Shopping for skincare and beauty products has never been such a big thing for me in my teenage years and when I started working after graduation until when I first went to Korea a few years back and I’ve been hooked on Korean brands since then. Mainly because they are very affordable, that’s why I just buy without thinking. But seriously, did I even have skin problems before I buy and use these additional ‘wants’? No. I was merely keeping up with the trend of what we Singaporean ladies love to do when we are in Seoul.
You can say this is retail therapy but it is also a purchase of hope to feed our endless appetite for the sake of pure vanity. It’s like buying lottery. Knowing that the odds of winning is very low, we still buy it for that little ray of hope and anticipation to win something.
So I guess when I buy beauty products, it’s the same rationale as I assume the products will make me look good. If it does boost one’s confidence, why not?
As I mentioned earlier on my Part 1 post (What to buy from South Korea? Snacks Attack!), I had gone long-distance shopping with my husband in Seoul, South Korea which was just as enjoyable. In fact, he was on constant alert for promotions and discounts that he seemed far more excited than me, just to grab some really great deals. For a guy who knew nothing about women’s stuffs, he was certainly doing better than I expected. Why? Because he had bought a whole load of The Face Shop’s masks from Myeong-dong (one of the most famous shopping streets in Seoul) for me but had everything (except freebies and product samples) returned and refunded the next day because The Face Shop counter at Lotte Mart was having a 50% off sale! I salute him for going through all that trouble! =p
And yes, for those of you who are into The Face Shop’s products, you may wish to know that The Face Shop counter at Lotte Mart does have regular sales and promotions. So does the one at Namdaemun Market. The only difference is, The Face Shop at Lotte Mart doesn’t give freebies (product samples) but the one at Myeong-dong does. If you want to save money (like 50% off), then head to Lotte Mart. If you prefer paying the original prices but get lots of samples instead, then the branch at Myeong-dong will suit you fine. Do keep in mind, if you’re buying in bulk, it’s not worth spending the money at Myeong-dong as product samples are cheap anyway and definitely not worth the value of that extra $$$!
Here’s our loot from The Face Shop at Lotte Mart –
Everything here was going at 50% off!
Real Nature Mask Mung Bean 500 won/piece (S$0.60)
Real Nature Mask Cucumber 500 won/piece (S$0.60)
Clean Face Sebum Control Soothing Mask Sheet 1000 won/piece (S$1.20)
Essential Pearl Mask Sheet 500 won/piece (S$0.60)
Chia Seed Watery Eye & Spot Essence 9450 won/tube (S$11.00)
Natural Cleansing Sea Sponge 800won/piece (S$0.94, this was bought at their outlet at Namdaemun Market and it’s 20% off original price of 1000 won)
Plus a bunch of freebies (bottom right of picture) from the Myeong-dong outlet which the husband went to on first day.
On average, each mask sheet costs between S$0.60-S$1.20 and is way much cheaper than buying them in Singapore which retails for 3 for S$10.00 or 4 for S$10.00. The same products can also be bought off Qoo10 at lower prices, close to buy-direct-from-Korea price range.
But a word of caution. Not every seller on Qoo10 sells legitimate products even if he or she may be located in Korea and/or your order is shipped from Korea. This applies to all Korean brands of skincare, beauty products and cosmetics. I run my own retail business too and I have met a number of suppliers in China with factories that produce imitation skincare products. The packaging is exactly the same as the one you get from retail stores but when you start using the product on your skin, you’d notice the difference in quality. This happened to me when I first bought a Missha BB Cream off Qoo10 because it was cheap and when I started using it, my skin started having an allergic reaction and was red and itchy. Also, the cream didn’t smell as nice as the actual product. Neither did it do the proper job of evening out skin tone. It’s still advisable to buy products only from authorised distributors and retailers!
Speaking of Missha, of course I have to get the husband to buy my favourite brand of BB Cream –
Perfect Cover BB Cream in #23 Natural Beige for 15,800 won/tube and 3 product samples. This is about S$18.50 after currency conversion. Missha in Singapore sells this for S$42.90! As for Qoo10, yes it’s cheap, but no way I am risking buying another fake product! Just not worth it.
Lastly, another big brand that has been made famous by Korean actress, Song Hye Kyo…LANEIGE! Unfortunately, Laneige outlets normally don’t have promotions or sales so the best bet is to buy them from The Shilla Duty Free Shops (husband got mine from Incheon Airport). Even though prices are in USD, it’s still slightly cheaper than buying them from Laneige shops in downtown Seoul provided the current USD-SGD currency exchange remains.
Firming Sleeping Pack at USD23 (S$29)
BB Cushion at USD29 (S$38)
Although buying skincare products from Korea is much much cheaper than from Singapore, it doesn’t mean an air-ticket to Seoul comes cheap! So grab the opportunity to shop and buy in bulk when you’re there for holiday or if someone you know is heading there (like how I ask my husband to help!). Good thing is, the expiry date of these products is at least 3 years (till 2016) so you don’t have to worry about overbuying as you can keep for later use!
With 80 over mask sheets plus firming & whitening products, I think I have a plenty to pamper my skin with. I told the husband once everything is used up, we have to go back Korea to replenish stock (and visit the brother and sister-in-law too! Husband’s older brother married a lovely Korean lady!).
Husband exceeded his baggage load by more than 5kg, otherwise there’d be more stuffs to grab from other Korean brands I adore like Skin Food, Innisfree, Beauty Credit, Nature Republic and more. Till next time, I shall make the trip myself! But it’s good that the husband is now more in tune with skincare products! So whenever I do my eye mask or face mask, he joins me 😉
I will be doing product reviews of all these items once I start using them for a period of time. Lots to use, lots to write about. So stay tune, lovelies!
In Part 3 of this post, check out my yummy recommendations from Paris Baguette, one of the top bakery chains in Korea. Read What to buy from South Korea? Paris Baguette Cheesecake & Breads.