.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 16+ countries with the free shipping minimum varying from $50 to $150 depending on location. Doesn’t ship to the EU (UK only) but does ship to several Middle Eastern countries.

Product Selection
150+ brands, including some lesser known ones. May not carry full selection from each brand, including newer releases.

Customer Service
Available via chat during Korean business hours. 2.4 rating on Trust Pilot.

I’ve only worked with them via PR and those experiences have been nothing but positive. But based on my research, they would not be my first K-beauty retailer pick unless you’re in a country with the $50 free shipping threshold.

Average cost of products
$25 for snail essence, $23 for vitamin drops, and $41.39 for Laneige. Full price is above average but many items are heavily discounted off full price and there’s additional discounts if you buy multiple.

Frequency & quality of sales
Frequent generous sales and full sized gifts with purchase. There’s also a 15% student discount!

Shipping destination & costs
Free shipping to 15 North American and EU countries with varying order minimum $35-$95 depending on location. Processing time can be long, up to 30 business days if item is low stock.

Product Selection
150+ Korean makeup and skincare brands, including the most popular ones. There are a few up and coming brands as well, plus some popular Japanese brands. 

Customer Service
Via messaging system on their site. Response rate is extremely slow. 2.4 on Trust Pilot.

Cost wise they’re a top contender but each time I’ve ordered from them the processing time has been ridiculously slow despite the item being listed in stock. A good option if you’re in no rush to get your items.

Kbeauty shopping guide: where to buy Korean skincare to get the best prices

Average cost of products
$21 for the snail essence and $23 for the vitamin drop, Laneige was not available. Full prices are on the higher end.

Frequency & quality of sales
You can get 5% off with affiliate codes but they also have generous sales several times a year, with discounts up to 50% on Black Friday. Best to make your purchase all at once during sales to hit the free shipping minimum.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 30 countries and offers free expedited shipping for orders $100+. EU countries will get charged a hefty custom fees! Processing time is around 1-3 business days.

Product Selection
Lower than the other 8 recommended retailers with just 11 brands, including inhouse brands like By Wishtrend and Elmt. But they carry the full selection of products for each brand!

Customer Service
Available via IG/Facebook and email. 3.1 rating on Trustpilot.

If you’re outside the EU and are diehard fans of the brands WishTrend carries, they’re an excellent retailer to shop from during sales. I used to buy skincare products regularly from them and never had an issue with shipping delays or quality control, but this was pre-pandemic as well. Here are my top picks on what to buy on WishTrend!

Average cost of products
$19.5 for the snail essence, $16.20 for the vitamin drop, $35.3 for Laneige. Full prices are average and they have regular discounts on top.

Frequency & quality of sales
5% off with affiliate codes (mine is GEEKYPOSH) and regular discounts (10-20%) throughout the year. Ocassional clearance sales and you can earn points and coupons to apply to future purchases. It’s best to keep up with their frequent discounts via email.

Shipping destination & costs
Ships to 55 countries and offers free shipping when you hit the minimum (~$49 but varies by country). Standard shipping time can take up to 25 business days + up to 14 days processing.

Product Selection
150+ Korean skincare brands (they carry the popular products from well-known brands), but the total selection HUGE if you take into account the Japanese brands they also carry and their fashion/lifestyle selections.

Customer Service
Available via email, with the option to contact their CEO directly. 4.3 rating on Trust Pilot.

I’ve shopped here several times and it’s taken a few weeks each time to get my order, but I don’t mind given the lower prices and frequent sales. Recommend if you’re interested in Asian skincare products in general, clothes or makeup as well, otherwise there are better retailers for Korean skincare brands specifically.

13 K-beauty Retailers Ranked

Ok I know that was a lot to read, so here are my top 3 picks based on the different criteria.

  🥇 🥈 🥉
Price & Deals Rose Rose Shop
Korea Depart
Jolse Stylevana
Olive Young Global
Shipping iHerb
Olive Young Global
Jolse YesStyle
Product Selection Beauty Box Korea Jolse
Olive Young Global
Korea Depart
Stylevana
Rose Rose Shop

My Favorite Places To Shop

So I’ve listed a ton of places, but when it comes down to it, here is where I really shop for my Korean skincare products:

  • Olive Young Global. Great sales, reasonable prices (when on sale), and I love that they carry many of the same trending products in Korea that’s hard to find in other retailers. Shipping has been super quick too!
  • Beauty Box Korea. If I really want something and I can’t find it anywhere else, this is my go-to, and they always deliver.
  • YesStyle. I prefer buying Korean makeup here more, and I’ll usually place an order if I want to pick up some new clothes or hair accessories too.
  • Amazon. Ok not my favorite but I’ve definitely bought a lot of K-beauty here when I needed them in a rush because hello prime shipping!

I’m not committed to any single brands but if you are, brand sites like Missha or Aromatica are also great options to get the best product selection.

If you’ve shopped at any of these places or have a different retailer you recommend, please share your thoughts in the comments!