Now, K-Beauty can be an addiction and while I love picking up underrated brands during my quest, most local retailers here in the UAE mainly stock a lot of roadshop brands. Eventually, I turned to shop online, onto sites with worldwide shipping to pick up items that have caught my eye on social media or on other K-Beauty blogs. I am going to be sharing some great tricks I picked up on the best international sites to buy K-Beauty products.
Reasons to shop online:
- More variety – most sites stock almost each item from every collection and more stuff you’ve never heard of but will want. Another plus is that new ranges are stocked faster.
- It’s a lot cheaper – local retailers do jack up the price here, sometimes double or triple the original. This way you save a lot of that coin.
- Special offers/shipping discounts – most places have different ongoing events and offers, best to be on their newsletter subscription. There are tons of killer sales and discounts that you don’t get with local retailers. I mean Black Friday only became a thing here in the UAE a year ago.
Before I get started with this long article, let me explain shipping methods. This is a key piece of information you’ll need regardless of where you live but it’s crucial if you’re living in the UAE. The reason being for some of the shipping methods below you will need a P.O Box. Be sure to add the P.O Box number to the end of your address and also enter it into the zip code section. Eg: my flat, my street, my neighborhood, Dubai, U.A.E. 00001
Shipping methods to the UAE (all options contain tracking numbers). Listed price wise low to high:
- K packet – the cheapest shipping option, costing about $22 for 1.70 kg. It takes 3-5 weeks to arrive and it will be sent to your P.O Box. If you don’t have a P.O Box the package will be sent back to the sender and you will be charged for the reshipping fee.
You will be notified if the package has arrived by the post office with a postal notice, this adds to the wait time since sometimes your package will be stuck at customs. I once had to wait an extra 2 weeks because my package was held up at customs.
Mostly a tracking number is not given to the customer for K packet unless the customer requests it.
- EMS (express mail service) – these are priority packages and cost double the amount of the K packet, around $37 for 1.70 kg. Arrives in 2-5 days max. Door to door service (as in the package will arrive to your house/office etc, no P.O Box needed). The best part is that you get updates on the mobile number provided and the post office will call asking for a suitable date/time. The EMS service is a global alliance in co-ordinance with your country’s post office, check if your country is on the list here.
- DHL – the fastest way to get your package, which equals it being the most expensive option. The most I’ve waited is 2 days maximum, 2 DAYS. Door to door service with email and mobile updates. DHL you da bomb, but the price tag on you tho…
And, now let’s begin. Grab a snack, it’s a long, LONG list but it’s informative!
The easiest place to shop for anything far east Asian is YesStyle. They have an insane collection (I just ordered a few clothing items and was surprised at the quality).
The K-Beauty section alone has 630 pages! That in itself is a blessing and a curse since sifting through it all is a huge hassle.
The prices are reasonable and super cheap on certain items + there is a membership program offering discounts and $10 off coupons for orders worth $80 or more (I have a couple extras, message me if you want them).
- Packages are shipped from the Netherlands and take 2-4 weeks to arrive for the minimum $35 free shipping worldwide.
The package arrives at your P.O Box.
Shipping is faster for orders above $100 (arrives at P.O Box) and it is sent through express shipping for orders over $150 (not sure where this arrives as I have never ordered for that much but I think it’ll come to the P.O Box).
Con: They, however, do not give you a tracking number. They have tracking numbers available for the $35 minimum free shipping packages, they just don’t share it with the customer unless you report an issue.
Tracking number not included for orders below $100.
Overall rating: 8/10
Althea is a site that purely sells K-Beauty and is based out of Korea, they even have a section on the site showcasing trendy items in Korea. They have a lot of products ranging from a lot of different brands, they’ve even introduced me to a few new ones (looking at you a;t fox and boom de ah dah). Althea has a membership program of giving you $20 when you sign up, $10 dollars each for 2 of your future orders. Also, if you sign up using this link here you’ll get $15 to spend on a minimum order of $50. Discount expires Feb 22, 2018.
I love the sale items they have running, it changes from week to week and they are the cheapest option for sheet masks. Seriously, where can you find a good sheet mask for 40 cents, yes $0.40.
Another huge plus is their Althea boxes which are a STEAL. They curate a collection of 5-6 full size items + samples, priced around $30 (just a little over the most expensive item in the box!!).
Packages are shipped from South Korea using registered airmail and take 3-4 weeks to arrive to your P.O Box. Free shipping minimum is $50 but only for a handful of countries (USA, Thailand, Mayalsia, Singapore, Philippines & Indonesia). Otherwise you’ll have to pay for shipping, costs below.
If you live in the UAE:
orders below $50 – Registered Airmail is $11, takes 3-4 weeks. EMS is $19 and arrives in 2-5 days.
orders above $50 – Registered Airmail is $7, takes 3-4 weeks. EMS is $8 and arrives in 2-5 days.
I’ve ordered from Althea a total of 2 times. The first order was when the UAE was still included in the free shipping list and it took 3 weeks to arrive to my P.O Box by airmail. The second time was when I had to pay the extra $8 for EMS but I still saved some money using the $15 code – package was at my doorstep in 2 days. *woot woot*
Cons: You’ll have to pay for shipping if you live in a non free shipping zone.
Tracking numbers are included.
Overall rating: 9/10
Now here is where it gets a little complicated. The way Rose Rose Shop works is that you get dirt cheap prices on your items but you’ll have to pay for shipping separately. They have the widest collection of items and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can request them to add it and they’ll get the best price possible and include it. For each new account you get $2 worth of store credit.
Onto shipping, certain items come with free shipping all you have to do is pay $2 for the tracking number. For others it is decided by weight, you create your cart and you can see how much each item weighs and the total weight of your cart.
There are different prices for different weights.
K packet shipping (cheapest option, takes 2-3 weeks) is only available until 1.70 kg for $22.
Anything beyond 1.70 kg will be shipped through EMS and DHL.
You kind of have to tinker your cart and mix and match, if your cart weighs 1.66 kg you will still be charged the same amount of $22 since the price is for 1.60 kg – 1.70 kg.
See, a little complicated but that extra effort does save a lot of $. I made the same cart on YesStyle and there was a $40 difference. My Rose Rose Shop cart was $144, on YesStyle it was a whopping $185 (that is with a 10% discount and I was missing 2 items). This does depend on the items you want to purchase, some stuff is cheaper on YesStyle/Althea, especially when you don’t have to worry about shipping. Sheet masks are dirt cheap on RRS but they weigh a ton being 30g a pack and well, that adds up.
Another plus point is that on RRS there is the option to buy samples, that way you can decide if you’ll repurchase the full sized item.
Cons: You have to do math and figure out the best combination of your cart to maximize that bang for your buck.
Tracking numbers are included.
Overall rating: 9/10
P.S: Rose Rose Shop has a free shipping alternative where items are priced a little higher because free shipping, it’s called Ruby Ruby Shop. Sometimes my cart on Ruby Ruby is a little bit more expensive or it’s a little cheaper, it seriously depends on the items. Best if you just want to pick up 1 or 2 items.
There are definitely a bunch of other sites too that I haven’t mentioned because:
A) I haven’t personally shopped from them and can’t give you my opinion.
B) I won’t shop from them because they are pricier than the sites mentioned here and not gonna lie, I like saving money 🙂
If you want you can check them out, it might work for you:
Style Korean – weight based shipping, only EMS available. Expensive af.
Beauty Net Korea – weight based shipping, Air Packet (cheaper than K Packet but virtually no tracking number/tracing available), K Packet and EMS available. Like RRS.
Cosmetic Love – weight based shipping, Air Packet, K packet, and EMS available. Like RRS.
Jolse – their black Friday deals are legendary, stocks run out fast and I haven’t been able to place an order yet. Economy shipping (virtually no tracking), K-packet and EMS available.
Ok, so I think I’ve covered everything, haven’t mentioned a lot of places but I did thoroughly go through them. If you still have any queries or need help figuring out shipping email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on instagram. Until next time!
Editor in Chief of WhatTheFigs.com
Freelance Food Stylist and Content Creator.
Started a food blog that turned in a lifestyle + beauty website.
Skincare junkie, esp K-Beauty – cause it’s cheap, effective and has great ingredients.
Posts about Korean Culture known as Hallyu. (K-food, K-beauty, K-entertainment, etc).
Still talks about food but is now more selective.
Is a spend thrift ^^’ .