Korean beauty aka K-Beauty, is rapidly taking over the world, making a name for itself in the western world and spearheading this beauty phenomenon along with other Asian beauty counterparts such as Japanese beauty and Taiwanese beauty. However, still fairly fresh to most beauty consumers in Australia, how does one start with a K-Beauty regimen and successfully purchase authentic and effective Korean beauty products online?
There are many avenues to choose while purchasing K-Beauty products and many factors to consider when choosing a retailer that fits your specific needs.
In Australia, online purchasing of K-Beauty products is commonly the preferred way, where you can also do the research based on your skin needs. There are not many brick and mortar stores you can walk into and try the products yourself, unlike in South Korea. If you happen to find one, they usually only stock a very limited number of brands or only carry one specific brand. The prices are at times double or triple their online counterparts, and rightly so. To operate a physical store is costly when factoring in overheads.
There are 4 main options for consumers to purchase K-Beauty products:
- Directly from a specific brand (which can be based anywhere in the world)
- Through an international based online retail store
- Via an overseas online wholesaler (usually based in Hong Kong)
- Or a locally based and Australian owned company
All these options are a great way to experiment with new products, since K-beauty is generally inexpensive and affordable. The need to “try before you buy” is no longer a requirement as it is with most western products where sometimes the cost of one serum can be equivalent to a multi-step Korean skincare routine that is arguably more effective.
Which purchasing option is the best for you?
Now you may be wondering “So where should I go to buy my Korean skincare online?” Let’s line them up and discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each based on what I believe are the most important categories for any online retailer: Affordability, Customer Experience and Shipping
1. Purchasing directly from a specific brand
Prices tend to be Recommended Retail Pricing (RRP) but will sometimes have a discount for first time customers or a rewards system.
Unless you are a stickler for a specific brand and want to purchase a specific line or range and don’t really want to mix and match, this method is probably not suitable for many consumers. As many Korean beauty aficionados will attest to, the goal is to try a wide variety of products and brands to develop your own personal routine that works specifically for you. Packaging tends to be more luxurious though.
Usually standard international shipping is on offer. This can take up to two weeks or longer. You may be asked to reach a minimum spend before you qualify for free international shipping.
Final Score: 3/10
2. Purchasing through an international based online retail store
International websites do offer quite a variety of products and at first glance, tend to be cheaper. But don’t be fooled. Most prices are in US dollars, using psychology to lure us to believe that their products look like the best deal. Now take into consideration a fluctuating exchange rate and an international shipping cost, it usually ends up being much more costly than buying locally.
It’s a slightly more personalised touch than buying from an overseas warehouse. They will entice you with their glitzy website, YouTube tutorials and informative pizzaz.
Shipping can take around 2 weeks, so this is probably only a good option if you want to purchase hard to find products that are not sold anywhere else.
Final Score: 5.5/10
3. Purchasing via an overseas online wholesaler (usually based in Hong Kong)
They can often be the cheaper option, especially when they are running a sale or discount. Their low prices are due to high volume buying power resulting in savings to the consumer. Be aware of counterfeit products when prices seem too good to be true.
They offer a massive range of Asian Beauty products along with fashion, homewares and knick-knacks, almost like a $2 shop on steroids. You can spend hours trawling through their wares.
Popular with skincare veterans who are not easily overwhelmed with a difficult to navigate website with frequent and confusing pop ups. You have to be able to accept the no frills packaging or require very little personalised assistance. Freshness of the product can sometimes be an area of concern, as they are large organisations with many items in their inventory. Some products can be near expiration or stored in temperatures that fluctuate, which reduces the stability of certain chemicals in product formulas. This holds true to some serums and makeup items such as mascara and liquid eyeliners which require specific temperatures to remain stabilised.
Compared to its competitors, it is the slowest. An order can take somewhere between 2 weeks to well over a month. Packaging is the bare minimum, so a crushed parcel is more often than not expected. However, they seem to still be a popular choice for budget conscious beauty enthusiasts.
Final Score: 3.5/10
4. Purchasing from a locally based and Australian owned company
Prices do fluctuate between stores and there are many factors that contribute to this. Most recently, the weakness of the Aussie dollar is a significant factor in product pricing.
But overall, local shipping costs are extremely cheap, and the minimum spend to qualify for free shipping is very reasonable.
Local online retailers generally offer a broad range of products from Korean beauty, as well as a mixture of International brands.
With long delays in international deliveries due to COVID-19 and with local small businesses on the brink of survival, this is currently a popular option for those who want to support them.
They tend to understand the Australian consumer’s needs, offer exceptional customer service and provide personalised touches. Here at Beauty Crush Skin, we answer emails everyday from our lovely customers asking for product advice and offer handwritten gift messages!
Always the fastest option because the stock is here locally. Expect your order to arrive somewhere between 2-8 business days (with the exception of delays recently experienced due to COVID-19, which we have experienced some deliveries up to 10 business days for some customers). Free shipping is generally offered with a minimum spend, otherwise, affordable shipping prices are available (and many offer a flat rate shipping price regardless of the size of the order like we do here at Beauty Crush Skin).
Final Score: 8/10
So if you have been wondering where to buy Korean skincare online, these are the main avenues both K-beauty novices and enthusiasts can go through to purchase their products. I have certainly had personal experiences purchasing through all of them. They all have their place. Do consider purchasing within Australia to support local businesses. They have done the hard work of researching and sourcing the products from around the world, to ensure only the most effective products are on offer to you. I hope this information will help you make an informed choice with your next K-Beauty purchase.
WE’VE DONE THE HARD YARDS… THE HYPE OF KOREAN SKINCARE IS 100% REAL!
Make that change for healthier glowing skin! Check out our Korean Skincare range at Beauty Crush Skin.
Written by Cole